Sorry for the late post. I’m going to be honest. I was unable to read on time. Last weekend, I went to Maui for a leadership conference. Usually, there is a lot of down time, but this time around, I had no free time whatsoever. I do apologies for not setting a better example. Thankfully, my friend Illusyon kept up with your end of the deal and wrote a wonderful post on The Host: Prologue to Chapter 6. I will return with our next assignment of Chapter 7-13.
Here are Illusyon’s thoughts:
I am taking my discussions a little differently this time around. I will break it down chapter by chapter doing my best to keep it short where possible unless I feel like a lot of pertinent information happened in the chapter. For those who don’t wanna go through my chapter by chapter break down you can skip to the bottom and check out the section “Be Brief With It”
This is not a book review per se, but rather a discussion about the different aspects of the book and all it encompasses. If you aren’t reading it along with us please be aware that we will be discussing things happening, so if you hate spoilers and such please don’t read the discussions of the book, but wait for my book wrap up post which will have much less spoiler aspects then the discussion pieces. I hope you are reading along with us, and that you get involved by discussing your views on your own blog or through my comments section.
As you may know…if you read my announcement of The Host…I have read this book, so I am realizing that the feelings that I had regarding the book are drastically different and the way that I am experiencing it was well. I find this quite strange, so bare with me. For reference I am reading the actual physical hard cover book that was originally released, so I am sorry if my page numbers are off from yours.
illusyon from The 3L’s Book Chit Chat!
Prologue: Inserted -
We begin our journey in the operating room of a Healing facility with the healer Fords Deep Water and the healing students as a Soul is being implanted into a body that took damage from an accident. The healing students in the room are excited to see the insertion as the only ones they witness are the insertions into youth, and it is out of the norm to have am insertion in to a full grown adult.
Through this chapter we are given a glimpse into how the Souls are inserted and that this isn’t the first world they have inhabited. They discuss the life and worlds that the Soul they are about to implant has lived. She is a being of notoriety among her people for never living out more then one life cycle in one place. That trait is why Fords Deep Water gives her the name of Wanderer.
This entire chapter for how short it is is full of first impressions for the readers. Reading initially I was all against the alien species, but this time around I am having mixed feeling. A Soul is implanted into the insertion point on the back of the neck at the base of our skulls. Since adult host are hard to come by all I keep seeing is my nephews and other children being marked for the insertion surgery and having their entire personality and body taken over. I am gonna say that most of us would have problems with that. Unfortunately these aliens aren’t like those from the the scary movies like Aliens, Mars Attacks, MIB, and Battle Ship. This chapter has one of the best descriptions of what a Soul looks like,
The soul shone in the brilliant lights of the operating room, brighter then the reflective silver instrument in his hand. Like a living ribbon, she twisted and rippled, stretching, happy to be free of the cryotank. Her thin, feathery attachments, nearly a thousand of them, billowed softly like pale silver hair. Though they were all lovely, this one seemed particularly graceful to Fords Deep Waters.
I can see why fighting an invasion of beings who aren’t their own entity, but that of our neighbors and family members would be difficult. By the time we realized it there were probably so many insertions before we even realized what had begun.
Fords Deep Water shows many emotions that he isn’t as familiar with as he does the insertion and in the end the reader is left wondering why he is so conflicted as you would think that he would be happy to have a body to insert Wanderer into, but he shows he worry with his closing line to Wanderer though he isn’t sure she can hear him,
Good luck, little wanderer, good luck. How I wish you didn’t need it.”
Chapter 1: Remembered -
Wanderer knew what we as readers didn’t that with each host before she begins she must see the end. Her first realization is the last images of the host. At her insertion she imbeds herself in to the nervous system of the body and thus takes it over. The last memory of this body was of its death. Though she knows it isn’t her memory Wanderer has a hard time separating the emotions and fear as she relives the memory of her host being chased through an abandoned building by Seekers trying to capture her.
As Wander relives this memory she is shocked by the anger and emotion that engulfs her and emits a sound she is unfamiliar with – it is her body that explains,
Screaming, my body explained. You’re Screaming.
It is through this little moment that Wanderer makes the surprising discovery with the line,
My body – she was thinking! Speaking to me!
With no way to escape her her host runs in to a dead end in the way of an empty elevator shaft. Her host knows escape is futile and if caught what will be done to her, and her host would rather die then allow her body and mind to be taken over. In a last ditch effort she sails in to the elevator shaft. Only as her host lays there in pain does she realize that her plan failed and the distance to fall wasn’t enough to kill her.
The last image Wanderer glimpses is that of a face that means a lot to her host and though Wanderer doesn’t know much about our world she knows that the face of this man would be considered beautiful. The image is lost as her host shoves up a wall.
Chapter 2: Overheard -
Wanderer has woken and as the chapter is titled overhears a conversation between Fords Deep Water and the Seeker who chased down the body. It is through this chapter that we learn why the Seekers fought so hard to get the body and why death was preferable to the being caught. Wanderer listens to a conversation that makes it clear that the struggle to obtain Earth was a brutal one and that her host is proof that there are still pocket of Human Beings in seclusion still fighting the invasion though at this point there are thousands of invaders to one human.
It seems that wWanderer doesn’t just get to relive the last memory, but essentially has access to her host memories and past. It is towards the end of the chapter that Wanderer begins her mission of trying to retrieving the information that the Seeker is waiting for. Only to be shoved out by a black wall that hides the information from her.
Chapter 3: Resisted -
Wanderer is welcomed by the Seeker and Fords Deep Water and she has further adjustments to make to the world around. Wanderer wonders about the wall and wether she is attached properly. According to the healer she is attached correctly and optimally. All of these new experiences are a marvel to Wanderer as in her past lives no host had ever been so complicated with emotions, five senses, and requiring so many connections.
Through this chapter we are told of what happens when the host doesn’t give up residence after insertion. We learn of Kevin which was the name of the host, but the Soul decided to keep it after insertions. Kevin the host began to take back his body after some time and eventually tried to kill himself by removing the Soul. There were many sign that the transition was not going as planned as the the Soul would have black outs and decided to stick closely to what Kevin the Host did in his daily life. The Soul was removed and placed in a young boy that is fine now, and Kevin’s body was disposed of. This is news to Wanderer, but she isn’t a quitter and will do her duty to her race.
Wanderer begins her duty of giving over the information about what Melanie Stryder was doing in Chicago. She was looking for a cousin named Sharon that may still be human. She left a note and believes that someone will be looking for her. Through this Melanie is still present as she asks about whether they found her cousin or not. Wanderer tries to pull as much information as possible and this is how we learn the name “Jared” as the face Wanderer had seen earlier as Melanie is worried for his safety.
Chapter 4: Dreamed -
In my copy of the book dreams and memories are in a different font, so they are easily recognized. This chapter for the most part is the dream of how Melanie met Jared. Melanie had cased a house out to steal food as she was starving and so was Jaime her nine year old brother whom she had left in a cave, so that she could venture out and get food. It is as she is leaving that she is accosted by a man she believes is a Seeker.
Melanie is confused by the man and the man seems to be just as confused. For the reader is isn’t so confusing cause they are both acting out of character for how a Soul would act. As the man checks her pupils for the trade mark silver iris of a body inhabited by a Soul he is shocked that she is still human and kisses Melanie. Melanie kicks him and runs only to be caught by the man as he pretty much begs her to calm down and does the pupil test on himself. Melanie wants to feel the back of his neck and he declines as he admits he gave himself a scar.
Wanderer wakes and gives the information to the Seeker via e-mail. We are given another glimpse that even after months of inhabitation that Melanie still remains as she worries for her brother, and even Wanderer to a degree feels the need to take back the information that was just given, but she ignores that urge as she knows that it isn’t her own.
Chapter 5: Uncomforted -
In this chapter Wanderer goes to what I would call a psychologist, but she calls a comforter appointment. This chapter also gives the readers further glimpses of how the invasion happened and why we didn’t know until it was too late. The comforter was on the front line and she and her partner who was implanted into the President of a University who had many contacts. Their house was an insertion facility they would invite humans to dinner and Souls would leave.
Wanderer feels great shame that Melanie is still present and has been avoiding her Comforter Kathy. Upon breaking down and admitting what has been going on Kathy suggests being reinserted into another host and having Melanie’s body disposed of as she isn’t suitable for further use. Both Wanderer and Melanie are put off by this thought. Wanderer because she doesn’t want to be a quitter or as they call it on Earth a skipper.
There are some eye opening paragraphs on page 47 that are thought provoking about the thought processes of the Souls and why they believe that their cause is a worthy one. I won’t place them here cause they are so long, but they are thought provoking for me and I am sure for some of you. After the eye opening paragraph about why the Souls believe they are in the right for taking over are a few lines between Melanie and Wanderer,
You murder an entire species and then pat yourselves on the back.
My hands balled up into fists.
I could have you disposed of, I remind her.
Go ahead. Make my murder official.
I was bluffing, but so was Melanie.
Chapter 6: Followed -
As her appointment comes to a close the Comforter suggests that she interact with other people outside of her work at the University. Kathy the Comforter even suggests that she try to have a intimate relationship with another to form bonds. It seems that sex is a novel thing even to the Soulsand as Wanderer thinks on it she hasn’t had any reaction of the sort to another being other then the dreams that she relives about Jared.
As Kathy mentions that the Seekers may find Jared and perform an insertion. Wanderer is shocked at her thoughts. Though she fights her instinct to believe they are hers the following thoughts feel like hers rather the Melanie’s,
That’s killing him! That’s making him cease to be! I don’t want someone else. I want Jared, not a stranger in his body! The body means nothing without him.
She runs out of the rooms and away from all the emotions that the session brought to the forefront of her mind. Wanderer runs away and to her apartment where she throws up for the first time in a hedge across the street and is approached by the Seeker from Chicago. After entering her apartment with the Seeker who is the most combative Soul Wanderer has ever met. Wanderer and Melanie are on the same boat for the first time in their dislike for the Seeker.
Another great scene in this chapter is when the Seeker basically laughs at the fact that Wanderer is still struggling with a resistant host and that she expected more from Wanderer. The Seeker fails to understand all that Wanderer has experienced. Which leads to the discussion of the See Weed planet and how the South Pole forest was easy to assimilate, but that the North Pole would not surrender to the insertion and the entire forest withdrew from the nourishment of the sun and withered and died rather then be taken over.
Good for them, Melanie whispered. There was no venom attached to the thought, only the approval as she saluted the tragedy in my memory.
It was such a waste. I let the agony of the knowledge, the feel of the dying thoughts that had racked us with our sister forest’s pain, wash through my head.
It was death either way.
This conversation between Melanie and Wanderer is from two different sides of the spectrum, but the sorrow over the death is one of the first things that they agree upon though for different reasons. It is towards the end of this chapter that Wanderer comes to the conclusion that she doesn’t wish to help the Seeker any longer and will not give up any further information, but the Seeker isn’t so put off by her attitude and pretty much says that she has nothing better to do then wait to find the rest of the human resistance.
Be Brief With It
We got an invading species that have taken over the Earth. Human bodies may be walking around, but they are just bodies for the invading species. We experience the world and story through the body and mind of Melanie Stryder and the Soul inhabiting her body who goes by the name Wanderer. We have Wanderer who is a Soul that has lived many lives, but never one so full of vivid emotions, thoughts, and senses. Wanderer is trying to live her life, but Melanie isn’t going away with out a fight.
We have a Seeker – who I would think of as an agent from one of the government acronym entities like a FBI, CIA, DHS agent that ensures the safety of many by doing what ever necessary to stop the human resistance. Wanderer is her key to finding Melanie’s loved ones and the resistance force that she may be apart of.
We are given many glimpses of why the Souls believe they are doing the Earth and human race a favor by coming in and taking over and even I have to agree with the second paragraph on page 47 about the world we live in. I am not saying yes welcome the alien invaders, but rather that glimpsing the atrocities that we commit against each other through Wanderer’s eyes makes my heart heavy.
In the end Wanderer decides that she is done helping the Seeker try to find the resistance and that she just wants to move forward with her life, but the Seeker isn’t so easy to get rid of.
- How do you feel at this point? Are you on the WE DISLIKE THE SOULS! or are you in a wait and see attitude?
- Did you find any particular scene from this section particularly thought provoking?
I hope you are enjoying the book thus far.
Until out next literary adventure,