BOOK HUNGRY: the host

who says you have to be crowded into the living room, kitchen, and/or dining room to hold a book club? we are ladies of the 21st century. we don’t need no stinkin’ couches. so pull up a blog and join in the conversation.

the members of the BOOK HUNGRY are (alphabetically): patty blount, kelly breakey, karla nellenbach, vanessa noble, alyson peterson, cynthia reese, elizabeth ryann, and myself. here’s the deal. we pick a book to read. we discuss via email. we post a review on our individual blogs on the same day (3rd thursday of the month). we link to each other. done. i know, genius. click on each one of their names (above) and it’ll take you to their review. browse. enjoy.

this month’s BOOK HUNGRY selection is:

THE HOST by stephenie meyer

a quick synopsis from amazon: Stephenie Meyer, creator of the phenomenal teen-vamp Twilight series, takes paranormal romance into alien territory in her first adult novel. Those wary of sci-fi or teen angst will be pleasantly surprised by this mature and imaginative thriller, propelled by equal parts action and emotion. A species of altruistic parasites has peacefully assumed control of the minds and bodies of most humans, but feisty Melanie Stryder won’t surrender her mind to the alien soul called Wanderer. Overwhelmed by Melanie’s memories of fellow resistor Jared, Wanderer yields to her body’s longing and sets off into the desert to find him. Likely the first love triangle involving just two bodies, it’s unabashedly romantic, and the characters (human and alien) genuinely endearing.

i’ve now read this book twice. once, when it first came out and second, just before i wrote this review. i will say this for meyer, she sure knows how to create memorable characters. as with the TWILIGHT series, her writing isn’t the most luxurious or profound, but her characters jump off the page and nestle into your brain and you’ll find yourself thinking about them long after you’ve put the book down.

the first time i read this, i read it right after i had finished the TWILIGHT series. in that series (this won’t be spoilery, promise), there is a lot of talk about souls and who has them and who doesn’t, so when i went from that discussion to THE HOST, where the main character is an alien called a soul and well, the juxtaposition was fascinating. from no soul to all soul. the second time i read this, i seemed to focus more on the alien, sci-fi feel of the soul. i read it as more similar to ET than a heavenly being and that left quite a different flavor in my mouth. or my brain. or umm, yeah, you know what i mean.

the first time i read this, i (unintentionally) focused on the author. it was her first book that wasn’t part of her massively successful series and i wanted to see how she fared. it’s a hefty book at 656 pages and i felt like i was reading for weeks. that’s a really long time to be more aware of the author instead of the story. the second time i read this, i got lost in the story. i zipped through the book in a couple of days and yet the characters, their choices, their actions, their environment stuck with me. i couldn’t stop thinking about them and what it all meant and what would i do if i was them (aliens or humans) and where can i get some of their medicine and how do the aliens really work and why is Wanderer considered bad ass when she’s so gentle and caring and is it because of Melanie’s body or because of her (Wanderer) having lived on seven other planets and what are intersecting love triangles called and are these aliens really making Earth a better place and is that really an ethical decision?  THIS was what i was expecting that first read.

the first and second times i read this, i thought, man this is long. where were the scissors? i think a lot of passages could be cut out trimming this book down to a more manageable size without jeopardizing the integrity of the story. but, silver lining, i could multitask while reading because it doubled as a dumbbell. bicep curls, anyone?

the first time i read this, i read it to see where the story ended up. the second time i read this, i was able to look around at the scenery, stop and smell the caves, and get to know the secondary characters in addition to the primary ones. the second read was much more fulfilling and a lot more fun. as i read, i’d stop and think “what if” which in the context of this book is a very scary and, surprisingly, exhilarating question.

in short, give this book a read. an intriguing journey awaits. it’d be a shame to miss it.

p.s. see you next month when we read NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro.

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8 Responses to “BOOK HUNGRY: the host”

  1. Linda G. Says:

    I won The Host in a contest on Karla’s blog. Finished reading it recently, and enjoyed it a great deal. It held my interest throughout, which is high praise from me.

  2. Patty Says:

    You know, that’s a great point. Edward laments his lack of a soul throughout all 4 Twilight books and here’s Wanderer whose race is called “souls”. Hmm.

    • abby mumford Says:

      i know, right? it’s always fascinated me if meyer meant to have a connection there. or rather if that one portion of TWILIGHT sparked another portion of her imagination and that’s how THE HOST came to be.

  3. Karla Nellenbach Says:

    I think my absolute love for this book blinds me to excess scenes. Whenever I picked it up to read, I’d end it thinking, “But, I want more!” So, for me, there really were no slow patches, no extraneous material. But, I’m biased :)

    FYI: I’m about 150 pages from finishing CHAOS WALKING book 3. I had to put it down and step away. SO MUCH going on! :)

    • abby mumford Says:

      they do say love is blind for a reason. ha. but i must say, thank you for making me pick up this book again. i enjoyed it much more the second time around.

      also, I KNOW. i had to read book 3 of CHAOS WALKING in little chunks because my poor little heart could only handle so much.

  4. Kelly B Says:

    I love that depending on where we are in time we can react to a book in different ways. I have read books when I was younger that I don’t react the same to now, either in a good or a bad way, so I can appreciate the difference you felt this time.

    Great review.

    • abby mumford Says:

      yeah, you’re right. there has been a lot of talk recently about the trepidation of re-reading a childhood favorite book for fear it wouldn’t live up to the memories. (i think there is something to this argument.) fortunately, the first time i read this book i was an adult, so a re-read was a good idea. :)

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