Read - The Host

Wednesday, January 23

I made a resolution this year to read one book a week. It was supposed to broaden my reading horizons, but I got stuck into The Hundred-Year Old Man That Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared, and I haven't managed to finish it... I'll write that book review once it's done. But for now here's my review of Stephenie Meyer's The Host.

As most girls will admit, I love Twilight. Not in the 'Team Jacob/Edward' way, but the true romance of Bella's journey. I loved the books, and the films just enhanced this through another avenue. So when someone at work mentioned that another Meyer book was being made into a film, I decided that it should be my first 2013 read.

So off I trotted to download The Host on my brand new Kindle . I knew it had a science fiction edge, as I'd seen the film trailer, but I also knew it had a romantic twist, so I wasn't too far out of my comfort zone!

The basis of the book is to ponder the question - what would happen if aliens took over the human race? But I think that The Host takes that question one level deeper and asks not only if the human race would survive, but if who we are as individuals would remain?

This is explored through invasion, friendship, struggles, love and ultimately death.

What struck me the most about this book was the internal struggle that the alien Soul (Wanderer) we are introduced to continued to go through from insertion (in to the human 'host') to acceptance into the human race. It was not the norm for Souls to feel this way, most felt that taking over a species was a natural, fair process as they needed help due to their violence and wars. Despite having lived on nine other planets, this Soul feels the emotions of the human race run deep within her, and she struggles to accept that they are just 'hosts' to the aliens.

The idea of a Soul itself is interesting, as everyone has a different view on what they are, though I doubt many think that they are aliens intent on nabbing our bodies! The Souls believe that they are making the world a better place, but it's not really explained as to how they justify this. By erasing the minds of a species they don't make their world a better place, as 'they' no longer exist. Instead the Souls take over and make the world their own. But this confusion is where the Soul Wanderer comes in.

Wanderer connects so deeply and unexpectedly with her host that she begins to question her very existence as a Soul. The remains of the human race don't seem able to understand why the Souls think they needed to take over, and Wanderer never explains the reasoning to them. However they soon understand her personal hatred for violence, and they do refrain from using violence on a newly captured Seeker towards the end of the book.

Ultimately Wanderer can no longer accept that her species are the good guys on Earth. Likewise, the human race also cannot accept that they could do with a dose of 'goodness' from the Souls. But the new group of humans (and a Soul) at the very end of the book sums up that the human race will probably never change, and will always feel a need for violence and weapons, no matter how many Souls attempt to intervene.

Overall, this book throws up many questions about how humanity acts in terms of violence, but it also shows our resilience if aliens were ever to take over - phew!

Have you read The Host, what did you think?