The Host tells the story of Melanie Stryder, one of the last 'proper' humans left on Earth after an Alien invasion. She has been hiding with her younger brother, Jamie, and boyfriend, Jared, after nearly everyone else in the world has had their bodies taken over by 'Souls'. Melanie went out on her own to try and contact some of her family she thought might still be alive, when she was captured and Wanda, one of the invading Souls was inserted into her body in an attempt to access Melanie's memories and find the remaining humans. Trouble is, Melanie won't stay squashed down and Wanda keeps getting images of Melanie's boyfriend and finds herself falling in love with someone she's never met. Wanda and Melanie strike an uneasy alliance and head out into the desert to try and find Jared and Jamie.
I enjoyed The Host the first time I read it, and liked it just as much the second time. The characters were interesting (although Ian was a bit blah) and the post-alien-invasion world-building is good. The ending had me in tears both times, too (such a wuss). I also really liked the flashback scenes to Melanie's pre-Wanda life. The plot was good: mostly romance-driven, but there were some nice tense action scenes as well to break up the mooniness.
Gotta say: there were some points where I thought, 'Do you know what? They should probably just let the aliens take over.' Souls are super-peaceful and are actually doing a miles better job of stewarding the Earth than humans ever did. The creepiest of them is The Seeker, a spooky, slightly psychopathic soul whose job it is to hunt down the remaining humans.
The Host isn't perfect. It's pretty long and there were some parts that should really have received a swipe through with an editor's red pen and a note in the margin, saying, 'Cut all this over-description out'.
Plus: love triangle alert!
And another problem with was such a small thing, it's almost not worth mentioning, but here it is anyway. Say 'Melanie Stryder' out loud. Now say, 'Stephenie Meyer' out loud. Now say 'Melanie Stryder'. Now say Stephenie Meyer'.
Do you see what I mean? No idea why this bothered me so much, but it did.
Anyway, despite these minor flaws, I enjoyed The Host as much as I did the first time I read it.