The Host by Stephenie Meyer

2008
05.20

the host Sometime in the near future, silvery parasitic aliens infiltrate the human population, bringing peace and love but causing their hosts’ personalities to be erased. Melanie Stryder is a seventeen-year-old post apocalyptic street fighter with a bad attitude who also happens to be stunningly gorgeous. Wanderer is a 1,000-year-old well-traveled female alien soul who, despite being parasitic, is altruistic to the point of martyrdom. The two of them are both attempting to occupy Melanie’s body and making a sorry hash of it. (Souls are surgically inserted into the base of the neck by doctors who have already been Body-Snatched.) Melanie is trying to keep the location of her small rebel human outpost a secret from her parasite, but eventually the soul breaks through and seeks out Melanie’s man, Jared, her little brother Jamie, and a rag tag assortment of other folks who have managed to evade having their brain stems coated with memory-wiping silver silly-putty. When Melanie’s body first shows up at the secret desert camp under the direction of Wanderer, the insurgent humans are all for murdering her on the spot, but Wanderer wins them over by giving voice to Melanie’s thoughts and discovering to her own surprise that she actually digs these passionate, violent, lusty life forms. Things get complicated when two of the men in camp both fall for the dystopian Sybil—Jared, Melanie’s hot, older-man savior-type, and Ian, a brooding bad boy who has lost his heart to the selfless Wanderer, who he calls “Wanda.” Sound familiar? It should–Meyer treads some of the same supernatural romantic love triangle ground she traveled so well in her enormously popular Twilight series. If you liked those books, you’re gonna love this one. Personally, Meyer’s melodramatic dialogue drove me a little nuts, but I did dig her descriptions of Wanderer’s past worlds, and the sympathetic alien’s fascination with this planet. Clocking in at over 600 pages, it’s also not going to be easy to stuff in your backpack. If you prefer your interspecies romances with a few less pages and a bit more grit, you may want to pick up a copy of the now classic Blood and Chocolate, one of my all time fav romantic horror stories, instead.

28 Responses to “The Host by Stephenie Meyer”

  1. erin says:

    This book may take a little while to get into, but once your in, you are hooked. It was amazing, and I’m not even into sci-fi that much. I basically read it because Stephenie Meyer is my favorite author, and it definitely reached my high expectations. Amazing.

  2. Jen Hubert says:

    Glad you enjoyed it, Erin. The premise of the book was my favorite part. That, and the description of the claw beasts:) Did you feel like Meyer left it open for a sequel? Or do you think it will stand alone?

  3. Maree says:

    Really disappointing. This is a great premise, but so many opportunities for humour and conflict are lost. There are also a lot of inconsistencies…for example, if Wanderer’s race is really so altruistic, why do they seek genocide in the first place? And why is it OK to extract the souls from humans in order to put them into some other race? And why is Wanderer tickety-boo with being taken out of Melanie and inserted into some other body? I also got annoyed with the whole love-triangle thing. Get over yourself, Stephenie!

    P.S. What is the fascination with names beginning with “J”? We have Joshua in the Twilight series, and now we have Jeb, Jamie and Jared.

  4. Kairi says:

    Who ever this Maree is probably lives in a hole. I mean I thought it was great. I almost liked it more than the Twilight series (almost). But no need to be snobish about it.

  5. Velva says:

    I really liked this book a lot. I personally preferred it to the Twilight series once I got into it, but I’ll admit that it isn’t as instantly addictive.

    As a mom who is extremely fond of YA literature (hey… romance novels bore the crap out of me), I’ve really enjoyed being able to read the books you review here and then pass them on to my 16 year old stepdaughter. Sharing the books we enjoy is a great way to get insight into another person and help strengthen relationships.

  6. Jen Hubert says:

    Hi Velva,

    glad you enjoyed it. While I’m not always a fan of her detailed prose, Meyer certainly knows how to keep her audience happy. Did your daughter like it as well?

  7. mitzi says:

    hey i totally liked this book. i love how even after all the twilight series she can still manage to pull of a book like this (its not very easy to write something with as high expectations as twilight, new moon, & eclipse). two thumbs up. u rock steph!!

  8. alison says:

    amazing. it really embodied the meaning of being human.
    It was breathtaking.

  9. Mac says:

    Wow i haven’t even started the book but after all these comments i have to. Stephenie you are truly amazing!!! You came up with a totally amazing abstract vampire world/human world mash and pulled it off with four BREATHTAKINGLY TO-DIE-FOR novels and its really cool how you can still come up with things like “The Host”

  10. alex says:

    i loved it the reason i started reading it was because of twilight but even though its a little hard to get into i liked it better than 2 of the twilights i loved the whole confusing love triangle and jared is a jerk-a-tron

  11. Eileen says:

    It was a little hard to understand at first, but the more you read the harder it is to put down. This book has fantasy, romance, suspense and humour inside it (it’s an amazing book!!) I’ve recommended it to all of my friends.

  12. Melanie says:

    This is a simply dazzling book. true, it is a little unexciting in the beginning and a little hard to get into, but at page 30, i was totally hooked. i read it in like 6 hours straight. It totally was a brilliant idea to do the book in an aliens point of view, and it has everything you could hope for in a book. im pretty sure i like it more than the twilight books, and that is saying something. Most people want to find there own Edward, but i want to find my own Ian

  13. Sonya says:

    I love Stephenie Meyer’s books. I think it is ridiculous when people spew invective over their hatred of her writing. If you don’t like it – don’t read it! Anyway, I do have a question… did anyone notice the inconsistency in the Host that all of the “taken” humans appear to be adults and often middle aged, and yet, again and again, they say that they don’t like to put the souls into adult hosts because they aren’t compliant. I think her storytelling style is fantastic, but this was pretty jarring for me. Opinions? Comments?

  14. Emma says:

    Sonya: most adults are, in fact, compliant. its just the rare exception that is strong enough. Also, the Souls took over every human they could, and most humans are adults.

  15. Emma says:

    Sonya: most adults are, in fact, compliant. its just the rare exception that is strong enough to resist. Also, the Souls took over every human they could, and most humans are adults.

  16. Emma says:

    sorry, didn’t mean to post twice. second one is what I meant to post.

  17. Marilyn says:

    I’m not sure if I want to read it… what do you guys think? I loved Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking dawn. Is it worth the 600 pages???

  18. AnActualReader says:

    This book is nearly as bad as the Twilight novels… the main character is as blatantly a Mary-Sue as anyone Meyer writes and the whole ordeal is just a great let down. If not an expectable one.

    I see the Meyer FanDumb is praising it though. Again, not very surprising. I suppose if I was obsessed with a purple-prose ridden fairy-tale composed by some twobit ‘author’ I would defend the rest of her pitiful work as well.

  19. Marilyn says:

    AnAcutalReader: ok. Well, I got the book from the library, so I guess I’ll read a few chapters and decide if I want to continue it. But I think i’m a little bit too busy to read a really long book right now… and some people didn’t seem to like it… was it really all that bad??

  20. Ashley says:

    An Actual Reader – It’s a TEENAGE VAMPIRE ROMANCE NOVEL for God’s sake, what more did you expect from it? I mean, you DO realize that bashing Stephenie Meyer is so counterproductive that all it does it make you look like a jelous whiny brat, right?

  21. Violet Ivory says:

    I agree, Bella was a Marry-Sue. And what makes her that is that everyone thinks shes awesome and She thinks shes not. Also everybodys falling in loe with her Honestly, I dont even want to read this book, I’ll wait for it to come out in a movie considering all the twilight movies are better than the books.

  22. ellik90 says:

    It is definatly worth reading!
    And in reply to Sonya, the aliens do take over childrens bodies , and they grow into adults! they have been there along time! it is a bit confusing i can understand what you mean!
    i think think this book is tons better then the twilight saga, many because its an adult novel. i really enjoyed twilight too but i think the hot had more excitiement!
    i agree that people who slag stephenie meyer off are just jealous, and its quite perfetic that they look for places to slag it off, if you didt like it thats your opinionbut othersdid like it so stop trying to make us look retarted!!

    well done stephenie i really hope you will make a sequel!!

  23. Kara says:

    This book is utterly amazing. I loved the twilight series and loved this even more. For people who like to criticize anything about Meyer’s books, i think you’re just looking for attention and seem idiotic for expecting a teen romance novel to be something its not. get over it. don’t read vampire/alient fantasy novels if you want to sit around acting like you’re better than everyone who does enjoy the genre.

    THAT BEING SAID….this book is wonderful. I love the way you get into it thinking that you won’t like Wanderer (the alient inhabiting the human body) and end up loving her more than everyone else. Beware though, there is nothing “adult” about this book – I consider it teen romance just as much as twilight was. it does delve into the philosophy of what it is to “be human” which is cool…but that’s the only thing that seems more adult about it. Anyway, i finished it last night and am totally upset that I don’t have more of it to read! Someone give me something comparable PLEASE! in the last month I read all of the The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo books and Mockingjay – and totally loved this more. how can i top it off?

  24. Jen Hubert says:

    Hi Kara,

    For more paranormal romance, try Shiver by Maggie Steifvater.

  25. Kara says:

    thanks jen!

  26. Alexis says:

    I have to say, I totally agree with Kara about people dogin The Host. In fact those of u that don’t like it, obviously just don’t get it or have not read it. And I’m willing to forgive ignorance to a certain extent. After all, with all of the deeper- not completely spelled out messages found within this book, one can find themselves reading the book ten times and discover a new book each time. That kind of thing can only be done with well written books. For those who begin reading the book with preconceived twilight prejudices, have blinded themselves from capturing the deeper ideas so expertly hidden inside the storyline. I am not a teen but I guess I would consider myself a young adult (26). I did enjoy the twilight series but I can understand why some think that its been overdone and also a bit too teeny bop for those who are not teens. However, The Host is in a whole different ballpark. All I really want to get across to everyone is this… If you allow yourself to miss out on reading this one of a kind novel just because all the twilight hype annoys you, you will miss out on a truly enriching reading experience. This is the kind of book that turns casual readers into book lovers. A must read! Over and over again!!

  27. Diyana says:

    This book got me hooked! First I thought it would the same boring book like the twilight saga. But I was wrong! I can’t keep my hands off this book. Stephenie Meyer is truly great. I wish I can find my own Ian. Anyway, is there any book similar to The Host? I’ve tried reading the books Amazon had recommended. But none of the books can get me hooled just like The Host.

  28. Jen Hubert says:

    Hi Diyana,

    Try Starters by Lissa Price. It has some of the same elements.

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