Monday, July 26, 2010

The Twilight Saga and The Host by Stephenie Meyer

SUMMARY: The Twilight Saga (by wikipedia):  Bella Swan moves from Phoenix, Arizona to live with her father in Forks, Washington to allow her mother to travel with her new husband, a minor league baseball player. After moving to Forks, Bella finds herself involuntarily drawn to a mysterious, handsome boy, Edward Cullen. She eventually learns that he is a member of a vampire family who drinks animal blood rather than human.
The Host (by the publisher): Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed. When Melanie, one of the few remaining "wild" humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.


I wrote about The Twilight Saga and The Host in a joint post at my other blog a while ago. My opinion about the books hasn’t changed since then, so here it is:

That Meyer Woman Is Just My Kind of a Genius

Obviously, I am a fan of Stephenie Meyer. However, this was not always taken for granted. Two years ago, when I first heard of a new teenage vampire romance fascinating the crowds, I found the very thought of reading it just sickening as I had been dealing with unnerving high school students at that time. But, then…

Then I came across of a colleague’s copy of New Moon lying on a desk in the teachers’ room with the appealing front cover up and the rest is history. You see, when I see a book, especially if it looks good, “it’s like a drug to me” and I simply have to pick it up, turn it around and read the back cover. I did that and I was hooked. I had no rest until I managed to buy the books and then I could not read them fast enough. Since then I have reread the saga several times both in English and in Slovene and I have just finished reading The Host. Again, I have been amazed. Basically, there are three reasons why I am so overwhelmed by Stephenie Meyer and her work.

Firstly, I like her inventiveness. Of, course, stories about vampires are not new at all, neither is the idea of alien invasion of human bodies. Yet, Meyer manages to combine several familiar bits and pieces, alters them, adds her own inventions and turns it all into something completely unpredictable but brilliant.

Next, through her work, Meyer expresses an idealism which is very unusual for modern age. The moral rules of the worlds she creates in her works are utterly inclined to the perfection of being good. Her protagonists firmly believe in this idealism and strive to achieve the highest possible state of goodness.

At last, Meyer’s idealism stands side by side with her optimism. No matter how many and how serious obstacles must her protagonists face, no matter how complex conflicts or impossible twists are there, everything always ends well. Unexpected or strange perhaps, nevertheless her works always have and-they-happily-lived-ever-after endings.

Contrary to these reasons, some people would disagree with me. They would say that Meyer ruins old concepts such as vampires, but I think it is merely because these people are either afraid of novelties or jealous because they themselves cannot come up with anything similarly remarkable. They would say her idealism is unattainable, but it is probably because they are too weak or too lazy to try to live up to such idealism. They would also say Meyer’s optimism is corny, but on my opinion they just do not have the courage to work towards their own happiness.

Over all, I find Stephenie Meyer’s work inspiring. In our modern world which despises the ideals and lacks hope, people need something to remind us that everything is possible. Being surrounded by an opposing atmosphere, it is very hard to be so inventive, idealistic and optimistic. Only a genius can do that. Stephenie Meyer definitely is a genius. Why is she my kind of a genius? Because I can entirely relate my beliefs to her work. Besides, I enjoy the daring new courses of her stories. I hope she will not change.

RECOMMENDATION: The Twilight Saga is, apart from maybe Twilight, NOT to be read by teenagers. In my opinion The Twilight Saga conveys, beneath the superficial theme of forbidden teenage romance, very complex issues and concepts which teenagers with raging hormones and lack of experience cannot fully comprehend. The Host is not a traditional science fiction, so you might like it even if you are not a science fiction enthusiast.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great review! I haven't come across such a deep Twilight/Host review before. Although I am not a fan, I really like the concepts of idealism and optimism that you pointed out. I agree with that.


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