Monday, September 15, 2008

The Host

Now I’m reading The Host, Stephenie Meyer’s novel for adults. This is a story about Earth being taken over by aliens. When the story begins, aliens have infiltrated most everyone on the planet, with just a few rogue humans out there trying to survive. The aliens (centipede-like creatures) are placed inside captured humans and then go about daily life as humans would. Many stay in the same relationships their “hosts” were in, live in the same homes, etc. The aliens came to Earth because they believed, that through violence and irresponsibility, we were letting our planet go to crap. They were appalled by our way of life. Aliens disbanded our currency programs - who needs money if we all just trust each other? – drug addicts cleaned up, criminals went straight, everyone wins a medal in the Olympics, no one fights or disagrees, and so on.

Melanie Stryder is a 20-something human who moves around constantly with her little brother and Jared, a man she met while on the run and fell in love with. One wrong move and Melanie is implanted with Wanderer, an alien who has lived on several different planets in the universe. Wanderer’s job is to read Melanie’s mind so she can lead the other aliens to the few humans who are left. However, Melanie is a lot stronger than Wanderer gives her credit for, and she won’t succumb. Soon enough, Melanie and Wanderer are mixed up in adventure together.

At first, it was a struggle to get into this book, with the conversations between Melanie and Wanderer a little harder to follow, since they took place inside the same head. However, that only lasted for a chapter of two. Then things got really good. As humans, we should hate the aliens, yet you end up feeling empathetic toward Wanderer. Also, as someone who opposes violence and wishes we could all just live in peace, to me the alien Earth seems a little nice, actually. However, without differing opinions, doesn’t that actually make for a boring place to live? Meyer writes about this from Wanderer’s point of view [note: the “souls” she talks about are she and the other aliens]:
I’d never lived on a planet where such atrocities could happen, even before the souls came. This place was truly the highest and the lowest of all worlds – the most beautiful senses, the most exquisite emotions…the most malevolent desires, the darkest deeds. Perhaps it was meant to be so. Perhaps without the lows, the highs could not be reached. Were the souls the exception to that rule? Could they have the light without the darkness of this world
Meyer’s writing is similar to her Twilight books, in that it’s simple and fun, yet asks meaningful questions and also presents lots of action. While I’m not as enthralled with this book as Twilight, it’s right up there and I like that it feels a bit more adult-like. I’m also not one to read about aliens, but same went with vampires, so go figure. :)

No comments: