Little, Brown, May 2008, $25.95
They came from outer space without any fanfare. These parasites inserted themselves inside the human brain taking over the host. Disease and war are long gone, but some no infected humans insist this is not Eden as security for freedom is to high a price; the space “Souls” control the body while the human brain activity ebbs. Seekers search for those still independent to turn them over for conversion by the centipedes from space. No place is safe.
In Chicago, one of these human insurgents twentyish Melanie Stryder wants these “Souls” to leave her alone. When the Seekers capture her, a "Soul" is placed inside her brain. She learns the creature surprisingly has a name, Wanderer. Obstinate Melanie refuses to fade into the background. She as the Host persuades Wanderer to find her brother Jamie and her boyfriend Jared missing in the Arizona desert as long as they find the parasite’s significant other too. When the coupling meets up with her loved ones in a secret rebel hideaway led by her uncle, the purebreds suspect both of them sharing her body, but soon Wanda as they start calling the parasite begins to win over the insurgents just like this Soul did her host.
Although first impressions is THE HOST is a futuristic Invasion of the Body Snatchers; in fact Stephanie Meyer’s tale is a much more complex character driven thriller. Relationships are the key to this superb tale that focuses on Wanda-Melanie and those the Host cherishes like her brother and her boyfriend. Jared’s thoughts bring perspective when he kisses Melanie he wonders if he is kissing her, Wanda, or both; geometrically adding to the complications is Ian. Fans who want invasion action and its consequences need to go elsewhere like The Invasion of the Body Snatchers; but those who appreciate a deep look at a personal level will enjoy this fine thriller.