Title: The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.
When Melanie, one of the few remaining "wild" humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
Wanderer probes Melanie's thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer's mind with visions of the man Melanie loves - Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing.
When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love. (taken from goodreads.com)
No matter how many times I read this book, I am still blown away by the piercing emotions Meyer is able to evoke from the reader. I cannot not love this book. Everything about it draws me in and surrounds me in a world of pain, fear, love, and passion. There is not another book like it. I don't think I could ever choose one favorite novel, but The Host is definitely way up there on my list.
The plot is phenomenally original and intense. The acute feelings of panic and desperation color every character's personality and actions, making the story exponentially more consuming and extraordinary. Meyer planted ideas in my mind that left me staring into space, contemplating the true meaning of unconditional love and loyalty.
The characters... where do I even begin? Each person/alien has such a distinct personality. The bonds of love and hatred that Meyer weaves between the characters always leave me emotionally exhausted after I finish the novel. Wanda is almost unrealistically altruistic, but her personality is made believable by the human fears and doubts that cloud her mind. The other survivors are divided between those who protect Wanda and those who see her as a murderous alien. Each side has valid points, and I was often torn between two opinions.
Melanie is such a strong, tenacious character. Against all the odds, Melanie stands firm and remains a part of her world. Jared is AMAZING. Enough said. Jamie is adorable and the one innocent character in a sea of murder and terror. I developed feelings for each and every character, and I could go on and on about them.
In the end, I would list The Host as one of my favorite books of all time. It honestly changed me. No matter if you're a hater or a lover of the Twilight Saga, I would at least give this book a shot. Things move a little slowly in the beginning, but keep reading and you'll embark on an incredible journey.