The Host - Stephenie Meyer

When Twilight (the movie) was released back in 2008, I was a girl of 17, the same age as the lead character; Bella Swan. Needless to say I, like millions of other teenage girls, fell immediately in love with the story and rushed out to buy all of the books in the series. At the time, I would argue for the story's integrity to anyone who would listen because, hello, Bella & Edward were in love didn't you know? ... But I'm not 17 any more  I'm 22 and I don't... can't, look at the story the way I used to; it took me a while but I finally did see the heavily implied, thinly veiled messages in Twilight. Firstly, the whole series is an advertisement on abstinence and Mormonism (the religion of the writer) and this bugged me ... a lot. I know it's a really old trick to stamp religious propaganda all over stories and fables, but wow, did this one do the trick. Millions of teenage girls suddenly convinced waiting for marriage is the right thing without even realising they've been persuaded into thinking that way from a YA novel, this sits really uneasily with me. The second thing that now bothers me about the story is that actions I perceived as a young girl as loving and caring, are actually barbaric and downright demeaning. Think about it, if a boyfriend told you that you were no longer allowed to go certain places, see certain people, drive your car etc, you'd go mad. Their relationship is basically one of domineering control and a really bad example to set up for young girls.

Because of all this, I was a little reluctant to read Meyer's other novel The Host, but I found it on eBay for £1 and I thought it might help out with some dystopian research I was doing so I bought it, ad I'm so glad I did!

Basically, this book is nothing like Twilight. There is no real sense of danger where you expect it, and the protagonist; Wanderer, makes the right choices for her life, not the choices men want her to make, which makes her a much stronger heroine than Bella Swan.

The story is set in the future, where an alien race has invaded earth and taken over human bodies to live in. The majority of the population are now these "aliens". There is a small human resistance, of which one member is a young girl in her 20's; Melanie. Melanie leaves her lover and young brother to enter a city at night looking for a cousin she believes to still be human. When Melanie is caught by the "seekers" (aliens who search for the human resistance) she runs and attempts suicide so the aliens may not have her body. However, they have extensive medical advances and are able to save Melanie's body, putting alien Wanderer inside.

Wanderer, like the rest of the aliens, is a gentle soul. They do not believe in, nor are capable of violence or anger. They all work, but money is not used in their world, they simply take what they need and pay for it by putting work into the community. Wanderer works as a teacher, but finds her concentration more and more distant as she begins to hear a voice in her head. Melanie's voice.

The rest of the story is about the struggle and friendship of these two souls locked inside one body and the prejudice's they face against each others races. I really liked this story, and better, I liked the characters. It was really interesting to read something dystopian about invasion but not to have any real outside fear to pace the story. There is no government or "big brother" watching Wanderer, and the pace comes from her character development alone which works really well.

The adaptation is released in cinema's either this or next week I think and it will be interesting to see if they have made it a true adaptation of the books... or just created a blockbuster love story touted on Meyer's name. We'll see.


  1. I read the Host quite a while ago and remember thinking it was just OK. I was really surprised to hear it was being turned into a movie since so much of the story is internal -- I mean it's about 2 souls in one body -- how the heck does that translate to film? I guess Meyer's name made it happen, but I will be interested to see what they do with it.

  2. Great post! I completely agree with you about Twilight. I'm glad someone is putting their opinion out there and I hope that some other readers will be convinced to read The Host, despite it being written by Stephenie Meyer. It is really worth the read and nothing like Twilight :)


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