Sunday, July 27, 2008

Book reviews: Stephanie Meyer Twilight series and The Host

So last weekend I bought a few books. I began the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. I devoured the books in a few short days and then read her latest book, intended for adults, "The Host." Now that I've finished four books and 2500 pages in the space of a week, let me tell you a little bit about what I thought about them.

Twilight series: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse
This is a series about a teen named Bella who falls for a boy. But, not just any boy mind you. Bella falls for one that happens to be vampire and wants to kill her as much as he wants to love her. The series follows her story as she moves to a tiny town in the northwest and begins to interact with people that until she moved there, she would have believed were only mythical characters from story books.

These are just downright fun books. I haven't enjoyed books this much since the Harry Potter series. But unlike the Harry Potter series that throws in turns and often keeps you guessing to the end, with the Twilight books I felt like I already knew the entire story in the first 50 pages. It didn't really matter though, I devoured each book after the next. What kept me reading wasn't necessarily suspense, it was more wanting to hear the story told in the way only the author could. But don't get me wrong, there were certainly plenty of surprises along the way.

The character development is very rich and the main characters are so likable and easy to identify with. I cared about Bella and the others and wanted to hear the story. I identified with her as a strong, independent girl and remembered what it was like to be that age and too inexperienced to always make good decisions and too prideful to admit it. I understood her conflicts and wondered what I would do in her position. I also have to mention that I appreciated that the series was written for young adults and found the chastity in the relationship very refreshing.

All in all, I absolutely recommend the books to young and old. They are fun, refreshing books. And who doesn't love a good vampire story? I'll be in line with everyone else when the next book comes out this weekend. I'm hooked and happy to fulfill my fondness for the magic and mysticism genre with the Twilight series.

The Host
This was Meyer's first book targeted for adults. I have to say she certainly stepped things up a notch from her young adult series. I have to admit that somewhere around page 85 I considered putting the book down. I thought it was going to be a tearjerker and just mess with my emotions too much. Bill encouraged me to keep reading a little longer and I'm really glad I did.

While with the Twilight series I could see the road ahead, with "The Host", I was blind. I was reading in faith wondering what kind of journey I was going on. This is a sci-fi in your own backyard story that talks of species and life on other planets but the conflict and the aliens are right here on earth. It is a "The Puppetmaster" or "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" kind of story where the basic concept is earth has been silently invaded by aliens that have taken over humans as nothing more than hosts for the parasitic aliens and have pretended to still be human.

Unlike the above mentioned books, "The Host" is not a horror story. It instead delves deep into the study of the psyche of a symbiotic relationship and the chaos and questions surrounding it as it follows one who has become a host and a few remaining humans as they fight to keep from becoming extinct. Again, Meyer shines in character development and at some points I related to both human and alien so much I couldn't remember what side I was really on. Her whimsical tales of species' on other planets are so vivid I felt like I had been there.

I found myself contemplating a lot of questions with this book. It really made me take pause and think about a lot of themes: ethics, love, mortality, humanity, aliens, the greater good, sacrifice, prejudice. I love a book that makes me still think once I've put the book down. It's even better when the story to cause so much thought is an exciting, entertaining story. In that, this book did not disappoint. I'd recommend this book to anyone that enjoys the sci-fi genre or someone who is looking for a book to challenge their minds.

13 comments:

Joanna said...

I love the Twighlight books, but I've been very leary of picking up The Host. I'm not much for aliens. They really do scare me.

London said...

I'm a huge Twlight fan (A Twlighter, if you will) but I still haven't picked up The Host yet. Maybe after Breaking Dawn. Have you heard about her other project, Midnight Sun? It's Twilight written from Edward's perspective.

Apple Joos said...

Ahhh! Stephenie Meyer! She's going to be a star, if she isn't considered one already. That woman writes in a way that other writers should aspire for. I love her books, even The Host. Not only have I read them all, but so has my husband, my sister and my DAD! So if they can read them and enjoy them, I think a lot of people can.

JenFen said...

I was initially very skeptical about reading the Twilight series because it is marketed as YA but I finally broke down and got the first book as I really needed a fun engrossing read and am a HUGE Anne Rice Vampire Chronicle fan. Can I just say wow! I have not gotten this wrapped up in a book in a long time. I can see how you read all 3 in the series so quickly. I am right behind you. What do you think about the movie coming out?

Kat said...

I have a few issues with the Twilight series...but not enough to keep me from being first in line to get Breaking Dawn this weekend. I am so curious as to how she's going to end it.

I really liked "The Host." And I did not expect that ending - but it was very fitting. And I love all the pondering it makes me do. Like - what exactly does it mean to be human?

And for anyone who is hesitant - it's not a scary book. Nor is Twilight. Both...at their cores...are love stories...

Beth said...

I think I'll have to jump on the bandwagon now. I'm not crazy about the vampire genre, but you and the comments from your readers have convinced me. I've been looking for more reading material anyway!

Elisa said...

Thank you for the reviews! I just read about these books and their author in Entertainment Weekly and have been trying to stop myself from getting them all RIGHT NOW! But only because I have a long list of books to read that I already own.

If you want a similar read but geared towards adult readers, you will probably like the Meredith Gentry series bu Laurell Hamilton. The first book is A Kiss of Shadows. I love this series! (though I don't always enjoy how "adult" it is)

Michelle said...

Wait a minute. 2500 pages in a week? Like over 200 pages a day? As in more than 2 hours of free time a day? That's one thing I really miss about having kids.... Kudos to you!

Deanna said...

You now have me wanting to read the series!

I recently (3 months ago?) read "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova. It's a dracula story with the history behind him, partly based on fact, set in present day, an adventure inside of an advneture, immersed in a story that has you turning pages so fast that your husband will wonder what's wrong with and why are you ignoring the children!

Jen said...

There are a lot of Stephenie Meyer's fans here is blogsville. I have read a lot about how people like her books. I now must read these books to see what all the fuss is about. Thanks for the great reviews especially the one on Host. My interest has been peaked.

Lynda said...

Yep, I'm in, too! Gotta get 'em :-)

windycityvegan said...

All right, your review and these comments have persuaded me to finally pick up these books! I think I will start with The Host. You may like The Sparrow & Children of God by Mary Doria Russell.

JenFen said...

SO, since it is totally your fault that I did nothing but read this last week, I want to hear your opinon on Breaking Dawn when you finish it. Is that where you have been since date night??? LOL!