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on 16 August 2017
Just on my second reading of this book. All readers who read Twilight saga will know Stephanie can drone on a bit BUT her imagination is amazing and the descriptions of life on other worlds make this memorable. So you can overlook the bits which should probably be edited out - the long passages where Wanda is cooped up in her hole or 'grieving' in the games room. This is much better than the film so don't be put off. In the end the acid test of a book is how much you want to go back to it during the day and how much you feel satisfied by the ending. Both are up there with my favourites so this is a great read and there's plenty of it. No quick reads with pointless endings. I hate those.
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on 10 January 2017
I've not read a Stephanie Meyers book before. Sure, I've seen the films Twilight (who hasn't?), but I wasn't sure if the books would be a bit too young adulty.
The Host is supposedly aimed at more of an "adult" audience than ya, it popped up on a kindle daily deal and had decent reviews, so I thought why not give it a go.

The story is told from the viewpoint of Wanderer, an alien parasite known as a soul, who has been reborn in many types of species throughout the universe. This time she's born on earth into the body of Melissa, only this time it's different. Melissa (the host bodies essence) hasn't entirely disappeared, and part of her mind remains and refuses to leave her body. The two reach an enpasse and decide to track down Melissa's younger brother Jamie and her boyfriend Jared, following clues left by her conspiracy theorist Uncle. However, not everything is quite so plain sailing.....

If it's any genre, I suppose it would be sci fi blended with some romance, seeing as we are dealing with alien parasites that take over humans bodies. It's definitely a character driven novel, the tale is not rushed and moves along quite slowly, allowing the reader time to get to know the characters. The emotional connections will definitely tug at your heart strings. The author touches on plenty of thought provoking issues; such as what does being human really mean and are we an inherently violent species?

I've not read Twilight, although I'm sure her fans of that would enjoy this. For other people who may be put off by the thought of reading a sickly sweet romance about teenage vampires, The Host does contain elements of romance, but it's not the be all and end all of the book. For people who enjoy sci fi that makes you think slightly, or would like to try reading more of that genre, this is probably a good place to start.
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on 17 October 2017
An emotional read, have tissues ready. Loved this novel from start to finish. When I eventually finished, I was still in the story - so much so that my next read paled against it. I was so torn between the characters and the Hosts so plausible I kept on thinking about all the possibilities of alien life.
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on 5 August 2013
I wanted to read this for so long, but always put it off because I had never really read science fiction before. This was a book club read and I was so excited to finally sit down and read it. It is a fairly long book, but it doesn't feel like it when you are reading. The characters are so strong and multi-dimensional, they instill very strong emotions in you as you are reading, I've never felt so strongly for characters in a book before, and no book has ever made my cry so much as this one did. It is a good, solid plot, it really keeps you wanting to read more and before you know it, you have almost finished the book.

It is well worth the read, having read other books from this author and loving those too, I have to say, this is one of her best books. I really can't wait to read more.
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on 7 May 2014
Having seen and enjoyed the film, I bought this book out of curiosity to know how faithful the film was to the book. It turns out that the film is fairly true to the book's plot. However, the book has much greater depth to it, and works much harder to develop the characters and their personalities and motivations.

You get right inside the head of Wanderer, in the book, as the story is told in the first person from the alien's point of view. The result is a few surprises that either don't come across well in the film (e.g. the degree of mistrust and mistreatment that Wanderer/Melanie experiences from Uncle Jeb's "guests"), or else aren't touched on at all (e.g. the fact that Wanderer is a female of her species). You also find out much more about Wanderer's past hosts, and get a better sense of the tussle between Wanderer and Melanie, and of the way they gradually forge a bond of friendship. The love-triangle (or maybe that should be love-quadrangle) between Wanderer/Melanie, Ian and Jared is explored much more effectively in the book than in the film, and is, in fact, the real core of the story.

One point worth making is that this isn't strictly a science-fiction story. It's really a love-triangle in which one of the people just happens to be an alien living inside the head of the woman who is at the centre of the triangle.

I watched the film again, after reading the book, and realised that it's actually quite a superficial and tame adaptation. Maybe someone will remake it, at some point in the future, and find a way of bringing out some of the more subtle aspects of the plot.
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 September 2013
A science fiction novel from the writer of the Twilight saga. It's a complete and self contained story in one volume of six hundred and seventeen pages, and not the start of any series or trilogy.

It contains fifty nine chapters plus a prologue and an epilogue. Ideal reading age would be thirteen and up, but there's no strong language and nothing of an adult nature, expect for a handful of bits of violence.

This is one of those books that throws you into the action right from the start, and fills in the details along the way. So the opening few chapters need to be worked at.

The scenario is that Earth has been invaded by alien parasites who take over the minds of their hosts. Humanity has all but lost the battle. But a few rebels hold out. A girl called Melanie tried to kill herself rather than give away the location of other rebels. The aliens are having one of their kind implanted into her body in order to find out what she knows. Said alien is called Wanderer.

Wanderer, once she appears, narrates the story in the first person. Since the aliens start to think like their host once implanted, she has a lot to get used to about being human right from the off. And Melanie won't go quietly. Remaining a voice in Wanda's head.

The power of her memories and Wanderer's dislike of the alien in charge of her lead to her running away to try and find Melanie's lost love. As a result of her actions, the lives of both humans and aliens will never be the same again.

Once this settles down and you are up to speed and used to the narrative - Melanie's dialogue being in italics as only Wanderer can hear it - this does become a very smooth read. It's not a book of action, as the vast majority of what happens is simply character interaction as Wanderer learns more about people. And they learn more about her. The influence of all this forcing all involved to grow and change.

It has points to make about existence and acceptance and humanity as a species. It does all of these very well. It is perhaps strongest in the final quarter when various plot strands are tied together and character arcs do come to resolutions. Some of which you will find yourself caring about.

The lack of action and general drama does mean it will not be a book for everyone. But for those who like thought provoking and original science fiction - and books that are done in one rather than being stretched out series - this is worth a look.
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on 25 March 2013
Invading alien Wanderer is occupying human resistance fighter Melanie's body. But Melanie refuses to give up easily, her memories and emotions overwhelming her unwelcome "parasite". The two form an unlikely truce as they chase their common goal of finding Melanie's brother, Jamie, and her lover, Jared. The young men are now part of a diverse group of human survivors who show considerable hostility to Wanderer in Melanie's body, before she gains their respect and acceptance. But it becomes clear that Wanderer and Melanie cannot survive sharing the same body...

I actually liked Twilight although the series got progressively sillier as it went on. However, it proved Stephenie Meyer's talent as a storyteller which continues to shine through in this book. The premise is actually really clever, with a possibly unique twist on the hackneyed love triangle plot. The main characters are, on the whole, well drawn and clearly motivated, although the extended cast is less well developed - it's a bit frustrating to be introduced to characters only by the colour of their hair. Ms Meyer writes place well though and her mythology for the "Host Universe" is fascinating.

My principal criticism would be about the pacing, which is very uneven and a bit tedious in parts. It seems that the editor who didn't show up for Breaking Dawn didn't do their job here either.

But the proof of a good book for me is when I feel a small bereavement at its ending, which I did in this case. Well worth a read and I'll be very interested to watch the film to see how the scriptwriter adapts the story.
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on 9 December 2013
Stephanie Mayer is famous for her Twilight Saga. The intricate web of love, honour, suspicion and hate kept everyone captivated throughout 4 books and 5 films. While I certainly don’t think the Twilight books are well written or that ingenious of an idea they do have a type of magic about them that keeps you hooked. The Host, has nothing to do with Vampires or Werewolves. It’s about Aliens. Now don’t panic. It’s not your typical little green men type book. It’s all the best parts of Twilight mixed with a new idea and written well. Plus it’s apparently set to be a trilogy with “The Soul” and “The Seeker” becoming the second and third.

Plot

We start of meeting some form of Healer who as his title suggests, has just finished healing a body and implanting a ‘Soul’. We witness the body’s final moments as a human and see the terror that these ‘Souls’ have brought to the few remaining humans on earth. Our ‘Soul’ awakens to find her Seeker scrutinising her every movement and wants to know all of the humans memories. The healer names the ‘Soul’ Wanderer and we see her become frustrated with her inability to control her Hosts previous mind. She begins to worry if this means she isn’t strong enough for this world, ironic as her name comes from the fact that she has been to 9 other planets (unusual for Souls). We discover that her Host’s name is Melanie Stryder and she is in love with a man named Jared and has a younger brother, Jamie. Wanderer and Mel join forces on their dislike of the Seeker and embark on a journey together to find Mel’s Uncle Jeb (an extreme believer in conspiracy theories meaning he was able to disappear off the grid with the first invasion of Souls). Through their journey, Wanderer falls in love with Jared and Jamie due to Mel’s memories and the fact that the body loves them so alters Wanderer’s mental feelings.

They both find Jeb’s hideout and we come face to face with real humans. However, all the humans are distrustful of Wanderer as she is,

afterall, a Soul who has taken over Melanie’s body. Jared saves them but only through his inability to allow the body he loves to die.Within the commune, Kyle and his bother Ian try every day to see if Jared has left a gap in the defence of Wanderer to kill her. Eventually, the commune needs supplies and as Jared is the only one who is able to take a group of people and get them back alive as well as get all the supplies needed, he sets off with Kyle while Jeb promises to keep Wanderer safe until his return. During Jareds absence, Jamie comes to visit Wanderer and grows to love Wanderer as a separate person to Mel and is able with his young mind to talk to Wanderer and Mel as individuals enabling him to accept this new, strange way of family. With a twist, Ian begins to have feelings for Wanderer the Soul, not Wanderer in Mel’s body and here lies the crux of the story. Wanderer and Ian love each other, Mel and Jared love each other, only problem is 2 of them have the same body.

Opinion

I loved this book. It’s far far better than Twilight. I don’t know if because we see the world through something which is technically a few thousands year old instead of 17 or because Mayer has improved as a writer but her prose is much better than in the Twilight saga. Every character is understandable and due to this we can relate to them. The love ‘box’ of Wanderer, Mel, Jared and Ian is beautifully created and grows as you read. Ian was meant to be a background character who hates Wanderer all the way through the storyline but Mayer found that his personality was too difficult to ignore and seemed to shout at her to allow him to grow and evolve into this man who Wanderer herself says has “the mind of a Soul with the strength of a Human”. I am so glad Mayer was unable to ignore his shouts as he is one of the best characters in this book.

The relationship of Mel and Wanderer is similar to that of Eragon and Saphira in the Inheritance Cycle as they talk to each other and relay information through pictures and memories. Although only one body for two minds, they begin to develop an understanding and form a relationship closer to that of sisters as they battle the prejudices and hatred against them.

Jeb and Jamie are important to the storyline as they are the only two people to fully accept Wanderer/Mel as a package deal but through very different eyes. Jamie is very naive and is desperate to be a man where as Jeb is the leader of the commune and has the ability to understand everyone’s motives and arguments but continues down his own moral road.

It is these characters interactions and relationships which make this books so interesting and a joy to read. There are no epic battles and very few dramatic encounters but the subtle shift in feeling and prejudices towards Wanderer is a fascination to watch and you feel part of this life. You love, laugh and live with the characters and it is this fact alone which makes ‘The Host’ one of the best books I’ve read in a while. I cannot wait for the sequels, although I am apprehensive of a change in narrator as we witness the goings on in ‘The Host’ through Wanderer’s eyes and I would hope we stick to Wanderer or someone within the commune so we know what happens to Wanderer and co. A total change of characters but within the same world wouldn’t be able to encapsulate the magical bonds that we find with these characters and in my opinion, that would reduce the enjoyment level of the books. However, they haven’t been written yet so no point analysing them to early!

This book gets a score of 10/10. I’d recommend it to anyone. Read it. Or watch the new film that is set to hit cinemas at the end of this month!
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on 25 October 2014
I chose this rating as I have been totally captivated by this book! I haven't been sooo hooked onto a book like this for a very long time!! The author's imagination has been brilliant. I love the final twist at the end whereby contact with an alien life form could evolve into such a harmonious ending with both human and alien species bonding together ....maybe this is something for the future to think about.

I would highly recommend this book to adults and young people anytime. I am sure my 12yr old will love it as much as I have done...

I sure hope there is I final book or two waiting in the wings to be completed. There is definitely room for more....
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on 10 February 2013
Basically this book is about an advanced alien species that cannot survive without living inside a host body.
There are many worlds that have been conquered by this species,and now it is the turn of earth. The aliens are very altruistic,and see the taking of a host is in effect saving the planet,as they think that we are cruel and evil. They don't see
themselves as doing wrong.
The story starts with an alien called wanderer being inserted into the body of a young woman who had tried to escape being caught.
She had thought that she,her brother and boyfriend were the last humans alive,and had been looking for a cousin when caught.
This story is about Wanderers interaction with the her host body.
They decide to look for her family, and eventually meet up with other humans.
The book deals very much in morals, standards ,hard decisions, and makes you wonder who are the good guys and the bad guys a lot.
The 4 stars are because I worked out the ending, well before the end of the book, just not the mechanisms.
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