Twilight vs. The Host

Stephenie Meyer is jam-packed with talent. She has a gift for developing characters and demonstrating the intricacy and complexity of human relationships.
t series

Her Twilight series deserves much praise. I mostly, really loved it. In fact I genuinely identified with the first two books. But in the 3rd and 4th books I grew wary of all the obsessing over sex. My repeated response was, “Ok, but what else is there to their relationship?”

She was very tasteful in that she never made us wade through an actual experience, but at one point Bella says that her honeymoon, essentially two weeks rolling around in bed, was the “highlight of her human existence.”

What?! Really? That’s the coolest human experience she’s ever had?! Blegh! I get really annoyed too, when I think about these books being marketed to teen girls. That is not the message I would choose to give this particularly pliable group of people.

hostBut, I just finished reading The Host, and I’m adding this book to my top 10 favorite books of all time! She got it dead on in this book. In fact this is SM at her very best. The characters in this book absolutely lived for me!

She masterfully weaves in some important and timely suggestions in this book, my favorite being: True love is a connection or welding together of two souls and minds, not two bodies. Physical intimacy should be the expression of that connection, the celebration of love, not the basis. And while the object of real love is always painted beautiful to the one that loves it, she proves that the outer shell of a person, their appearance, doesn’t affect true love at all.

I also love the subtle way she asks us not to judge any among us, including those who appear eccentric or even completely crazy. The characters in this book that are able to maintain open minds about the weirdest evidences are rewarded and enlightened for their efforts.

The point of this whole soap box is this: SM has a lot to offer the world. And at the moment, the world is abuzz about all things Twilight, and with a grain of salt, it’s definitely worth reading. But I recommend getting to know her through The Host first.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. As a feminist, I didn’t want to like these books. I’d heard about them, thought it was a dumb concept, and certainly not my kind of book. My sister stuffed a copy in my bag when I left for NJ for a few months. I had a lot of time on my hands, and as a last resort to spare myself from boredom, I finally broke down and read Twilight.

    When you spend three hours reading non-stop only to realize later that you haven’t taken a single break, you know you’re reading something that has been well written. Maybe not well written as in Pulitzer quality, but certainly entertaining. Entertaining enough for me to read the other books in the series.

    I have the same concerns about teenagers reading the book and thinking that sex is going to be the highlight of their existence. I also cringe at the accepted stalker-like qualities of Edward. Given these concerns, I think that she is still a good writer. I wouldn’t let these issues stop me from letting my (future) kids read her books. I may discuss these issues with them though. I had a mother who let me read anything that I wanted growing up, and even though she is not around anymore, I thank her for it everyday. It has made me a more discerning reader with a wider perspective of life and different points of view.

    I have not yet read The Host, but I’ve heard it is good. I’m more encouraged to read it now though, since you think it is even better than the Twilight series.

    Reply

    • I hope you will read the Host. (Let me know if you’d like to borrow my copy) In the midst of this high-tide of adventure/ fantasy books we’re experiencing, its great to read a truly character driven novel.

      I appreciate hearing about how you and your mother dealt with reading choices. I’m still deciding about what my policies will be with my own kids. Your experience is quite different from my own, and it helps to hear how positively it affected you.

      BTW I am sorry to hear that your mother isn’t around. That must be a difficult loss.

      Reply

  2. Almost thou persuadeth me to read a twilight book.

    Reply

  3. I know that we will never see the Twilight Series from the same perspective so I’m not going to comment on that 😉

    But I do have to agree with you on The Host. It is a beautifully told story that makes it’s point masterfully. The characters are endearing, maddening and beautiful. I love the relationships in this book- not just the love rectangle- but all the others as well. Stephenie’s strength definitely is in the relationship building.

    I recently re-read this book because of the announcement that it’s going to be made into a movie and I cried as hard, if not harder, at the end than I did the first read through. It is a masterpiece!!

    Reply

    • You are cute.Twilight is lucky to have you! 🙂

      I’m exited for the movie version of the Host, but I’m very skeptical. (I know I’m always a little too picky!) I hope all the great character and relationship development transfers okay. I just don’t see how their going to do that within a reasonable amount of time. And our main character has a pretty tall order to fill with all of the conversing that goes on inside her head! But then, I guess that’s why we leave the movie-making up to them, eh?

      Reply

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