Sunday, July 22, 2012

ARE YOU A "HOST"?

   So what do you get when you cross the 1993 movie Body Snatchers with Twilight? Give up? You get Stephenie Meyers smash hit The Host. The Host is about a post colonized earth, where humans are implanted with a parasitic alien life form that erases the human personality and almost instantly takes our their bodies, making it their own. But the book isn't just about aliens seemingly wiping out the human population no its also about the friendship between a parasite (Wanderer) and her host (Melanie). The book gradually guides us through their friendship, and eventually how Wanderer who is later called Wanda in the book and Melanie grow to love each other and how Wanderer grows to love Melanie's family while leaving her own behind.

    First of all let me put this out there I am a big fan of the book. I think the story is great as it goes and the ethical and philosophical issues that the characters deal with are ones that make you think. But lets get a run down of this book. Wanderer the books unwilling/willing hero if you would call her that, is part of a race of parasitic alien that came to earth to take it over. Unlike all the movies we've watch when aliens come to our world to take it over they usually want to wipe humanity off the face of the earth, but this take over was very gradual and happened out of nowhere. From reading the book you learn that they didn't come to just take over our world but they also came to take over our lives. The thought of the parasite was that where ever they went they thought they made it better. They saw humanity as a violent, anger race of beings and in taking our lives over they were re-leaving us from that and also fixing the problems we'd cause the earth.

Stephenie Meyer's The Host
   When we first meet Wanderer she is being placed in her host Melanie to find out where she had came from and there were any other humans out there. Wanderer was chosen to be placed in Melanie because they thought she was strong and that she could retrieve the information that the Seekers (The bad guys in the a world of goodie goodie aliens) needed to find the rest of the human resistance if there was any out there to find. Little did Wanderer know that this host unlike other would not fade away so easy. Melanie puts up and insane fight to keep her self present. While Wanderer struggles to get rid of her, Melanie struggles to keep  Wanderer out of her thoughts.

   The first couple of chapters goes on like this. The struggle between Wanderer and Melanie and trying to deal  with the new fact that they shared a body and that Melanie had no plans on disappearing. Wanderer is then plagued by the Seeker each time trying to find out if Wanderer had accessed all of Melanie memories, but each time she is disappointed with the lack of information that Wanderer had for her. The Seeker also begins to suspect that there is something wrong with Wanderer. Skip a head a couple more chapters we find that Melanie bombards Wanderer with her emotions and memories of Jamie, her brother and Jared he love interest. By doing this Melanie had not only expose the fact that there are others our there but she has also cause Wanderer to fall in love with her family.

   As the story goes along we find Wanderer struggle with herself and her feelings. Having the dreams of Jamie and Jared she feels that she love them and wants to keep them safe from the Seeker. This is where Wanderer and Melanie from a sort of truce. Wanderer decided that because of the feelings that Melanie has forced on her she can no longer live with out Jared or Jamie and set out to find them. This is no easy task for Wanderer who has to elude the Seeker, who beings to suspect that Melanie's personality was too much of a challenge for Wanderer. She tells the Seeker that she is returning to the place she had be where is was implanted into Melanie, but this was a lie to throw the Seeker off. Wanderer along with her echo Melanie then venture out to find her brother Jamie and her love Jared to make sure they were safe and to keep a promise that she had made to them, which was to always come back.

   Wanderer succeeds in finding Jamie and Jared after almost dying out in the desert she is saved  by a crazy old gun togging man name Jeb, who turns out to be Melanie's uncle. Little to say Wanderers presences was shocking to the pack of human survivors in hiding. Wanderer is treated with suspicion and is even slapped around by many from the community. Eventually when she gets to see Jared even he lays his hands on her in and less than loving way. Melanie who is ever present in Wanderer's mind is relieved that Jared is a live and that means that her brother is also too, but fails to see that they were in great danger being there. Many of the survivors of humanity wanted to killer her, but she is once again saved by Jeb, who leaves the whole decision of killing Wanderer/Melanie up to Jared.

  Flash forward Jared never gets around to actually killing Wanderer/Melanie who in later chapters of the book is incorporated into their society. Even though she is not trusted by many in the community Jeb totes her around with him while he does his chores. Wanderer eventually tells Jeb her name and he gives her the name Wanda for short. Melanie and Wanda become closer as being around Jared brings out emotions that Wanda doesn't understand and that Melanie wish she didn't share with her.

  Skip a head a couple more chapters and we see the love triangle or should we say quadrangle begin. Jared starts getting closer to Wanda after he finds out that Melanie might still be in there. Wanting to know how she was feeling and other thoughts, Wanda serves and Melanie's mouth piece. But Ian one of the characters earlier in the chapters that was bent on having Wanderer killed eventually got use to having her around and develops feelings for her. This is a great source of tension in the book, because on one had the body that Wanderer inhabits belongs to that of Jared's girlfriend and at the same time Ian is also interested in the body but not Melanie.

  When we come to the action of the book what it mainly circles around is the Seeker that will just not give up on Wanderer. After she disappears the Seeker launches a search party to find her and the human survivors, but the search fails in the beginning. When she does eventually find the human survivors and Wanderer, she has already made it clear that she values the lives of Jamie, Jared, Ian, and the rest of the humans more than she valued her own. The survivors want to kill the Seeker because they believe there is no other way, but they live it up to Wanderer. Wanderer visits the Seeker to ask her why she wouldn't just live her be. Everyone else thought that she had died, but the Seeker went on. Not wanting the death of one of her kind Wanderer thinks of a way to save the Seeker and at the same time protect her now human family.

  Wanderer and Jared go on a raid for cryotanks that the parasite sleep in before they are implanted into a host. Wanderer teaches the character Doc, how to safely remove the silver little alien from its host without killing it or the host. After she shows him this Wanderer makes Doc promise to do the same to her and give Melanie back her body.

  To say the less this book is a great read if you love sci-fi romance, or any kind of romance at all. I skipped telling you a lot of the book because then you wouldn't really be interesting in reading it if you knew all of what happens. The book it self goes on for 52 chapters, but most of them are short and very enjoyable. There are parts of the book where you are face with philosophical questions about whether its okay to kill another being so that another can survive? Your also faced with the question of since the aliens took over there was no more crime, nor violence of any kind and the earth was much better off. So why would we want things to go back to the way it was.

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   This books is also a book about survival and friendship. The survival of the human race rest on the shoulders of this one alien and a band of humans that have grown to trust and even love her. The friendships that are form while Wanderer aka Wanda lives among the humans show that with time somethings can be overcome and even over looked. Living within Melanie's body Wanderer learns a lot about herself as and individual and what it really means to care about someone. Being away from her own species helps Wanderer come to the realization that even though her society was ideal it was not perfect. She also comes to think that maybe the colonization of the earth was a mistake due to the individuality of each being.

   Unlike her hit series The Twilight Saga this books is currently a one off. After it comes to its end we are only left to think what will happen to Wanderer and her human family. You might hope that they all survive and some sort of truce is brokered in the future and humans and alien live in peace, but this is humanity we are talking about. But once again this book is a great read. Happily like the rest of her books they are making it into a movie slated to be released March 2013. It would be very interesting to see who plays what character. So on the I love this book scale it gets a 9 out of 10, so go pick it up and start reading.