After the Twilight series novels, Stephenie Meye managed to break the usual genre conventions - this time writing a science fiction novel for people who don’t like sci-fi.
Unlike the most popular alien invasion movies and science fiction TV shows, In The Host humanity is lost,vastly outnumbered and stealthily overwhelmed by superior technology. There are tiny pockets of resistance left, just a handful of humans who haven’t yet been captured, but they don’t spend their days plotting to retake the planet from the aliens – just surviving consumes all their time.
Indeed, The Host isn’t really about saving the planet from alien invaders; it is a story about what it is to be human, about identity and about individualism.
Most of all The Host is a story about the nature of love. Romantic love, love of family, love of friends - all of these emotions are explored by Wanderer as she first succumbs to Melanie’s emotional memories then succumbs to the emotions for herself.
There is more than just memories left of Melanie though; she is trapped inside her own head unable to take control of her own body, forced to be an unwilling host to the alien Wanderer. Which makes things very interesting when Wanderer and Melanie eventually meet up with Melanie’s loved ones…
The largest similarity between The Host and the author’s Twilight series novels is the character of Wanderer. She has something of a Bella vibe going on - it is the way that they are both enormously self sacrificing.
All in all The Host makes for compelling reading. Avoiding the obvious sci-fi clichés it concentrates on humanity and the human emotions experienced by an alien invader who really wants to be human.
A great read - even if it doesn’t have any vampires in it… :)