Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Host

I have been a fan of Stephenie Meyer's writing since reading a New York Times story about her almost a year ago. In the post-Harry Potter world, the literary community was looking for the next J.K. Rowling, a writer who would explore the impossible in an effort to inspire us in our current lives. Her visual prose and ability to believably communicate the thoughts of multiple characters fully brings you into the fold of the story the moment you crack open her books.  

My only criticism of The Host is that the book drags a bit from time to time, occasionally repeating the sentiments of her characters that we have long since grasped. For example, Wanderer, one of the main characters, struggles with anger issues in the beginning of the book and we are reminded of this difficulty a few too many times. Eliminating some of these redundancies would have tightened the text, allowing the story to gain more speed. Beyond that, the story is compelling and their is a constant underlying sense of urgency that keeps readers flipping the pages.  

Meyer is a sci-fi writer for fans of fiction other than sci-fi. I am partial to strong-willed female protagonists and poignant narrative. On both counts, Meyer delivers. Though she writes about fantastical characters and circumstances, she brings a decidedly human quality to every storyline, a skillfully architected irony given the premise of The Host. Through sci-fi characters, she asks us to consider what it means to be human, to follow our strongest emotions, and to constantly seek to understand alternate points-of-view.

You can pick up the book at any major bookstore or through Amazon.


Alex said...

After reading this book, I wondered what role Stephenie's religion might play in the narrative. I read that she went to BYU, so I'm assuming she's Mormon. Interesting given that this book is about a "hidden" sect of people in the desert, fighting to stay true to themselves (quite literally) without getting swept up by the new civilization...

Christa said...

I agree, Alex! She's a fascinating writer as so much of her writing, on the surface, seems to go against her religion. And then if you dig bit deeper, it seems that her work is entirely about her religion. I wonder if they'll make a movie out of this book! What did you book group think?