Amph The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Books and Comics' started by Raven, May 6, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    [image=http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41SKEVjxuLL.jpg]
    Picked this up today; for some reason I thought that it wasn't out until later on this summer.

    I'm about 2/5 of the way through right now. So far, very good stuff, a definite improvement over her already excellent vampire books - definitely better than Twilight so far. For an alien headworm, Wanderer is really sympathetic. And the stories of the couples who've stayed together after having parasitic alien headworms implanted keep making me smile.

    Also, major props to the cover designer. Very striking image. Really caught the eye, even before I realized that it was the new Meyer book.
  2. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    Just finished. Wasn't bad. I'd give it a solid 8/10. I was somewhat disappointed with the last two chapters, even if they were fairly telegraphed.

    What I don't like is that Wanderer no longer has Melanie in her head. And vice-versa, of course. The relationships between Melanie and Jared and between Wanderer and Ian were secondary in the book to the relationship between Wanderer and Melanie. Yes, having Melanie and Wanderer in separate bodies allows for a sort of happily ever after for both of them (like Twilight, the book stands well on its own). I think that it's probably more emotionally satisfying for the characters, such as they can be emotionally satisfied, but as a reader I prefer the two together.

    My hope is that if there is a sequel ? and I'm assuming that there will be ? Wanderer's body will be badly hurt, and rather than have Wanderer die a final death with her host Melanie will offer to be the host again.

    Does this count as wild shipper speculation? Probably.
  3. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Don't know much about it (and I'm not going to highlight the spoilers :p ). Is it a stand-alone or open to a sequel?
  4. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    Like Twilight, the book stands on its own fairly well while being open to a sequel.

    Like Twilight, I have a feeling that the sequels won't match the original due to the change in circumstances over the course of the story.
  5. KaraJadeKim Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2008
    star 3
    I am reading it right now i picked it up Tuesday its a fast mover i am on chapter7 its really good defitnly matches her vampire books and i think i heard on Borders.com i saw a interview with her and i think she is going to see how this performs before she does a sequel
  6. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    So, the big question: I can get it 40% at Borders (the perks of having a rewards card :p ). Should I spend 60% of the cost on it or wait to get it from the library? (I liked Twilight enough to buy, didn't like its sequels.)
  7. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    It's better than Twilight. Much more assured, smoother writing. Better themes. More interesting premise, better heroine. I'd definitely suggest picking it up.


    Something that I noticed when turning the book over in my head is that it's a retelling of the Gospels.

    A person born under a different star than everyone else wanders into the desert and becomes enlightened. Ends up amongst a people that are being oppressed by an empire, who are trying to fight back. The person preaches peace, practices peace, and loves people despite all their flaws. They provide a bounty of food, they provide miracle healing, and they have love even for their enemies. In the end, they decide to make a sacrifice for the people, one that results in their death. And then, they come back from the dead. After a fashion, at least.

    It's never in-your-face, but it's a presence throughout the story.
  8. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I am 400 pages into it, so haven't read the HTR parts, but I have cried three times so far. Once at Walter's funeral, once when Jamie mourned the loss of his whole family and during the 'vivisection' of the soul. I am reading this as quickly as I humanly can.
  9. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    It usually takes a combination of music and prose together to get me sniffling. I don't sniffle to video. Sometimes to theatre. And the music I generally listen to is stuff like AC/DC, Motley Crue, Led Zeppelin, etc. I generally don't find I get sniffly while reading and listening to that sort of music. But towards the end of the Host, with iTunes set to play everything and little supervision from myself, I ended up in a place in iTunes I don't normally go.

    Links to the tracks that came around near the end (the site likes to 404, so I hope that these work):
    http://www.ocremix.org/remix/OCR01339/
    http://www.ocremix.org/remix/OCR01451/

    I sniffled. :(

  10. Ekasra Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2004
    star 1
    I was kind of skeptical if it would be better than Twilight, but it looks like I'm definately going to have to pick this one up. :)
  11. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Got in, only a couple pages in. I'm not as impressed as I was with the beginning of Twilight (and as much as I'm pretty sure that at the end I'll still like Twilight better, I'm trying to think positive thoughts - especially since it's a hardcover, which I didn't realize :p ).
  12. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I really hope that if there are subsequent books, we learn more about the actual process of Earth's occupation. Namely, how much resistance there was from governmental branches. What it's like in foreign countries. For example, with the souls in charge, is there any such thing as war in the Middle East? Do souls understand the concept of jihad? Presumably they don't yield to the urge to do things in the name of religious warfare, so how do they broker peace for nations that have resisted alliances for centuries?

    I've passed this book around to my mom, my sister, my best friend... My mom currently has it because it was her birthday on Tuesday and I thought she'd enjoy having this in addition to her other gifts.
  13. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    One day, the leaders of the Middle East got together and announced peace. No more reprisals, no more terrorist attacks, no more spending in the military. At first, no one really believed that they meant it. But peace just happened.

    However, I figure that Osama Bin Laden and co. are some of the few humans still free.

    As the Souls don't believe in any kind of afterlife, most religious issues fall by the wayside. The moral parts of religion they mostly take for granted as part of their nature - except perhaps in how they apply to the right of people to not have an alien headworm. :p
  14. jedi_of_ennth Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2005
    star 4
    I really enjoyed The Host. I couldn't put it down, even though I guessed a few of the major plot twists. The conflict between Melanie and Wanderer was written very well, and the relationships between the characters progressed steadily and realistically. There were a few times throughout the book when Meyer's tendency to overdose on melodrama asserted itself, but they weren't prominent enough to cause me to lose interest in the novel.

    Meyer tends to put more emphasis on interpersonal relationships than on an overarching plot, which was one thing I disliked about Twilight (the "evil vampire" plot doesn't come into play until very late in the storyline and seems a bit forced even then), but that tight focus worked very well in The Host. I didn't get as emotionally attached to the characters in The Host as I did to the Twilight series stars, but on the whole, I think The Host is a step forward for Meyer as an author.

    I don't know how I feel about the idea of sequels, though. To me, The Host works very well as a simple stand-alone.
  15. JediPriestess Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2004
    star 4
    Read this and really didnt like it all. [face_plain]
  16. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6

    I'm curious, have you read her other books?

    Also, if I may ask, what was it about the book you didn't like?
  17. JediPriestess Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2004
    star 4
    Yep, loved the Twilight series so far. Thats why I picked up this one. But I just dont get into books like The Host. Too far out for me I guess. In all honesty, I didnt expect to like the Twilight books either but THOSE I couldnt put down.
  18. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I'm one of the few people I know who has been writing fanfic for The Host and the one that I submitted to thehostlibrary.com involves a conversation about "When did you first suspect?" All of my characters had stories based on what would make me freak out and one of them was when the brother of the main character went to a Red Sox-Yankees game and half of the people were chanting "Yankees Suck!" as usual and half were going "I say, those chaps aren't half-bad, really."

    It was based on the whole NBA game scene from The Host, of course.
  19. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I picked it up on a friend's recommendation, and while it was good, I found it rather derivative in a lot of ways.

    For example, I found the Souls very reminiscent of the Trill from Star Trek, the Goa'uld from Stargate, the aliens from Heinlein's The Puppet Masters (the book, not the movie), and The Hunter from Hal Clement's Needle series.

    The whole idea of an alien invasion, with an alien becoming a human sympathizer, is very reminiscent of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's Footfall.

    And much of the theme of a nation/world conquered with only a small band of survivors forming a resistance reminds me a lot of Heinlein's Sixth Column.

    As far as seemingly derivative works go, it's pretty good, and I'll say that the similarities between The Host and these examples I gave isn't as egregious as something like Eragon was, but I still found it just a bit, I don't know, lack in some way. It's nothing that I can put my finger on, though.

    Kimball Kinnison
  20. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6

    I don't think that there's much question that the world building of the Earth of The Host is fairly mundane. It reads to me like a cross between Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the Stepford Wives, though less sinister. That was fine. For some stories, the setting is the story; in the Host, the setting was just a setting. Meyer chose to use the props of alien head worms and a desert - it could just as easily have been a Sith Lord turning away from the Dark Side and becoming a Jedi, or maybe a carpenter becoming a Prophet.

    I think that the most subtly hidden thread in the story is that Wanderer is Jesus.

    Like I said earlier:
    It's a story about a person was born under far different circumstances than most.
    It's a story about a person who makes an extrodinary journey of faith.
    It's a story about a person who walks into the desert and is tempted, but does not fall to temptation.
    It's a story about a person who brings healing like no one has seen before.
    It's a story about a person who preaches peace and non-violence, who turns the other cheek, and who loves unconditionally.
    It's a story about a person who brings people back from the dead.
    It's a story about a person who goes willingly to their death in order to save others.
    It's a story about a person who returns from the dead themselves.



  21. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I could agree with all of that, except that it still bears so much similarity to those previous works, especially Needle by Hal Clement (and its sequel, Through the Eye of a Needle, both of which I highly recommend to everyone).

    I'm not saying that The Host is a bad book. Far from it. I bought it while on a business trip and wound up staying up to about 3am reading it (while I was doing a lot of server maintenance). It was a good read, and well written, but it still felt like something was lacking just a little.

    Kimball Kinnison
  22. mara_jade_rox Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2007
    star 2
    I think that the end was just a little, oh, not practical. I think Melanie and Wanderer should have stayed in Melanie and Ian and Jared could just deal.
  23. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6

    I definitely agree. Melanie and Wanderer had the best relationship in the book. The end that I was hoping for what the after Wanderer left Melanie, we'd see the joining between them again, and through the joining see a few weeks apart through Melanies eyes, leading to the point where they'd merge again, a merging of equals. Becoming truly one person, like they briefly were in the desert while dying.

    :(
  24. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I think that it makes sense that Wanda could only have her own peace as a separate entity. I look forward to seeing the development of Mel and Wanda as soul sisters/best friends.
  25. mara_jade_rox Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2007
    star 2
    I don't think that there will be another book. That's just what it sounds like on Meyer's sit.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.