Of course I have to qualify my review by admitting that I am not a fan of Stephanie Meyer only because I've never read or listened to anything she has written before. I thought I'd give her a try and I chose this book because Vampire stories do absolutely nothing for me.
I am simply baffled at the popularity of this book. This is the flattest, poorly developed story I have listened to or read in a long time. Aside from the developing story of the host getting to know and learn about her parasite/intruder, nothing really happens until that last act of the story, or essentially when there are only 3 to 4 hours left in the story. I couldn't wait for this one to end and move on to the next book on my list.
I am also not a big fan of female narrators, but Kate Reading did a great job and I enjoyed her narration.
I'm sorry Meyers fans, but overall, I simply cannot Recommend this book. I certainly would not listen to or read a sequel.
I highly enjoyed this book. Working at a bookstore, I am always surrounded by people wanting Meyers' Twilight series, but those books never interested me. I was very excited when she wrote an "adult" sci-fi novel, but was still sceptical about how well it would be written. Finding out the Kate Reading (one of my all-time favorite narrators) was narrating is what promted me to finally try it. It took me a little while to get used to Readings american accent (having only ever heard her narrate in a british one), but after that I couldn't stop listening. The story is intense, emotional and insiteful into the complexity of human emotion. I would recommend this to anyone who's ever read Octavia E. Butler's Xenogensis trilogy or just any fan of sci-fi who enjoys reading about human/alien relations.
Hopefully Meyers will continue to write more "adult" science fiction.
You know, we all become arm-chair critics when we have this ability to criticize the work of someone else, but the bottom-line is that this book was unique in MANY ways and that alone is unique...
My overall take is that it was wonderful, different, and well-written. I do have mixed feelings though because of one thing.... I got extremely frustrated with the main female character's tolerance of the main male characters mistreatment of her. He would physically and verbally abuse her and she would still say, ...Oh, Jared, I love you... [Having said that, there IS a reason (you will see) and I tried very hard to put myself in the two perspectives.]
I was intrigued enough to read it twice and to get more out of the second reading.
I really loved the all-too-brief descriptions of alien medicine, and would have loved to know more about the aliens themselves, their history, etc.
But, I guess if a book can leave you wanting MORE, then it was a success.
I don't typically write reviews, but I think this is the first audiobook I've had serious problems putting down. During the second half I found myself listening more than just my commute time, replacing TV, staying up late primarily to listen, even bringing the ipod to bed and falling asleep to it, and in the end plugging in while getting ready for work in the morning (a definite first). I truly cared about every main character, and Kate Reading's marvelous narration undoubtedly contributed to this. There's some technology described that may strain your belief, but at the core this book is about personal relationships and triumph over the most trying and unfortunate circumstances. In that area the book soars. From the range of reviews it looks like you either love this book or hate it. I'm one who loved it. It will have a permanent place in my library.
Speculative Fiction Book Review Blogger
I’d like to start off this review by stating that this novel is nothing like Twilight so whatever hang-ups you may have about Stephenie Meyer’s original series should be set aside. As an avid reader, I’m a firm believer in that “the book is always better” saying so when I found out that there was a The Host movie in the works I couldn’t resist bumping this novel to the top of my to-be-read pile. Saying that I’m glad I did would be a gross understatement; I was glued to my ear buds from the moment I first pressed play!
The Host is unlike anything that I have ever read thanks to its emotionally complex story, unique POV and unlikely love triangle. This is one of those books that when you’re done reading it, you’ll need to take a moment to let it all sink in. I really enjoyed the two-characters-for-the-price-of-one aspect of this novel; it gave a whole new meaning to the “we” and “our” possessive pronouns. In this instance, instead of talking about a group of people the author is referring to the two minds in one body which made for one heck of an interesting first person POV. Kate Reading does an excellent job of sounding “other” while narrating from Wanderer’s perspective and human while reading from Melanie’s. Her voice is mesmerizing and definitely helped to make this 23 hour audiobook just fly by.
Normally, love triangles are one of my biggest pet peeves in fiction but Meyer’s is so outside of the box that it’s impossible not to get caught up in the characters’ emotions. Imagine having two people inside of your head who are in love with different guys! Not only that, but Wanderer and Mel’s psyches become so closely intertwined over time that it’s a challenge (even for them) to determine which feelings belong to whom. Throw some good old fashioned jealousy into the mix and you’re left with one incredibly complicated predicament!
A lot of really interesting questions surface in this book but the one that I personally found the most fascinating was what it means to be human. In the beginning the answer is pretty clear cut: humans = good and souls = bad. However, as the story progresses that line becomes progressively blurrier. Does the answer simply come down to a matter of genetics or is it a person’s actions that determine their humanity? By the end of this book I was surprised by how much my opinion of Wanderer had shifted. Although, it’s important to note that she’s not a typical soul so even though she won me over, the rest of her race did not.
The Host is an emotionally charged story that redefines the classic love triangle and take the first person POV to a whole new level. After finishing this novel the first thing that came to my mind was how in the heck are they ever going to make a movie out of this? I have a sneaky suspicion that as usual, the book will be better than the film.
Like most great science fiction this novel very believably examines human reaction to a future very different from the world we live in now. I don't know anything about this author's other work, but this novel is a very adult examination of love, loyalty, and the very essence of what it means to be human. It is nice to see a book from a female perspective that I would still consider "hard" science fiction. While we learn perhaps a great deal more about the emotional lives of the characters than we would in an offering from Heinlein or Herbert, the writing is unflinching in the examination of difficult questions and felt quite plausible from beginning to end. This book is one of my new favorites.
I was so happy to find this book here! At first I didn't like the dry way the reader read the book, but as time went on I realized there was a darned good reason why.
The story itself was beautiful, and outside the box; which is always delightful. Stephanie's love of looking at humanity from other perspectives is unique, and her love of the supernatural is downright first hand; I'd swear to it in a court of law!
After finishing the audiobook, I found myself wondering if this love triangle didn't set the stage for Jacob and Edward; except in reverse as Wander is not human, and her two love interests are human. She is truly the modern "Queen" of the love triangle, but I hope she doesn't get stuck in the same formula in all of her subsequent work; I don't like to think of her as being predictable. I do, however, love the way she solved the situations in this book, as well as in the Twilight Saga.
This audiobook is worth your while if you are a Stephanie Meyer fan; even if you are not. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and how it was played out. I am very experienced with audiobooks, and I am very picky about what works and what doesn't work. Everything that Stephanie Meyer has written thus far works perfectly in audio!
Of the ten's of thousands of books I have read, this would be one of my chooses to have on a deserted island. I have read it five or six times, and I still laugh and cry in the same places. Her characters are so well developed you feel you should send them Christmas cards. Her twighlight saga is great, however I hope she writes some more sci-fi, very soon.
I love reading this book and it took a little while to get used to the audiobook (being my first one), but the reader does a great job with distinguishing Melanie and Wanderer's voices. And now I love the audiobook! So convenient!