Wanderer has just arrived on Earth and been implanted into her new host.  She has lived on seven worlds before coming here.  She is arriving toward the end of the alien invasion when very few humans remain.  The aliens are known as “souls” and are a peace loving type that don’t know of violence or lying.

Very few humans remain on Earth.  When the remaining humans are discovered, they are captured by Seekers – the closest thing to a police force the “souls” have.  Once captured, they are prepared for implantation where a small cut is placed at the base of the skull and the “soul” is put in the body.  The “soul” connects to the body and takes control.  The first experience the “soul” has is the receiving of the host body’s memories.  Typically, the host recedes and leaves the “soul” alone to continue life as usual.  For Wanderer, this didn’t happen.

Since the only humans left are ones that are rebels, placing a new “soul” into an adult has become risky.  The rebels seem to resist the implantation since they know what is happening.  The Wanderer was granted this request because of her experience on so many other worlds and has proven herself as a strong and brave “soul.”  Melanie is the name of Wanderer’s host and Melanie doesn’t go away quietly.

Melanie remains active and talks to Wanderer all the time.  Melanie bombards Wanderer with her memories of life so much so that Wanderer feels the same feelings that Melanie did when she had control over her own body.  Melanie hides the memories that Wanderer needs though.  A Seeker has been assigned to Wanderer in order to get information about the human rebels that worked with Melanie.  Melanie is strong enough to block those memories from her. 

Eventually, in a weakened state, Melanie allows something to slip through the wall she has constructed to keep Wanderer away from the people she loves.  She shows her memories of Jared, the man Melanie desperately loves, and Jamie, her younger brother.  These memories overwhelm Wanderer and she physically aches for Jared and Jamie herself.  Melanie knows where they might have gone into hiding since she was captured.  She convinces Wanderer to go search for them and when the chance presents itself she slips away from the Seeker and sets off to find the people THEY love.

When Wanderer finally stumbles upon the rebels she is both elated and terrified.  She is so relieved to know that Jared and Jamie are both alive and well, but at the same time, is frightened for her own life.  Wanderer endures weeks of isolation and deprivation once in custody while the rebels decide what to do with her.  Slowly some people warm up to her and begin to allow her some freedom around the hideout, but she is never alone.  They are afraid she is there to get information to take back to the Seekers and then come back and capture them all.  It takes a very long time for them to see that she has no intention of turning anyone in to the Seekers.

The story is complex.  Not only is there the issue of Melanie loving Jared and the Wanderer loving Jared because of Melanie’s memories; we also have Ian, another member of the rebels.  Ian takes it upon himself to become a permanent fixture in Wanderers life.  He is friend and protector and begins to have feelings for her and her alone (not Melanie since he didn’t know her prior to the invasion).

The story ends on a note of hope.  It is an emotional ride from beginning to end – all 631 pages.  Any science fiction fan will enjoy this story, but I think Stephenie Meyer may have done for science fiction what she did for fantasy when she wrote Twilight.  THE HOST is set in enough of a realistic setting that even people who aren’t sci-fi fans will enjoy this story.  I want to read it again, but I have so much else to read that I can’t right now, but THE HOST is definately on my “to be read again” pile.  I hope Stephenie Meyer writes another novel after she finishes with the Twilight Series.

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