Discussion of The Host by Stephenie Meyer -- SPOILERS!

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Discussion of The Host by Stephenie Meyer -- SPOILERS!

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maj 14, 2008, 9:27 am

On the "What Are You Reading" thread, several of us mentioned that we were reading The Host and would like to discuss it. Here's the place to do so. Those who have not read the book, or not finished the book, should beware -- we're going to talk freely on this thread, so there will be spoilers.

maj 14, 2008, 11:02 am

Quick thoughts: I can't decide whether I liked this better than the Twilight series, or not. I do think that The Host is more complex, which I enjoyed. I thought she did a good job of creating the aliens, and I liked that they took over biologically, rather than technologically. I'm not sure what I thought of then ending, with them taking another body for Wanderer -- I guess that's the only way they could keep her there.

On a lighter note, I didn't like that they abbreviated "Wanderer" to "Wanda" -- to me, Wanderer suits her personality, but Wanda does not! And Ian is a great character. Maybe not quite literary crush material, but I really liked him by the end of the book.

Do you think that she will write a sequel?

maj 14, 2008, 1:22 pm

What?? Foggi! Ian is HOT!!! Those intese blue eyes.... mmm.... if I wasn't already besotted by a pair of topaz eyes, I would swoon....

I can't compare The Host to Twilight. They are completely different to me. I love Twilight on its own, I've "known" the Twilight characters longer.

I have a very soft spot in my heart for Wanderer. Wanderer was kind, sensitive and ridiculously selfless. Melanie was brave, smart and strong. (I agree foggi. I hate the name wanda, but I think of "wanda" as a term of endearment. It wasn't until she got that name that more people started opening themselves to her.)

I think that the book was really amazing. There were so many great things that I felt when I read. I think that that is the most important thing about loving to read, the way the book moves you. I think that this book is really about exploring all the types of love that we humans are capable of feeling. I was fasinated by how the relationships grew, evolved and deepened. I feared for Wanderer's life constantly, when she first joined the humans. Who would have given her more than an hour of life? Who would thought that from all the hate, fear and prejudice strong bonds would form? When once Ian raised his hands to kill Wanda, he now loves her dearly. How did that happen? And his brother kyle! How sweet was that? When he saw that he was going to lose his Jodie anyway, he had doc place Sunny back in her body. I was so touched by that scene.

As a sci/fi, I found it very satisfying. As a love story I found it stirring. I can't wait for the sequel if there is one.

One of the things that most bothered me, was the relationship between Wanderer/Melanie and Sharon. Melanie, after surviving for countless years, got caught for trying to save Sharon, and when she returns, Sharon is a total beast to Wandere. The people who had the most reason to try to understand Wanderer were the ones who hated her the most stubbornly.

Im sure none of this makes sense so I'll stop now.

maj 14, 2008, 1:31 pm

I loved the book. The whole Wanderer to Wanda thing did bother me a little but I just think that Jeb thought she should have a human name so she would fit in better. I also was torn over the ending because of that but she did say that she didn't want to be a parasite and technically she wasn't because the other soul that was in the body is the one who kicked out the person in the first place and not Wanderer. So when the other soul went to another planet the body or Host would have gone to waste. I thought it was nice that they wanted to keep her there that bad.

I really disliked Ian in the begining I was definatly under the impression that he would never get used to Wanderer... But by the end I really liked him, it was wonderful that they found love.

As for Mel, she could use some more charactar development now that she is a serperate being from Wanderer. And I would really like to know how Mel, Jamie, and Jared ended up.

I really hope that there will be a sequel to The Host I think it would be wonderful I would love to know what happens to all of the charactars.

I would never be able to choose which one I like Better Between Twilight and The Host because I think of them as two different entities one young adult and one being adult

maj 14, 2008, 1:37 pm

Hey Bella, I didn't even know that the host was not YA, until K said something yesterday. My bookstore has the host in the YA section.

maj 14, 2008, 3:59 pm

It's a shame The Host won't touchstone.

#2 foggi:
I also disliked that they called her Wanda. After a while I tried to accept it as something positive because Ian made her more human by giving her that name.

I hope she will write a sequel! I need to dig up my list of reasons why she could write one. ... Okay, here it is:

By the end of The Host, there are several things that are left open for Meyer to continue this story as a series. The most obvious reason is that Wanderer is at the start of a new life. She has been given a new body, with newfound acceptance amongst soem of the community. I think she has found her place and feels like she is one of them at last. This kind of puts and end to it, so maybe this isn't such a good point.
Melanie is 'back/alive once more/has been given her body back to herself.' I know she is not the main character, but we feel as though she is after feeling her presence as we read her thoughts as Wanderer. Melanie has her life back and. just as for Wanderer, has the entire future ahead of her. True that 'the circle might be complete' as she has Jamie and Jared once more, it would be interesting to see what adventures in life the future may hold her her, as it would be interesting to see for Wanderer as well.
Mind free of Mel's thoughts and with 'her own body,' Wanderer is free to have a relationship with Ian. At the same time, she still has thoughts for Jared as Mel has for Ian because of Wanderer and Mel's experience living as two souls in one body. How could Meyer resist writing about this?
The future holds much hope as they can now remove the souls of aliens from humans. There is always the risk of being caught, but I would like to see where this leads. Do humans and aliens live together in larger grops as it's merely hinted at? There are more groups like Jeb's - something that also shines a ray of hope on the humans - and they likewise have at least one alien among them. Where will this lead?
Did anyone wonder over either Ian's, Wanderer's, or the new alien's behavior when the two groups of humans meet? Perhaps Ian worries over the other alien taking a liking to Wanderer and wasn't simply trying to protect her? Maybe the alien is attracted to her as she is one of his kind living amost humans as well? And maybe Wanderer just may find him very intersting. I truely hopes she stays with Ian, but look at the Twilight series and how Meyer brought Jacob Black into it and had the triangle - she may create one with this story as well.

maj 14, 2008, 4:09 pm

#3 suge:
I completely agree and keep them separate as well.

Wanda was very special. Ian points out that it's her nature as an alian to think for the group versus thinking for herself, but she gives so much and is always so very kind.

I also feared for her life. I wondered when the story seemed early on and she was in the cave if she would be killed and the rest of the story would be her from another host other than Melanie, or if the rest would be from Melanie's point of view only. By near the end when Wanda was supposedly dying, in fact, I had thought we would merely see her get buried and perhaps read from Mel's point of view alone.

I was really shocked about Kyle. He made a complete turn. I'm still suprised. What shocked me more was that he had Sunny returned to Jodi's body. He cares and I am willing to bet with a second book we wold see this develope further.

Sharon drove me crazy! I was severly disappointed with her character as well as Maggie's.

maj 14, 2008, 4:13 pm

#5 suge:
How weird! The YA section? I found mine in the front of Border's. They had copies all over the place. When I went to the YA section to look at books and tell myself that I couldn't buy them, I didn't see The Host, though I did see an ad for it amongst one of the four places that they kept books from the Twilight series.

Meyer's site is what informed me that The Host was not YA. My co-worker who read an ARC gave me the impression before she read it that she was sur it was a YA, but once she finished it, she knew it wasn't.

jul 26, 2008, 1:08 pm

That was quite a book. I may not be able to come up with anything coherent because I'm still a bit muddled from the depth of the last hundred pages. But I'll try.

Suge, I'm starting to think you are a touch boy-crazy. ;) Ian was a good character though. I enjoyed his interactions with Wanderer and that he really loved Wanderer, not Wanderer-in-Melanie. It's an interesting thought, to be able to find out how much of our love for another is dependent on the body -- if out of familiarity or attraction -- and how much is really the person/soul.

At first I thought the first-person perspective was too similar to Bella. Then I decided that this was just because Meyer's writing has a particular style -- the descriptive humanness of it makes it sound the same.

I liked seeing the characters develop. Their changes were logical for the circumstances and made sense for the character involved. Like Kyle, for instance: He seemed to do an about-face, but he probably wasn't so angry and bitter before he lost Jodi. We just didn't get to see his gentle side until he had her back (in whatever consciousness she had). Plus, of course, he was softened towards the aliens thanks to Wanderer.

The aliens were great. I loved that they went to planets to make them better, but Wanderer found that Earth was not a place that needed the parasitic presence. Not all people are all bad, as she discovers. I enjoyed watching Wanderer experience the glory of being human with the descriptions of the senses and emotions. I loved the line "No creature needs five senses." Makes you appreciate the miracle of the human body. I also loved the way the aliens seemed to have trouble controlling human emotions. Like it's okay for us humans to lose control sometimes, because our emotions really are powerful and not always sensible.

While I didn't like the name Wanda, it made sense for Jeb to come up with this nickname. It was fitting coming from him with the name being old-fashioned and everything. Though I do prefer the name Wanderer.

I can definitely see Ian getting jealous over this new-found "alien gone native" out of fear that Wanderer would start to like him. And certainly Burns and Wanderer would have a lot to talk about. It would be interesting to hear if their reasons for living with the humans were similar or not. But I'm convinced that Ian doesn't really have anything to worry about -- Wanderer wouldn't see anyone else the same way. Even her infatuation with Jared is just leftover.

The middle of the book dragged a little for me. Like we were waiting a long time for Jamie to get sick, requiring something to change. But I did enjoy the book very much.

jul 26, 2008, 8:33 pm

I loved it! What a great book.

2 I didn't mind the name "Wanda." Like Suge said, it helped people accept her with a human name instead of an alien one. That Jeb knew what he was doing!

3 I think I will have to say that I liked this better than the Twilight series. I felt I was much more into it. Meyer sure does like that "torn between two hunky guys" storyline, though, doesn't she. I think guilt must be why Sharon hated Wanda so much. Melanie had gotten caught trying to find her.

jul 26, 2008, 9:33 pm

I liked The Host, but I can't really compare it to the Twilight books. The Host is much more, how to put it, in depth. Not so much pure, thoughtless romance and light storyish, it's much more complex and intruging than the Twilight series.

I personally didn't like the nickname Wanda at first, but I got used to it and kind of came to terms with it eventually.

I'd have to say, I hope there's not a sequel. You can't make another story as good without going to the extreme "rid the parasites of the world". And I wouldn't be very interested in that part, since you'd have mass ammounts of humans "dying" as soon as the aliens left their bodies. Actually, if what the end of the book suggests is true, then over a few years there might not be any parasites. Remember the little free child? That part almost made me cry actually. But it could continue on like that.

jul 26, 2008, 9:53 pm

I got used to the name Wanda too. It fit, certainly. It's just not my favorite name. I liked a lot of the other-world names that other souls had picked up. Really, Wanderer is rather a boring name compared to most of the other names souls had.

Interesting thought, compski, that Sharon acted like she did out of guilt. Mostly I think she was just not wanting to hope that Melanie could still be not-alien and so was hostile instead of hopeful, and then was too prideful to admit otherwise. A good example of how not all humans are as good-hearted as Jeb or Jamie.

A_R, I'm with you on not wanting a sequel. Though that's a good point -- there could be more and more free children around until things went closer and closer to normal.

jul 26, 2008, 11:31 pm

I was excited about the free child, too, but then they said all the incoming souls were stacked outside the maternity ward. It sounds like very few parents were taking the free route.

I don't want a sequel either. This was so intense and I don't think a sequel would measure up. Sometimes you just want them to be happy, not meeting conflict after conflict.

jul 27, 2008, 12:40 am

Though eventually, with humans in caves having children and some aliens choosing free children, the cave humans could have some liberty by saying they are the free children of some alien or other, and thus still be safe. Perhaps.

jul 27, 2008, 5:24 pm

Interesting thought lefty, I never considered that. But it's totally plausible.

jul 30, 2008, 1:00 pm

Yay - I finally get to read this thread!!

I didn't have any issue with the name Wanda, but I agree that some of the other alien names were more interesting. Actually I thought all of the other planets and other aliens were really interesting. Meyer was really creative in doing the world-building for this book.

I definitely liked Ian as a character but I reeeeally did not like Jared. I get the whole Wanderer loved him because of Melanie, but he was so cruel to Wanderer that I found myself getting annoyed at how much she still pined after him.

Also towards the middle I felt a bit like it was rehashing the plot of New Moon because Ian/Jacob was totally going after Melanderer/Bella who couldn't seem to let go of JarEdward even though he was being a jerk to her.

But I'm complaining unnecessarily because I really did like the book. :) I could see it appealing to a YA crowd too. It was a pretty innocent love story/science fiction and I think it's something that I would have really liked in high school.

jul 31, 2008, 4:30 pm

Boy crazy, moi?? Lefty! How can you say such things?

Oooh but Iam was very yummy!

jul 31, 2008, 5:59 pm

Anyone else besides me bothered by the fact that Wanda took a new body at the end? After all that talk about how the souls were violating humans by taking over their bodies?

jul 31, 2008, 6:02 pm

Yes, a bit. But I was bothered more by the body she took. Why did she have to be teeny and blond and defenseless? That was weird, and seemed to go against the character she had become throughout the book.

jul 31, 2008, 6:28 pm

I agree. When they said something like, "This is how we see you," I was thinking, "Gee, maybe you could have asked her first." Not to mention that they simply abducted this other woman, treated her just like the souls treat humans, without a qualm because they were doing it for someone they liked.

aug 1, 2008, 12:28 pm

#17 suge, umm, yes, my point exactly. ;)

Tiger & goddess, I agree with you both. I didn't like the completely frail body she now had. Since they said they tried to bring back the human inside the body first, I guess it doesn't bother me hugely that they gave the body to Wanderer. If the human wasn't coming back, the body would just die unless they put in a different soul, so it might as well be Wanderer. But that body missed people and had relationships.

Though I guess people do tend to make exceptions for their own loved ones. Like, in a famine I would share any food with my own family before trying to help strangers. It's just a natural human tendency to act for the ones you love.

aug 1, 2008, 4:00 pm

I wasn't. The body that Wanda was given didn't contain a soul anymore. The younger someone becomes a host, the harder it is for the body to survive without the soul that possesed it. This was the case with the body that wanda got.

Lefty the body was frail. I didn't like that. Mel was very athletic.

aug 1, 2008, 4:01 pm

Lefty I saw the same behavior in Life as we knew it.

aug 1, 2008, 5:31 pm

That was why it didn't bother me too much that they put Wanderer in the young host -- there wasn't a human there to occupy the body anyway.

Suge, since Mel was so athletic and thus Wanderer came to be athletic, I also thought it odd that they chose such an incompetent body. I would miss being able to do things for myself if I were moved out of my current body into a more or less helpless one.

I've heard of that book, suge. I was interested in it at some point but had forgotten about it. Thanks for reminding me that it existed!

aug 4, 2008, 1:08 am

I wasn't bothered either. I mean, the body was going to die, and the soul was no longer there to miss specific people and whatnot. I was shocked when they put Wanderer in the frail blonde's body. I wan't to have a person strong physically as Wanderer was mentally (or, souly).

aug 4, 2008, 7:37 am

lol ... souly

I do agree though.

Redigeret: aug 4, 2008, 9:14 am

I liked THe Host a lot. The story line was unique, and really enjoyable. But there was too much kissing. Otherwise, I just loved it, and couldn't put it down.
the whole soul/host thing was one of those ideas i've never heard of before. I love how Stephenie Meyer takes normal stuff such as romance and sci-fi, and makes a completely new story line and setting.

aug 4, 2008, 10:23 am

too much kissing???? What does that mean. *cocks head to side in wonder*

I know what you guys mean. She was short and childlike, but the whole reason was so that no one would be afraid of Wanderer in that body. As more humans were liberated, Wands would be in a lot of danger. I would love a sequel. the way the human race reclaimed Earth with a few new friends. But I guess we can leave a good thing alone.

aug 4, 2008, 8:19 pm

Oh yes...leave a good thing alone. Unless, of course, there's more Jared. But I'd want to read it from Mel's perspective again. I have to agree a little with you though, HP. There was a little too much romance that distracted from the plot. Just a little though! Forgive me suge!

aug 5, 2008, 9:30 am


aug 7, 2008, 9:32 pm

Ha ha ha! Get over it, non-sequel wanters! Accornding to a certain magazine that was in the Breaking Dawn release part swag bag, Steph has two sequels mapped out. *sticks her tongue out* Mapped out doesn't mean written, but hey, its very promising!

aug 7, 2008, 9:59 pm

I'd rather see her working on Midnight Sun, I think. But I'm glad you're excited, suge!

aug 7, 2008, 10:03 pm

Ooooh oooh ooooh Yes, Stephanie Meyer! Listen to Lefty! Work on Midnight Sun instead.

I guess I'm not ready to let Stephenie Meyer go.

aug 7, 2008, 10:14 pm

lol, I thought you'd agree with me. ;)

aug 7, 2008, 10:51 pm

yes, indeedy!

aug 14, 2008, 1:22 pm

#31 suge:
You didn't tell me that! I must agree with lefty (#32) but still, that's exciting.

dec 29, 2012, 1:35 pm

I loved The Host, although we'll see how the movie is going to be....

jun 2, 2013, 9:36 pm

I don't think I can even see the movie because the book was so juicy and amazing that the movie will be a major let down :)