The Host by Stephenie Meyer

In Salt Lake City her dear friend Shannon Hale, the Newbery-award-winning young-adult author of Princess Academy, congratulated Meyer on The Host. ”I’m so proud of you! Because we’re not sure if J.K. Rowling is a one-hit wonder,” Hale gushed teasingly before the signing began. ”But you’re not!”

When The Host came out, I saw this interview in EW and I thought it was so, so tacky. I went to find it for this post, and I now find it somewhat less tacky. I might have overreacted the first time. Though I do still find it a little bit tacky. Possibly that is because I didn’t really like Shannon Hale’s book, either. And also because I hate comparisons of Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling. When they create a whole new best seller list in order to kick you off the adult best seller list, why don’t you come and talk to me, Stephenie Meyer? Until then, you and your friends should probably avoid comparing your work to J.K. Rowling’s. Because that doesn’t exactly cover you in glory.

But, um, anyway. The Host. The concept is that aliens/parasites have taken over the Earth (all we see is America, which I felt was a real lost opportunity as far as the storytelling). They are, in a sense, “souls” who take over human bodies and have human experiences. Our story is told from the perspective of one soul, Wanderer, who inhabits the body of a human named Melanie. Normally humans are taken over as children, but Melanie was part of the resistance, so this is a special case. And Melanie isn’t through fighting back.

The story was interesting, but my main problem, once again, was that Wanderer was entirely too passive and never stood up for herself. Also, she had no personality. At this point I feel like it might be okay to draw the conclusion that Stephenie Meyer believes that those are admirable traits in a woman. I . . . feel differently. I didn’t care about Wanderer or Melanie. They were both so one-dimensional and felt like pawns in the bigger game in which the boys were the ones calling the shots.

There were problems for me with the way the characters were written. Only one character stood out to me as having a distinct voice. Other than that, they all sounded the same, no matter their age or gender or background. They weren’t, as a whole, fleshed out. I did love one – Ian. Ian is awesome. Unfortunately, Ian is kind of . . . this book’s version of Jacob Black. At least Stephenie Meyer knows how to write the boys I like. And Team Jacob should read The Host, because Ian, in my opinion, gets a better ending than Jacob did.

The Host was too long – I really just wanted it to be over. And for Stephenie Meyer to have the story devolve, once again, into a love triangle (or maybe square? Because of Melanie/Wanderer being in the same body? How about a parallelogram?) showed, I thought, a lack of creativity. I will refrain from making a joke about how she might possibly be a one-hit wonder after all.

I don’t recommend The Host. But I am glad I have already reached one of my reading goals for the year!

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