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The Host - Book Review

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by Chrystal Byrne (subscribe)
Freelance writer living on Brisbane's north side. Studied creative industries - currently studying library and information services.
Published December 2nd 2011
Okay, so in my book review of Wolfborn by Sue Bursztynski, I mentioned my refusal to become part of the Twilight 'love it or hate it' crowd. I will state it more clearly here. I do not 'love' or 'hate' the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. That said I have read the series and found the books entertaining enough, so I decided to further my Stephenie Meyer reading experience by reading her novel The Host.

Firstly I must say that The Host is a highly separate piece; not in any way shape or form relatable to the Twilight series. Sure, the main character does battle with the feeling of love, and yes, the story does contain an interspecies relationship (sorry, I should have said 'spoiler alert'), but that's about as far as the similarities go. I found that even Meyer's writing style had developed to become more mature, delving deeper into the characters' wants, needs and feelings in a way that felt increasingly personal, but that made each character more believable and so much more in-depth than the characters of the Twilight series.

The Host
The Host - Stephenie Meyer

The Host was published in 2008 with reprints being made in 2009 and 2010 (the 2010 version has an extra chapter in it told from another character's perspective of a very crucial scene) by Sphere Publishing. I own the 2010 version. The novel is Meyer's fifth, and her first away from the characters of the Twilight series. Of course, the Twilight series contains the four novels: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn and also the novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.

The storyline is an unusual one, and although it sounds quite sci-fi, it is also a romance, coming-of-age, adventure and fantasy novel. Wanderer (or Wanda as she is later re-named) learns what it means to be human while she inhabits a human body and co-possesses a human mind. She learns, from the first moment she opens her eyes after 'implantation' (which is almost like being born or reborn, with the 'soul' 'remembering' the former tenant's last ever memories then all other memories from times before) what senses, feelings, and the concept of 'life' is, and is then driven by these things and her growing relationship with Melanie, to seek out the very beings that she finds her heart, mind and limbs aching for; Melanie's brother and partner.

Wanda/Melanie find a small community of humans in hiding (including Melanie's brother Jamie and Melanie's partner Jared), that have escaped implantation and attempt to start a new 'life' there. Wanda/Melanie have to deal with abusive and suspicious humans, the mixed feelings of romantic love towards two separate humans, the feelings of belonging, loss and the ever-constant issue of 'who does the body belong to?'

The Host was one of those books that I hated to put down. It kept me entertained and was heart-wrenching, dramatic and personal; and strangely enough, was very easy to relate to. It dealt with very human issues as well as issues that we as humans do not necessarily think of.

Even if you are not a fan of the Twilight series, you should give The Host a go, and if you are a fan of Stephenie Meyer's other works, definitely read this one.
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Why? Because you want a new book to read.
When: Now.
Where: Book stores everywhere.
Cost: $24.99 at QBD
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