Is violence society’s downfall as reflected in “The Host”?

Stephenie Meyer‘s The Host is one of the most underrated novels that I have read to date. This story is an amalgam of compassion, forgiveness, love and identity within communities. With wonder and mystery about our existence, it is a story that points out the prejudice in today’s society and shows us that despite the stereotypes, some people are not who (or what) we expect them to be. Meyer reminds us that there are people who cannot be categorised, and where there is love, there is capacity for forgiveness.

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading ‘soul’ who has been given Melanie’s body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, 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.

Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts 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 yearns for a man she’s never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

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From other reviews of this book, it is clear that on a whole most people thought that novel was just alright. But I honestly believe that a lot of people say this about The Host because they just associate the author with the Twilight series and don’t really give book a fighting chance.

When I was in my early teens, I really enjoyed Meyer’s Twilight novels. But I can understand why some may think that it’s been overdone.

However, The Host is a totally different ballpark. So what I want to get across, is this: if you allow yourself to miss out on reading this one of a kind novel just because all the Twilight hype annoys you, you will miss out on a truly enriching reading experience. For those who begin reading this novel with preconceived Twilight prejudices have blinded themselves from capturing the deeper ideas that are so expertly hidden inside the storyline.

It is the kind of book that one can find themselves reading over and over again and still discover a new book with a new meaning each time. That kind of thing can only be done with very well written novels.

The Host is a complex story. Not only is there a very complicated love triangle, but her deeper message is also riveting: the issue of violence in our society and how it could lead to our downfall.

Meyer makes the world of the aliens created more desirable than the one we currently inhabit. With all the violence at hatred in our planet, the aliens that come to wipe Earth of humans genuinely believe that it they are doing the right thing – ridding the planet of the hatred and evil that inhabits it.

“Can you see how we thought we might be able to do better, though?”
— Stephenie Meyer, The Host

The fact that the souls want to come in and wipe out the human race to ensure there is peace, emphasises the fact that in with humans comes violence, and that violence can be our very downfall. In this case, causing a third party intervene and wipe us out to avoid such hatred.

The good thing about The Host, though, is that it ends on a note of hope. Meyer reminds us that although we humans are capable of such violence, we are equally capable of much love. That with so much emotion, the highs are as high and the lows are low.

“I’d never lived on a planet where such atrocities could happen, even before the souls came. 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.”
— Stephenie Meyer, The Host

At the end of her story, Meyer writes

“What was it that made this human love so much more desirable to me than the love of my own kind? Was it because it was exclusive and capricious? …Or was it simply better somehow? Because these humans hate with so much fury, was the other end of the spectrum that they could love with more heart and zeal and fire?”
— Stephenie Meyer, The Host

The Host is an emotional rise from beginning to end – all 631 pages. Any science fiction fan will enjoy this story, but it is set in enough of a realistic setting that even people who aren’t sci-fi  fans will enjoy it. Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, The Host is an unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers.

 

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