Summary: Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their 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. (Publishers summary provided by powells.com)
My Review: This book is better than Twilight. Its true. It isn't as fun to read as Twilight and you won't fall desperately in love like you did when you read Twilight, but it has more depth and, probably because it is a single book it is more concise and better written (in my non-english major opinion).
The major issue addressed in The Host is what it means to be "human". What a broad question and what an interesting discussion can result (trust me, we talked about it at book club, not related to this book and the gloves came off). There are also themes of body verses mind and loyalty. And there is a love story (or two).
In a recent review Mindy talked about how J. K. Rowling has "insane character development" among other qualities and that got me thinking about the characters in this book. I loved the narrator, who happens to be a body snatching alien. I cared about all the other characters if/because she cared about them. (I did read this in short 10-20 minute bursts while nursing, that may have affected my emotional attachment). Each character had certain character traits that they strictly followed. There was very little surprise in what they did, you knew that they were: determined, or insightful, or thoughtful, or judgmental, or accepting, or passionate and therefore you knew how they would react. Some complexity in character would have made me care more for the other important characters.
As you read this book watch out for the clever way Meyer avoids needing to delve too much into the technical aspects of the aliens. Because the story is first person, if the main character didn't know much about the technology of the aliens then Meyer didn't have to write it. This lack of detail keeps the book from becoming overly "sci-fi" which I didn't mind one bit. I give her credit for taking this shortcut!
My Rating: 4 stars
In one (incomplete) sentence: Fun to read, very interesting premise.