"The Host" by Stephenie Meyer - Book Review

First Adult Novel by Meyer Is Long and Slow

Little, Brown & Company

"The Host" was Stephenie Meyer's first adult novel. The human race has been taken over by parasitic but peace-loving aliens called souls. Melanie, the human host of a soul called Wanderer, is resistant and refuses to fade away, leading Wanderer on a journey unlike any she's experienced in her nine lives in other hosts' bodies around the universe. "The Host" is not Stephenie Meyer's best work. While the premise is intriguing, the story is slow, and the characters are under-developed. It was released in May 2008.


  • The science-fiction premise is interesting.
  • The book can stir thought on ethics, the power of love, and the pros and cons of the human experience.
  • It has imaginative descriptions of other-worldly planets and creatures


  • It is long (at 624 pages) and slow. The story doesn't really get going until it's almost over
  • The character development is shallow and many of the characters seem one-dimensional

"The Host" by Stephenie Meyer - Book Review

Melanie is part of a human group resisting the alien invasion of Earth. She gets caught, and a soul named Wanderer is inserted into her body. Melanie's consciousness won't fade away, however, and her thoughts and memories move Wanderer to love the people Melanie once loved. This leads Wanderer to set out to find her host body's family, and what follows is the story of her time with the humans of the resistance movement.

"The Host" is marketed as "science fiction for people who don't like science fiction." This is true. The science fiction aspect is that it involves aliens who possess technology well advanced beyond ours. But it's firstly a love story on several levels. The book explores friendship and familial love as well as romantic love in likely and unlikely places. Ultimately, it's about the power and hope of love.

"The Host" brings up good discussion topics, such as the depth and range of human emotions, and whether and when it's right for one society to impose its standards on another, especially at the cost of sentient life.

Though the premise is interesting, the story itself falls flat. You can set it down and not have a compelling reason to return to it. The action picks up about two-thirds of the way through the book if you make it that far. Many of the characters, including main ones, seem like caricatures and stereotypes. If you are looking for something as gripping and intoxicating as Meyer's "Twilight" series, this is not it.

Reader reviews in the years since it has been published agree overall with this sentiment.

Film Adaptation of "The Host"

The book was adapted for a film released in 2013, of the same name, with a screenplay by Andrew Niccol based on the novel. It starred Saoirse Ronan, Max Irons, and Jake Abel. The movie also did not rate well with critics, audiences, or at the box office.