-“It's not the face, but the expressions on it. It's not the voice, but what you say. It's not how you look in that body, but the thing
you do with it. You are beautiful.” - Ian
Somehow Meyer once again creates an impossibly torn, supernatural love triangle! No, no, it’s actually a love quadruple (triangles are too simple for this book!). This story I liked BETTER than Twilight (*huge gasp* – I know, crazy right?). The characters are much stronger and there is more to it than just a supernatural love “triangle.” And in this story, the term “two different worlds coming together” takes on a whole new meaning.
I kept looking at the Wanderer-Wanda/Melanie personalities through an actor's eye. I sometimes do this with truly unique, developed characters. What a fascinating and amazing role they would be. To take a human host, learn a new culture, and fight with the inner voice of the person whose body you now inhabit (constantly fighting, trying to be your own personality, the frustration of someone else throwing their memories at you, eventually an unlikely friendship) WOW! Two different ways of thinking, moving, reacting… Strong emotions are new to Wanderer as well, so her discovery of them is also an intriguing nuance. How can you figure out what emotion it is you are feeling when you’ve never had such experiences before? How can it be love when it hurts so much?
-“Perhaps there could be no joy on this planet without an equal weight of pain to balance it out on some unknown scale.”- Wanda
Meyer somehow gets to the heart and morality to the situation without making the reader feel uncomfortable. There's nothing political or intense "change the world" agendas thrown at you. It’s about being human. At first you root for Melanie, but then you find yourself siding with Wanda too. Two opposite personalities trapped together not of their own doing with polar opposite ways of living. For Wanderer, inhabiting a host body is a part of her culture. This is how she has lived for centuries. It’s almost comparable to a change of clothes for her. Yet Meyer weaves through so many moral issues from both sides of the fence, along with inner and outer struggles of the women, brilliantly. I couldn't put the book down despite the fact it’s HUGE!
It was also really interesting for me that Meyer approached the story from the perspective of one of the aliens rather than a human protagonist. I liked seeing the human race through the eyes of a gentle, non-warlike creature. They have taken over this planet, but they’re peaceful in temperament? It significantly changed the development and the depth of the story. It’s a roller coaster of emotions, even more intense for this individual who has never experienced such all-encompassing feelings before. Everything is felt strongly.
-“We value the individual. We probably put too much emphasis on the individual, if it comes right down to it. How many people, in the abstract, would...let's say Paige....how many people would she sacrifice to keep Andy alive? The answer wouldn't make any sense if you were looking at the whole of humanity as equals.”- Jeb
The pages rushed by as Meyer keeps you always in some type of suspense. Being a fan of science fiction, I can comfortably wrap my head around alien invasions. I'm not sure how Twilight fans will ingest this novel. Can vampire fans make the leap to aliens? But one thing is for sure, there are no sharp divisions of loyalties. Nothing is black(Jacob) or white(Edward).
-“I'd loved in so many bodies, but never one I loved like this. Never one that I craved in this way. Of course, this would be the one I'd have to give up. The irony made me laugh, and I concentrated on the feel of the air that popped in little bubbles from my chest and up through my throat. Laughter was like a fresh breeze - it cleaned its way through the body, making everything feel good. Did other species have such a simple healer? I couldn't remember one.” - Wanda
The way Meyer expressed sensations in the book was gorgeous. As noted above, “the feel of the air that popped in little bubbles from my chest” is just one of the many illustrations she deftly pens. The narrative is just as thorough as the characters themselves. It also gives that extra polish to the character of Wanda. She defines things in a different way, highlighting her way of feeling this new world, just as each character in the book experiences challenges and daily life differently.
I love the dichotomy Meyer brings to the phrase, "we come in peace," because that's what Wanderer's species did and then took over the planet. What does peace mean? What is the price of peace? It’s all about point of view, especially for the characters in this book. They all grow in some ways in terms of acceptance, discovery, and looking at things from a new point of view.
There is a huge amount of dialogue that I found enduring. The narrative never slowed even though Wanda's/Melanie's thoughts (which would normally take up a few seconds in "real time") flowed through pages. This is a testament to Meyer's talent to create a character you can journey with mostly through internal dialogue. There are a lot of external struggles as well, but the majority of the book is kept in the main character's experiences and thoughts. Very well written!
This book was fantastic. I enjoyed it more the more I read. One side of the coin, Wanderer has been defined by her experiences, never through her relationships. On the other side, Melanie has had to live an extreme life on the run and has found happiness solely through her relationships. In the most unlikely of bonds and the most difficult struggles of love, in the end, peace of the heart is finally discovered. Life is celebrated. Love never gives up. And just when you think its over, a new hope is kindled.
I REALLY hope Meyer writes more!!!! There is so much potential for another story! I’m not ready to say goodbye to these characters… I’ll keep my fingers, toes, and parasitic attachments crossed!
Melanie: Thank you, Wanda. My sister. I will never forget you.
Wanda: Be happy, Mel. Enjoy it all. Appreciate it for me.
Interesting tidbit: The title "The Host" comes from the perspective of the main character, Wanderer, because her "host" Melanie forever changes the way she sees the world.
"Descendants of Avalon"
Released via Inklings Publishing
("The Forgotten" volume 2)
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse