The Host (The Host #1)

The Host Cover
Author: Stephenie Meyer

It's not the face, but the expressions on it. It's not the voice, but what you say. It's not how you look in that body, but the thing you do with it. You are beautiful.

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human.

"Stephenie Meyer is an amazing phenomenon--out of the brightness of her mind and spirit comes the illuminated darkness of her stories. For no matter how much pain her characters suffer, Meyer infuses the tales with light and hope."  
--Orson Scott Card

"A fantastic, inventive, thoughtful, and powerful novel. The Host should come with a warning label: it will grab you and keep you reading well into the wee hours of night, and keep you thinking, deeply, hauntingly, well after the final word. Stephenie Meyer captures characters and handles story line like a master--a hybrid combination of Stephen King and Isaac Asimov."
-- Ridley Pearson

“Meyer has, like one of her vampires, turned into something rare and more than merely human: a literary phenomenon....The way she manages the reader's curiosity, maintaining tension and controlling the flow of information, is simply virtuosic....People do not want to just read Meyer's books; they want to climb inside them and live there."
-- Lev Grossman, Time

You might assume that Meyer’s best-selling Twilight series (published for YAs), about the intense love between a human teen and a vampire, takes the interspecies relationship thing about as far as it can go. There’s where you’d be wrong. Meyer’s ingenious adult-market debut, heavily but not tediously indebted to Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, imagines the tangled web of attachments between an alien parasite and the colony of humans to which the alien’s host body once belonged. Meyer boldly chooses to narrate from the perspective of the invading alien, a 1,000-year-old female “soul” named Wanderer, and it is a tribute to the author’s skill that Wanderer is a sympathetic protagonist despite the fact that she tells her tale while clinging to the cerebellum of a human victim, 17-year-old Melanie. As Melanie’s unusually resistant consciousness begins to seep into Wanderer’s own identity, she finds herself seeking out one of the last outposts of human civilization to reunite with the people her body once loved. Some readers will find the opening scenes too hurried and contrived, and the unusually large number of humans willing to fraternize with the enemies seems idealized. But the view of the apocalypse from the vantage point of one of its horsemen makes for propulsive reading, laden with unforgettable, unsettling scenes that raise fascinating questions about distinctions between essential human identity and its physical vessel. Consider buying duplicate sets of Meyer’s ouevre, one for adults and one for YAs, since this entertaining, somewhat soft-focus sf saga will only serve to broaden the penumbra of Meyer’s fame.

-- Jennifer Mattson, Booklist