After reading complex, challenging books like “Le Morte d’Arthur” and “The Brothers Karamazov,” I thought it was time for something a little easier. So when I last went to the library, I picked up Stephenie Meyer’s first science fiction novel for adults, “The Host.” (Yes, she’s also the author of the “Twilight” series…) I figured that maybe “The Host” would be an improvement over “Twilight.”
Such was not the case.
For starters, “The Host” is only science fiction in the loosest sense of the term. It’s romantic chick-lit with a bit of a fantastic twist. Essentially, the story takes place after Earth has been invaded and subjugated by a race of alien creatures nicknamed “souls.” These souls are tiny creatures that are implanted in the bodies of humans, and subsequently take over their hosts’ minds. The narrator, Wanderer, is one of these souls. However, her host, Melanie Stryder, refuses to go away. To put it simply, there are two minds sharing one body.
From the beginning, Melanie is obsessed with finding her lost lover, Jared. Not one to let the grass grow under her/their feet, Wanderer/Melanie quickly finds Jared’s new home…a colony of surviving humans who have not undergone soul implantation, and begins to slowly assimilate into the rebel community.
Now, you might be thinking this sounds promising…right?
That’s pretty much the entire synopsis of the book. There isn’t really an overarching story or any long-term vision. Two-thirds of the book feels cheap and tacked-on…a failed attempt to bring literary depth to a paper-thin plot. For that matter, the romance in “The Host” is intolerably saccharine. There aren’t that many ways to describe a kiss…and Meyer tries all of them. The love story is forced, unconvincing, and hopelessly sentimental. From the beginning, Melanie’s relationship with Jared seems shallow and rushed.
Objectionable content? None whatsoever. This is one of the blandest, most innocuous books I’ve ever read…and that isn’t really a good thing. I kept waiting for a pulse-pounding fight scene or an exciting chase. Aside from a few passionate kisses (described in a breathless rush of increasingly comic metaphors) there’s nothing here of any consequence. Perhaps I was the wrong person to review this book… maybe I just hate romance novels. But in my humble opinion, reading “The Host” is one of the biggest wastes of time out there.
This negative review is in no way intended to disparage Stephenie Meyer’s writing abilities…she’s a talented author, as evidenced by the first part of “Twilight.” But her storylines could certainly use some work.
Dull. Tedious. Overly melodramatic. Need I continue?