Thursday, February 06, 2014

who are we? "the host" reviewed.


i just finished reading the 600+ page book "the host" by stephenie meyer, author of the twilight series, and thought i would share my thoughts on the book briefly.  "the host" is the story of a not-too-distant future in which aliens have taken over the earth.  these aliens are called souls, and they don't so much destroy the human population as "possess" them, in a way.  i won't give away too much about the process here, but you might be able to deduce on your own that the humans become hosts for the alien species.

in the case of our main character, the question becomes one of identity (among other things).  who is the person?  is she the human body and memories, or the animating spirit from another planet?  when elements of both show through, the question becomes the guiding conflict in the book, manifesting itself in all sorts of ways.

while i am fairly certain that this isn't the direction meyers was going with her work, as a Christ-follower, i couldn't help but think about my own dual nature:  in Christ i am a new creation, and yet the sinful nature continues to bang around in my life, causing me not to do the good i want to do, and sometimes making me do things i want no part of (loosely quoting the apostle paul there).  so who am i?  am i the guy who continues to succomb to temptation?  or am i the one who is saved by grace?  is my name procrastinator?  judge of others?  he who hurts with words?  or is my name forgiven?  he who lives in second chances?

of course i know what i think about this.  i am covered in grace, though i don't deserve it.  and yet, the struggle goes on at times, as the imposter convincingly whispers lies into my heart, and i believe them, to varying degrees.  and i live a dual identity, alternately believing i am forgiven and that i am no good.

but i digress.

the book isn't so much about this, but the dual-identity piece is the most compelling facet of the story, even as it manifests itself in inner turmoil, romantic love, and physical force.  it is, in typical stephenie meyer fashion, a quick and, at times, intense read, full of torn allegiances and conflicted emotions, but once the main part of the plot is reached, it is hard to put down.  and in the end, it is the survival of the human race that is at stake.  one question the book asks is: can kindness and love win the day?  or will violence only be replaced by a different kind of violence?  and what defines us in the process?

there was a movie made based on this book, which i haven't seen, and which has been widely panned by critics, so i may steer clear.  but the book gets a good grade from me:  a very good book which i had a bit of a trouble getting into at first, and that had a few wrinkles that were awfully predictable, but with an otherwise strong story which asks interesting questions.  4/5 stars.  

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