No Vampires, No Werewolves, Just Alien Bodysnatchers: 'The Host' by Stephenie Meyer

Spooky Aliens From Space!

Creative Commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Creative Commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ | Source

Are you a Twilight obsessive? Maybe you got into the Twilight saga first through the films. Or maybe you've been a Stephanie Meyer fan for a long, long time. Browse through a Stephenie Meyer wiki: the Mormon teen romance writer has a huge following, and that following gives her licence to take literary chances and mix it up from time to time. You may be a huge admirer of her works dealing with supernatural beings and spooky occurrences. But are you ready for a science fiction/fantasy bodysnatcher romance between humans and aliens? Oh, I think you are!

If You Love 'Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers'...

If you're a newcomer to 'The Host' – or even to Meyer's books, then here's a little background. 'The Host' is set at some unspecified future point in time. Free human beings are on the run and in hiding. That's because Earth has been invaded by aliens who survive and propagate by acting as parasites to human brains and bodies. If captured, they will become bodysnatched too – their minds and personalities crowded out of possession of their bodies, by the force of the parasitic invader.

Do we plunge into an opening from the point of view of one of the terrified, fleeing humans? No: we are introduced to the story from the point of view of one of the parasites, from her vantage point lodged inside a human mind and body. Is she mean, cold, nasty, superior? Not so much – in a way she's even rather innocent. And she's in trouble.

She's in a rather unique kind of trouble, at that. When a parasite takes over a human brain, it's supposed to totally dominate it, and therefore be untroubled by the former owner's thoughts and feelings. They are just squashed out of existence.

However, her adaptation to her host hasn't 'taken' as well as it should have. Thoughts and emotions from the girl who once owned her (no dents, refurbished, one lady owner) body, keep breaking through and troubling her to an increasing degree. Not least because they are in great part feelings of love and longing for her lover, now a free rebel and escapee from the alien invasion.

Eventually, the maddening feelings force her to actually seek out her lover, and her co-owner's other friends and family. But in doing so, she puts both herself and them at risk. They know their former friend's body was taken over: will they even let her live, as an alien attacker? Can she herself accept her shifting and divided loyalties? Will they ever trust her – and even if they do, can she ever truly be one of them?

No matter what you read of Meyer – and everyone has an opinion – the writing here is terrific. (Ignore those who tell you otherwise – these are people who think J.K. Rowling can write and tell funny jokes.) And this book will suck you in and hold you close right up to the very last page. (And are there hints of a The Host by Stephenie Meyer movie? May well be...) Even if you're embarrassed to be seen reading a book by the author of Twilight – get yourself a phony book jacket and read it anyway. Are you going to be a literary snob, or are you going to be a passionate enthusiast having a divine literary experience in popular culture? You decide.

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