My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was pleasantly surprised by The Host. After being underwhelmed by Twilight, I was, to be totally honest, taken about by how good this one was. The intriguing premise was backed up by excellent characterization, and while the book moved reaaaaaally slowly, in the end it was worth it to keep going.
First things first: yes, The Host moves really slowly. I think the main reason for this is because so much of it takes place in Melanie/Wanda’s head. A major part of the story is these two women, inhabiting the same body, trying to come to terms with what’s happened to them as well as with each other. This could be really difficult to pull off, but Meyer did a great job.
Also, the romance was really interesting. I’m not sure whether to describe it as a triangle or a square, but it is what it is and that was also played really well. It was also interesting to watch both men’s attitudes toward Wanda change over the course of the book as they got to know her. Actually, even outside the love shape, it was interesting to watch the other characters interact with Wanda and change their minds. I think this was another part of the reason the book moved so slowly – people weren’t going to change their minds overnight, and having it happen over the course of so much time made it more believable.
Finally, there was Wanda herself. The way she was torn between her Soul side and her human side was believable, as well as watching her and the others struggle with what it actually means to be human. Another interesting aspect of her character was watching her try to develop her own personality instead of just going along with what would make the others happy. Her struggle felt really genuine to me and made it easy to root for her.
It took me forever to get through The Host, but at the end I was glad I’d stuck with it. If you’ve read Twilight and been underwhelmed by it, don’t let it deter you from reading The Host: it’s nothing like Meyer’s other books.