Friday, April 5, 2013

Book Review: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host (The Host, #1)Yep, I jumped on the bandwagon. I read The Host by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The concept behind this novel is an interesting one, but the execution falls short for a few reasons. First, there isn't enough action to justify the book's 619 pages.

Second, the best thing about the Twilight series - the way it captures the unreasoning, headlong way young people fall in love - is absent from The Host. There's a love triangle of sorts (technically it's a love quadrilateral), but during very few passages of the entire novel did I get the sense there was very much real passion or intensity of feeling on the parts of any of the alleged lovers.

To me, Ian's feelings toward Wanderer seemed the most romantic, since he loved her purely for her personality and her mind, completely divorced from her human host body. The one time I choked up at all was when Ian described holding Wanderer in her true form. Wanderer, as narrator, kept telling me that Jared loved Melanie, but I didn't really FEEL it.

Third, since the novel failed to be particularly romantic, I hoped it would at least be really interesting science fiction - but it isn't. This is related to point one - numerous scenes of waiting and deliberating rather than scenes of action - but apart from that, Meyer saves the best off-planet alien action (the claw beast story) for the last fifth of the novel. There isn't enough science to qualify this as true science fiction; instead it comes off as second-rate scifi.

One thing I did like about the writing was Meyer's description of Wanderer's willingness to give up her life to be a mother to new souls. I must have seen or read some interview with Meyer in which she described herself as a mother first (she has three sons) and a writer second. I'm a writer first and a mother never, and even though her experience is different than mine, I really admire and enjoy the way Meyer's books show the beauty and value of motherhood - or at least of parenthood, because even though Wanderer considers herself a female soul, her species seems to reproduce asexually. At least, it wasn't clear that she was going to need a male soul's DNA to split herself into many smaller souls.

The point is, Wanderer was willing to die so that the next generation could be born. Her entire personality is peaceful, cooperative, and empathetic, and it's completely in character for her to be willing to make the ultimate self-sacrifice so that life could continue. That's what good parents do, isn't it? They don't have to literally die - usually, hopefully - but they do have to sacrifice some of the things that they like and want to invest enough time and attention into their young ones. If you choose to be a parent, you're making a very admirable sacrifice.

I really did like Wanderer as a character, and the personality contrast between Wanderer and Melanie.

Overall, this novel was worth exactly one read, but I have nowhere near the attachment to it that I have to the Twilight series.

View all my reviews

Previous Stephenie Meyer posts

Book Review: The Gospel According to Twilight by Elaine Heath

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause v. Twilight

The Ultimate Twilight Fan LinkUp Post

Twilight of the Goddesses - comparison of the women in Twilight to classical Greek goddesses

The Best Parts of Breaking Dawn Pt. 1

BD Pt. 2 Countdown - Twilight
BD Pt. 2 Countdown - New Moon
BD Pt. 2 Countdown - Eclipse
BD Pt. 2 Countdown - Breaking Dawn Pt. 1

Is St. Marcus Day Real?

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