Let me preclude this review with the admission that yes, I have read Twilight and no, I did not like it. That said, this book exceeded my expectations in so many ways. In a lot of ways, this book feels like Meyer’s writing for grown-ups now. While her writing style could still be improved (says the Indie author about the NYT best-selling powerhouse), she’s got a great premise here with a far less annoying central character. (Raise your hand if you wanted to punch Bella Swan in the face…)
SUMMARY: An alien race who calls themselves “Souls” has invaded the earth and been picking off humans one by one. These parasitic creatures take up residence inside the human brain and take over that person’s body, thoughts, and life. While this sounds terrifying, the Souls are actually a very peaceful race who’ve eliminated war, poverty, and crime from the earth. Still, they’re wiping out people, so small resistance groups are hiding out underground anywhere they can.
Feisty resistance runner Melanie gets taken and implanted with a Soul called Wanderer in what should be a routine procedure. But Melanie’s too strong and the two struggle for power in her brain, eventually finding a way to coexist. When Wanderer/Melanie winds up in a commune with some of Melanie’s old friends, things get complicated and the two females find they can’t distinguish their own feelings from the other’s. This love “square” is missing one point, since the two share a body, so it becomes a crazy, messed-up sci-fi romance love triangle instead.
So I was intrigued — a body-snatching alien falls in love with the host body’s boyfriend, thus pissing off said host body — and resolved to give it a fair shot.
And I’m so glad I did. I read this 600+ page novel in about a week – lightning-fast for my slow-paced reading habits. The characters are very well-drawn, with clear personalities for both Melanie and Wanderer. The journey they share is both a remarkable thing to imagine but also very believably told. This book tells a story that is very powerful and (surprisingly) very human in spite of its premise. The science fiction all seems to happen in the background; the journey of this “alien” is inspiring and heart-breaking at times. I found myself tearing up at the end.
When I finally raced through the end of this book, I experienced that bittersweet end-of-a-good-book feeling. Glad to see a resolution I approved of; sorry to have to leave this fictional world I’d come to love.
Well done, Stephenie with an “E”. Well done.
The Three R’s
Rating: R. Some of it’s pretty scary and while there’s not much action in the bedroom, there’s some violence. Also, just the idea of it all might creep you out.
Recommendation: Take off your logic hat and just let the story sweep you away. Meyer’s successful at what she does because her books read like a soap opera and (admit it) we love it. If you let it, this book will carry you away.
Re-read: I haven’t yet but I really want to. This is one I immediately began lending to friends so I could talk about it, but one day, I’ll crack it open again.