The Host is a science fiction novel, but one that concentrates less on the technical terms of space travel and more on the emotions and relationships experienced by the characters. Stephenie Meyer has a gift for characterization that she has demonstrated throughout her writing career, and it has endeared her to millions of fans. Her characters in this novel are people, and aliens, that the reader can invest in and care about. They demonstrate creativity and the ability to endure as they deal with the downfall of civilization and learn to hope from a most unlikely source.
Meyer’s gift for dialogue is also front and center in this most unusual story wherein dialogue takes place between two different characters that inhabit the same body, but perhaps most entertaining is the way the author describes and builds the plot around the different kinds of love we as humans feel in the many different relationships we are a part of. Romantic love, family love, and the love experienced between friends are all well represented in this story about human resistance to the alien race that has taken over our planet. However, love is definitely not the only emotion explored within these pages. The action and suspense is peppered with fear, hate, jealousy, and excitement as the plot unfolds to its surprising conclusion.
Profanity/Language: 16 mild obscenities; 1 scatological word.
Violence/Gore: Several threats of death/violence are given by and to various characters; three incidences of fantasy violence involving alien species on other planets; several incidences of characters punching, kicking, or fighting other characters; secondhand report of character shot in the head; a few non-life threatening injuries/medical procedures involving blood; three extended scenes in which mild violence is depicted including, but not limited to, an attempted strangulation, a character held at knifepoint, and one character trying to drown another character
Sex/Nudity: Several instances of flirting, cuddling and kissing, one such scene in extended and includes a discussion referring to birth control, this scene takes place between a character that is 17 and a character that is 26; one character who is an alien speaks of human mating instincts; a few scenes depict male and female characters ‘making out’.
Mature Subject Matter:
War; suicide; death of family members and friends; euthanasia.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
One character is reported to have gotten drunk. Whiskey is given to a character that is dying in order to help him relax.