Thursday, June 19, 2008
Thursday Book Report: The Host
It was the eye that did me in.
Prior to reading The Host, I had never read anything by Stephenie Meyer before - which is odd in itself because it seems her young adult books are right up my alley. I get regular emails from a few different online booksellers telling me of upcoming books I might like based on my prior purchases - and this was one of the books suggested. And as I said - I was intrigued by the eye.
The Host tells the story of our world and people - both of which have become inhabited by aliens who call themselves 'souls.' It doesn't mean much - according to Wanderer, the narrator, they choose different names for themselves on each world they are on. The souls didn't come to Earth to subjugate us or enslave us - but merely to experience us. They have inhabited nine different planets so far, and have experienced such lives as underwater trees, bears, flowers, and something on a nasty Fire Planet that no one wants to go back to. The story starts off with this 'invasion' being a done deal; most humans have been implanted with a silvery being as its symbiont - and the only way you would know they have been implanted is by a small scar on the neck and a mirrored cast to their eyes.
There has been very little resistance. Those 'wild humans' who have managed to evade the Seekers (the souls' version of police) have it difficult because as the pacific nature of the souls and their superior medical knowledge spread, they did away with currency and our modern medicine. The souls started off small - people were converted during dinner parties. One survivor remarks that the unimplanted people didn't start noticing that something was going on until the news stopped leading with 'bleeding' stories. When a person is inhabited, their personality, will, conscience - what have you - is suppressed and the soul dwells peacefully in the person's life.
In theory, anyway.
Wanderer has been implanted into Melanie, a young woman whose body was rehabilitated after trying to commit suicide while on the run from Seekers. Melanie has a strong will - she managed to elude the souls for a few years and it is only when she breaks into an city to rescue another unimplanted person that she is discovered. The Seekers are eager to learn what Melanie knows - they think she will be able to lead them to pockets of human resistance. Wanderer has been warned that turbulent people make difficult transitions - but Wanderer herself is a bit of a celebrity - she has lived nine lives all on different planets and doesn't feel she will have a problem with Melanie. But Melanie manages to exert her own personality and will despite Wanderer's experience and soon Melanie and Wanderer find themselves on the run from the Seekers.
I'm going to leave the story description there - but I want to say I *loved* the book. I started reading last Saturday morning and read it all the way through until 1:51am Sunday morning (all 619 pages of it)! It was touching to see what Wanderer and Melanie learned of one another, and to have hope for what kind of world this could be. And as pacifistic as the souls' entry into our world was, it was made even more terrifying that it was not a violent, bloody clash of armies. By the time we realized what was going on, it was simply too late.