Adam's Reviews > The Host

The Host by Stephenie Meyer
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Nov 17, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: dystopian, fantasy-and-science-fiction
Read from October 23 to 25, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I didn't have high expectations of this going in, because I'd come across snippets of Meyer's writing before and was astonished at how she could be so popular.

What drew me to the story was the vast amount of material out there citing it as "original", when a popular children's book series also has a sentient parasitic species that colonizes planets. It's called "Animorphs".

The sad part about this story is that it has so much potential, but every time the potential has a chance to be realized, Meyer decides to drown that potential in so much cheese it sends the lactose intolerant running.

There are many problems in this book, from the perfect altruism of a parasitic species, to the innate negativity of a lacklustre villain, to the worst flaw: the brutally intense sexism.

The men in this book are abusive, and the women forgive it as a natural outlet for their anger. It's not. It's revolting. It's inexcusable.
Then there's the clandestine lack of sex that is (poorly) excused initially by a lack of condoms (which clearly exhibits a lack of imagination on the part of Meyer (or at least her characters)), and then the two-minds-one-body paradox.

Melanie flits in and out as needed as a plot device. She's weak overall and for the majority of the novel only lives for her man.
Wanda is so ridiculously altruistic she can't even tell everyone Kyle tried to kill her, which makes it difficult to believe the species could detain anyone, on any planet, and invade.

Both characters have some gung-ho moments, but the reality is that they are inferior to the male characters in the novel. They're not their equals. You get this creepy impression, as everyone pairs off, that Melanie BELONGS to Jared. Like a sweater.

But the worst part of the novel is that the explanation for Wanda's love of the other characters (with the exception of Melanie) is glanced over and explained so poorly that it's just not credible, which decimates the plot. In what feels like 10 pages, a parasite decides to abandon everything for some people it's never met because of the memories of its host. Umm... no.

There's a lot of talk about how "this body" X and "this body" Y, but with Melanie's consciousness existing separately from the physical aspects of the body, the body shouldn't have that much of a say in whether Wanda gets a lady-boner for Ian.

The reality is that this is a very long YA novel. The themes here are not adult enough nor is the romance adult enough to call this a novel for adults. Top all of that off with a vocabulary which might leave a 2nd grader haphazardly looking up a word and you've got a problem.

Perhaps the saddest part of the entire thing, at least for me, is Lev Grossman's applause on the first page.
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Reading Progress

10/23/2011 page 102
16.0% "I'm not sure what the appeal of this author is. I'm not enjoying this at all so far."
10/24/2011 "491"

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