1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The Host

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Steerpike, Sep 29, 2011.

    Recently has to drive about 3400 miles, and I picked this up on audio CD because it was one of the few that wasn't between $40-$70 dollars, and also wasn't abridged (I hate abridged audio books).

    I was a bit unsure about the purchase, because Twilight didn't interest me enough to read past book one even though I could see where people liked it. Just not my thing. But this one also had a nice blurb by Orson Scott Card, whom I tend to like as an author, so I went ahead and bought it.

    Turned out to be pretty good. Held my interest, at any rate, and made for a more pleasant drive. The writing quality is better than Twilight, which is to be expected I suppose, though Meyer still only strikes me as a "competent" writer in a technical sense - nothing spectacular in terms of prose itself. On the other hand, it reinforced my prior belief that she is, in fact, a very good story teller (I think the two things are separate from one another), and I think that's a large part of the success of Twilight.

    Anyway, I don't know if Twilight fans will like this one or not. My daughter, who liked Twilight a lot, appears to have no interest in it. But I found it entertaining.

    EDIT: btw, we have plenty of threads where people indulge their irrational hatred of Twilight, so it would be nice if we could skip that here and just talk about this book instead.
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Given how well the book sold, I know someone else here has to have read it. Don't be shy :)
     
  3. anamardoll
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    anamardoll New Member

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    I've read The Host and liked it immensely. What was fascinating to me was that while it had a lot of the themes I *didn't* like in Twilight, it used those themes in ways that *worked* and weren't offensive to me. Funny how things are very different in a POW situation as opposed to a high school drama.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Good points, anamardoll. I think it is a more mature work than Twilight, which isn't surprising given that Twilight was Meyer's first published book. I did not find the themes in Twilight offensive, but the book just didn't hold my interest well enough for me to continue with the series. I don't know if it is simply the subject matter or the writing itself. I suspect more of the former than the latter. In The Host, however, I thought Meyer demonstrated a knack for telling the story in a way that kept me engaged. Clearly, she was able to do that in the Twilight series with a vast number of readers, but with me personally that one just didn't work as well.
     
  5. anamardoll
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    anamardoll New Member

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    Well, one thing I liked about The Host was that I never felt like the author was insisting that I like the Designated Love Interest. I thought he was a jerk at the beginning of the novel, I thought he was a jerk at the end of the novel, and I didn't feel like the authors was beating me over the head with THIS IS THE BEST ROMANCE EVER IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

    There's still problems with it: the female submission and helplessness and the (physically) underage romance at the end stands out to me in particular, but given the apocalyptic setting, it's not really the same genre and didn't bother me nearly so much.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I issues of physical age and romance don't bother me. The way i view it, the reason we have societal policies on age and romance don't have much to do with the physical body, but have more to do with the recognition that at certain ages individuals lack the emotional maturity to consent to romantic relationships. If you had a story with a 200 year old vampire who happened to have the body of an under-aged person (say a fourteen year old or something), I wouldn't be bothered if that vampire character entered into relationships with human adults, because none of the policy reasons for opposing the romance are still in place at that point. The fact would be that the vampire who appears to be a child is likely to have much more experience and emotional maturity than even the human adult in the relationship.
     
  7. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I found it to be a good idea, but with poor execution. Mostly, it's just not really my thing. I'm starting to really get into sci-fi and love those sorts of bodily takeover ideas, but it came across to me as a little bit half-baked. It also pisses me off that the main character's last name is "Stryder". I could almost understand "Strider", but even that's not a real last name. If you're going to have characters on Earth, I'd like them to have real people names because you're trying to make them into real people.

    I've also never really been a fan of stories where a character seems to be the only person to have ever done something, i.e. changing an ancient alien's mind about what is basically its duty. (edit) + instinct.

    And who says that an alien race like that would even be compatible with human bodies? And what about humans who, like those who are basically genetically immune to the common cold, are genetically immune to these aliens and reject them? What about the ones whose bodies literally destroy them instead of just rejecting them? This is what I mean about it seeming half-baked to me. It's just, "Oh, there's these aliens and they can take over people's bodies" just as though that's the easiest thing in the world and there is no factor but for whether it wants to or not.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know if you finished the book so I'll put this in spoiler tags:

    The main alien character thinks she's the only one to have done it, but by the end of the book you find out that is not the case at all, and the implication is there are going to be quite a few of them.

    The thing about the alien / human interaction without worrying about things like rejection and immune compatibility is well-established over the last 60 years of so of science fiction, so that doesn't bother me. For this type of story, I don't think it has to be explained scientifically. There are all kinds of plausible explanations for it that you could employ, but I don't feel it is necessary to do so. On the whole, I thought the execution of it was good.
     
  9. anamardoll
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    anamardoll New Member

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    It's also said in story that the invasion was rather slow and there was a "first" wave. That coupled with the fact that they've taken over quite a few planets this way was enough to wave away the scientific stuff for me -- they've had practice and a long research lead time. *shrug*

    Steerpike, for me it's more that "underage romance" is a recurring theme in Meyer's books. To pick another author not-quite-at-random, I'll throw out Piers Anthony. I don't mind SOME of his characters being obsessed with under-clothing and male hormones, but when ALL of them seem to be, there gets to a point where you feel you're hearing more about the author than the characters.
     
  10. Snoopingaround
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    Snoopingaround Banned

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    So, why did you have to drive 3400 miles? You mentioned that in the thread starter but did not explain why or whereabout, which made me curious and therefore I ask you now...
     
  11. AllThingsMagical
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    AllThingsMagical Member

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    I think I appreciated this book rather than enjoyed it. I found all of the characters incredibly predictable which meant I could predict the ending and much of the middle as well. I appreciated the fact that the storyline was well crafted, that things seemed to interlink nicely and I think it was somewhat better written than 'Twilight'. The thing that annoyed me though was that whenever Meyer tried to create an air of mystery it was already obvious to me what was going to happen so the fact she tried to pretend that it wasn't felt a little insulting. I guess the idea of it intrigued me and I think it was a great idea but it perhaps could have been better executed. I have several friends who all raved about it and I can see why they liked it but it personally wasn't my cup of tea.
     

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