Review from first re-read (first time in audio), 4 stars, 10/14/09: The Host is Invasion of the Body Snatchers from the reverse perspective--that of th...moreReview from first re-read (first time in audio), 4 stars, 10/14/09: The Host is Invasion of the Body Snatchers from the reverse perspective--that of the invading alien, revealing a unique take on the alien invasion theme. I've heard some people say this book was written for the adult sci-fi audience, as opposed to her usual, young-adult paranormal crowd. But I beg to differ. This book is definitely written for young-adults (come on, our protagnist gets all nervous and flushed about kissing and holding hands!) and actually for a non-sci-fi-reading crowd. It was marketed as the sci-fi book for people who don't like sci-fi.
But whether you like sci-fi or not, you'll like this book if you can put aside Meyer's typical melodrama and tendency toward control-freak/abusive-boyfriend relationships. The take on alien invasion is unique, the end is wonderful, and the whole world she's created opens up a universe of new and wonderful ideas for the creatively-minded.
Read initially, in print, in February 2009.
Review from third re-read (second time in audio, 5 stars, 2/9/12) First off, I must wholeheartedly agree with the most common negative reviews about this book (more on that below).
Despite Meyer's quirks, I still have to say that this book is wonderful. Honestly, it's one of those books that I wish I had written myself. Although many complain about Meyer's sometimes lackluster writing abilities (me included, especially when it comes to the prose in Twilight), she is amazing at writing emotion that grips the reader and takes them on a roller coaster, making them feel everything the protagonist does. It is this ability of hers that, I think, led to The Twilight Saga's great success, not just the recipe of vampires, shape-shifting wolves, and love triangles. Plus, I never bump on her writing, in The Host, as I frequently do in Twilight.
The end of this book is amazing. Thoroughly worth the read, despite Meyer's quirks that so many love to hate, which are--as promised: the standard male love interest that seems to show up in all her works--big, strong, abusive, controlling, and likes to bundle the ladies up and carry them around in his arms; her courageous, self-sacrificing, but weak, timid, and unself-confident female protagonists; and what's with the magic age of 17, like that's the perfect age we all wish we could stay forever? (Although I did realize, in this read-through, that Melanie/Wanderer is not actually seventeen in this story but twenty-one. Only seventeen when she meets Jarred for the first time) [9/3/13 Addendum - Uhm, no. I don't know where I got this idea from. 10/8/13 Addendum - Issue clarified for all time. See below.]; and, finally, Meyer's Mormon no-sex-until-marriage, or at least until one is "of age," that holds all her books back from being truly spectacular.
Review from fourth re-read (in print, 5 stars, 9/30/13) Ahah! I don't know why this matters so much to me, but it seems nice to actually know how old the protagonist is, in the story you're reading. Meyer does not do a great job of making that clear in The Host. Melanie is in fact 21, as she states (near the end of the book) that Jodie, (view spoiler)[Kyle's wife (hide spoiler)], who is 26, is 5 years older than Melanie herself. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Ender's Game meets Contact, plus alien-created, Harry Potter-esque sorting hat. This graphic novel felt like it had a lot of rich detail that, in my l...moreEnder's Game meets Contact, plus alien-created, Harry Potter-esque sorting hat. This graphic novel felt like it had a lot of rich detail that, in my limited experience, doesn't often find its way into such works.
I liked little things like their selection of the code word Grampa "because he's cool"--seemed like a Card-family inside joke and/or a tip of the hat to and appreciation of Grampa Card. The nickname Nine for the character Ixchab was also very clever. The fact that Azure thinks Robbi is clumsy but that the truth is (view spoiler)[she's actually mildly abused by her step father (hide spoiler)] adds immediate depth to the character.
This is a good start to what seems like it will be a very interesting series.
Addendum June 20, 2013 - Review of audio-book version It's interesting that the authors and publishers chose to release an audiobook version of a graphic novel. For the most part, I think they did a good job adapting it. I found the present-tense a little strange, but I think it makes sense if you use the audiobook as a companion to the graphic novel and enjoy them both at the same time. (I haven't tried this yet, but I imagine it would be awesome). Since descriptions had to be added, to bring across a lot of the visuals shown only graphically in the print version, I felt like in some instances I got a lot more depth of understanding out of this version--primarily character motivations that were meant to be implied through their graphically depicted facial expressions but weren't necessarily that easy to interpret.
Addendum June 29, 2013 And Why, WHY hasn't the next installment come out yet?!?! Grr.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This is one of my very favorite contemporary science-fiction novels. In all her books, Elliot proves again and again how well she can write love stori...moreThis is one of my very favorite contemporary science-fiction novels. In all her books, Elliot proves again and again how well she can write love stories, as I fall in love as the main character does. This particular series also uniquely combines elements of sci-fi and fantasy in a way that satisfies the needs of both kinds of readers. One recommendation for new readers--give the story some time to develop. Don't just put it down after the first chapter.(less)
The Diamond Age follows two main characters: John Percival Hackworth, a nanotechnology engineer who tries to steals a copy of the very special project...moreThe Diamond Age follows two main characters: John Percival Hackworth, a nanotechnology engineer who tries to steals a copy of the very special project he's working on--the Young Lady's Illustrated Primer--for his young daughter; and Nell, a tribeless, underprivileged young girl who comes into possession of and is essentially educated and raised by the stolen Primer.
The Primer itself is a sort of interactive storybook that teaches its owner both practical skills like reading and math to moral values, based on what is actually happening in the young girl's life. It is definitely one of the coolest parts of The Diamond Age. Just as most readers of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone might wish they too could be a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I sure wish I had a book like the Primer.
Besides the Primer, The Diamond Age is chock-full of nanotechnology in almost every aspect of life, from biotech implants like skull guns to nanotech weaponry and diseases, to the proprietary Feed line that supplies the matter needed for people to create synthesized food and other basic items through their matter compilers. I found all of this world-building and technology quite fascinating.
Where the book loses me is in the plot itself. In particular, the introduction of the drummers--a tribe that is being used to develop subversive nanotechnology through acts of ritual sexual intercourse. (Wiggitty whaaaaa???). Uhm...yeah. Once the drummers come into play, I feel like I lose connection with Hackworth and never gain it back. The other distraction, or crutch perhaps, trying to hold up a sagging plot, was the Fists of Righteous Harmony, a rebellious sect that (view spoiler)[invokes a massive uprising, at the end of the book, that all the characters must escape from (hide spoiler)]. In the end, Stephenson gets too caught up in his own themes and forgets that the characters themselves, and their needs and motivations, should probably be driving the plot--at least a little.
Yet I still gave the book four stars. Because the technology in this book is awesome and well worth the read despite the limping plot and disappointing end.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I read this book when I was sixteen and found it slightly confusing - too many characters, didn't quite know what was going on half the time. Now I re...moreI read this book when I was sixteen and found it slightly confusing - too many characters, didn't quite know what was going on half the time. Now I realize it's the sixth book in the serious, which I randomly tried to read first. For some reason I was under the delusion that it was the first book. No wonder I was confused!(less)
More accurately, I would give The Lost World around 2.5 stars. I would describe this Jurassic Park sequel as less a fiction novel and more a nonfictio...moreMore accurately, I would give The Lost World around 2.5 stars. I would describe this Jurassic Park sequel as less a fiction novel and more a nonfiction work about evolution science with a few moments of fiction woven in. This work is inundated with long speeches about evolution, genetics, the anatomy of a cell, etc.--which are very informative and interesting if you forget that you're supposed to be reading a novel, but then you remember and realize that you can't necessarily take anything in this novel as educational because it's a work of fiction and you don't know which science is real and which is made up by Crichton himself.
The plot of the novel goes something like this: Let's go to an island and study dinosaurs. [Evil Scientists] Let's go to an island and steal dinosaur eggs. [Everyone] Oh no, the dinosaurs are eating us! Let's run away! ~ The End ~