Now available in the trade paperback edition: New Bonus Chapter and Reading Group Guide, including Stephenie Meyer's Annotated Playlist for the book
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.Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human.
THE HOST debuted at #1 on The New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list and remained there for more than a year. Meyer’s first adult novel was not only a huge commercial success with more than 2 million copies sold, it also brought a whole new audience of readers to Stephenie Meyer. Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, THE HOST, appeals to rabid Twilight Saga fans and readers of classic literary suspense alike.
Movie rights to THE HOST have been optioned by Nick Wechsler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz, the team that produced the film of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Andrew Niccol of Gattaca and The Truman Show will write the script and direct.
Here is a new sneak preview at the NEW BONUS CHAPTER!
Stephenie Meyer's life changed dramatically on June 2, 2003. The stay-at-home mother of three young sons woke-up from a dream featuring seemingly real characters that she could not get out of her head.
"Though I had a million things to do, I stayed in bed, thinking about the dream. Unwillingly, I eventually got up and did the immediate necessities, and then put everything that I possibly could on the back burner and sat down at the computer to write-something I hadn't done in so long that I wondered why I was bothering."
Meyer invented the plot during the day through swim lessons and potty training, then writing it out late at night when the house was quiet. Three months later she finished her first novel, Twilight. With encouragement from her older sister (the only other person who knew she had written a book), Meyer submitted her manuscript to various literary agencies. Twilight was picked out of a slush pile at Writer's House and eventually made its way to Little, Brown where everyone fell immediately in love with the gripping, star-crossed lovers theme.
Twilight was one of 2005's most talked about novels and within weeks of its release the book debuted at #5 on The New York Times bestseller list. Among its many accolades, Twilight was named an "ALA Top Ten Books for Young Adults," an Amazon.com "Best Book of the Decade ... So Far", and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year.
The highly-anticipated sequel, New Moon, was released in September 2006 and has spent more than 25 weeks at the #1 position on The New York Times bestseller list.
In 2007, Eclipse landed literally around the world and fans made the Twilight Saga a worldwide phenomenon! With midnight parties, vampire-themed proms and more the enthusiasm for the series continues to grow.
On May 6, 2008, Little, Brown and Company released The Host, Meyer's highly-anticipated debut for novel adults which debuted at #1 on The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. The Host still remains a staple on the bestseller lists a year after its debut.
On August 2, 2008, the final book in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn was released at 12:01 midnight. Stephenie made another appearance on "Good Morning America" and was featured in many national media outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, People Magazine and Variety. Stephenie headlined the Breaking Dawn Concert Series with Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October to celebrate the release in four major markets across the US..
The Twilight movie, directed by Catherine Hardwicke and starting Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, was released on November 21, 2008. Twilight debuted at #1 at the box office with $70 million, making it the highest debut for a female director.
Stephenie lives in Arizona with her husband and three sons.
Also, anything you need to know about Stephanie Meyer can be found at her website HERE.
READING GROUP GUIDE:
1. How does the poem “Question” by May Swenson, which appears as the epigraph at the beginning of the novel, relate to some of the important themes in The Host?
2. The souls are described as bright silver ribbonlike creatures with hundreds of tiny tentacles. To some they seem beautiful, while others liken them to “worms” and “centipedes.” Do you think the souls’ physical form suits their nature? If you were to imagine a different form to give the souls, what would it be?
3. There is an ongoing debate in The Host about the true nature of humans. Wanderer reflects, “The humans were brutish and ungovernable. They had killed one another so frequently that murder had been an accepted part of life” (page 47). Do you think this brutality is innate to mankind? If so, does this make the peaceable souls’ decision to take over the earth more ethical?
4. While most of The Host is narrated by Wanderer, Melanie occasionally takes over the narration to relate important memories. Why might Stephenie Meyer have chosen to tell the story in this way? Did you connect more with one voice than the other?
5. The souls believe they are transforming the vicious human world into a utopia. Is the society the souls construct better than the natural society of humans? Melanie tells Wanderer that humans realized the souls were taking over bodies “when the evening news was nothing but inspiring human-interest stories . . . when everything morphed into Mayberry” (page 108). How does the society of the souls on earth compare to your image of “a perfect world”?
6. The souls are morally complicated creatures. On one hand, they are “all things good: compassionate, patient, honest, virtuous, and full of love” (page 3). On the other, they survive by taking over the bodies and minds of unsuspecting hosts. Does the parasitic nature of the souls overshadow their virtuous qualities? Did you sympathize with the souls, or did you view them as the clear enemies of
7. When Wanderer is lost in the desert searching for Jared and Jamie, Melanie tells her, “You’ve finally found the place and the body you’d die for. I think you’ve found your home, Wanderer” (page 113). What is the significance of “home” in The Host? Why has Wanderer chosen to move from world to world for so many
millennia? Can earth ever really be home for a soul?
8. When Wanderer first arrives in the caves, she reflects, “This place was truly the highest and the lowest of all worlds — the most beautiful senses, the most exquisite emotions . . . the most malevolent desires, the darkest deeds” (page 141). Are these extremes inevitable? Are our darker inclinations essential to the richness of human experience? Do you agree with the premise that more purely “good” beings like the souls can’t experience life as fully as humans can?
9. The humans in the caves are divided about how to view and treat Wanderer. Do you think it is more reasonable to extend kindness to Wanderer or to ostracize her as a potential threat to the group? If you lived in the caves, how would you greet her arrival?
10. Of everybody in the caves, Jared reacts to Wanderer in a manner that is perhaps the most complex. Does the way he treats her surprise you? What do you imagine is going through his head in the first days after Wanderer’s arrival? What instigates the change in his attitude toward her?
11. When Wanderer /Melanie first arrive at the caves, Melanie is eager for them to explain their situation, but Wanderer insists on staying mute, even if it means being subject to imprisonment and abuse. Why does Wanderer make this choice? Do you think it is a wise one? How might things have played out differently if they
had done it Melanie’s way?
12. While Wanderer describes many of the worlds where she has lived in great detail, we learn very little about her birth world, The Origin. How do you imagine The Origin? What would a world populated only by souls be like?
13. Near the novel’s end, Wanda makes a deal with Doc. Do you think she makes the right decision about Melanie’s fate and her own? Were you satisfied with the humans’ response to her decision?
14. Jamie tells Wanderer he chose Pet because “I was looking for someone who looked like you. And I thought this looked like you” (page 605). Do you agree with Jamie? Do you think Pet’s body matches Wanderer’s nature?
15. Imagine a prequel to The Host. Of the different worlds Wanderer lived on before arriving on Earth, which would you be most interested in imagining more fully? Similarly, each of the humans living in the caves during The Host has a back story. Which of these would you be most interested in learning more about?
Stephanie Meyer has done for Aliens, what she did for Vampires with her first adult fiction novel, THE HOST! Set not so far in our future, alien “souls” have taken over Earth. These “souls” are a type of worm-like parasitic being that want to experience life as humans. Their invasion is nearly successful after a few years with only a few humans who are still resisting. One of them is Melanie Stryder but she is captured and she fights but to no avail. The souls use sophisticated healing measures to repair her beaten body and during their treatments, they transplant an ancient soul and fearless explorer of the galaxies known as Wanderer into Melanie‘s body.
Wanderer anticipates having to deal with some remnants of Melanie’s memories and emotions that may still be present after the transfer but is shocked when he finds Melanie’s mind is strong and still fighting for control over their shared body. Wanderer explores Melanie’s unyielding mind to find out where other humans might still be found. It isn’t long before Wanderer learns of a man named Jared who Melanie loves, as well as her young brother Jamie. Both are hiding, but influenced by Melanie’s strong feelings, Wanderer also feels that she wants to find this Jared. The two women, in one body, go to find him. Their search puts them in danger from both humans and aliens along the way.
One of the major parts of the story unfolds when Wanderer/Melanie are taken to a hideout by some resistors who hate the thought of an alien among them. It is then that Wanderer/Melanie try to get them to understand that Melanie is still alive somewhere inside. Will they be able to do that? Will the humans be able to destroy Wanderer without hurting Melanie? Stephanie Meyer has written a somewhat sci-fi thriller but what makes it different is that the relationships and characters are involved and have depth. THE HOST is so well written that you feel the inner struggle of the two who share one body and the passionate feelings they both share, and are conflicted by, for Jared. Wanderer and Melanie experience a range of feelings for themselves as well as each other.
I was surprised that I liked the book as much as I did as having taught middle school Reading the past few years, I was weary of the Twilight toting young girls and their fanatic devotion to the Twilight saga. I also think that THE HOST is something my readers of the TWILIGHT series could read, understand, and enjoy. I found the series almost as sophisticated, at times even more so, than this new story. This is a hefty sized novel but one that once you get into it, you are eager to read on to see what happens. I believe I am a Stephanie Meyer convert thanks to THE HOST.
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