|LITTLE BROWN BOOKS GROUP|
the guardian Fri 31 July 2009
The aliens in Meyer's The Host are contradictory critters: on the one hand, gentle pacifists who don't bother with money because they just take what they need from shops, on the other, ruthless invaders of not only other sentient species' planets but their bodies, too. This novel opens after Earth has been invaded, with only a few scraps of humankind fighting for survival. On the surface, nothing much has changed, but the reality is that almost everyone has been taken over by the slug-like invaders. Melanie is unlike most human hosts, though. She fights back, and her parasitic alien struggles for control, and then for understanding. The Host veers too often into either melodrama or sheer tedium, and for much of the book, Melanie and the rest of the cast eke out an existence underground - they talk a lot, they play football, and nothing much happens. When it's good, the novel works well, and will appeal to fans of the author's hugely bestselling Twilight series, but it is little more than a half-decent doorstep-sized chunk of light entertainment.