Set in a post-apocalyptic utopia, The Host chronicles the journey of an alien creature as she deals with the body of her reluctant human host.
I call it a utopia because even though the only real humans left survive in rebel factions and society has finally attained a perfectly peaceful structure. . . that isn’t human. It’s nice to imagine a world where everything is free, where health care is effortless and people don’t lie or hurt each other. It’s just kind of sad that we had to be possessed by aliens to do it.
Meyer’s novel touches on themes like bigotry, discrimination, male-female relationships (because what’s a Meyer novel without twu wuv) and deals idealistically with the issue of our own mortality. She digs through the depths of human character, turning up ugly parts and beautiful parts. And in playing human against alien, human against human, and alien against alien, she manages to reveal a little humanity (good and bad) in each one.
Yes, I’m aware that I’m probably over-analyzing Stephenie Meyer, of all people. But it’s rare that I get so hooked on a novel that I’m reading it until three a.m. (Not true, I was hooked on Diana Wynne Jones’ House of Many Ways just last month. Maybe I just have good taste in books?).
To wrap up, The Host has all the ingredients for a good novel: conflict, character growth and a happy, if unresolved, ending.
Read it. It’s worth the teasing you’ll get for having one of the Twilight woman’s books.