Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Jen's Goodreads review: "The Host"

The Host (The Host, #1)The Host by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read "The Host" because I was going to see the movie. There were some things I liked about it, but overall it was kind of a lame book.

The book follows Wanderer, a parasitic "soul" attached to the host body of Melanie Stryder. Usually, the hosts just disappear, but Melanie's consciousness is still there, and it affects Wanderer. Soon, Wanderer is off to find the two most important people in Mel's life - her boyfriend, Jared, and her brother, Jamie.

The whole premise of the book is a pretty decent sci-fi concept, even though it's pretty derivative. I enjoyed the idea of it. The problem is that Stephanie Meyer never does anything terribly interesting with it. (view spoiler)[Of course, Jared is upset that Wanderer, well, wanders into their midst wearing Mel's body. Of course Jamie, being young, is accepting. Of course the sexy, caring Ian falls in love with Wanderer. (OK, I actually kind of liked Ian despite myself.) (hide spoiler)]

My biggest issue, and it's really the same issue I had with the "Twilight" series, is that Mel & Wanderer are really only defined by what other people think and feel about them. They're very, very generic characters that are inexplicably loved by dull, generically good-looking men. There's no oomph to any of the main characters, and all of the character is left to the secondary characters, like Mel's crazy uncle.

I am also not really a fan of the ending of the book. (view spoiler)[I know that it's basically a romance novel and it should end happy, but everything is tied up way too well, in a tidy bow. It's the same problem as "Twilight" - everybody gets a happily ever after, even though it doesn't necessarily make sense to make it that way. As much as I liked Wanderer and that I'm glad for Ian to have his lady (alien) love, I was a little disappointed that she came back and got to live a perfect life. I mean, it's a little creepy that she just wears someone else's skin. A good sci-fi would have had Mel unable to come back, or Wanderer die, or Ian decide that Wanderer will share his brain or something. (hide spoiler)]

The final problem is that "The Host" is way too long and poorly written. It needed some major editing. I was actually impressed with the movie, dull as it was, because the writer edited it almost exactly as I would have edited it, combining scenes, leaving out characters and just generally trimming the excess.

Overall, "The Host" wasn't great, but I'm sure the "Twilight" set will like it - it's more of the same. If you liked "Twilight," check this one out. If not, don't. It's as simple as that.

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