Monday, August 4, 2008

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

I started out the month of July with a goal to read 1984 for the Book-A-Month challenge. I managed to get through the first chapter then put it down. The whole concept of Big Brother was a bit much for me. I will finish the book but not for the challenge. Instead I decided to indulge in a book about Alien Invasion and how the humans of Earth deal with it. Independence was the theme for July so I thought Stephenie Meyer’s The Host fit the bill.

The Host is an interesting story that’s an interesting take on the classic Body Snatchers theme. In the Host parasitic aliens have infiltrated Earth civilization and quietly taken over. The aliens are known as Souls – luminous jellyfish sort of looking creatures that are surgically implanted in the host body through a small incision at the base of the neck. The Soul then wraps around the brainstem and its tentacles attach to various parts of the brain and spinal column. When a Soul wakes up from this procedure they are in complete control of the host body – the host mind is completely silent and repressed so the Soul is in sole control of her host body. Except in Wanderer’s case, her host is still present and refuses to completely give up on her body. Their tale is fascinating and provides the few free humans left in the world some hope that the extinction of the human race as free-willed beings is not as certain as they once thought.

This book certainly qualifies as Science Fiction, but there’s enough realism that it’s very easy to believe it and get lost in the story. I enjoyed the characters, they felt very real to me and it was interesting reading the story from the point of view of a Soul while still getting the Human point of view through Melanie, the ever present host personality. Meyer left the ending open enough to support a sequel but it isn’t a requirement. The story is whole on its own, but if a sequel does come out I’ll be interested in reading it.

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