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The Host by Stephenie Meyer, A Science Fiction Thriller

Updated on June 11, 2016
PegCole17 profile image

Peg Cole earned a BA in Government and Politics at UT Dallas. She's a former project manager turned freelance writer.

Science Fiction with a Host of characters you'll remember for a number of reasons.
Science Fiction with a Host of characters you'll remember for a number of reasons.

The story, written by the best selling author of The Twilight Series, begins with the transformation of a female professor who begins to question her existence and her choice of occupations. She's inexplicably drawn to the desert in search of something she can't quite explain. Against the rules of the society norms, she takes off on a quest to find the reason behind her strange images that flood unabashedly into her dreams. When they pervade her wakened state, she is unable to resist the urge to explore their roots.

Television has changed dramatically, along with sports, the news, and the interactions between human beings. Cooperation is the norm with helping others being the primary objective. Football has lost its competitive edge with players finishing the game with hugs and handshakes for their opponents. Both teams receive a trophy. Violence is replaced with kindness and complacency. The news contains only feel-good stories of people, world leaders and celebrities acting charitably. Murder and crime is at an all-time low.

There would be nothing wrong with that if it weren't the results of an alien invasion.

Look into my eyes...
Look into my eyes...

Look into their eyes and it's easy to tell. One quick beam of a flashlight will reveal them. The transformation of humans from their natural state of combat readiness - fight or flight responsiveness has morphed into dormant, non-violent, docile and helpful citizens ready to assist their brothers and sisters with any need.

What's wrong with this picture? The reason for the abrupt changes in the way things have always been can be explained by an alien invasion. These tiny creatures who take over the mind of their host are a peaceful lot.

The Eyes Have It

The telltale signs of invasion
The telltale signs of invasion

In this case, the alien beings are tiny enough to live within their victim's body undetected. There is one easy giveaway to their existence. Around the inner iris of their captive's eyes, a shining iridescent presence can be detected, along with a scar at the point of insertion at the back of the neck. The invaders use skilled surgeons who operate under the influence of implanted beings to conduct the procedure, placing the worm-like alien creature along the spine. Once there, it extends thousands of microscopic tentacles into the bodies of their host to control all aspects of their subject.

Attempts to remove the beings result in the unfortunate death of its captive host, although experiments to remove the invaders are ongoing. One such surgeon, a member of the resistance, suffers the emotional consequences of these questionable operations which challenge his Hippocratic oath and his own conscience. He struggles with the pressure to rid the population of this invader, yet, is torn by the results he experiences by doing so.

Cryogenics, By National Institute of Standards and Technology (National Institute of Standards and Technology) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Cryogenics, By National Institute of Standards and Technology (National Institute of Standards and Technology) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The main character, an alien known as Wanda, short for wanderer, is a complex being who has hosted on at least nine planets during her lengthy lifetime. Living out the lives of the species who reside in each of these worlds, she has taken their memories along for the long journey to Earth. Traveling in a cyber freezer while en route to the next ill-fated planet, her kind will occupy the homes and the minds of their inhabitants. She is among those destined to set up the new world for total invasion.

Lava Tubes

 Inside Surtshellir, the longest lava cave in Iceland - between 1,5-2 km. By Jabbi (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Inside Surtshellir, the longest lava cave in Iceland - between 1,5-2 km. By Jabbi (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The trouble starts when the lingering memories of the human in which she is implanted begins to invade her own consciousness. The love her host body, formerly known as Melanie, continues to feel for not only her brother but also for her former mate and lover, Jared, drives Wanda into the desert on a journey from which she will not return.

Out in the middle of nowhere, a colony of humans has escaped detection and have begun a commune of cooperative efforts within a series of caves. With incredible ingenuity, they have created underground gardens, a kitchen with ovens heated by the natural elements, sleeping quarters and even hot baths for their residents.

Wanda is forced to join their community, first as a prisoner, and later as a contributing member who teaches classes about her species, captivating the youthful audience with her stories of life on other planets. As her inner voice grows louder, she is convinced that her human occupant of the body where she now resides, is still actively hanging on to her former life.

Caves

Interior springs within a cave. By Hollingsworth John and Karen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Interior springs within a cave. By Hollingsworth John and Karen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The character, Wanda, is befriended by some of the cave-dwellers and suffers abuse at the hand of others. Her persistence and optimism under pressure is as admirable as her submissive and passive behavior at the hands of her captors is degrading and offensive.

Those who are not fond of Wanda resent her acceptance by the founder of the safe place where they live. One heavy-handed abuser catches the woman alone in the hot springs and tries to drown her in the pool. Her response to his attack draws varied reactions from the collective who hold a trial to determine the outcome of the incident.

I'm In You - Peter Frampton - Music Video

A complicated psychological thriller, this story evokes emotions of the reader who can compare the alien invasion situation to present day prejudice, oppression and fear of those who are unlike us. It draws the reader into a web of entanglement between both humans and aliens, demonstrating a familiar pattern of violence and resistance to change.

Along with the introspective, the story presents a realm of medical issues concerning right to life and the practices of modern medicine. The innovative nature of the alien race brings with it a variety of cures, medicines and practices that, on the surface, pulls one in favor of their presence. Their restrictive and lack-luster lives, on the other hand, makes one pull for the tenacity and resilience of their conquered hosts.

The Host, the movie

A captivating read, Ms. Meyer's book takes us into a world of what ifs. It explores the depth of human interaction, the residual effects of love for others, whether borne of passion or of familial ties. It demonstrates the differences in families and siblings, husbands, wives, lovers, and the ever-present curiosity of children whose acceptance of the unexplained is inspiring.

Love, hate, passion, survival, revolution, innovation and a story that draws the reader in from the beginning is the basis for the success of this book which has since been made into a movie. This book is one I've read more than once and turn to for tawdry escapism and entertainment.

Author of The Twilight Series, a blockbuster story about vampires, this venture into the science fiction realm is by far Stephenie Meyer's best work.

© 2016 Peg Cole

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    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 11 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      A fine review of what sounds like a very good book. Nice job, Peg.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 11 months ago from England

      Hi, I have seen the film, its really good, I have never read the book though, great review!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 11 months ago from USA

      Sounds like a book my daughter would love. I liked your detailed description. I didn't know about a movie too.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you, Cam8510. I appreciate your kind words and quick visit.

      Hello Nell. I'm glad to hear the movie was good. I'll have to order it and take a look. Usually, the book is better than the movie. At least, for me.

      Flourish, nice to see you again. Hope your daughter gets a chance to read this one. I really liked it. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for the review, Peg. I'm not much of a science fiction thriller reader, but I might look this one up and try it out.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 11 months ago from Texas

      A great review, Peg it make me want to read the just to find out what happened to Wanda. I am not into worms, but this does sound interesting.

      Blessings my friend.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks, Shyron. So nice to have you visit. Your comment is much appreciated. Wanda is an interesting being. She made me change my mind about worms.

      Blessings back to you friend.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Billybuc, thanks so much for the visit, my busy friend. You are kind to visit and comment about this Sci-Fi story, knowing now that it is not your favorite kind of read. Thanks again.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 11 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love reading science fiction stories like the one that you've described. Thanks for the interesting review, Peg. I'll look out for this book.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you for your time reading this, AliciaC. I think you'll enjoy the book.

    • Mel Jay profile image

      Mel Jay 11 months ago from Australia

      Great review - I'll be checking it out.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks, Mel.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 11 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      One of the many talents in your arsenal is the talent to write an interesting book review. This was put together so well. A very polished piece.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Mike, it's great to see you here and to have you read this book review. I always appreciate your take on this sort of article. You write a mighty fine review yourself. Thanks for the kind remarks.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 11 months ago from Texas

      I hadn't heard of this book, but now I am intrigued. Thanks for sharing.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 11 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      "A complicated psychological thriller, this story evokes emotions of the reader who can compare the alien invasion situation to present day prejudice, oppression and fear of those who are unlike us..."

      Peg, your reviews have consistently led me to the best new reads. I'll be on the look out for this movie and will be adding The Host to my summer reading list.

      You pull at my heart with this Peter Frampton tune...awww, sweet.

      Have a peaceful weekend. Love you, Maria

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you, Maria. This is an interesting read that I hope you'll enjoy. The desert journey always makes me thirsty. Summer reading list...mine keeps growing. You, of course, like the music like I do. It was a little tongue-in-cheek humor.

      Nice of you to stop by, Shanmarie. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Deb Hirt 11 months ago

      Sounds like a fascinating read into a new realm of consciousness. Excellent review, and I soon hope to have a copy of this book in hand.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Deb, Nice of you to stop in and read this book review. Thank you. Hope you get your hands on a copy.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 11 months ago from Texas

      Hi Peg, I enjoyed reading this again and will share.

      I hope all is well with you.

      Blessings my friend.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you my friend, Shyron. We are doing great. Hope you are as well. Thanks for stopping in to read this review again. Cheers! And happy reading.

    • profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 11 months ago

      A fascinating sounding book.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you, Lawrence.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 11 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Excellent hub and it sounds like a great review! Makes me feel curious to read the book or see the movie. My children love science fiction and I am sure they must be aware of this.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello ChitrangadaSharan! Thanks for dropping in to read this review. This is the first of the author's books geared toward adults, but I'm pretty sure your children would like it, too.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 11 months ago from Central Florida

      Peg, sci-fi isn't my thing normally, but this story sounds riveting. In the beginning of your review I loved the fact that these aliens were peace-loving and were intent on restoring harmony to our planet. But that's not necessarily the case.

      You did a wonderful job of this review. You leave me wanting to reach outside my preferred genre and widen my reading horizons.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 11 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Shauna, I'm glad this book sounds interesting to you. It isn't the usual science fiction type of other world experience with spaceships etc., rather, a mutation of our known existence due to the invasion of the planet. I hope you will give it a read and let me know how you liked it. Thanks for stopping in.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 11 months ago from Central Florida

      Peg, can you put an Amazon capsule here for the book? I'd love to see you get some pennies for the sale.

    • profile image

      Faith Reaper 10 months ago

      Fantastic book review, Peg! Your detailed book review certainly intrigues one to read the book and watch the movie down the line. Well, evidently our planet has not been invaded by these particular beings yet, as we are still violent ... I rarely read Science Fiction these days, except for a few, but this one sounds like one I will make an exception to read.

      Great job!

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 10 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Shauna, You know that would be really nice, to get some reward for posting a link to the book. On all other articles that have been moved to the new sites, the editors clip the Amazon capsules, even when they seem relevant. Since I usually don't earn anything from the affiliate program I thought I'd save them the trouble of snipping.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 10 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Good morning, Faith. Thanks so much for reading this review and for the very nice comments. I loved reading this book and hope you will enjoy it, too. I know what you mean about science fiction books. Lately, I've been caught up in a lot of non-fiction reading. Again, thanks for the kind words. Nice to see you today.

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