The Host — Stephenie Meyer
What with all these cataclysmic angst at the moment, due to the Doomsday forebodings from the Mayans—authors every now and then seem to plummet into the apocalypse bandwagon. Readers, on the other hand, delight in such themes (including myself) as they find it compelling and enigmatic, which is in fact, correct. Tales alike give us representations of what the world would look like, what forces could possibly cause such phenomena, and how humanity could redeem itself. One book I have stumbled upon with this subject is The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Every so often, I would come across this at the bookstore. I have lifted it from the rack and checked the blurb too many times. I find the cover creepy—what with the eye and everything, and tagged it as “books for smart people that would be too hard for me to understand.” A few months later, maybe a year, I ran out of books to read and something at the back of my head says that I give it a chance.
Strange creatures have taken over the planet and humans have finally succumbed to its enemies—at least not completely—a rather scarce party has made it into hiding. The aliens, or “souls,” as they call themselves, cannot live long without hosts in particular. They move from planet to planet, invading other beings as hosts—thus, harboring Earth as well. The process would be a surgical procedure wherein a cut has to be made at the base of the human’s neck where the insertion would take place. These souls are described as centipede-like creatures. (Creepy, huh? And they’re altruistic beings too. Beat that?) Wanderer/Wanda, one of the most experienced of their kind—was appointed to be implanted in Melanie’s body—a human captive that could lead them to the whereabouts of the others. Melanie resists, undeterred by Wanda’s domineering influence over her body. Later, Wanda found herself in the humans’ refuge, where humans loathe her aside from a few, namely: Jeb, Mel’s uncle; and Jamie, her little brother. Here also, she finds herself torn between two guys—Jared and Ian. She physically yearns for the former while emotionally aches for the latter. Eventually, Wanda became a traitor of her kind and favored the human cause.
Page-turner, enthralling, intriguing—Meyer has definitely leapt out from her Twilight box. Who knew she could make something different apart from her sparkling vampires? However, the story started abruptly, but I find it necessary, as the process of insertion was being introduced—though I have to admit, I had hard time comprehending about what they were doing. I liked the idea of aliens taking over human bodies, and the dual perspective from the protagonist—from a human’s to a soul’s mindset. First hundred pages were a tad slow but I was more and more engrossed with every page. I LOVE IAN. I JUST LOVE HIM SO MUCH.
The difference of The Host with other post-apocalyptic novels is the regard for humanity, peace, and hope. I rated it not in accordance to its writing, flow, characterization, etc.—but how I enjoyed the book. Yes, it has its flaws, but what literary work hasn’t? So spare me the hostility.
Overall, a distinctive dystopian novel that (I hope) everyone will enjoy.