Welcome to the first month of my new book club, where myself and my best friend Kayleigh will discuss a new book each week! Our very first book is The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I explained our reasoning behind choosing it fully in my introduction post at the start of the month if you would like some more background information!
The Host is a dystopian novel set in the future, where Earth has been occupied by an alien race. The majority of humans have been replaced by gentle and kind ‘souls’. Our heroine is Wanderer, a soul who takes over the body of Melanie Stryder. Melanie doesn’t surrender her body easily though, and Wanda ends up breaking the rules of her people to reunite with Melanie’s loved ones. This leads her to a group of humans who have managed to avoid being captured. The Host explores what it means to be human, and the complexity of human relationships. It’s an all-time favourite of mine so I couldn’t wait to reread it and discuss it. In my post we discuss the slow start of the book and the main characters, then you can head over to Kayleigh’s post to read about the supporting characters and our hopes for the sequel. Enjoy!
Emma: I thought we could begin by discussing the slow start to The Host?
Kayleigh: YES!! Like I love the book but I just feel that the dialogue between Wanda and Melanie when they’re alone takes forever. I know it’s necessary to build up the story but it just seemed to never end.
Emma: The first time I read the book I was really put off by the early chapters. I really didn’t think I’d enjoy it and thought about just abandoning it. It seemed to drag on for ages, and nothing of much interest happened. Then as soon as it got over the 100 page mark I was hooked! Confession: now whenever I read it I skip to page 100.
Kayleigh: I feel as soon as it broke away from just being Wanda and Melanie and about the seeker it became so much more interesting. I don’t always skip the start but I completely understand why you choose to do it. It’s just a drag and I certainly read the middle/end faster than I do with the start.
Emma: It always annoys me that the movie focused mainly on Wanda/the seeker when it’s the most boring part of the book. It’s probably been about a year since I last read it, but I’m always cautious rereading my favourite books in case I find something that puts me off it. Did you enjoy The Host as much reading it this month?
Kayleigh: I feel I always have a caution, like you do, when re-reading favourites because I’m always worried I’ve hyped it up more by what I thought happens than what actually does. In the same way, I might have enjoyed it more previously than I did the fourth or fifth time around. It’s been maybe 2 years since I last read it but I enjoyed it just as much as I have previously. I still get excited when reading about O’Wanda
Emma: Ugh O’Wanda! Where can I find a man as perfect as Ian O’Shea? I feel like he’s up there with Peeta Mellark in terms of perfect book boyfriends (Peeta is obviously my number 1 always though). I think one of the reasons I love their relationship so much is because of how natural it is. There’s no insta love or predictable drama. When you first meet Ian there’s no indication that he’ll be the love interest, he just naturally becomes it. It’s actually interesting, I have a later edition of the book that includes a Q&A with Stephenie Meyer and she says that Ian was just meant to be Kyle’s sidekick then as she continued writing she felt she had to put him and Wanda together.
Kayleigh: Peeta always tops the list. Always. I like that it just happened and you can tell he really cares for her. It’s true what they say you fall in love with who you love and for Ian it didn’t matter that Wanda was in Melanie’s body – he loved her and that’s pretty sweet. Although, and I feel you’ll disagree. I did love Melanie and Jared together.
Emma: I just really am not a fan of Jared’s character. I’ve read the book so many times and every time I just find him unreasonable and annoying. I feel like his behaviour towards Wanda is unrealistic. Surely if you were in that situation you would show some hope/faith that you could get your girlfriend back? I totally understand initially being freaked out and totally untrusting towards her, of course you would have your doubts! But straight away Wanda acts differently to the other souls in human bodies. It’s clear that she isn’t normal. Surely you would want to spend some time investigating what was going on and trying to get to the bottom of it, but instead Jared is just violent and gross Funnily enough, I did find myself more sympathetic to him in the film when he was played by Max Irons. Wonder why that was…
Kayleigh: I understand where you’re coming from. I hated the way he treated her to begin with. Then I hated that he was all if I can’t have Mel I’ll have you – like no. But I did understand where he was coming from. Like you I did fall in love with him because of the film, wonder why that happened
Emma: Haha I felt so conflicted watching the film, like agh Jared is such an idiot but Max Irons is so pretty!
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed our chat! Head over to Kayleigh’s blog for the rest of our chat. Please feel free to join in the discussion and let me know if you loved The Host as much as we did!