Aliens. Inhabited bodies. Post-apocalyptic earth. There are themes I usually appreciate in movies, but not really in books. In fact, when I started reading Meyer’s The Host in book form, I quit after the first chapter. It just wasn’t something I thought I could get invested in.

But with the help of CDs and lots of commuting, I’m definitely into the book. Maybe it’s that there’s a more passive activity involved in listening than there is in reading or maybe it’s that I just needed to get past my preconceived notions about sci-fi-esque books, but whatever it is, I’m really enjoying this read.

The basic plot is that a race of aliens has taken over most of earth by inhabiting human bodies. In most cases, these “take-overs” put away the host’s spirits, but for host Melanie and her alien inhabitor Wanderer, this doesn’t happen. Instead, Melanie and Wanderer end up inhabiting the same mind and body. This dual identity leads them to learn a great deal about each other and brings them into some very emotional and dangerous situations.

There’s a lot to consider from a social and literary perspective in this book. Ideas about colonialism, about identity, about the nature of humanity, about communal social structures. If I taught a higher-level literature course someday, I might think about using this text because of these themes but also because the story is compelling (not as teeny-bopper-ish as Twilight – though I did love those – but equally well-paced) and the characters complex and interesting.

I’m only half-way through the book – it’s a long one – but it’s making me look forward to long car rides. That’s really nice. In fact, I’m eager to get back in the car and listen again. Need to know what happens to Wanderer and Melanie.

Anyone else read this? What did you think?

The Host by Stephenie MeyerThe Host by Stephenie Meyer