Let me get this out of the way – I was once a teenage girl, and I once loved loved loved the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer (only the books). However, the series was spoiled irredeemably for me by the movies. I kind of like Kristen Stewart, I kind of like Robert Pattinson. But definitely not in the movie franchise. Definitely no. Bite me. And so, my love for the books too, took an unfortunate turn, where from I never really attempted to retrieve them.
What motivated me to pick up The Host by Stephanie Meyer? For 7 years I convinced myself that Stephanie Meyer has a unique style of writing that does not (unnecessarily) delve into too many details, stays simple and easy to relate to. Honestly, these are book characteristics that I highly value. Except if the book is written by a certain JRR Tolkien. Then, please oh please bring on the details. There’s no one who can write quite so beautifully.
Back to The Host – after a good 7 years, last year I picked up the book. And to be honest, I wasn’t disappointed. Let me say this at the outset – the book is not outstanding in anyway, but it is in no way dreadfully disappointing. She has explored an interesting way of looking at alien invasion. Her aliens don’t come to earth and drive us to the point of extinction by waging a war against us from the outside with traditional forms of warfare. They invade us literally – from the inside.
Stephanie Meyer’s alien is the quintessential poster child for those who cause harm by believing that they are too noble. In The Host, Meyer shows us really how helpless we could be if faced with a similar invasion. The book mainly follows an unwilling host (a human by the name Melanie Stryder), who has an iron will and determination to not give up her mind or her body over to an alien being, without putting up a fight.
The book has a few surprises and twists I have come to expect from Meyer. These are plot points that will keep you thumbing the pages, though the book is quite long. If romance is not your cup of tea, then it’s better to give this book a miss – with 600+ pages, you will be dedicating a significant part of a week to this book. If you can stomach romance, and an undercurrent of fantasy, then go for it.
One good thing about this book – it doesn’t have shiny vampires, and a girl who needs rescuing every half an hour. Stryder is a head-strong girl whose goal is to find her boyfriend and brother and is unwilling to let go of her mind or body over to the alien till she has fulfilled her goal.
Overall, I’d give this book 3 stars – 2 for storyline, 1 for character development, 1 for fantasy elements (that’s 4 stars), but minus 1 star for the unbearable length of the book.