12 August 2013

Book Review: The Host



Title: The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer

Synopsis: Told from the point of view of an alien species invading earth and taking over human bodies by inserting themselves into the brain, this science-fiction story follows an alien named Wanderer (nicknamed "Wanda") and her human host, Melanie. When Wanda is still hearing Melanie in her head even after she should have subdued her, she struggles with mixed feelings of whether she really belongs in this body and annoyance over Melanie's presence. When she begins to follow Melanie's desires for a boyfriend and brother she's never met, she begins to see things from the other side and suddenly taking over other planets by controlling their species' minds doesn't seem so appealing as it once did.

Positives: Wanda is self-sacrficing and counter-cultural. While her species promotes peace and love, they cannot see that they are destroying the human race. Wanda tries to see things from the other perspective and grows in a genuine love and care for the human race and is willing to give up her life for them on multiple occasions.

Negatives: There are a few instances of language and some references and suggestions of experimentation and torture of the aliens (small creatures you could hold in your hand), which appalls Wanda. Additionally, this story has romance in it, and there are a few instances where Wanda kisses men with Melanie's body and the author describes the feeling of contact. Also Wanda talks about feeling a burning sensation every time she touches Jared (Melanie's boyfriend).

Messages: 
-Giving up a life for a friend
-Selflessness
-Seeing life from another's perspective

Conclusion: I'm not a big fan of aliens but I do enjoy some sci-fi, and I enjoyed this story. The self-sacrifice by Wanda was to be applauded, and I was not expecting the selflessness I found in her as a main character. There are also some thought-provoking ethical questions (For example: there is an ethical dilemma when a human hiding out in the middle of the desert is dying of cancer and there is only enough morphine to last him a few days or give him an overdose so that he can die quickly), and the whole story asks "Is it okay to wipe out a race because they aren't perfect?" as the aliens believe that they are benefitting earth by bringing peace in their destruction of humans. It was a thought provoking book with minimal negative content and an overall good message. I would recommend it for boys or girls 16+

Rating: 3 (Decent)