The Host, Day One, Chapters 1-6

July 7, 2008 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Day 1: July 7th. Discuss chapters 1-6 (pp. 1-58   )
As “homework” to read between 7/7 and 7/9 read pp. 59 – 117 (Chapters 7 – 12)

So have you had a chance to read chapters one through six yet? It’s okay if you didn’t complete it all. I didn’t realize until I set down to read it myself that it was quite long and maybe not so manageable after all. So please feel free to post comments or email me (laney_poATyahooDOTcom) if you think that we should trim down our reading sizes and maybe push The Accidental Time Machine back a bit so we can enjoy The Host better. I’m fine keeping the schedule as is. And I’m fine with trimming it down too. I just don’t want you to feel overwhelmed!!!


How did you feel about this prologue? Did the thought of an alien being being ‘inserted’ into an unconscious and unwilling human host make you squirm a bit? Or not so much? Did this process remind you of any other science fiction?

Did the assertion that these ‘souls’ these ‘aliens’ were “by nature all things good, compassionate, patient, honest, virtuous, and full of love” strike you as odd? Would a compassionate and honest race really take over the galaxy? Would seeking to wipe out entire races on planets really qualify them as such? It sounds like xenocide* to me. To their perspective, to their thinking, they’re doing the hosts (all the hosts not just humans) a favor. To them violence–even though they are the invaders–is self-defense. It’s not “murder,” it’s “self-preservation.”

Did you see Fords Deep Waters as a sympathetic character since he seemed compassionate in part. “I regret this day’s work.” and “This is the rare occasion when Healing creates an injury.”


Here we meet Wanderer and Melanie Stryder, her human host. Wanderer is supposed to be able to access Melanie’s memories. But she’s supposed to be in control of the situation. But she isn’t.

“I knew it would begin with the end, and the end would look like death to these eyes. I had been warned. Not these eyes. My eyes. Mine. This was me now.”

It wasn’t a pleasant first/last memory was it? It must be strange to experience this memory that isn’t really and truly you–almost like a nightmare except that you know it’s true or true enough.


Now we see a Seeker and a Healer getting into quite an argument. Seekers aren’t too pleasant are they? It’s hard to see them as anything other than the enemy. But this Healer sounds more peaceful, more compassionate. Although it could be a deceptive perception. Still, he seems more genuine than the Seeker. What do you think?

What do you think of this “peace” and “harmony” being the result of slaughter, of murder, of genocide?

“The planet called Earth was as peaceful and serene as it looked from space, invitingly green and blue, wreathed in its harmless white vapors. As was the way of the soul, harmony was universal now.”

Is bloodshed always the price for peace?

Do these alien souls really lack the ability to lie? Is “good citizenship” really just a part of their essence, their nature?


In which we find out about Kevin. We find out about human hosts “resisting” and in some ways succeeding to fight off the parasitic aliens. Wanderer is awake now and trying to be a “good citizen” by supplying the Seeker with information from Melanie’s mind. But she’s finding it a struggle. Melanie is not wanting to let go or give in. She’s here for the duration, here for the fight.

It must be an odd sensation to share a body, share a brain with someone. Very very odd.


More of Melanie is revealed. We “remember” through a dream Melanie’s meeting Jared. We “remember” as well the existence of Melanie’s brother, Jamie. Any first thoughts or impressions of Melanie? Of Jared? Jared Howe.


The Comforter. So far we’ve seen Healers, Seekers, and now we see a third occupational choice, Comforters. Wanderer is a teacher, a professor. She’s come to the Comforter for a bit of help. Melanie is still there, still strong, still resisting.

We find out a bit more about the first invasion. We see the “benefits” of alien invasion through their eyes. They did us a favor. Humans weren’t fit to live, to manage on their own. The planet is a better place because of these parasitic Souls.


In which Wanderer has a nasty encounter with her Seeker.
I found it interesting that other species on other planets had tried to resist–and in one case had been successful. The see weeds story.

Want to share your thoughts so far? Are you finding it boring? exciting? only so-so? Who is your most favorite character so far? Who is your least?

*(The term Xenocide is a science fiction neologism that means an act of genocide directed towards an alien species)

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  1. First off: general thoughts….. this reminded me of some Star Trek episode. Not sure which one, but I swear Star Trek has done something like this. Given that, Meyer has chosen an interesting perspective to tell this story from. Seeing it from Wanderer’s perspective definitely gives it a fresh feel, especially since I feel like this story is not new.

    I do like Wanderer as a character, though. And I like her conflicting relationship with Melanie. I’m not too sure about the memories/flashbacks. I guess that’s a bit past my suspension of disbelief: I don’t “remember” things in that much detail, would some alien species inhabiting my body remember things like they were watching movies?

    It’s a slow beginning. I read ahead a bit; I’m in chapter 16, and it does pick up, but it does seem like she’s taking a long time to get to where she needs to go. Part of me is enjoying the detail, but there’s another part that wishes she’d hurry up and tell the story already.

    That said, she is exploring some interesting ideas — the meaning of freedom, choice, love and humanity.

  2. Loving it! I’m up to chapter 12 right now only because we had plenty of time to get there 😉 Might have problems keeping up, but we’ll see. I vote for leave the schedule how it is for now.

    The story really kicked in for me when Wanderer saw Melanie meeting Jared for the first time. I’m really liking Wanderer and Melanie and their very odd relationship that begins to form. Hate the seeker with a passion. Grrr, can’t stand her. But of course we’re not supposed to like her. I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen in the future with that whole situation.

    I agree with Melissa that it was a bit of a slow beginning but I feel that when it took off it really took off. I’m not as far as she is right now, but I’m really enjoying it now and it has me hooked. There are parts that are implausible to me but I always just say “it’s sci-fi” so that’s ok. If an alien species was implanted into a human’s body and they’re living together in one body, then Myers can go ahead and make other odd coincidences happen that probably shouldn’t. That’s fine as long as the story is good!

    Oh, and one last thing, I love the viewpoint of the story. I didn’t know it was told from Wanderer’s perspective and I’m really enjoying that. Nicely done!

  3. I posted my thoughts on my blog here

  4. To Melissa – I actually talked about the Star Trek factor on my blog and have a clip of the episode that you’re thinking of here. It’s even called The Host.

    I have to admit that I was a little confused in the beginning. What in the world was going on? Honestly all of these beginning characters aren’t very significant and wish that we didn’t spend so much time with them. The Healer, The Comforter, etc.

  5. AH HA! I knew it! I haven’t watched all that Star Trek for nothing… Thanks Natasha. 🙂

  6. I found it interesting that this book is similar to both Star Trek (TNG) and Stargate SG-1. I hadn’t seen Star Trek–that particular episode–in quite a while. But when I read Natasha’s review, it began to come back to me. And I made the rather obvious connection to Stargate. I’ve also seen reviews compare it to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But I haven’t seen that movie (I think it’s a movie) so I couldn’t say for sure for sure. But I think she’s definitely drawing from a long and rich sci-fi culture. Nothing *too* original yet.

    As for its “slowness” I didn’t notice it the first time. I was so caught up in the “it’s-a-new-Stephenie-Meyer” that I didn’t put it down for the first four hundred pages. And by that point I was hooked. I know that’s not the norm though.

    But this second time through, I keep finding myself saying, “get to the good part already.” For me it doesn’t really begin to pick up until she arrives back with Uncle Jeb and sees Jared again.

  7. It reminded me a bit of the movie The Faculty (which was pretty much a remake of Bodysnatchers or something, I think). It is pretty slow at the beginning, and I found all of the back story about the perfection of the alien society to be a bit tedious and unbelievable. I liked the character of Wanderer, though, and Melanie. I agree that I probably wouldn’t have such vivid memories. And that Seeker is evil!

  8. One of the things that bothered me is that the “aliens” think they are justified in taking over humans because they tend to be violent and can’t live in harmony. It just kind of bugs me because I am sure they can’t be that perfect. Plus they can’t claim they aren’t violent when they are chasing Melanie to her death and hunting people down. Also they talk about adults not being good hosts…well what then do they do when they find an adult that is host-less? I am assuming there is some sort of death involved – how can they claim they aren’t violent – I can’t imagine that killing someone is not violent.

    My thoughts so far…well I am finding it difficult to follow. I think that after I read the book I need to go back and re-read the first 6 chapters. I think with hindsight knowledge I will better understand what is happening. So far I am saying it is so-so. I think it’s starting slowly, but I do want to find out what happens between Melanie and Jared – and Jamie – are they still alive? Where are they hiding out? Are there more?

    I think my favorite character is Melanie – keep up the resistance Melanie!! I do think the alien characters have the ability to lie. I also find it interesting that Wanderer is having such a hard time conquering Melanie. They thought it would be easy but the adult humans are so difficult that they are going for younger ones…interesting – I guess the aliens aren’t as smart as they think they are!

    As for Fords Deep Waters – I think his only regret was putting Wanderer in an adult not the fact that he was implanting an alien. If it was a child or someone easier controlled I don’t think he would have any problem with it.

    I am also curious as to why the Seekers are so interested in Melanie! They act like she is leading an entire resistance, but so far we only know of 2 people! There has to be something more. I really enjoyed Melanie’s memories of Jared and Jamie.

    I am not a big Star Trek fan or Stargate – though my husband loves Stargate…I wonder if he would like the book. So for me the story is original. What I thought of was the story V that was a series on TV many years back. Anyone remember that one?

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