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Thursday, 1 August 2013

The Host ~ Stephanie Meyer



Well aren't I behind in the times.....

I FINALLY got around to reading 'The Host' by Stephanie Meyer....(You think that's bad... I have yet to read The Hunger Games.... true story)

I'll cut to the chase on this one because everyone and their Twilight loving granny has probably read it and seen the film. I will warn you, this review DOES have spoilers.... partly due to how it released quite awhile ago. Let's face it... if you are slow to get to it like me... well, that's your own damn fault! Ha! ;)

If you have never heard about The Host than here is the description from Amazon.com:

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, THE HOST
is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human.

The Novel:

What did I think?

(again, WARNING the whole review is a giant spoiler)

The way the book begins with Wanda being transferred into Melanie's body... I wasn't even a few pages in before I asked myself "What the freakin' fudge am I reading?"
It was very dry and somewhat dull.
Not gonna lie, after the first chapter I was so confused and slightly irritated with what was going on. I almost stopped reading.
 I thought it was an awkward start to a book. I wish there had been a more telling prologue on why the Aliens/Souls had their hooks into Earth and how badly humanity suffered up front....rather than learn it as the story progressed. I also wish there had been more to Melanie's story than flashbacks. I wish we could have got to known her and a bit of her story before she became a host and not through all the dreams and memories. I understand though, the point of the way the story was told was to start it fresh with Wanda and learn and grow as Wanda takes on more human emotions while sharing Melanie's body. Still.....I just found it irksome.

While I completely get it is a Young Adult read, it was almost too young and 'simple' in places. The Dolphin Planet.. Flower planet... things like that... I was hoping for some better complex 'alien' names and imagination. Now, I agree, the simplistic aspects and terms do make sense to the plot, since the souls are pretty straightforward beings. It still doesn't mean I am a fan of it.

However, all that said... I am glad I kept pushing on. I did like the story, and I agreed with the general message it sends. The Souls weren't 'bad' aliens, they just didn't fully understand humanity and that by helping our planet and body snatching, they were doing harm. 

Now the 'Love Triangle' aspect was quite interesting... but I find the description 'triangle' inaccurate. It was a love square, with three different bodies. Four people.... FOUR caught up in that mess. (Awkward!!) Melanie and Jared in love, but Wanda living in Melanie's body, falling in love with Ian, even though she has some of Melanie's feelings for Jared as well. (Soap Opera material!) 
The novel became that much more interesting when that story line really revved up.

I was also a fan of the 'character' of these Alien Souls. Body Snatching aside, they aren't 'horrible' and 'evil'....they're honest and trusting to a fault. They are trying to save earth, and humans 'from themselves'. Eradicating disease, war, aggression, all for a greater good.
 As I said above, I thought it was an interesting take on a species that are hell bent on controlling human mind and bodies.

The ending of the book....I won't spoil that except to say....."satisfying and yet.....not so much"
I am interested to see what happens in the sequel. (The Seeker)

If you want to compare The Host to Twilight, I wouldn't. I am a fan of the Twilight series, which is probably why I had high hopes for The Host. If you are looking for 'scary' 'wild' adventure with aliens....well, this book really isn't it. It's pretty mellow.

While I know it's already visited theaters... (BTW..did I sleep through that? Because I don't remember seeing adverts for it...) now that I have read the book, I can now watch the movie, see how it compares. (Keep reading, I get to that)

On a scale of One to Ten... I'll only give The Host a five. I'm not overly enthusiastic about it, but I didn't 'hate' it. I'm on the fence about it. I guess we will just have to see how the series progresses with the next two books.

Comparing Book to the Movie:

I had to wait a few weeks to get to watching the film adaptation as it wasn't yet available On Demand, but I just finished watching The Host directed by Andrew Niccol.
It has me asking the question..... Is this the first time I actually prefer a movie adaptation to the book???

Both were confusing at the start, even though I knew the story I was wondering how in hell they were going to play the Melanie/Wanda sharing a body storyline and do the book justice. It wasn't 'as' cheesy or poorly done as I anticipated.

I am glad that they didn't have all that Dolphin-Flower planet crap in the movie, buuuuuut they really should have injected a bit more of Wanda's past and purpose into the story line. Wanda's importance and uniqueness to her species I found was lost in the film version. My mom (who watched The Host with me) was asking questions that I could answer because I read the novel. Parts of the film confused her, but she actually didn't mind the movie at all and told me she liked it.

Watching the romance on screen came off a lot funnier than perhaps intended. In the book the romance was deeper and better understood... but on screen I actually laughed quite hard when Ian gets Jared to kiss Wanda to try to provoke Melanie. I don't know if it was intended to be hilarious......but it was.

Uncle Jeb (played by William Hurt) is by far my favorite character. His eccentric personality really adds a fun twist on the story. For a strange man, he really has a lot of common sense. I really enjoyed seeing him come to life on screen.
Also a bonus with the film... the hot guy who played Jared....Max Irons...cute and born in the 80's making him acceptable age appropriate eye candy.

The musical score throughout the film grated on my nerves.

All in all.... do I recommend The Host?
Meh....it's not for everyone.

Did I like it?
Meh.....

Do I prefer book to movie?
Meh.....

The jury is still out.


Happy Reading.




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