Stephenie Meyer’s The Host, published in May of 2008, explores a futuristic world where aliens have invaded human minds. Humans have become hosts for a parasitic breed of alien “souls” that attach themselves to a person’s brain and then take control of the body. Only a few free humans are left, and Melanie is one of them, until she too is caught and a soul is inserted into her brain. The soul is called Wanderer, and her job is to access Melanie’s memories and find remaining humans who have resisted the invasion of the souls. However, Wanderer is surprised to find that Melanie will not surrender her mind, and the two must share Melanie’s body.
As Wanderer struggles with the hardship of living in a body still inhabited by its former mind, she is privy to certain memories of Melanie’s loved ones: her brother Jamie, and the man she loves, Jared. She soon finds herself in a tenuous partnership with Melanie, embarking on a journey to find Melanie’s family. When she finds them, the human resistance fighters must come to terms that Wanderer and Melanie, though trapped in the same body, are two separate identities with the ability to feel, love, and make conscientious decisions.
As Wanderer and Melanie find a place among the resistance fighters, Wanderer learns to see the world’s situation from the humans’ perspectives and begins to understand the complexities of humanity, so different from her previous lives in other worlds. As tensions mount among the human resistance, Melanie and Wanderer forge a bond inside Melanie’s head and begin to appreciate one another. Wanderer (who eventually becomes known as “Wanda”) learns about human love and sacrifice, and gains an understanding of humanity. Together, Wanderer, Melanie, and the resistance fighters must work together to find a way to make a change in the world that will allow the two species to coexist.
Encompassing universal themes of love, cooperation, identity, humanity, and compassion, Meyer’s The Host challenges the traditional concepts of good and evil, and explores a new idea of what it means to be “human.”
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