Tag Archives: Wanderer

The Host

17 Sep

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I don’t make a habit of starting a book at one time and finishing it much later, but this was an exception to the rule. I can’t be certain when I started reading this, but my bookmark was a boarding pass from my flight to/from Philadelphia in May of 2010. So it’s a safe bet that I was reading this on the plane, although I don’t actually remember that. For having a two year gap between starting and finishing the book I think I remember the first half fairly well, not details but the main story anyway.

The Host, by Stephanie Meyer (yes the Stephanie Meyer or the Twilight books), is about a race of parasites that roam from planet to planet, essentially taking over. They aren’t a violent species, in fact they are anti-violence, but somehow they still manage to overpower the human race once they make their way to Earth.

This book focuses around a parasite called Wanderer (who later becomes known as Wanda). Wanda takes over Melanie’s body, but in her case it’s different than with most parasite takeovers. Wanda and Melanie first fight over who is in control. Wanda can hear Melanie talking to her, sometimes yelling at her, inside her head, but mostly it’s Wanda who is in control of their body. They go in search of Jaime and Jared (Melanie’s brother and boyfriend) and somehow end up at a human hideout in the Arizona desert. Melanie/Wanda is beaten and nearly killed by this human clan because she has been infected with the parasite. Over time the humans begin to trust Wanda, some even love her.

Towards the end of the book I was bawling. The story gets very sad when Wanda realizes that she has essentially taken away Melanie’s “normal” life. She decides to tell Doc (the human doctor) how to safely remove souls (parasites) from their human hosts, but only if he makes two promises to her first. He must promise not to kill any souls/parasites (they have to leave for a far away planet, alive), and he must removed the soul Wanda from Melanie’s body, but she doesn’t want to be shipped to another planet, she wants to die and to be buried next to some of her human friends. This was especially sad for me because Ian (a human) professes his love to Wanda, making it all that much harder for her to come to terms with her impending death. She first believes that he only loves Melanie’s body, not Wanda the soul. As you read on and Doc is performing the surgery to remove Wanda it is so sad but then there is a happy twist! Doc didn’t keep his promise (at least not the second half of it), they found a new body for Wanda and they don’t kill her soul. She gets to live with her human friends, and develops a relationship with Ian.

It was a happy ending, and I love a happy ending. But, I love even more that this book could make me cry, that it could make me feel so deeply for these characters who aren’t real. Stephanie has a way of making you care about the characters and for that reason alone this was a good book to me.

I still don’t know why I put this down two years ago and didn’t pick it up again until now, but I’m glad that I did!