Off Topic: Q&A What Would You Change About The World?

A little explanation is an order.  The Llama and I have been friends since high school, a long long time ago.  After high school I moved away to a different province, but still close enough to visit her and my other friends who hadn’t moved to different parts of the country.  When I would (I use the past tense because I don’t live that close anymore…) visit and a few of us were all gathered together in the same place, we would often break out her Book of Questions (that’s not its name, it’s just what I call it. I never bothered to learn its real name.  Llama knows.  Obviously…).  It’s a book full of questions that each person was to give an answer to and everyone would gain more insight into each other or just have a good laugh, or sometimes get something really personal off their chest.

The Llama decided she wanted to start posting something less angry and hateful than just the reviews since she’s working ahead of me and knows that the angry rants don’t go away any time soon, and she thought it might be interesting to go through the book and put her answers out there and asked if I would do it with her, since the book is meant to be answered by multiple people, not just one.  I agreed.  Though she’s a lot more open than I am so some of mine will be ‘no comment’.  I will try and find something related to the question to talk about for those ones.

Anyway, here’s the first question!  ‘What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?’ And boy is it a loaded one…

Hmmmm

What would I like to change about the world?  A lot of things.  What would I most like to change about the world?  I’m genuinely not sure.  If I was granted one wish and I could change any one thing about the world that I wanted, only one thing, I am really not sure what I would say.  I believe death is a necessity but I could make it not painful and scary.  I believe that people should be nicer to each other, but I know that competition makes a lot of people strive to better themselves and the world, and animosity comes from that same base emotion.  I would like to make people more tolerant of each other, but is that really the MOST IMPORTANT thing that needs to change?

Don't Know

It would be nice if I was rich but that seems a terribly selfish thing to change no matter what I would do with the money.  I would like people to be smarter, but with intelligence tends to come depression, and being a lifelong subscriber to that particular disease, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  Maybe I would stop global warming; but then no one would learn from it and just keep repeating the same mistakes.  Cure cancer?  They’re already getting closer to that every day on their own, so would it be wasteful to say cure cancer?

I honestly don’t know how to answer this question.  I guess in the end I would have to say that I would make life less painful.  Take away the physical strain from emotional stress and lessen the physical suffering of those with long term illnesses/disabilities.  That feels like a reasonable enough answer to me.

Check out Llama’s answer, and put your own in the comments!  We’d love to hear what everyone else would do!

The Host Review: Resisted (Ch 3)

“I did not open my eyes. I didn’t want to be distracted. My mind gave me the words I needed, and the tone that would convey what I couldn’t say without using many words.”

That’s on the first page of chapter 3 after the idiots realize she’s awake.  The writing style in this book is so bad it hurts.  This chapter is even more exposition and back story, only this time instead of Wanderer eavesdropping she’s actually part of the conversation.  The problem is this is the third chapter of exposition and all it does is continue to raise questions I know she’s never going to give us good answers to.  Like how the fuck did this invasion even start if all of the parasites need to be surgically implanted?!  Did one of the see weeds detach and grow opposable thumbs?!

This is just such a useful gif for this book...

This is just such a useful gif for this book…

Whatever.  I’ll get into more of the terrible science in this book when she starts talking about bats, but for now let’s progress through this shit shall we?

Wanderer asks if they gave her a defective unit, thinking they stuffed her in a brain damaged corpse since she’s having so much trouble accessing the host’s memories.  The seeker gets all offended claiming that that was a limit even they wouldn’t cross.  Which implies they do a lot of horrible things, this just isn’t one of them.  Again with the transparent villainy.  Try a little subtlety would you Meyer?  She even fucking hisses.  Not kidding:

“Of course not, Wanderer,” the man said reassuringly. “Even a Seeker would stop at some things.”

The Seeker gasped again. Hissed, my memory corrected.

You really shouldn't hiss at people. It's rude.

You really shouldn’t hiss at people. It’s rude.

When she says that she has blank spots in her memory the seeker argues with her saying that the scans were fine and implying she’s a horrible liar who’s hiding something, to which Wanderer takes offense and goes on, again, about how weird it is to feel negative emotions because humans are the only species ever that ever felt anything other than the emotions expressed in songs for stoned hippies.  Fords interrupts before a cat fight can break out asking her what’s missing and Wanderer says she was looking for the memories the Seeker wanted.

“Though there was no sound, there was a change. The atmosphere, which had gone tense at my accusation, relaxed. I wondered how I knew this. I had a strange sensation that I was somehow receiving more than my five senses were giving me–almost a feeling that there was another sense, on the fringes, not quite harnessed. Intuition? That was almost the right word. As if any creature needed more than five senses.”

Do I really have to talk about this shit again?  Meyer’s knows less about science than my 4 year old niece.  Intuition isn’t a sense.  She’s picking up a combination of low level sounds, smells and movement of air.  None of which is strong enough to consciously pick up on, but the nerve endings still register it and your brain still interprets it.  Arguments can be made that there are other senses, sharks for instance have a sense that is designed to detect electromagnetism, and migratory birds have an internal compass, humans may have a sense we haven’t named yet.  This is not an example of that.  This adds to my theory that Wanderer is secretly just a lucky moron, not the special snowflake they keep calling her.  Also; if she was already unfamiliar with the concept of ‘smell’ why did she not talk about how pointless a fifth sense is?  And if she’s able to recognize the usefulness of smell immediately, why wouldn’t she understand why being able to gauge the tenure of the atmosphere around you would be helpful?  Apparently she’s never been a prey animal.  Or a predator that hunts prey animals.  Or fights for territory, food or mates.  And I would like to remind my dear readers that bears, spiders and bats all do that to varying degrees, and they were on Wanderers list.

There are so many places I could stick this...

There are so many places I could stick this…

Fords says some memory issues aren’t a surprise, and the seeker explains that humans that were aware of the infestation before being infected tended to have varying degrees of success fighting off the implantation.  This raises the question of why this isn’t an incredibly common issue.  Wouldn’t most humans after the initial wave have known about the aliens and thus resisted?  Or did they just kill the adults and take the kids?  And if they did that where the fuck do they get off calling themselves peaceful?  And if they didn’t do that, how the fuck did they manage this invasion without this being a common issue?  The implantation process seems to require surgery, so that seems to imply that even if they started out by abducting surgeons and implanting them then just pretending to be regular humans while implanting more souls in their patients, how the hell did they implant the first parasites without the humans resisting?  If you were abducted by aliens (I’m going to be generous and assume they weren’t detached see weeds and thus hands for surgery, because otherwise we will be discussing this bullshit all day long.  We’re already going to be coming back to the fucking see weeds later.) wouldn’t you be aware of what was happening for long enough to be able to freak out when you felt the parasite accessing your brain?  Wouldn’t your last memory before the insertion involve a level of dread and fear and panic that would cause just as much stress to the parasite as this hosts experience?  Seems to me her emotions weren’t that horrifying.  She didn’t seem to be that scared.  She seemed to me to be resigned, not fearful or even terribly angry.

I can’t imagine how anyone that had any level of awareness of what was going on wouldn’t flood the parasite with powerful emotions.  How they wouldn’t struggle and scream and panic.  If you felt an alien parasite taking over your brain how would you feel?  I’d try and fight it off… Wouldn’t necessarily know how but I would certainly try.  I’d be using the voice in my head that processes my subconscious thoughts into conscious ones I can actually actively think about to curse at the parasite and struggle to find a way to stab myself in the frontal lobe to try and kill it…  Well, actually if at this point no humans had ever done brain surgery to find out where the things attach I’d probably go for the brain stem and guarantee I die, but it also dies with me, but you get the point.  I would sooner die than live as a puppet to an alien parasite controlling my every move, interacting with all my loved ones pretending to be me.  No one but me gets to be me dammit.

Alan Rickman Table Flip

I could continue talking about that for a very long time so onto the rest of the chapter before I get too boring and you all run away.  We get a tiny bit of information about how the parasites connect to the host.  They apparently have 1008 (odd number…) tendrils they bind to the host’s brain.  This would be sufficient to connect to key parts of one section of the brain, but not all.  If she’s small enough to be inserted through a small hole in the neck and make it up to the front of the brain without doing significant tissue damage on her way up, she would have to be very very small.  I suppose she could be long and skinny, but then she wouldn’t have to specify that she makes her way to the center of thought because her body could encapsulate the entire brain.  But if it’s that big how could they take over the bodies of smaller species?  Not to mention that something taking up that much space would have to displace the liquid in your skull that protects your brain from impacts meaning all you would have to do to kill a parasite big enough to connect to your entire brain would be to run really fast then stop, and the parasite would become like a bug hitting the windshield of your car only inside your skull.  SO I’m left with the image of a small parasite, no bigger than a quarter, (which would imply the flower, spider and bat she’d been in the past must have been MASSIVE) trying to connect from the frontal lobe to the visual cortex and autonomic nervous system in the brain stem.  Feel free to peruse the image below to see why that wouldn’t work.

Conscious thought takes place in the pink and green regions.  Primarily pink.  So that would be the 'center of consciousness' Wanderer attached to.

Conscious thought takes place in the pink and green regions. Primarily pink. So that would be the ‘center of consciousness’ Wanderer attached to.

So if you’re an alien parasite that is only big enough to take over one portion of the human brain, which portion do you take over?  The one with conscious thought but no access to sensory input, the speech center, the motor center, or the unconscious organ control, or do you attach to the brain stem where you can also connect to the visual cortex, language center, and at least some control over motor functions?  Gee.  I wonder.

This is how I imagine Meyer researched this book.

This is how I imagine Meyer researched this book.

I’m sick of explaining how Meyer didn’t so much as do a google search to write this book, what’s next?

Light. Bright, painful. I closed my eyes again. The last light I had seen had been filtered through a hundred ocean fathoms. But these eyes had seen brighter and could handle it. I opened them narrowly, keeping my eyelashes feathered over the breach.
“Would you like me to turn down the lights?”

“No, Healer. My eyes will adjust.”

“Very good,” he said, and I understood that his approval was meant for my casual use of the possessive.

Oh good!  Something I can laugh at instead!  Remember how in Chapter 2 I mentioned that I still imagined her being face down on the operating table since they never said any different?  She’s finally opening her eyes, so I get to imagine her, face down, nose squished against the table, opening her eyes and grumpily explaining that she can do this on her own!  God!  Yeah, I imagine Wanderer to be a dumbass teenager.  Given her level of naiveté it seems appropriate.  Also, maybe it’s because I don’t have long girly eye lashes, but I can’t ‘feather’ mine… That’s not even the purpose of eye lashes. They aren’t supposed to cover your eyes to protect against light, they keep shit out of your eyes.  They curve up, not down.  Whatever, it’s just more of her bullshit flowery narrative that The Llama keeps calling out for its pretention.  Meyer, you may be rich, but you suck as a writer.

As she looks around, Wanderer comments that the hospital walls are the colour of vomit and says it’s a bad choice.

The walls were light green–a calming color, but also the color of sickness. A poor choice, in my quickly formed opinion.

She then gets all excited about the colour red.  Apparently it’s an uncommon colour she doesn’t get to see very often.  It’s been a while since I’ve learned about light colour wave lengths and their visibility, so I did a quick google search and confirmed that nocturnal animals (and presumably animals living in low light level areas like that fucking see weed…) have poor to non-existent colour vision, so I’ll have to concede this one if her life before the weeds was the bat. But I do get to point out that that would mean that all the other colours would be just as fresh to her.

Dr Tyson gives up trying to explain this shit so so do I.

Dr Tyson gives up trying to explain this shit so so do I.

She describes the Seeker as somehow both easily missed and a ‘darkness in the bright room’ which seems to contradict.  I tend to notice things that seem out of place a lot faster than things that seem to fit.  She described just about everything in the room as friendly and calming and shades of light blues and greens, but then describes the Seeker as small but covered in black from ‘chin to wrist’ (she never mentions pants, so I take the opening to presume she isn’t wearing any.  You don’t get to be hyper descriptive about some things and then leave other details to the imagination!  It doesn’t work that way!) Oh, and the evil seeker is also darker skinned than the ‘kind healer’.  Of course she is.  I think that the host is going to be African American, don’t you?

Fords tells her that the memory problems are rare because there are so few adult hosts left to be used.  This implies that when there were more adults than children, the memory problems would have been common and Wanderers troubles would have been expected and not at all strange.  CONSISTENCY!

Fords also tells her that it was odd that she chose an adult since humans have shorter life spans than she’s used to.  She did say that the see weeds live a long time, but let’s go over the rest that we can actually put numbers to shall we?  Bats: longest life span; 40 years.  Bears: longest life span; 35 years.  Spiders: longest life span; 2 years.  Flowers: average life span; one season.  Humans: longest life span; 123, average life span; 75.  Advantage; humans.  And that’s before you even toss in the fact that they can heal a body that hurtled down an elevator shaft in only 10 days without any broken bones, brain or organ damage.  You add the alien’s healing abilities and who knows how long humans could live.

Reality is harsh.

Reality is harsh.

Wanderer wants to know if/when this has happened before and Fords tells her the story of Kevin.  A parasite who’s previous life was on the planet of the bats. And it is at this point that I nearly rage quit the book.

“This was only the soul’s second life. He came from Blind World.”

“Blind World?” I asked, cocking my head to the side reflexively.

“Oh, sorry, you wouldn’t know our nicknames. This was one of yours, though, was it not?” He pulled a device from his pocket, a computer, and scanned quickly. “Yes, your seventh planet. In the eighty-first sector.”

Blind World?” I said again, my voice now disapproving.

“Yes, well, some who have lived there prefer to call it the Singing World.”

I nodded slowly. I liked that better.

“And some who’ve never been there call it Planet of the Bats,” the Seeker muttered.

Bitch I will Cut You

BATS. AREN’T. BLIND.  Okay, so, since I first read this I’ve had a little time to calm down, and it has occurred to me that they aren’t actually bats, but an alien species that resembles bats, so when they adopted English they called them bats since it was the closest equivalent.  BUT that does NOT explain why they are BLIND.  OKAY, let’s start out here with yet another lesson in evolution.  I’m going to make this as simple as I can so I don’t go on forever on this.  Assuming they live in caves and alcoves and hunt at night as most bat species do on Earth allowing for the comparison (the bitch Wanderer calls bats ugly a sentence later, which implies they don’t look the same, but since the one she was was blind how the fuck would she know?  Also fuck her, bats are adorable.) this implies that an entire species of nocturnal hunters not only evolved without a sense of sight, but also without a sense of SMELL since the dumbass said she’s never experienced SMELL before.  Bats use sound to locate prey and obstacles, yes, but they also use smell as a VERY important tool to help them distinguish between things that there echolocation simply can’t pick up on (since with only one sense to guide you to your prey it wouldn’t take long for the prey to evolve ways to counter you) and to help them pick mates, and distinguish their youngins from each other.  And to help tell when other bats around them are sick.  Smell is very important is what I’m trying to say here.

But this still raises even more questions.  If Wanderer is unaccustomed to violence, chances are the ‘bats’ on the ‘singing world’ are herbivorous right?  Fruit bats are not nocturnal.  Fruit requires light to grow.  There are no species on Earth that evolved to live in sunlight that do not have sight.  None.  Why?  Because that would be stupid.  And stupid evolutionary mutations don’t tend to last very long.  Also; smell would be even MORE important to an herbivorous animal than one that eats bugs.

If Aliens guy thinks it makes sense it must!

If Aliens guy thinks it makes sense it must!

Anyway, back to Kevin.  Kevin’s soul’s name was ‘racing song’ which was his bat name.  This raises questions.  Stay with me here; if it’s weird for them to take on the host’s name, why would he have a bat name?  Why wouldn’t they all have soul names that stay with them no matter how many bodies they switch to?  Why would Wanderer need a new name now instead of having had one since she was… born?  I still don’t know how these things procreate so I don’t know if ‘born’ is the right word or not.  But anyway, Kevin was called Racing Song at first, but decided he wanted to be Kevin instead. And instead of being a singer since his last life was on singing world (again, if taking on traits of your host is so weird, why is he expected to continue the traits from his past life that were influenced by the host?!) he decided to be a mechanic.

Kevin eventually went to the doctor complaining of black outs, and it turned out that Kevin the parasite was being beaten down by Kevin the brain who wanted his fucking body back goddammit!  So Kevin the brain started taking over more and more frequently and got really violent with everyone and they had to kill him and relocate the parasite into a child.  Which just, the whole imagery so far has come off as a little rapey (forcibly inserting something against your will, it sounds a little rapey…) so doing that to a child feels extra wrong.  Especially since Fords said children were ‘pliable’ earlier in the chapter.  They’re taking over the host bodies, giving birth to children they don’t love, inserting alien parasites into their brains while they’re too young to understand that that kills everything they are and could have been.  And we’re still supposed to believe that only the Seeker is evil, not the entire species.  I don’t have, nor do I WANT kids, but I do have a niece, and I am very fond of The Llama’s son (who, at 3, also knows more about science than Meyer) and I would personally rip the parasites from the brains of anyone that came near them.

This section does confirm though that the host never actually ceases to be capable of individual thought and continues to live, trapped inside a body they can’t control.  Yup, truly loving and kind parasites.

They finally give a little more information about how Wanderer ‘chose’ to come here and ‘chose’ an adult host despite them constantly saying they couldn’t ask her and she couldn’t choose.  Apparently they get pamphlets.  But if she was a see weed last, that communicates only with other see weeds via telepathy, she would have no concept of a written language, and there would be no way to either communicate this information to her or get her choice FROM her without someone who was human being inserted into the see weeds, telling her about it, then leaving, which they call an abhorrent act.  Apparently ‘skipping’ from one host to another is an incredibly shameful and cruel thing to do.  You stay in your host till it dies then you move on to a new one.  They don’t explain why that would be cruel.  I assume when they leave the host can take back over and is then left with all the missing time and the knowledge of what they did while they weren’t in control of themselves and often commit suicide.  But if that was the case then they would know the trauma they’re inflicting on their hosts and wouldn’t be able to call themselves benevolent, so maybe Meyer will give a less self-aware answer later.

So loving and kind, this species.

So loving and kind, this species.

They do refer to the information passed around as ‘recruitment propaganda’ though.  ‘Recruitment propaganda’ on Earth is used to refer to two main things; the military, and cults.  I’ll just leave you with that thought.

This is already way longer than it should be and there’s still a third of this chapter left to go, so I’ll try and hurry this up a bit.

Wanderer starts going over the memories of the host with Fords and the Seeker and other than one thing, it’s really not terribly interesting.  The Host wandered the country from woodland camp to woodland camp, headed to Chicago looking for her cousin Sharon and a band of insurgents, but by the time this body was healed and Wanderer was placed in it, it was already too late for the Seeker to get to the meeting place and catch them which fills the Host with glee.  This takes pretty much the remainder of the chapter to go over and, again, there is only one part of it that I find interesting, the host’s name:

“Her name was Melanie Stryder.”

Why do I find that interesting?  Because the author’s name is Stephanie Meyer.  Who wants to bet that Meyer has a cousin named Karen?!  Oh Meyer; your author insert is showing.

Anyway, the only other name we get is to generic chisel-jaw from Chapter 1 whose name is Jared and Melanie takes over long enough to cackle with glee at the fact that the aliens are too late to steal him from her.

I’m pretty sure at this point we’re supposed to like Wanderer and Fords, hate Seeker, and sympathize with Melanie, I feel none of those things towards any of them.  Seeker is too cliché to bring out a reaction in me stronger than an eye roll, Wanderer comes off as really fucking stupid, Fords is just boring, and Melanie has only been experienced from the emotion of hate at this point so she still kind of feels like a villain, despite the fact that what she’s fighting for is possession of her own body.  I did say that I would commit gruesome acts of murder myself in this scenario, but I sure as hell wouldn’t expect to be seen as a hero.  She comes off as being a jaded person who at this point has been running and fighting for her life so long she’s less human than animal.  In reality she would feel rage far more than ‘love’ and rage would be the emotion that let her overcome the parasite, especially if the parasite isn’t used to it.  The book says it’s all about love being stronger than anything, but Kevin’s story proved rage can overcome them, and so far that’s all this host has going for her too.  Spite, rage, pain, determination.  If this story was being written by a COMPETENT story teller it would be about inner strength not love.  Any love story would just be part of the story, not the focus of it.

Anyway, that’s the end of the chapter compressed into a few paragraphs because it doesn’t seem terribly relevant or interesting and neither answers many questions nor raises many new ones.  It is generic back story exposition meant to tug at your heart strings and make you like the host body but it fails to do that.

See you next time if I don’t find a way to set ebooks on fire without destroying the reader.

Throw it out

P.S. if anyone knows how to make all of my gifs animate instead of just some of them feel free to leave a comment letting me know…

The Host Review: Overheard (Ch 2)

This chapter takes place while the parasite and host are still laying relatively still in the hospital bed or on the operating table.  It was really never stated that she was moved, so I picture her still face down on the operating table because it’s funnier that way.

The parasite, which finally gets a name in this chapter, Wanderer, is faking being unconscious while Fords talks to a yet unnamed female Seeker.  Fords is getting pissed at her because he thinks putting Wanderer in this body is cruel, and they’re having a fight over it, which Wanderer finds odd and unsettling because hers is such a peaceful and loving race.

The Seeker argues that since she only screamed once, Fords is being a pussy.  I would like to point out that by the end of the first page in this chapter it’s blatantly obvious that this chick is the book’s bad guy.  Meyer is so skilled at writing such deep stories, I’m shocked the villain would be so transparent.

So shocked he can't even handle it!

So shocked he can’t even handle it!

Fords argues that the only reason she’s not still wailing in agony is because she’s so special not because it’s not traumatic, because of course we need it drilled in more that the main character is super awesome and unusual.  They keep taking pot shots at each other for a bit till I kind of expect them to have hate-sex right there on the floor, and Wanderer talks about how weird it is for her people to show any signs of aggression, because we all know bears are never ever angry.

Makes perfect sense.

Makes perfect sense.

This whole chapter is a bit boring to talk about because it’s just Fords and the Seeker arguing back and forth about how evil she is and how much of a pansy he is.  Fords implies that Seekers won’t be needed much longer, Seeker says he’s wrong and Wanderer’s host is evidence of that.  Fords points out that she’s one of a very small number remaining, stating that the aliens have regular humans outnumbered a million to one, and the Seekers are quickly rounding up everyone else, so their threat is weakening.  The seeker doesn’t seem to like that fact, and Fords thinks the seeker enjoys violence and isn’t acclimatizing well to peace.

We find out that the host body jumped down the elevator shaft 10 days ago, and that the rebelling humans are actively murdering the humans afflicted with the parasites.  The seekers seem to both find new host bodies for aliens and defend them.  They talk about how humans have put up a brutal fight, and it’s implied that Fords hasn’t been there that long since the unnamed Seeker says he wouldn’t have done well during the start of the invasion.  It’s also, of course, explained that Wanderer is possibly the most well-traveled of all the aliens, at least that the seeker knows of.  Again, super special.  Why can’t the heroes of these kinds of books ever be normal?  Or at least not the most special thing ever?  Wouldn’t this story make more sense with a relatively young parasite, not sure how to overcome the emotions and memories of the host?  Having to struggle to beat down the angry and violent host wanting to break free of her control?

As it stands, instead of making the parasite look special it actually makes her look incredibly weak.  She’d been through more than any other parasite currently on Earth and she still isn’t strong enough to do a slightly more complicated than usual bonding process?  Has she just always sought out the easiest victims for a body to steal?  Having never had to fight against a host in all her past ‘lives’ makes her hosts sound weak.  So she’s probably only inhabited children up till that point which makes her sound even worse.  They call her special and say she should be capable of handling all this, but she can’t.  So either she’s actually just lucky and really kind of sucks, or the host is really unusual, but since they said in the prologue that the host is relatively normal I’m voting the parasite is secretly really pathetic.

For the second time this chapter brings about conflicting information about how much Wanderer knew before coming here.  The Seeker says she ‘would have chosen this if there had been any way to ask’ and Wanderer states that she had been given information before she came here and coming here was a choice she had made.  So was she able to make the choice or not?  At least be consistent within the same goddamn chapter!

Sokka Rage

I have so very, very many problems with the part that comes after they stop focusing on the argument between tweedle dee and tweedle dum…  Wanderer starts talking about her past host.  She has no name for it, but it is very clearly the ‘see weed’ that they mentioned that I thought was a typo.  It’s a plant-like species that lives on the ocean floor and is covered in eyeballs.  So many problems I don’t even know where to begin…

R Pattinson Ugh Face

She says they were all rooted together, sharing a consciousness.  She says that they use photosynthesis for food, and live ‘many leagues’ under the sea.  Anyone with even the most basic understanding of science would start to see the problems here.  How can the parasite species attach to the ‘center of consciousness’ as she said they have to in the last chapter, if the species they’re trying to connect to is one mass consciousness linked together rather than many individuals?  She describes them as though they’re individuals that communicate jovially together, telling stories through telepathy via their shared consciousness, but that’s not telepathy and they’re not individuals.  If it’s a linked consciousness they would be like the limbs of octopi.  They would each have a mass of nerve cells allowing individual movements, even if separated from the mass, but they are not in and of themselves individuals.  They are simply bundles of nerves connected to the larger brain.

That would mean that there would be only one center of consciousness for the entire species and thus only one parasite could live within them.  Once the main consciousness was taken, if parasites needed a host they could live off the nutrients brought in from the nerve clusters, theoretically I suppose but the ‘species’ itself is only one singular being.

Another issue with the species is the fact that they have eyes.  Why do they have eyes if they live at the bottom of the ocean rooted together, with no mention of any method of defense?  They’re rooted to the ocean floor so they can’t run, they use photosynthesis for food so they don’t need them to hunt.  What good are the eyes?  What purpose do they fulfill?

How does it work?!

How does it work?!

The photosynthesis is a problem as well.  If they live at the bottom of the ocean that seems rather inefficient for photosynthesis.  She even says they’re many leagues down.  The amount of solar energy that would reach them that far down would be rather small.  In Earth’s oceans, photosynthetic plants rooted to the ground are only in shallower water.  In the deep ocean the only photosynthetic plants are phytoplankton, which spend their lives floating around near the surface and fuel the ocean floor when they die and their bodies float down to the bottom providing the food for herbivorous species at the ocean floor.  There are ‘plants’ that live that deep down, but rather than the sun, they get their energy from thermal vents on the ocean floor and the nutrients they spit out from the Earth’s core.  But as an animal, not a plant, or at least a planimal, with the added strain of needing to provide nutrients not only for basic functions of life, but also the nutritional needs of a ‘brain’, their photosynthesis would have to be amazingly efficient.

Anyway, she goes on about how while she was part of the see weed, they would tell stories about how violent Earth was.  They would talk about fighting and wars, and how unusual that was.  She does realize that her past lives as a bear and a spider would have involved murdering living things right?  And both of those species fight over territory and mates?  Humans are not the only creatures that fight.  We’re not even the only species that has full blown wars.  Not just primates either, insects and mammals both fight in something similar to wars.  Dolphins commit genocide against porpoises for no known reason since they don’t tend to clash over prey or territory.  Dolphins also commit gang rape.  Hell, even some plants commit genocide against other species of plants.  Humans are not alone in their violent nature.  Evolution favours the species that has some kind of advantage over others, and often destroying your competition is that advantage.  Violence is a natural by-product of evolution and in no way is it unique or odd.

She goes on about how the seekers tend to be looked down upon by the rest of the species.  They’re seen as violent and unevolved.  A necessary evil that none of the rest of them can understand why they would choose that life.  This species isn’t very self-aware considering she’s still shown no degree of sympathy or remorse for the hosts lives they steal.

She starts skimming the host’s memories and hits a wall as the host fights against her. She does find out that the host was looking for a cousin named Sharon, and that she had reason to believe the girl was unassimilated.  She hits the wall and decides to wake up, and that’s the end of the chapter.

I just wanted to use this gif...

I just wanted to use this gif…

This chapter sucks.  The information is conflicting, the science is bullshit that anyone who took any science classes in high school should be able to see the problems with, and the ‘good’ aliens come off as selfish and really fucking ignorant of what their species is.  The villain is so transparent and one dimensional she might as well be an outline drawn on saran wrap.  This book is awful.  I hope something actually happens soon because I’m less angry than bored at the moment and that’s making this hard.

Such dull work, ripping this book to shreds...

Such dull work, ripping this book to shreds…

See you next time.

(And don’t forget to check out the question llama’s reviews!)

The Host Review: Remembered (Ch1)

The question llama and I found gifs…

So yeah, that cautious optimism from the end of the prologue?  Fuck it.  Chapter one strips all that away with contradictions, confusion, piss poor writing, and all the rage inducing pseudo-science.  I’m seriously questioning my own sanity for taking this on, and we’re only on the first chapter.

I really did think it had potential for that first 5 pages...

I really did think it had potential for that first 5 pages…

It starts with the parasite talking about how she’d been warned that this was going to suck, but Fords mentioned in the prologue that the souls had no senses of their own outside their host body, so did they extract her from her last host knowing this was where she would end up and telling her while she was still in that body?  I had assumed until this point that they stayed in a host body until it died, and then they were transferred into the first available body.  So if the consciousness of the host is destroyed when the parasite is attached, removing the parasite would kill it.  So they murdered her previous host body to put her into this one… why?  Why did she need to be in this body specifically?  Is this body important?  Is it the leader of some human resistance and they want to put this particular soul in it because she’s some kind of cunning spy whose skills are centered around infiltration and extermination?  Is she a peace negotiator?  Is she Batman?  We’re still on the first sentence of the chapter so let’s move on…

She describes the language of her host body in the following way:

“The language I found myself using was odd, but it made sense. Choppy, boxy, blind, and linear. Impossibly crippled in comparison to many I’d used, yet still it managed to find fluidity and expression. Sometimes beauty. My language now. My native tongue.”

Where to begin with this?  How can it be all of those things?!  I understand what Meyers is trying to do here.  She’s trying to establish the alien as an alien trying to understand the intricacies of humanity while trying to make it sound poetic and exotic in its crudeness, but she’s just contradicting herself.  It’s like she just selected adjectives at random from the thesaurus for ‘clumsy’.  She’s trying too fucking hard.  Also, it’s not your native tongue you fucking parasite!  It’s your HOST’S native tongue!  Your native tongue would be the first language you’d ever learned, which given the list of bodies you’d inhabited I’m going to guess was ‘pheromones’.

She then mentions that it’s her species’ ‘most basic instinct’ to latch onto the ‘center of thought’.  So what the hell did she latch to in the flower?  And I’m pretty sure spiders don’t have conscious thought, just basic instincts and physical reactions to external stimuli independent of anything but the nerve clusters required to sense the stimuli and move, kind of like how your hand will move off a burning stove before your brain actually registers what happened.  So what exactly would be the center of thought in a spider?  And thinking about it, how small are these things that they can inhabit a spider and a flower?!

…Moving on.  The parasite talks about how she feels the sedation wearing off and ‘lucidity returning’.  I’m going to assume Meyers hasn’t been sedated in a while.  I don’t know about you, but the last time I was sedated, which was only a month ago and I was only out for 4 hours where I imagine this host body has probably been out for a few days, when I woke up, ‘lucidity’ didn’t really return so much.  Not for a while.  I woke up, and, I dunno, I remember being able to hear…  I eventually started to feel pain, and eventually started to figure out what the things I was hearing were (people were apparently talking about me right in front of me.  It was very rude.)  but it took a lot longer than the description here implies.  I was semi-conscious for a good half hour, and even after that I was still groggy for the next hour or so, which was all before I was even on any pain medication so it wasn’t just that.  This makes it sound like as soon as you open your eyes your senses and consciousness return within a minute or two.  Perhaps Meyers is just failing to accurately portray time, but I suspect it’s more to do with her getting her ideas of how this should work from movies where everyone looks sexy after waking up from being drugged.

In the same paragraph is one of my biggest problems with this chapter.  The alien describes how she braces herself for the ‘first memory’ which is apparently the ‘last memory’ of the host, “the memory of the end.” its own death.  But here’s the problem with that.  The host body isn’t dead. So either the parasite is wrong to call it a memory, because it’s actually what the body is going through as the parasite destroys the last vestiges of the consciousness section of her brain, which would be something I imagine all souls would get, and thus this whole ‘brace yourself for something horrible’ shtick would be a little melodramatic, or they don’t consider anything that happens to the host body after it comes into their possession as being ‘alive’.  Which I suppose would be a way for them to justify considering themselves empathetic and kind while killing people.

But neither of those things work, because one, she keeps calling everything the host body experiences as she waits for its consciousness to die as ‘memories’ as though they aren’t currently happening, including emotions and physical sensations, but the ‘memory’ she seems to be referring to is still the moment of the ‘accident’ that got the body in this position in the first place.  So, the final memory is both the dying thoughts of the host body as the parasite sucks away its consciousness, AND the last thing that happened to it before it was captured.  WHICH DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.  WORDS HAVE MEANINGS MEYERS!  And the alien downloaded every memory of this body, and the entirety of the body’s knowledge of the English language; it would fucking know what a goddamn memory is.  She doesn’t just get to use whatever words she wants because she’s an alien; she fucking speaks English now!

She uses ‘memory’ for things that aren’t memories a lot in this chapter.  It caused me to stop reading a lot.  It took me several hours to read this seven page chapter.

Words; they mean things

Words; they mean things

She mentions that the emotions of the host body are incredibly overwhelming and stronger than anything else she’d felt in any other host body.  Why?  I mentioned before that spiders function more on instinct which is a crude evolutionary precursor to emotions, more than actual thought.  Wouldn’t being controlled pretty much purely by base reactions be stronger than human fear which we can actually control?  Do bats, who raise their children and live in colonies, not experience powerful fear and aggression?  Ever piss off a mama bear?  Nope, ‘cuz if you had, you’d be fucking dead.  Did Meyers not do any research and just pick past host bodies that she figured people wouldn’t know much about the biology of?  I’m going to keep coming back to that list.  I’ll stop bringing it up when she stops contradicting it.

I'm judging you.  You're not doing well.

I’m judging you. You’re not doing well.

The parasite talks about the sensations the body is feeling, and it includes a lot of pain.  Apparently Deep Throat isn’t as good a healer as the book claimed, because if he had healed her body as well as he claimed there the body wouldn’t be in pain.  Oh, you say, but what about that wound he inflicted to insert the parasite!  Ah hah, I say back to the empty air that’s talking to me, the parasite specifies the pain is in the limbs.  Plural.  All the limbs are in pain.  If they waited till the body was healed, the limbs wouldn’t hurt.  Sedation doesn’t cause pain.

APPARENTLY none of her previous host bodies had a sense of smell.  According to Stephanie Meyers, bats and bears don’t have a sense of smell.  Words cannot describe the emotion I felt when I read that.

Just think about it.

Just think about it.

She describes the memory of the ‘accident’ the host body had as though she could actually feel the physical sensations of it, but I think that’s a serious misunderstanding of how memories work.  First of all, if the parasite has already downloaded the body’s understanding of the language, it should already have ALL of her memories and thus wouldn’t be being bombarded with the most recent one, so she’s not actually experiencing the final memories of the host body she’s experiencing the still alive host body processing what happened to her.  Which would be a memory that the parasite had already downloaded and thus would already be familiar with and not be surprised or overwhelmed by.  I suppose you could argue that the speech centers of the brain are separate from the cognitive centers, but if the parasite latches onto the cerebral cortex (which practically speaking makes no sense, they should latch to the medulla, the parts of the brain that control movement, autonomic processes like the pumping of the heart and breathing, and basically everything you need to actually LIVE.  Taking over the cognitive center of the brain would not give them control over mobility.  The body would continue to function independent of the wishes of the parasite, becoming a zombie.  I suppose it doesn’t say that they don’t just start there and take over the entire nervous system from there, but the implication seems to be that the center of your being is the cognitive center, when really that’s just window dressing…  The body functions with or without that part of your brain.  You can literally lobotomize that entire section of the brain and you’re still not dead.  In fact, if not the ENTIRE cortex is removed, you could even compensate and still live a relatively normal life.  In order for the parasites to have all of your memories, they would have to leave all of that intact, which means YOU are still intact, which means you can still THINK, you just have no control.  So in essence, all of the ‘souls’ would have to coexist with their host body’s existing sense of being.  You would be trapped, able to see and feel everything, and words would be coming out of your mouth but they wouldn’t be yours…  THAT WOULD BE A MUCH BETTER BOOK!

Nope, doesn't bother me at all!

Nope, doesn’t bother me at all!

…Sidetracked there for a second, anyway, what the hell was I trying to say?  Oh yeah, the parasite describes human limbs as clumsy and that’s demonstrably not true.  Especially compared to the LACK of limbs of a flower, and the animals that lack, you know, hands.  Try doing surgery as a BEAR.  Humans developed dextrous hands and limbs specifically for (or because of at least) sophisticated tool use.  They are NOT clumsy.

She goes on to describe the memories and emotions of the host being so powerful they take control of the brain back from the alien for a moment.  What?  Do I have to rant about how the brain works again?  She then describes herself as being ‘sucked into’ the memory, but if the memory detached her, how would that work?  I would think that this would mean that the parasite wasn’t ‘detached’ it just didn’t anticipate the strength of the emotions, was caught off guard, and couldn’t react fast enough to stop the host brain from thinking its thoughts and she got caught up in a vivid and painful memory of being chased by… people who seem to be concerned for her safety and who are trying to stop her from committing suicide.  Terrifying.  I assume that’s going to be explained later.

“A high, shrill keening pierced my ears and pulsed in my head. The sound scraped through my airways. There was a weak pain in my throat.

Screaming, my body explained. You’re screaming.”

She apparently doesn’t understand the concept of screaming.  Remember the list?  Bats?  Do you understand the problem here?

It’s after that that she FINALLY realizes that things that are happening right now aren’t memories.  Apparently the part where she says ‘screaming’ isn’t the parasite realizing it, it’s the host explaining it.  Again, she’s hooked into the ‘center of thought’ she has access to the entire knowledge base of the host body, she should already know what screaming is.  But oooo the host body isn’t dead!  We already knew that.  Fords explained that.  That seems to be the way this works.  They don’t take over DEAD bodies, that’s why he had to HEAL HER before inserting the ‘soul’.  Unless the parasite erases all aspects of personality from the host body’s brain, which would remove access to memories, and stop them from being able to blend in at the start of the invasion, you cannot take away the brain’s ability to think without destroying it and your ability to use it to its full capacity.

You missed

You missed

The chapter goes on to describe the memory of the ‘accident’, which is the host throwing herself down an elevator shaft so they can’t implant an alien parasite in her brain.  Worked out great!  But it brings me back to what I was trying to explain earlier before I went into a neurobiology lesson; why is she living out this final memory?  If she downloads all the memories backwards, starting with the most recent, she would lack the context necessary to make any sense of the information.  If it’s just because the memory is so recent, so it has the strongest neural pathway connections and thus automatically triggers in the soul when the connection is formed, that doesn’t work because that wouldn’t be the most recent memory of the host body.  In fact, chances are after falling down an elevator shaft she probably wouldn’t remember much of that at all.  But either way, the time in between that it would take for her to heal, all of which she spent unconscious, even if she did remember it, it would be fuzzy. She wouldn’t remember sensations and specifics, the feeling of her limbs flailing in the air…  Chances are she would remember running, and maybe jumping, and then, nothing.  In more or less those vague terms.  That’s assuming the landing didn’t cause a concussion, which is pretty unlikely.  But, back to the point, it still doesn’t make sense to actually refer to that as a memory.  The parasite isn’t just sorting through the hosts memories, most recent to oldest like going through files in a cabinet, she’s experiencing the thoughts of the host brain, which, just regaining consciousness after a trauma, would be trying to make sense of everything it’s currently experiencing through the context of the last thing it remembers happening.  But that wouldn’t be new.  The soul would experience that with every new host body, and she’s already had 7.  She should not be surprised or overwhelmed by any of this.

Through all of this, not once does someone come up and ask if she’s okay or needs help or if anything’s wrong.  She screamed, and no one came to see if the body hadn’t been healed properly.  No one decided to check to make sure there was nothing wrong.  So either they left her alone despite knowing this would be hard on her, making them heartless despite their earlier description, or this is all normal, which means this isn’t especially hard, and the prologue was still lying.

Is she dead?  Alright everyone, time to go home.

Is she dead? Alright everyone, time to go home.

Throughout all of this, she keeps saying things like ‘my language’ and ‘my body’.  In ways that are emphasising that she is adjusting to being this person, but it comes off as naiveté.  Which would make sense if this was her first body.  She shouldn’t have to keep reminding herself that this is her body though by number 7.  She should just understand that whatever body she’s in is her body and the adjustment would be less philosophical and more ‘man, I miss having wings…’  She then goes on to talk about the memory fading to blackness, and then a rush of a new memory fills the spot.

“But this was not the same memory. This was a memory within a memory–a final memory, like a last gasp of air–yet, somehow, even stronger than the first.

The blackness took all but this: a face.

The face was as alien to me as the faceless serpentine tentacles of my last host body would be to this new body.”

This part finally talks about her last body, and my first reaction was ‘so is that a see weed?’  But it doesn’t clarify.  At least not in this chapter.  But the ‘face’ is of course the most handsome man ever.  And despite speaking English, she doesn’t know what eyebrows are.  I promise I won’t rant again about how the brain works…  Meyers doesn’t make it easy to stick to that promise, so I’m just going to say that this alien is an idiot, the man is square jawed without a beard, and everything about him is light brown.  Doesn’t really strike me as the description that would make a lot of girls swoon, but what do I know?

She goes on to describe how generic human faces are compared to one another, how little variety there is between individuals, and again I am brought back to that fucking list.  She says humans are all varying shades of brown.  Have you ever seen a purple bear?  Yeah, there are black bears and polar bears, but those aren’t variations between individuals, they’re differences between subspecies.  Individuals have very little variation.  Humans at least do different things with their hair and clothes and men can shape their beards, and some people wear glasses and tattoos and such.  The most variation between bats in a colony is even LESS distinct variations in shapes and sizes than in humans, and the same goes for bears.  Spiders, depending on the subspecies, might have variations in spots or stripes, but those would be relatively minor as well, and many flowers are exact CLONES of each other.  Meyer did no science research at all for this science fiction book.

“There were small lines around the eyes, and her memories told me the lines were from smiling and squinting into sunlight.”

So she can access the memories that explain wrinkles, but not screaming, eyebrows, the definition of the word ‘memory’, the man’s name, the fact that he’s a man not an it, or the fact that the host body wasn’t dead when she was put in it.  REALLY hard to keep that promise right about now…

Oh yeah and she describes him as beautiful.  I’ve noticed this is a recurring word.  I suspect it’s a theme that will continue and piss me off.

I don't care enough to keep a count.

I don’t care enough to keep a count.

The body somehow manages to steal back the memory of the man and hide it from the parasite, which makes no sense at all.  You cannot hide memories from something plugged into your brain.  It’s not possible.  I would give Meyer the benefit of the doubt and say maybe the group that the host body came from has a parasite there feeding them information about how to retain control and trick the parasites, but honestly at this point she’s given me no reason to believe there will be anything SMART in this book.

The parasite starts talking to herself, or the voice in her head at least (technically she would be the voice in the hosts head, but this is told from the perspective of the parasite, so from that vantage point…) and she doesn’t seem very happy about it.  She acts as though the host should just go away when she takes over and how DARE it try and keep its own body now that it belongs to the parasite!  Yup, compassionate and loving race!

So, now that my review is three times the word count of the chapter let’s wrap this up shall we?  This chapter fucking sucked.  All the possibilities I thought were there from the prologue would not fit in this book because clearly the author doesn’t care about making this book coherent or scientifically literate.  I can stomach pseudo-science in my science fiction, you need it to make most of it work, but it has to at least sound like it makes sense and not completely contradict pretty easily understood concepts like that bats and bears have fucking noses.  I hate this book already.  There are 60 fucking chapters, and we’re only on chapter ONE!  What have I gotten myself into?

I've made a huge mistake

The Host – Prologue

Don’t forget to check out Quizzicalllama!
So we begin.  I decided to start with the prologue instead of the first chapter because…well, there was stuff to talk about.  Fair warning: I’m an atheist, and this thing starts out with some religious imagery, so I suspect the rest of the book will have it too.  I have no desire to offend anyone and will try not to, but I apologize in advance if I do.  For now, on to the book!

The prologue starts with a very strangely named man; Fords Deep Water.  They start out by calling him a ‘healer’ and a ‘soul’, and say:

Because he was a soul, by nature he was all things good: compassionate, patient, honest, virtuous, and full of love.”

But because Mr. Water is stuck being a human, he’s trapped with our flaws, like anger and frustration.  See what I mean about the religious overtones?  Very subtle.

Based on what we know about the book at this point, we can assume that ‘souls’ are the alien parasites, and humans are their hosts.  Water is apparently some well-known healer, and he’s currently working on a patient, surrounded by gawking students.

His assistant’s name is Darren.

I don’t know what to make of that.  Is Fords Deep Water the weird name?  Did all the souls pick their own names when they took on human bodies, and Fords just picked random words?  Maybe Darren arrived much later in the invasion, and by then they actually understood names.  Or maybe the other way around; maybe Darren needed to fit in, but Fords got to pick whatever fucked up name he wanted because they’d already taken over.  I like Fords better.  Darren sounds boring.

Anyway, Fords doesn’t like his fans, and Darren tells him to relax and act like the hippy his name suggests he is (in fewer words, obviously).  Fords says an ‘insertion’ is easy; they should all know how to do it, and the dumbasses are distracting.  We’re not told what an ‘insertion’ is.  We have enough information to guess, but I prefer to live in the gutter, so I’m going to assume they’re filming a doctor-themed porno and just getting to the fun part.

Darren says the students have never seen a ‘grown human’.  I can’t decide if that makes humans like organs or zoo animals in this book’s universe.  Deep Water (sounds like ‘deep throat’, which strengthens my porn theory) basically calls Darren an idiot, pointing out that everyone is living in the bodies of grown humans, so to see one they only have to look in a mirror.  Darren calls him a buzz kill and the patient ‘soulless’.

Apparently, the girl they’re operating on is face down on an operating table.  I had been picturing a metal table like the ones you dissect animals in biology on, so I admit that when I read that part, I pictured the poor girl with her nose and chin squished against metal.  Meyers does nothing to specify that there’s any kind of hole for her face to rest in, so I’m just going to go with that instinct.

Supposedly, Deep Water healed her body, as he had found her bloodied and broken and brought her in.  They say they’re good, but maybe Deep Water just THINKS they are, and they’re actually the aliens from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and they found her and beat her up and then brought her in for assimilation, and the rest of the book she’ll be fighting the parasite, trying to find the queen bee to take back Earth!  But I’m pretty sure this is a romance novel, so I’m not going to get my hopes up too high that this turns into something epic.  But man, if it does, I’ll be so happy.

Anyway, Fords saved her from death, and now they’re going to put a new ‘soul’ into her.  I can’t tell if they think people are just cows or not.  Maybe they’re some super advanced race and humans are just vessels through which they can continue their otherwise peaceful lives, essentially freeing humanity from disease and war and violence, and the story will end with the host chick realizing that humanity was the aggressor all along.  But that wouldn’t be much of a twist, since the prologue starts out talking about them being all gentle…hmmmm.  Maybe it’s not supposed to be a twist.  Maybe the main character isn’t the human, but the alien.  The alien conflicts with her, trying to make her see that they’re not evil, that they’re not out to hurt anyone, and the host body keeps fighting her, and making trouble for the peaceful aliens.  Then the alien gets arrested because everyone thinks it’s her, and she has to clear her own name while still fighting for control of the body from the violent human!

Maybe I’m overthinking this…

Water tells Darren to stop being an asshat, and to respect the vessel for the ‘poor soul’ that is being put into it, as apparently, for some reason that isn’t explained (at least in the prologue), it’s going to be painful and traumatic for the alien.  The implication is that that’s not normal, though the implication is also that it’s not normal because the host is an adult, not that the host is ‘special’, so at least this isn’t some ‘chosen one’ bullshit.  I have liked ‘chosen one’ stories, but the trope IS kind of annoying.  But yeah, he accuses Darren of being disrespectful for gawking at the body and treating it as a sideshow attraction instead of the body of a fellow soul.  Which I’ve got to kind of agree with; I wouldn’t want to wake up after a brain transplant to find a bunch of kids staring at me.

The boring assistant says something about a ‘Seeker’ that pisses Fords off for reasons that aren’t made clear, but he scares Darren, so he apologizes and says it’s only because he’s afraid the soul he puts in the glorified corpse is going to go through hell when he sticks it in.  My words, obviously.

We’re given a little backstory on the soul; apparently it’s lived many lives, and it is a she.  I argue that this implies that the author supports transgendered people, as apparently your gender is a part of your soul, not your body, so I’m not going to make fun of that, and instead choose to believe that this is Meyer’s way of supporting trans people.

Up till now I’ve been kind of picking on this, but I actually find this prologue a lot more interesting than I expected to, and it’s made me want to read more of the book.  This next bit, though, I actually have to take issue with.  The students start talking about the past lives of the soul…yes, they actually word it like that; like I said, not terribly subtle.  They say she’s lived on 6 or 7 other planets.  So far still kind of cool; maybe these aliens are immortal as long as they can find a new host body soon enough, and the ‘seekers’ mentioned earlier are like the scouts that go out in search of new worlds, and the fact that they found an adult human ‘in the wild’ suggests that they’re not as securely set up here as they thought, so they are trying to figure out if they need to find a new host world.  Still potentially really promising, right?

Here’s where that hope starts to fade a bit.  The students say she lived on other planets, then start to list her past lives:

“She’s been almost everything. A Flower, a Bear, a Spider –”

“A See Weed, a Bat –”

“Even a Dragon!”

So, apparently all planets contain the exact same biology.  One has dragons, but for the most part, all Earth-based biology.  The reason this takes my hope away is that calling the aliens ‘souls’ and all their host bodies ‘lives’ was unoriginal enough, but Stephanie Meyers isn’t even original enough to make up alien species’ names.  She couldn’t even be bothered to specify a type of flower.  And if the ‘soul’ has to be PHYSICALLY inserted into the host body, through use of an operating table and their species equivalent of a doctor, and the soul has to be held in a cryotank in hibernation, it suggests it is actually a physical being, so how the hell did it take over a flower?  And if they can live in flowers or fucking seaweed, why would they need to take any risks by taking over humans? Why not just live in the bugs?  And if they’re taking over species with limited capacity for medicine and carrying around those cryotanks, how were they transferring ‘souls’ into flowers?  Fords and Darren and all those students are already human at this point.  They are using human hands and technology humans have already to do this transfer.  If they were all flowers THEY COULDN’T DO THAT!  FLOWERS DON’T HAVE HANDS!

By the way, if you noticed the quote says ‘see weed’ instead of ‘seaweed’ and thought I typoed, nope!  That’s how it’s spelled in the book.  ‘See Weed’.  I think it’s a dandelion covered in eye balls.

Anyway, Fords gets pissed that the students won’t shut up, yells at them, and they all act shocked that someone would want them to stop gossiping in an operating room.  Apparently, the girl is perfectly healthy thanks to the good doctor, but she’s sedated, and they begin inserting the new soul.  Apparently, the cryotank has a dial that has to be turned…again, flowers and spiders can’t turn a dial.

The narration talks about the process of cutting open her neck, stopping the bleeding, and the doctor seeing pale spine.  More nerd rage.  Inside the human body, the bones are not really all that pale.  They’re ‘bad teeth yellow’ when they’re outside the body and clean; when they’re inside the body, with all the muscle tissue and capillaries, he wouldn’t describe them as pale.  That’s a lot nit-pickier than the last complaint, but clearly the author knows nothing of science, and I’m going to spend a lot of my reviews complaining about how inaccurate it is, because that kind of thing pisses me off.  Which brings me to my next nitpick: She calls the thing the doctor uses to stop the bleeding ‘medicine’.

“…and then sprayed on the medication that stilled the excess flow of blood”

That’s it, just a spray on Band-Aid!  I really, really hope the rest of the book doesn’t try and pretend it understands science or medicine…

The rest of the prologue is spent with Fords admiring how pretty the soul is, and lamenting how difficult her life is going to be.  Apparently the Host may not be ‘the chosen one’, but this soul is ‘special’.  So maybe I was right when I thought earlier that the hero was actually the alien, not the human.  Even with the nerd rage, I would still be pretty happy to find out that’s the way she went with the story.

There’s really nothing else of note in the prologue.  They mention ‘Origin’, which I assume is their home planet, which most of them don’t seem to have ever actually been to.  Meyers attempts to world build, but does so with really shitty science and massive winks to religion, so I’m left feeling kind of torn about this.  I still have hope.  I know what she did to vampires, but maybe since aliens don’t have a specific lore, she can pull them off… but if this turns out to be not just a thinly veiled metaphor, and these actually are ‘souls’ that gained sentience outside their bodies, and ‘origin’ is heaven, and now the pure souls are being allowed to return to Earth and live out their lives however they see fit, I’m going to be super pissed.  Religious fiction is not the same as science fiction!  Both have their place, but label them properly so I don’t have to read about Jesus, and people who want to read about Jesus don’t have to read about Cthulhu!

Next time, chapter one!  I am cautiously optimistic!

Introduction

I believe an introduction is an order!  I’m Michael, or Mike.  Call me Mikey if you want me to never acknowledge your existence. 

I had been planning to write a deconstruction of a book at some point for the sake of giving myself an excuse to rant about something terrible for a while, but I couldn’t decide which book I wanted to use.  My friend mentioned that she had thought of reading 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight at some point, just to see just how bad they actually are for herself, and that she figured the only way she’d actually survive doing so would be if she ranted at a blog about it as she read it. I still hadn’t thought of a book of my own to do by the time that conversation came up, so I latched onto her idea instead of coming up with one of my own.  Together we decided to start with The Host instead though, because we heard it was the least terrible and we thought we’d ease our way in.

So here we are.  Fair warning: I’m not the biggest fan of romance books at their best.  They bore the hell out of me.  This will be an exercise in anger management, patience and sadism, which seems fitting given what I know of these books.  Still, I’ve been told my rage is entertaining, so hopefully you’ll enjoy my descent, and hopefully I’ll at least say some things here that haven’t been said a million times already.  I’m not doing this for originality; I’m doing this because I hate myself.

There’s not really much else to say; I’m not terribly interesting when I’m not pissed off.  I will add, though, that I intend to toss in some random non-book related posts from time to time too.  Hopefully that will also be interesting.

And be sure to check out my friends breakdown too at Quizzicalllama.wordpress.com!

I am hoping to be able to update with two chapter reviews a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and if I have anything non-book related to say I’ll save that for the weekend. See you at the prolugue!