Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.
One of the most terrifying things imaginable has occurred on Earth in The Host. Not only are their aliens invading, but they falsely think they are not hostile and take control of human bodies. Imagine that. Seriously, that's the worst possible outcome I can think of other than aliens completely destroying the Earth. You lose your identity, your family, your friends, and your body. You eventually fade away. Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Her body has been taken over by the soul Wanderer who has lived a long life. Wanderer has moved from planet to planet not settling anywhere. She's never faced anything like the force of Melanie's spirit. She feels like a failure and wants to help her people to find the remaining humans. The Seeker knows that Wanderer can help her find the remaining humans so she makes sure to the put the pressure on Wanderer which borders on harassment. Wanderer starts dreaming of Jared, the love of Melanie's life and Jamie, her little brother. Wanderer starts to feel for these two and for Melanie which she has never experienced before. She sets off one day, finding her way to a sanctuary for humans led by Melanie's uncle. There she meets hostility, anger, friendship, and love.
If you've seen The Host movie, that is the book. There is less action and a slower pace, but that is the book. There is so much more interaction that we read in the book with Melanie and Wanderer though. It's interesting to literally get inside their heads and know what they are thinking. Wanderer is a very kind and gentle soul. She learns to care for humans especially Melanie's loved ones. She's constantly in a state of danger. Ian is one of the first people who learns to accept her and care for Wanderer. Jared, Melanie's love, is not so excited by Wanderer coming because like others he believes she will lead the "souls" back to them. Jamie, Melanie's brother is much more kind to Wanderer as well as Melanie's uncle. Wanderer deserved the kindness that she gave. She was never a threat. She's never hurt anyone which is always remarkable when others are trying to not only hurt her, but kill her.
Melanie is like the complete opposite of Wanderer. She's pretty straight forward, can be violent, and angry, however it's not like she's a mean person. She's had to survive and she has failed in that regard because her body is no longer hers. I felt like the relationship between her and Wanderer was very interesting because they were so different. To see how their personalities clashed and coexisted was wonderful to read about. Their love interests were kind of complicated. I actually never understood Wanderer's feelings in that regard. I felt like she was just whatever with it all. The pace was very slow... Like really, really, really slow so maybe that was a factor. It's also a really long book so it took me a while to read. I usually don't read any sci-fi books with aliens or anything like that so it was good to get out of my comfort zone. The story and concept were interesting and complicated. It was better than I thought it would be. The slow pace is the main problem as well as Wanderer and her love interest. Other than that The Host was a nice read and made me think.