In the future Earth has been taken over by a unique alien species. The infiltration was slow and undetected until it was too late. Now these aliens, known as Souls, live inside human bodies, which act as hosts for the invading parasites. Usually when a Soul is placed in a new host it is able to take full control of the body, pushing aside any remnant of the human consciousness that once lived inside.
After a Soul named Wanderer is inserted into her new host she soon realizes something isn't right. It seems the human who once inhabited this body refuses to give in and die. Melanie Stryder wants no part of Wanderer and is doing everything she can to fight back. Even though Wanderer controls the body, nothing she does is able to quench Melanie's spirit. She is always there, in her head, so to speak.
As time goes by Melanie's memories become Wanderer's and soon she finds herself longing for the people that meant so much to her host. Melanie left behind her brother and the man she loves, and now Wanderer has developed those same feelings. Soon Wanderer and Melanie begin working together to track down Melanie's loved ones, all the while being careful that they don't lead the other Souls to the humans who are in hiding. When they finally do find them, they must figure out a way to live peacefully with a group of humans who have grown to hate Souls. Emotions flare and relationships are tested in agonizing ways as two lives must share one body and as enemies must learn to co-exist and survive.
Stephenie Meyer has taken the publishing world by storm with her groundbreaking young adult Twilight series. The Host is her first stand alone adult novel and millions of readers are anxiously waiting to see how it stacks up. Having never read any of the Twilight books, I didn't know what to expect from a Stephenie Meyer novel. What I found was a fascinating story that is really unlike anything I have ever read.
While this story certainly has sci-fi elements, it is not what most would consider hard-core sci-fi. Meyer focuses more on the relationships of the characters and the intriguing dilemma of two lives sharing one body. Much of the book deals with Melanie and Wanda's complicated love triangle with Melanie's old flame and Wanda's new love interest. There is action and suspense laced throughout, and Wanda's relationship with the surviving humans is tension filled to the max. The novel's real strength lies in the character of Wanda as she is constantly pulled between her duty as a Soul and the compassion she develops from her connection with Melanie and the other humans. Indeed, Wanda is the most human character of them all.
Meyer's writing is top-notch throughout and never lags despite the massive page count. Readers who expect a fast paced storyline wrapped up in a mere 100,000 words may be disappointed. However, those who enjoy a steady paced tale that slowly builds into a powerful and emotional ending will love The Host. In the end we are left with just the right amount of closure, but also with a little taste of what is to come. I can only hope Stephenie Meyer will continue this incredible saga she has begun.