Saturday, January 23, 2010

Review (Audiobook) - The Host by Stephenie Meyer

"Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining "wild" humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, 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.

Wanderer probes Melanie's thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer's mind 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 begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.

One of the most compelling writers of our time, Stephenie Meyer brings us a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the very essence of what it means to be human." (back cover)

It's been days since I've finished this book and I'm still not sure how to put this review into words, but I'll try.

***DO NOT read this book if you are looking for a Twilight read-alike. The only similarities I found between this book and Twilight is the female protagonists' occasional clinginess, and Stephenie Meyer's (sometimes excessively) descriptive writing style.

I tried to read this book as soon as it came out and couldn't get past page 18. I don't know if was the descriptiveness or the fact that I had no idea what was going on, but I just couldn't do it. Sorry, Steph. When I found out we had the book on CD, I thought I'd give it another try.

I made it well past page 18 the first time I listened to it, but something still wasn't quite right. Narrator Kate Reading sounded emo and completely uninterested in the book, and sometimes it felt like Stephanie Meyer was trying way too hard to think of one-word chapter titles. I think it was about the end of the third CD when the plot finally began to interest me, and by then I was thinking okay, I've made it through the boring part, and the book feels like it should be about one-third to halfway over now. WRONG. I opened the case to find out how many CDs were included: 20. The plot had gotten more interesting, and once male characters entered the story Reading seemed to relax and finally started changing voices for the different characters, but it was still difficult to push forward knowing how far I still had left to go...

...Cut to 3/4 of the way through book. At this point, the story was so good that I had to get the hard copy of the book at work to read while I worked; it was nearly impossible to put down. However, I did find that I missed listening to the book at this point. Without a narrator voicing the different characters, I found myself having to re-read portions of pages because there was so much dialogue and it was occassionally difficult to tell who was saying what. I had to intentionally leave the book at work so that when I got home I would go inside and read my schoolbooks like a good girl. When I got home I had to drag myself out of the car and away from the audiobook (and I still didn't get my school done).

The most interesting thing I found about this book is that it's the only book I can think of where I would have been just as happy with the "first ending" (second to last chapter), as the "second ending" (final chapter) - polar opposite endings.

Overall, I'm glad I stuck it out for the ending (I cried for pages). However, I would not recommend this book easily. With Twilight and a handful of my other favorite books, I'll quickly say, "you have to read this book," no matter who I'm speaking to. However, I honestly think that whether you will read and enjoy this book depends more on your personality. For instance - Do you give up if you don't like a book within the first few chapters? You may not be able to get throuh this book. Are you hard-headed and refuse to give up on a book until you finish it? You may get through the book but be so frustrated that you fail to enjoy the book. Are you patient, don't mind being confused occassionally, have a lot of time on your hands, and/or like science fiction with a touch of romance? This book may be for you.

While there is certainly no more "inappropriateness" in this book than there was in Breaking Dawn, because of its sheer size, I would recommend this for adults or older young adults. Actually, scratch that. Like I said before, it completely depends on their willingness to read and personality as mentioned above.

If you have opinions on this book, I'd love to hear them. I am really quite interested in hearing opinions about the two possible endings of the book.

Amazon does not have a recommended age on this product, which from my short experience I believe means it would be considered a higher level than most Young Adult books.

My Rating:


  1. I read this quite awhile ago, possibly when it came out, and I actually really enjoyed it. More than I liked Twilight. But you're right in saying that they are very, very different books. The Host is definitely science fiction, with a lot more exploration into the human mind and soul - what makes us human after all?

    I almost wish that Meyer wrote this under a pseudonymn because it has very little in common with her Twilight saga and all of the other vampire novels out there now. And I don't think it would appeal to the same audience either. So, who picks up a science fiction book with Stephenie Meyer as the author? I honestly couldn't tell you.

  2. I really actually loved this book, and have been thinking about re-reading it sometime this year. I was bored until about page 80, then I had trouble putting it down. I thought the concept was fascinating, and I cried buckets toward the end. I've recommended it to a couple of people, warning them to just stick with it through page 80 and they wouldn't regret it. Meyer left the ending open for sequels, and I'm waiting just a bit too impatiently.

    One thing that does irk me a bit though, is the amount of detail that seems unnecessary at times. I'm all about descriptions, but when it makes the book 200 pages longer than it could have been, it gets frustrating. Not that it will keep me from reading it again, but, you know what I mean.

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  3. Thank you ladies for the comments! :D

    Kristin, strangely, my exact number for the "pages it could have been shorter" was also 200. :)

    I'm really quite interested (and I've now added it to my main post) what people thought of the two potential endings. Any opinions specifically on that?

  4. I liked having the final chapter in there. Not only did it sort of redeem Wanderer, it left it open for more, and I'd like to see what else Meyer comes up with.

    And about recommending it to young adults, it was written for adults, though I'm sure that many teens will read it (or have read it) just because Meyer wrote it. In that case, it's good that there was no "inappropriateness" as you mentioned. She's probably stuck with teen fans no matter what she writes now, just because they want more.

  5. I have this book on my to read list ... I got kind of hooked on the "Twilight" books so I thought I'd give this a go. Plus I saw quite a few positive reviews for it. I think it was billed as Meyer's first "adult" book. I'm glad you stuck with it and ended up getting hooked ... this author seems to have that talent. I'm interested to see what I think of this when I read it later this year.

  6. Jenners, Once you've finnished with it, if you remember, I'd love to hear your comments on it! :)

  7. Glad you decided to give it another try. I like you got a little bogged down in the beginning, but the more I read, the more I had to read. First Sci-Fi book I'd read in awhile and throughly enjoyed it.

    Hey! Just stopped by from the Hop! Is it not amazing how many bloggers do this each week? This week my trip to the Hop is brought to you by the number 2, so starting with #22 and every entry # ending in 2 will receive a visit from me.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com


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