The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Goodreads Summary: Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.
Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves – Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she’s never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.
Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, The Host is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer is one of my all time favorite books. I just read it again in honor of the movie coming out soon. (I’m beyond excited and dreading it at the same time.) I started it yesterday afternoon and finished it at about four this morning. Even though this was my fourth or fifth time reading it, I couldn’t put it down.
What drives me nuts about this book is how underrated it is. I’ve noticed that a lot of people disregard it because Meyer wrote it and they expect it to be like the Twilight series. It’s not. It is its own individual story that is NOTHING like the Twilight Series. There are no similarities besides the fact the main character is female. It barely even falls under the same genre. Yeah, they’re both young adult, but Twilight is paranormal and The Host is sci-fi. I’ve also noticed that many Twilight fans haven’t read it because it’s not Twilight. If you liked the Twilight series then you’ll probably like The Host. It’s still Stephenie Meyer writing it. No matter what you have to say about the storylines she comes up with, Meyer is a terrific writer. The problem is that so many people expect the cliché vampire love story from her. The Host is completely different.
Now that that rant is over, let me tell you why I love this book so much. First of all, the storyline is something I haven’t read a lot of books about. An alien race, called Souls, has spent millennia finding planets and stealing the bodies of the life forms from each planet. Souls cannot survive outside of a body. They are inserted into another body’s brain and they have that body’s memories and complete control over it. The consciousness of the body is no longer there. Now, Souls have almost completely taken over humans. Though there is the occasional human found hidden somewhere, Souls now make up most of the population. Melanie Stryder is caught by the Seekers, the Souls’ police. Wanderer is chosen to inhabit Melanie’s body. Earth is the ninth planet Wanderer (Wanda) has lived on. Since most Souls only live on two or three planets before settling, Wanda is like a celebrity among Souls and they believe she’s qualified to subdue Melanie and take her memories to find any other humans she might have been hiding with. But Melanie is strong and will do anything she can to protect her brother, Jamie, and the love of her life, Jared, and Melanie’s consciousness will not fade away. She can speak to Wanda and hide her memories from her. After awhile, from the few memories Melanie will give her, Wanda begins to love Jamie and Jared. Afraid the Seekers will find them, Melanie and Wanda set out to find them, following a map Melanie’s uncle had given her. Uncle Jeb and his hidden group of humans, including Jamie and Jared, find them and take them prisoner. Wanda isn’t trusted because she’s a Soul, but they don’t want to kill Melanie’s body. Slowly, with Jeb and Jamie’s help, Wanda becomes a part of their group. This story is basically about Wanda’s humanity. She’s not actually human, but when her actions are compared to human’s reactions, Wanda’s are more humane. She makes the people around her better, just by being herself.
Wanda is one of my favorite female characters because she’s so innately good. She’s kind and compassionate and no matter what happens to her she never loses that.
Ian is a human who falls in love with Wanda. He’s believed for so many years that all Souls are bad. He actually tries to kill Wanda at the beginning of the story. However, Ian isn’t a bad person. As soon as he realizes Wanda isn’t a threat to anyone, he’s on her side. He’s the first person, other than Jeb and Jamie, who trusts Wanda and he protects her throughout the entire book. I adore Ian. The entire time I was reading the book I’d just keep giggling or laughing and Amanda would look at me and I’d just say, “I love Ian so much!” She got sick of it pretty quickly.
The story sounds like it’s about a girl possessed by an alien. It’s not. It’s about an Alien possessing a girl. The entire book is from Wanda’s perspective. It’s cool seeing a book through the eyes of someone who is considered the “bad guy”. And, although the summary says there’s a love triangle, it’s more like a love square… with three bodies.
Overall, I recommend this book to pretty much everyone. I’ve gotten many people to read it over the years and all of them loved it. If this review convinced you to read it, please let me know what you thought. I love getting other people’s opinions.
-Antonia

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