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a satisfying urban fantasy and romance August 7, 2008

Posted by taryn in urban fantasy.
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NB: When I picked up this book I had no idea who Stephenie Meyer was or what other books she had written. Obviously in the last week she has been all over the press and news with the launch of her latest book. I read and reviewed “The Host” in blissful ignorance.

The Host, Stephanie Meyer. Published 2008.

Sometimes you find a book that fits right in with where you are, emotionally, physically, etc. There is something fantastic about finding a nice thick book and having a couple of days of freedom to dive right in. And this book is thick. Brick sized. One of my favourite things about reading is getting lost in a world, believing in the characters and their plight. I’m feeling a bit of unrequited love at the moment, so the romance was just fine with me.

Be warned, The Host is 60% romance, 20% urban fantasy and 20% survival . It’s a fast paced read, pushing you through the short chapters.

Melanie is one of the last real humans on earth. She has been surviving, barely, with her younger brother until she runs into another survivor and falls madly in love. Souls, spidery parasite like aliens, have taken over Earth, humans’ bodies and their lives. They have colonised over 9 planets but have found earth the most difficult, the most emotional. Some humans even manage to resist the Souls implantation and wrest back their bodies.

Meyer’s story starts with one of these Souls, “Wanderer”, waking up in Melanie’s body. Melanie’s mind is resisting her host and Wanderer can’t seem to forget her motherly love for Jamie and romantic love for Jared. She finds herself, illogically, searching for them…

There are some great ingredients in this story:

  • the duplicitous invasion of Earth
  • how the human rebels live
  • Meyer’s descriptions of the other colonised worlds
  • the continuing debate on what exactly makes us human
  • the love and romance

I like the men in this story, they mostly compassionate, honourable and genuine. What the book lacks is any real evil or bad characters, everyone is conveniently won over. I was surprised when I found out this was supposed to be an adult novel. I thought it was young adult. It is surprisingly chaste, the love and passions that drive the characters rarely get beyond a kiss. “Partners in the truest sense” now sounds unbelievably cheesy, but I bought it when I read it.

If you’ve got a bit of spare time, like a bit of romance mixed in with your spec fic then, suspend your disbelief and give “The Host” a whirl.