Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Host - Stephanie Meyer

Unlike Twilight, The Host claims to be an adult novel. I'm unconvinced. What's the difference between YA fiction and adult fiction anyway? All the main (human) characters in The Host were young (17-26), it had a naive I'm going to be in love with this person for all eternity attitude to romance (a bit hard for anyone over 30 to swallow), and a happy ending where everyone got everything they wanted.

The premise was kind of interesting. Earth has been taken over by these alien 'soul' things that live inside humans (usually) displacing the human soul. The story is about Wanderer (an alien soul) who is put inside a girl called Melanie who never quite disappears. Much of the book's 600 pages is Wanderer's inner monologue or Wanderer and Melanie's inner dialogue. There is lengthy. reflection. on. every. single. thing. I wanted a red pen. I think I could have reduced it to 300 pages.

The Host's Wanderer is remarkably similar to Twilight's Bella. Both have never really felt they fitted in (a big YA theme). Both are painfully unselfish, continually looking for ways to sacrifice themselves for those they love. Both are obsessively maternal. Both are introverts who find it hard (apparently) to express themselves to those around them. Both are drawn into relationships where they get physically hurt (not abuse, of course. Just...) Neither have too much in the way of personality. The only real difference between Wanda and Bella seems to be that Wanda is good at sport and Bella is clumsy. I think soccer or running are mentioned four or five times...

Another similarity between the Host and Twilight is the theme of eternal youth and heath. Stephanie Meyer seems to have an obsession with it. Like vampires, the alien souls are immortal. The human life is way too short.

Look, it wasn't a bad read. I enjoyed it in the same way as I'd enjoy eating a whole packet of musk sticks or banana lollies. Kind of compelling at the time, but I felt a little junked out when it was finished. I could't bring myself to read the bonus chapters at the end where we get to experience the story from someone else's point of view. SM's writing style has perhaps improved a little since Twilight (not quite so many adjectives) but I think I prefer vampires to tiny silver soul creatures. If there's a sequel, I'm not keen to read it. There is meant to be a movie getting made. I can't imagine that it would be any good.

Anyone else?


  1. From the descriptions I've heard of the Twilight series where stalking (never mind breaking and entering) is equated with love, I think I'll pass on all SM books.

  2. After slogging through the Twilight series and being annoyed with Bella for the whole time, I'm with Laetitia. Can't go through that again...