Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Host

I haven’t exactly been a proponent of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. In fact, at times I have been downright unpleasant about the books. Not surprisingly, I had extremely low expectations before reading Meyer’s first “adult” novel, The Host. Perhaps because I was expecting the worst, I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining the novel is.

Meyer’s has an amazing imagination, and The Host is certainly creative—sometimes excessively so. The titular host is Melanie Stryder, a young human woman. Her body, like most of our species, has been taken over by an alien population.

What could be a typical Invasion of the Body Snatchers plot is saved by a nice twist: the story is told from the perspective of Melanie’s invader, Wanderer. Wanderer is a sympathetic character who understands the good and bad of both humans and her own species.

I’ve complained in the past about Meyer’s writing ability. However, The Host is a sci-fi romance novel, and her skills are perfectly adequate for the genre, no better or worse than the average popular fiction writer.

As with her other novels, though, the book is outrageously long, over 600 pages, and could easily have been half that length. The story drags at times, and Meyer’s often gets too involved in the minutia of the fantastic universes she creates. She also makes some rather uncomfortable choices considering her characters’ ages.

Despite these flaws, The Host is not simply another addition to the Twilight series. It is an engrossing and engaging romance and the perfect choice for a summer beach read.

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