After having loved the Twilight books so much, I was actually a little hesitant to read The Host back in 2008. As a matter of fact, the only reason I even bought a copy was to be able to attend Stephenie Meyer’s signing and I didn’t plan to read it for a while. I don’t know what compelled me to open it up, but I soon found myself completely immersed in the book. I love alien stuff, and though admittedly these aren’t the aliens I usually want to read about (gimme the creepy!), I came to truly love Stephenie Meyer’s story. I can tell you now that I have re-read this book so many times that the spine is actually falling apart.
Though the first few chapters were a little slow moving for me, once Wanderer got to the desert I was all in. I loved the conflict between Wanderer and Melanie because they were so different and it was interesting to read how they handled being in one body. While Wanderer is so peaceful and such a pacifist, Melanie is more fiery and rash — mainly because she’s doing all she can to protect Jared and Jamie. Melanie’s presence is (almost) always there, but Wanderer is the central focus and I enjoyed falling in love with Earth and the humans along with her. Another highlight was learning about her past lives. Other readers may be disappointed by how light the sci-fi elements are in The Host, but I personally enjoyed how accessible it was and there were enough details about the other worlds to allow a vivid picture.
Since this is a Stephenie Meyer story, yes, there is plenty of romance to go around. From the summary I went into the book expecting a love triangle between Melanie/Jared/Wanderer and that was true. Kind of. Yes, having access to all of Melanie’s memories, Wanderer did grow to have feelings for Jared and, yes, Jared did have all sorts of conflict due to having Melanie’s body in close proximity. Plus, you know, Melanie is still in there and she has plenty to say about what Wanderer is feeling, mixed in with her own turmoil of Jared being out of reach to her. OH THE DRAMA. That was all great and dandy, but then came the unexpected in the shape of a human: Ian O’Shea. The book has been out for years, and he’s popped up enough in the movie promotional material, but I still feel kind of spoilery even mentioning him so I will just say the following: he is one of my absolute favorite characters and he completely took me by surprise.
Stephenie Meyer gets a lot of criticism for this and that, but I love how she tells a story. She had me hooked with both Twilight and The Host and I know I’ll be reading any of her books in the future.
I was able to see the movie at an early screening a few weeks back, and now that I’ve had time to sit on my thoughts, I have to say that I’m not too in love with it. It wasn’t bad in any way, and I do think it was better than the Twilight films, but it didn’t excite me in the way that I hoped it would. The cast was great, and I loved the final scene with Melanie and Wanderer, but I feel that certain parts and character growth were rushed. I know they can’t include ALL THE THINGS in a film adaptation (dammit!) but I do wish there had been more heart to the story, like in the book. Would I recommend it? Yeah, probably, especially if you’re a fan of the book, but overall I think it was rather forgettable. (Still, Stephenie Meyer needs to write the sequel asap so I can have more of Ian in the books and see more of Max Irons’s face in the movies, thanks.)