A Soul Within (The Host – A Book Review)

The Host

Author: Stephanie Meyer

Published: 2008

On Goodreads

My Rating:

Rated Q for alien quarantine that develops into an awkward quirky romance.

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away.

Earth has been invaded by an unseen enemy. By the time anybody noticed, it was too late. They take over the human body and mind leaving humans to fade away. But Wanderer came in contact with a human that refused to fade away. Together, they occupied the same body. Melanie Stryder’s body. Melanie was determined to fight her off.

What begins as a stand-off turns into an alliance when seekers set out to “fix the problem” meaning they want to get rid of Melanie completely and put Wanderer in a new body. The problem with that is Wanderer likes this life she’s caught glimpses of and has grown attached to it, and the people in it. She refuses to give it or Melanie up to be disposed of.

Together, they set out to find Melanie’s Uncle Jeb and his bunker. A whole new kind of fight for survival begins when they get there and they’re presented with unexpected surprises.

I bet you never thought I would never get to this one. LOL. I know, it took me forever to finish it. Not as long as The Stand by Stephen King, but still. There were a lot of hiccups that kept getting these two books completed. But, here I am! Here we go!

Melanie and Wanderer had quite a predicament. They occupied the same body. It belonged to Melanie, but Wanderer, and aline deemed a “soul” was put in there as a mass takeover was taking place. She liked it there, too. She liked the way humans were so connected but not the way they’d go to war with each other and force struggle onto each other. She offered an outlook on life/lives that compared to no one else’s.

This book contained a lot of cute, tense, and sad moments. But, all in all, it wasn’t all that spectacular. There were times the book got redundant. Oftentimes, I felt like this struggle with trust for Wanderer, though realistic and understandable, was drawn out.

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The dynamic between Melanie and Wanderer was otherworldly. Meyer made the differences between them and their development incredibly clear though also nearly impossible it felt. When I started this a couple of years back I was worried about that. I wasn’t a fan of Melanie being angry all of the time and fully coming out and saying how she didn’t like that Wanderer and Luke liked each other because she couldn’t be with Jared. I found that childish and it should’ve been delved into a little deeper, especially since emotions like that were so new to Wanderer. It was a childish bit. More, Melanie’s anger lasted right up until that last second for Wanderer and the tantrums she through over it was too much. The waiting until the last second to admit any kind of feelings trope is not a favorite of mine. There were 800 pages where she could’ve developed this and she waited until the last 25 or so. Ridiculous and it felt like a waste of pages. From these two characters and spreading outward to the others, the relationships were strained and continuously wishy-washy. The only one that wasn’t was Jamie.

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The Ian-Wanderer-Jared-Melanie square was a head-trip like no other. I enjoy some tumultuous, dyer, and dramatic chemistry verging on romance, but these four were incredibly awkward. Melanie and Jared’s relationship felt so underplayed, but Mey did deploy the perfect amount of awkward between Ian and Wanderer’s budding feelings for each other. There was so much to tip-toe around and there were so many moments I wish I could’ve broken the fragility these guys had developed around the complexity of their situation where romance was involved. The violence seemed so easy but this came off like a bomb they didn’t know how to diffuse. Maybe that was the point, but I found it incredibly frustrating. Like, just talk about it, guys. Get the elephant out of the room and make it easy on yourselves with some boundaries.

The reactions of those that lived under Jeb’s care in his bunker were the most realistic part of this book. When people are terrified and are suffered relentless grief, they are capable of anything. Whether it’s cowering in fear or reacting violently. But like a bunch of stray cats, they either came around or they didn’t.

The setting for the book was pretty basic and easy. Because the ideal world of “souls” was to share everything and that the area was the southwest desert region, it was all simple. It would’ve been more of an eye-catcher if Meyer would’ve added more to the scenery. I was shocked there wasn’t much in the way of nature. She made the world so easy for the characters. In a way, it bored me, but it made it simpler for Meyer to write around.

The book to movie differences were pretty huge and noticeable. I’m actually disappointed that some parts didn’t make it into the movie. I think getting a glimpse into Wanderer’s other lives could’ve been mesmerizing.

Overall

It was okay, but I won’t say it was fantastic. There were several moments that felt dull and could’ve been so much more. Melanie and Wanderer’s connection and development never fully developed. It’s like it tried and just wouldn’t. There were so many pages and yet, I wasn’t all that impressed. I’m glad I read it, but I’m not so sure this is a keeper.

Quotables:

“No. Neither of us planned to have no future.” (Melanie, p. 522)

“You never know how much time you’ll have.” (Wanderer, p. 683)

More to come soon…                                                                                               

  -K.

Song Today? Perfect Illusion by Lady Gaga.

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