The Host - Stephenie Meyer Having never read any of Stephenie Meyer's work before, the most likely of possibile reasons being that I've been doing my utmost best to avoid the Twilight series, but also because I'm always generally wary of marmite authors, I was really conflicted about even reading The Host in the first place. For months it had been on my bookshelves, intimidating me with it's size, making me wary of how long it could take me to read, having just finished a reading marathon of about 13 books in August, but I bit the bullet and chose to at least attempt this book, and once again, I found myself between a rock and hard place, a feeling I hadn't experienced until not that long ago, with The Knife of Never Letting Go.

The book started off pretty well, diminishing some of my automatic assumptions of the style and format of the book; I had prepared myself for split narration between both female characters and for a much more abrupt and violent style of 'alien', both of which I was pleasantly surprised I didn't get. For such a large standalone book, I had also expected The Host to have a balance between world building and character building; much of the world building to be scene setting and then used more throughout, while the character building would, as you would assume, take part throughout the book, but I personally didn't like the balance between the two. I remember feeling quite elated within the first 100 pages, full of excitement and being proud of myself for finally picking up this book. I was more than happy to give the characters time and for the story to unravel, and I was so certain that I would love this book. So Amanda, what happened for you to feel so differently 100, 200 pages later?

Now I'm not going to rip this book to smithereens as I have in the past, as it's not necessarily the author or the plots fault that I haven't gotten out of it what the author has spent time to put into it, and for that reason, I can't completely and utterly slate the writing or the style, or specific qualities and features I myself didn't enjoy, while others might, but I can mention what I didn't like and why, so here goes. The actual plot implied on my copy of The Host had me feeling intrigued and amazed, and I was all but more than ready to be on an adventure with our main character(s) to find this 'man they both love', but I began to see that this wasn't really much of a plot at all as they find said man near enough a quarter of the way through the entire book and this actually frustrated me much more than I had expected. If this wasn't bad enough, the book felt as though it had slowed down completely, almost as if it were not moving at all. I couldn't have cared any less about the characters baking bread, or eating bread, or if they'd been making love to the bread; I reached a point where I stopped eating bread altogether while I continued reading because I was fed up of the mention of it. After around 200 pages, I seriously felt like I was dragging my heels through the sand and forcing myself unhappily to read this book. I felt that both Meyers and the publishers gave me false excitement, and encouraged me to spend money I could have spent elsewhere on more honest and truthful books, but as I mentioned earlier, these negatives are purely personal.

It was when I reached a state past 450 pages that I realised I really wasn't enjoying this book. I had begun to feel nothing but irritation for most of the characters by this point, not to mention annoyance surrounding the so called 'three person, two bodied' love triangle, which to me, was actually a three person, one soul, three bodied lust/love four sided shape with absurd mentionings of ownership, false feelings and generally, a lot of your general emotional angst and I almost couldn't physically finish reading it, as I'd lost almost all of my motivation to do so.

However, there were aspects I enjoyed, such as the concept. The idea of having 'aliens' or 'souls' take the body and use them for their own reminded me a lot of being possessed in horror books or programmes, so the actual method was easy to take to, having watched numerous episodes of the television series 'Charmed' when I was about 6 years old. The other concept of an individual human having enough strength to teach another species how to be human in their actions, in their learning and their thoughts also reminded me of another human/alien relationship that was around way before I was born, the one between a young boy and an alien in the film ET. While I'm not ET's biggest fan, The Host itself had a lot in common with the film, from that of learning to love those who are around you like your own family, to learning what it meant to be human, I felt the similarities between these two features made it easier for me to like certain areas of the book.

Overall, The Host didn't feel like an adventure/sci-fi book to me, it felt like it would have belonged better in a 'journey to finding yourself and where you belong' genre. It makes you step back and take a look at your own values, your loyalties, what makes you strong, what makes you weak and what makes you fight for what you feel is the right course of action. I wanted excitement and adventure, and I was told in other reviews that I would get that, but having read it myself, I can see now that that's much more of a personal interpretation and not a given. This actually leaves me pretty afraid to read Twilight next year after having heard that this book was a 'huge improvement' on the for-mentioned series. I fear that Meyers may have just disappointed me a little too much.

3 Stars.