Ordinarily I write something heartfelt when we finish a book, both to sarcastically reflect on the book itself, but also the genuinely reflect on the good times we had making fun of it. Remember that time crazy old Uncle Jeb took us on a tour of the cave? Remember that other time he took us on a tour of the cave? Remember that other time we went on a tour of the cave? Good times… we should sell mugs.
Ariel says: You’d think I wouldn’t want to be reminded of this series, but I would drink from one of these every goddamn day, ya hear?
Remember how awful the Fifty Shades epilogue was because – in my own super duper authoritative words – an epilogue “brings closure to the story in a way that shows how things have changed after the story ends, like a delayed denouement”, and Fifty Shades did not do that? Well, The Host does do that, so we can’t make fun of it that way. We can, however, make fun of how there is still nothing happening.
Life and love went on in the last human outpost on the planet Earth, but things did not stay exactly the same.
Now, I really don’t have a problem with how the novel centered entirely on love instead of on the invasion. The humans have a serious uphill struggle here, and as unbelievable as most of this story was, having it end with some kind of uprising putting humans back in control of their planet would have been absolutely absurd. Without that, this becomes a story about humanity, and what’s a more better way to talk about humanity than to have an alien explain it to us?
Perhaps there could be no joy on this planet without an equal weight of pain to balance it out on some unknown scale.
Most of the epilogue deals with Wanderer’s life in her new human body, which Stephenie Meyer uses as one last chance to make sure we have absolutely no idea what her point was supposed to be.
This body seized up with crippling shyness every time I was unsure of myself, which seemed to be often these days.
So the souls go from planet to planet taking over peoples’ bodies, but their personalities aren’t consistent? And didn’t Wanderer get this body because the original human was “lost” in it? Why was there any shyness for Wanderer to adopt in the first place? God, I wonder what happened to all the souls who got host bodies with mental illnesses? Could you imagine Wanderer trying to do one of her clunky, five-page musings on the human condition about a depressive episode? That would actually make depression worse.
Ariel says: Yeah, and why don’t souls inherent violent tendencies from people? Why is their peacefulness one thing that is always consistent?
And it wouldn’t be a novel from the author of Twilight if it didn’t objectify and strip women of their agency!
Ariel says: Also it’s a book by the author of Twilight because Petals Open to the Moon was from Seattle. And now back to sexism!
I was used to a pretty face, but one that people were able to look at with fear, mistrust, even hatred. My new face defied such emotions.
People touched my cheeks often, or put their fingers under my chin, holding my face up to see it better. […]
“You don’t really want that cot, do you, Wanda? I’ll bet we could all fit okay on the mattresses if we shoved them together.” Jamie grinned at me while he kicked one mattress into the other without waiting for agreement. […] “Oh, hey, Ian,” he added without turning. “I talked to Brandt and Aaron, and I think I’m going to move in with them. Well, I’m beat. Night, guys.”
I don’t know what’s worse about Wanderer’s experience in her new body: the fact that the message clearly seems to be that with a pretty enough face everybody will love you (except that “love you” in this case seems to be “touch you repeatedly whether you want them to or not”, which is different), or that prepubescent Jamie is playing wingman, like it’s just a given that Wanderer returns Ian’s feelings. In Stephenie Meyer’s world, Wanderer is nothing more than an object to be given to whoever wants it and to be admired for its appearance, like, say, an iPhone.
Anyway, Wanderer and Ian end up together because I don’t even know why. As for how life in the cave has changed since the events (?) of the novel… not a lot has happened. Sharon hooks up with Doc, although I’d be lying if I could say I know why, and I’d really be lying if I said I have any idea who Sharon is. The two newly freed humans whose souls were removed live in Wes’s old space. And now you’re all caught up on how things did not stay exactly the same.
Ariel says: Not entirely caught up, Matt! You’re forgetting that we find out Mandy’s real name!
It’s fucking Candy you guys. Not short for Candace or anything as far as we know. Just fucking Candy. No wonder she couldn’t remember it, it’s so fucking stupid part of her probably didn’t want to remember.
Also, does anyone remember that Mandy Moore song Candy? I feel like maybe this is a fun little joke from Meyer for us. I take pleasure in the little things.
I still shamelessly love this song.
Wanderer, Ian, Jared, and Melanie (who doesn’t even say anything in the epilogue – how’s that for gender politics?) go on a raid, and they’re discovered by other free humans in the desert, who know even more other camps of humans! I get that they’re in hiding and all, but how did Jeb and co. never realize there were all these other humans living around them?
“There are three other cells separate from ours that we know of. Eleven with Gail, seven with Russell, and eighteen with Max. We keep in touch. Even trade now and then.”
Oh my god, think of all the cave tours Jeb gets to do now.
Ariel says: The demand for those mugs will be incredible!
“Now, you all just take it easy and hear us out. Calmly, please. This upsets people sometimes. […] This here is Burns. Now, he’s with us, so don’t go crazy. He’s my best friend – saved my life a hundred times. He’s one of our family, and we don’t take kindly to it when people try to kill him.” […]
“No, it’s okay, Nate. See? They’ve got one of their own.” He pointed straight at me, and Ian tensed. “Looks like I’m not the only one who’s gone native. […] Burns Living Flowers,” he introduced himself.
HOLY SHIT, BURNS LIVING FLOWERS??? WHY COULDN’T WE HAVE READ HIS STORY?
Ariel says: I wonder what his love square was like. Probably way more badass.
“It’s… extraordinary to meet you, Wanderer.”
Whoa, let’s not jump to conclusions, Burns Living Flowers.
“And here I thought I was one of a kind.”
“Not even close,” I said […]
“Is that so?” he said. “Well, maybe there’s some hope for this planet, after all.”
“It’s a strange world,” I murmured, more to myself than to the other native soul.
“The strangest,” he agreed.
After a novel filled with false profundity, this is an amazing last sentence.