Monday, 26 October 2009

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Blood and Chocolate tells the story of Vivian, a 16 year old girl who lives in a typical small town, but Vivian is anything but typical. Most atypically Vivian and her family are werewolves. This book is about Vivian's struggle to assimilate into her high school society, while still maintaining her identity and place in the werewolf pack. Life is difficult enough for her when she meets a human boy (or "meat boy" as the book calls it) who seems to understand her and love her more then even the members of her pack. The choice to date a human is further complicated when Vivian unintentionally becomes "betrothed" to a highly sought after and powerful member of the pack. Vivian is then forced to chose between the human world and the werewolf life, which is why the book is called "Blood or Chocolate".

Even in human form Vivian, her mother and the rest of her "pack", are very different then any human family. The most notable difference is that everyone is very sexual. From their language to each other and the way they interact is very sexual. Another huge difference is that everyone is very aggressive, Vivian's mother gets in bar fights for example, with other women from the pack. The reader gets the picture that this is just the way life is for werewolves, that this is normal, but I found that it just made me unable to relate to their lives. It seemed every thought Vivian had was laced with sexual content. She is also kind of mean and didn't seem to care about anyone but herself, which made me unable to care about her, even when bad things happened to her.

Bottom line: This is a young adult novel that has no place being read by teenagers, and adults will likely find it unsatisfying. I would have skipped it if I was given the chance.

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host, a novel by the beloved American novelist, Stephenie Meyer (author of the Twilight series), is a highly entertaining work that needs not be overlooked. Remember the chemistry Meyer created between our fictional vampire and human characters in Twilight? And the effect they left as they lingered in your thoughts all day? Stephenie Meyer does not disappoint, and once again she has brought to life a scenario and characters that you just cant get out of your head.
Published in April of 2008, The Host is classified as a science fiction novel, however it is also classified as a romance. The basis of the novel consists of an alien human race referred to as "souls" who forcefully inhabit earth and embody the humans who live there. Our main character "Wanderer," or "Wanda" as she is later called for short, is a soul that has inhabited a human's body - a beautiful, smart and strong young woman named Melanie. Before Melanie was captured and embodied by this soul, she survived in hiding with her young brother Jamie and boyfriend, the love of her life, Jared.

When the "souls" embody humans, the human mind within is supposed to become erased, non-existent, so that the "soul" can take over complete mental control of this new body and life as their own. Wanderer finds out all too soon that the human inside this new body of hers, Melanie, is a fighter and is very resistant to the takeover. That said, Wanderer and Melanie live simultaneously inside their head, tormenting each other on some levels. However what was once torment eventually evolves into a deep sisterhood love. Because of Melanie's undying presence in her head, Wanderer experiences all the same memories that Melanie has, human emotions, memories and the powerful determination to get back to Jared and Jamie.

The book is a journey of Wanderer and Melanie's search for the two people most important to Melanie, and the events and adventures thereof, eventually finding them along with the secret human colony living with them in underground caverns. Wanderer, although alien to the human race she embodies, becomes a part of them, interwoven by choice into their daily fabric, and their means of survival. Wanderer and one of the humans, a heart-throbbing young man named Ian, find an attraction but cant get past how to deal with love between two different races - human and alien. Love and companionship are tested, and in the end Wanderer finds herself left with a choice she needs to make - whether or not to bring Melanie back to existence and sacrifice herself, for the sake of both of her brother and Jared, who is still so much in love with Melanie. What she decides in the end is shocking, and completely throws a twist into the story.

The end leaves you grasping for more, to be honest I was so disappointed. But only selfishly. I wanted so badly for the story to continue, to find out how life goes after her decision had been made. Meyer definitely severed the novel at a perfect place for a sequel. Let's hope!

I don't have too many spoilers, but I will say that the familiar love triangle that Meyer created in Twilight is present in The Host too. The dynamics of the love and attraction battle between Wanderer, Jared and Ian is addicting, to say the least. It is the kind of story that keeps you up at night reading for hours. Although the book is amazing, the beginning is very confusing and can be hard to get though. Everything makes sense eventually though; it all comes full circle.

My bottom line is that I would recommend The Host, just as much as I would recommend Twilight. Happy reading!