The Host

by Stephenie Meyer

“This place was truly the highest and the lowest of all worlds – the most beautiful senses, the most exquisite emotions.. the most malevolent desires, the darkest deeds. Perhaps it was meant to be so. Perhaps without the lows, the highs could not be reached.”

“Eight full lives,” I whispered against his jaw, my voice breaking. “Eight full lives and I never found anyone I would stay on a planet for, anyone I would follow when they left. I never found a partner. Why now? Why you? You’re not of my species. How can you be my partner?”
“It’s a strange universe,” he murmured.

Earthlings have almost been taken over by an alien species who inhabit their minds and bodies, effectively killing them. But when they got to Melanie, one of the last on earth, they picked the wrong girl. The “soul” who is being put in her body is Wanderer. So-called because she has lived on more planets than anyone else of her species. She comes to earth late in their invasion, so, because they are kind, non-violent, and incapable of deceit, Earth, once on the verge of self-destruction, is now a pretty great place to live. But Melanie refuses to die. Eventually, Melanie and Wanda become allies and sisters of the heart in one body. Melanie is determined to find her little brother and her love, Jared, who are in hiding along with the rest of the last remaining humans in a secret commune. But Wanda is being followed by one of the “Seekers” who protect the “souls” and is determined to find and destroy the rebels who pose a danger to their species.

Unlike many of the reviewers, I reveled in the descriptions and the details that so many felt slowed the “action” down. I loved “Wanda” and the development of the relationships in the commune. This book was just what I needed after finishing the Harry Potter series in a 2-week marathon and in the throws of Harry Potter withdrawal syndrome. I sympathize with some of the criticisms. The love story part was problematic and a bit boring. The relationship with Jamie was a bit overdone. And the ending was…well it just would not end. It’s like she couldn’t decide how to end it so she just threw all her imagined endings into the pot. Finally, when she got to it, it turned out pretty satisfying. I was surprised!

**Spoiler**

The descriptions of “Pet” really turned me off. I wish she had chosen a different type of person for the gentle yet heroic Wanderer to occupy. Let’s not forget, Wanderer also earned iconic status as “Rides the Beast” I’m not sure Pet is worthy of her after Melanie. **End Spoiler**


Stephenie Meyer planned (and still plans, I guess) this to be a trilogy, presumably concentrating on whether the remaining humans would be successful in surviving and triumphing against the invasion. Although we root for the human rebels against the takeover of the remaining humans, I’m not sure I’m anxious to read more. This ended in a very hopeful way, and sometimes hope is better than reality. “Be careful what you wish for…”

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

November 21, 2016

The Chemist

By Stephanie Meyer

“Kevin rolled his eyes. “I bet you always have a plan, don’t you, shorty? ”She regarded him with flat eyes. “I can’t rely on muscle, so I rely on brains. It appears you have the opposite problem.”

Stephanie Meyer can write a good page-turner. Say what you will, all of the books I have read by her have really engaged me, and The Chemist was no exception. It is a light thriller with a fair share of romantic mush. Although it has lots of violence and a high mortality rate, it is not very dark, terrifying, or heart pounding. Somehow you know everything is going to turn out OK. Our heroine is an emotionally damaged female John Wick, Jason Bourne, or Equalizer type, except she has the special superpower of being a brilliant chemist and former torturer who uses her expertise to protect herself and wreak havoc on bad guys. At least she hopes they are bad guys. She is on the run from a certain U.S government agency that is trying to kill her because she knows too much. She agrees to do one last job for them in exchange for them ceasing and desisting. A common trope, yes.

The book kind of bogs down at the beginning with the setup and her preparations to capture her prey. It was interesting and admirable but went on a bit too long. I almost quit. I hung on and it picked up considerably after her target proves himself to be a sweet, innocent victim with an extremely dangerous twin brother (Kevin), who turns out to be also targeted by another branch of the government. Alex, our heroine, reluctantly teams up with him to extricate themselves from their mutual dilemma and keep his beloved, but naïve, (and, sadly, a bit dim,) brother safe. And therein lies my main complaint about this book. I actually prefer beta heroes as opposed to the Alpha male heroes. But they don’t work so well when the book is set, not in the real world, but in the nether world of constant danger, evil, and death. Especially when our heroine is such a badass. I didn’t understand the romance. She had more in common and more chemistry with his crazy and dangerous brother. They really got each other. By comparison, Daniel seemed ineffectual. But a super-nice guy. A mensch. Yeah. He actually expresses qualms about stealing a car when they were running for their lives, pursued by the powers of hell. And he was apologizing all the way through the book for being so stupid. At one point, Kevin, the uber-tough agent, tells him to shut up so he can talk to his nemesis, Alex, because at least she has some sense. Those two are hostile towards each other through the majority of the book accompanied by a lot of amusing banter and snark, but they had mutual respect. They bonded over rolling their eyes at his brother and her love interest. But, to my disappointment, it was not foreplay.
Towards the end, I kind of sped-read, not feeling compelled to savor every word and development. As a side note, Kevin’s dogs also were a little over the top and added an almost fantasy element. (Think Dean Koontz’s Watchers). The ending was a little pat, but I didn’t mind that so much either. I like the way the epilogue was done. It was clever. All in all, an intriguing concept, competently done, but lacking any surprise or twists. She is not a great writer, like some non-literary entertainment-only novelists are, but she can spin a tale and keep you engaged. I’d give a sequel, if there is one, a chance. But please, first, a sequel to The Host!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

February 28, 2017