Tag Archives: The Host

Friday Faceoff – I spy with my little eye… #Brainfluffbookblog

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This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This meme is currently being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and the subject this week featuring on any of our covers is EYES. I’ve selected The Host by Stephenie Meyer.

 

This edition was produced by Little, Brown and Company in May 2008. This is the definitive cover you see everywhere. It is surprisingly effective, that single eye staring out with such intensity – with the infamous silver line around the iris that glows eerily on the cover itself. This one is my favourite.

 

Published in January 2013 by Black Bay Books, this cover misses the whole point, while highlighting the love triangle in the book, which for me was the weakest part of the story. Still, I suppose it depends on whether you read it as a romance with a bit of science fiction thrown in, or an alien invasion with an added love story.

 

This German edition, published by Ullstein in 2011, features a butterfly. I’m not sure why. It makes for a lovely cover, though. I do feel the title is rather too curly, in fact this whole design makes me think fantasy, rather than science fiction alien invasion.

 

This Serbian edition, produced by Evro Giunti in 2009, is the failed version of the first cover. For starters, she is wearing far too much mascara and the light in her eye is entirely normal. So… is this our protagonist before the aliens got to her? In which case, why is the eye being specifically featured? I get the sense that they decided to rip off the really popular cover of this bestseller without reading the book, though I’m sure that didn’t happen. Did it?

 

This Italian edition, published in February 2013 by Rizzoli is a far better effort than the previous offering. The face is far better, though I think the silvering in the eye looks too heavy-handed. I do like the title font, which works well as it glows out of the gloom and stands out well in thumbnail size. This is a close second for me. What do you think? Do you agree with me?

Review of The Host by Stephanie Meyer

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Fresh from the success of her best-selling trilogy for younger readers, Meyer now brings us this first offering for her adult fans.

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading ‘soul’ who has been given Melanie’s body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.  Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves – Jared, a human, who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she’s never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

This is a fascinating twist on the usual alien invasion story. Told from the viewpoint of the alien inside a human body – with the unwilling human consciousness still fighting for a foothold – Wanderer is embroiled in an adventure not of her making. Written in first person POV, the success of the book hinges on whether we believe in the alien. Or care enough about storyline and characters to suspend our disbelief. I think she nearly pulls it off – the writing, pace and characterisation are strong and the character of Melanie comes across very clearly. However, it is incredibly difficult to portray adequately the full sense of ‘other’ when writing from an alien viewpoint. And for me, this is the weak spot in the book. It didn’t help that I wasn’t particularly interested in the love story. For me, the themes of difference and other were far too riveting to get sidetracked into who attracted Melanie and/or Wanderer. As the story progressed, I found the love interest increasingly intrusive into what I considered the more interesting aspect of the narrative. I also think it is too long at six hundred and seventeen pages. At times, I skimmed through some of the passages that seemed to be offering the reader more of the same, instead of continuing to take us into new situations.

However, don’t let these relatively minor niggles discourage you from reading this ambitious and original novel. Meyer is a gutsy writer for attempting such a difficult subject – and she is a talent worth watching for managing to get so close to succeeding.
8/10