The Host – Apples to Oranges
The Host by Stephenie Meyer puts a twist on the classic tale of alien invasion by showing the aliens as a compassionate advanced species while the worst traits of human beings are on full display for readers to feel conflicted about who they should root for to win as the dominant species on the planet Earth. Because this is Stephenie Meyer of Twilight fame, there is also a paranormal love storyline. This time, there are two separate love stories involving 4 individuals but only 3 bodies. Inter-species relationships are difficult when one female body is hosting two souls that love two different kinds of boys.
The book was published in 2008, near the end of the Twilight frenzy and the movie was released in 2013 to a lackluster response. This might explain why there were two more books planned for this series but not much progress in almost 10 years. It is a shame because The Host is my favorite Stephenie Meyer story and I want to know what happens to all the inhabitants of Earth.
Which version did I enjoy the most? Drum roll please… the book!
This was the first time I selected a story that was being read by my local book club so I was able to gather a lot of feedback. Most of the book club members enjoyed the movie more because it sanitized the violence towards the female character. In the movie, the actress who plays Melanie/Wanda is physically adorable. She gets some cuts and bruises but overall maintains her porcelain complexion. In the book, the male characters attack the alien, many, many times but the alien is in a female body that was once loved by many of her attackers. Her face is heavily scarred from attacks where she refuses to defend herself. She survives an attempted murder but refuses to testify against her male attacker who suffers no repercussions. All of this makes for a compelling science fiction story but for a group of mothers, there was a question about whether or not they would allow their daughters to read this book that was marketed as a Young Adult love story because Melanie and Wanda both end up with men who had physically hurt them.
I was drawn to the science fiction aspects and loved reading about all the other planets that the Hosts had inhabited and possibly improved with their presence. So I was baffled by one major flaw in Stephenie’s world building. There are more than just human beings on this planet. They inhabited dolphin-like creatures on another world but only selected human beings on Earth, ignoring all other species like dogs, cats, birds, etc. Since there might not be another published book in this series, in my mind, this is how I decided that both species can learn to live on the same planet together because the Hosts would incorporate other species or just move on. Honestly I have no idea how she could wrap-up a series where the aliens appear to be the “good guys” but I’m still crossing my fingers that she will someday write The Seeker and The Soul.
The book/movie selection for next month will be a surprise for both of us. I’m attending the 2017 San Diego Comic Con where I will spend 4 days being inundated with the entertainment industry’s latest movies, television shows, comics and superheroes. I’m hoping to find great inspiration for my next few blog posts. Stay Tuned.
Columnist: Jessie lives in Oregon and writes to avoid the rain. She only feels compelled to kill her characters when she starts a new diet and if she hates the ending of a TV episode she’ll rewrite it to give everyone a happily ever after. Currently Jessie is an unpublished author but she works tirelessly to removed two letters – un – from that word.
Column book and movie tape drawn by Evangeline Owen