It is so hard to explain my love for this book. It is really long, but for me it went by so fast. I had expected it to drag in the beginning, but it didn’t feel that way at all. I enjoyed every single second, every page. I was completely and totally consumed by this story. I must go see the movie now!
Even though I think this is classified in the sci-fi genre, Stephenie Meyer describes this book as “Science fiction for people who don't like science fiction.” I’ve never really read sci-fi so I’m no expert, but the fact that “aliens” are in it didn’t deter me. It was more focused on the relationships and internal struggles of the characters than actual aliens.
So, it takes place in the future and the world has been inhabited by aliens, called Souls. The Souls are a species that cannot survive on their own, they need a host body. Most of the time the Soul takes over the host completely, their memories and all, but the host’s personality/voice ceases to exist. That is not the case for Wanderer (aka Wanda) who tells this story. Her host, Melanie is persistent, strong, and stubborn. It soon becomes clear to both Wanda and Melanie that they must learn to co-exist within this one body.
The dynamic between Melanie and Wanda was captivating. They have full on conversations and the personalities and voices of the two are so unique and defined. As they adjust to eachother, the lines do begin to blur when it comes to their emotions and memories. Melanie still has the power to influene Wanda to some extent and her feelings for the boyfriend, Jared that she was torn away from begin to seep over.
“You’re in love with him, too, separately from me. It feels different from the way I feel. Other. I didn’t see that until he was there with us, until you saw him for the first time. How did that happen? How does a three-inch-long worm fall in love with a human being?” -Melanie
“Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature”the blurb states, but I really think it is more of a love square. First there is Jared, Melanie’s first and only love from when she was human. The man her and her younger brother, Jamie (who I adore) lived with and counted on to survive and stay hidden from the Souls.
“It was a miracle— more than a miracle— when I found you, Melanie. Right now, if I was given the choice between having the world back and having you, I wouldn’t be able to give you up. Not to save five billion lives.” -Jared
Then there is Ian who meets Wanda after she is in control of Melanie’s body. He lives with Jared, Jeb (Melanie’s uncle), Jamie, and over thirty other surviving humans who are determined to have some semblance of a life hidden away from the Souls and "The Seeker" who is searching for Wanda and threatens their very existence.
“It’s not the face, but the expressions on it. It’s not the voice, but what you say. It’s not how you look in that body, but the things you do with it. You are beautiful.” -Ian
Wanda has massive hurdles to overcome. She has feelings she shouldn’t, some humans trust her and love her, some hate her, her loyalties are tested and everything she knows is questioned.
”I don’t get you, Wanda. You’ve given up on your species entirely, you’re ready to die for my brother, you’re in love with the man I love who is going to kill us, and yet you won’t let go of customs that are entirely impractical here.” -Melanie
I completely fell in love with the characters in this story. Wanda, although she is technically an alien, is probably the best person ever, she is so caring and just wants good for everyone. Melanie is fierce, stubborn and strong. She is pretty much Wanda’s complete opposite, which is what made the dynamic so interesting. The love interests, Jared and Ian are both so fantastic in their own ways that I had a hard time choosing. Jared is focused, intense, and intriguing. He is more mysterious and isn’t as forthcoming with his feelings. On the other hand there’s Ian. He is protective, genuine, and understanding. I have such a soft spot for him! Although I think the casting for him is totally random, atleast physically (Ian is supposed to have really dark hair and green eyes, he’s not blonde like the dude in the movie. Weird.). Then there’s Melanie’s Uncle Jeb, who I couldn’t help but picture as Jeff Bridges when he played “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski. So you get the picture there… LOL! I could go on and on, but you get the idea. I loved everyone.
The story takes you on such an incredible ride. The shape it ended up taking really took me by surprise. I couldn't figure out how it was going to end. Would the Souls find the humans? Would the humans overtake the Souls? Would Wanda act on her feelings for Jared? For Ian? Who would survive? Who wouldn't? The whole time I was questioning everything! It brought out every emotion and really made me think. I highly, highly recommend this book! I am SO EXCITED that Stephenie Meyer has confirmed that she is currently working on the sequel, The Seeker! I think there is so much potential for an amazing trilogy! Yay! :)
"I didn’t know why I had yearned after [love] so desperately. All I knew was that, now that I had it, it was worth every ounce of risk and agony it had cost. It was better than I’d imagined. It was everything." -Wanda