The Host Prologue

The Healer’s name was Fords Deep Waters.

Because making up individual names of an actual alien species would be too tough. I assume the intention here is to imply that the aliens don’t have names so much as applicable descriptions that define who they are… but since it isn’t said explicitly, I’ll just assume that they have silly names.

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

Awesome. An entire bodysnatching species of Mary and Gary Sues who are utterly perfect in every way. Yay. Two sentences in, and already I feel ill.

And why the hell are they called “souls” anyway? Perhaps this is Meyers’ unsubtle way of indicating that these creatures are pure intellect or something of the sort. But it seems bizarre that they would give themselves a name indicating a theological or spiritual presence, rather than a species name. It also makes them seem incredibly pretentious and unimaginative.

And for that matter, how could such a species have become advanced enough to develop interstellar travel? How did they evolve and advance if they don’t have actual bodies of their own? For that matter, where do baby souls come from?

Seriously. They have no thumbs. Humanity’s advancement is at least partially the result of having thumbs, fingers, adaptable generalized bodies… which is why we are the dominant species on the planet and not, say, oysters.

So where the hell did these parasites get the technology to even form a real society, let alone TECHNOLOGY? Or did they evolve on a planet with some kind of other species with appropriate appendages for doing things, and they simply stole their bodies in order to use them?

Well, that’s just fucking marvelous. Less than a page in, and the only logical explanation is a ripoff of the Goa’uld and Unas.

And the worst part is, this is not the LAST part of the story that seems oddly similar to the Goa’uld, but Meyerized (which is to say, sanitized and made “pretty”). You know why? Because the way to figure out if someone is possessed or not… is to check for a neck scar and/or glowing eyes.

Shameless. Seriously, did NOBODY ever see this book and think, “Hey, this woman is totally ripping off ‘Stargate SG-1′”? Am I the ONLY ONE?

Anyway, Drowns In Deep Waters is currently inhabiting someone else’s body (not that way, you perverts) and is POed. Apparently he’s some sort of doctor and a bunch of med students are watching him in the operating room, and that simply is NOT ACCEPTABLE. He needs to get over himself. Oh, and his assistant’s name is Darren. Apparently “Falls In Mud” was already taken, so he stuck with the body’s name.

Wait, why are some souls sticking to their own names, while others take the host’s name? Since they claim that “nothing of the host survives” (ahem) wouldn’t it seem a little peculiar to take on something as personal as a name?

In a better book, I would think this was a subtle hint that SOME (though not all) of the Souls are being influenced by the humans they’ve possessed, and maybe even some humans are actually in control and blending in. Let’s face it: even if it was a small percentage, you would expect that some humans would be stronger than the aliens mentally.

But that would be subtle. Stephenie Meyer doesn’t do subtlety. She drags subtlety out behind the woodshed and rapes it into a coma.

There is NO pattern of name choices or hints in this book. So I guess Smeyer just has a friend called “Darren” and she named some random alien schmuck after him.

So anyway, Darren is also trying to get Drowns… er, Fords to loosen up and quit bitching about having people watch him. For a “patient” soul, he sure is a whiny tightass.

“They’re just curious, Fords,” he said quietly.
“An insertion is hardly an interesting or challenging procedure. Any soul on the street could perform it in an emergency. There’s nothing for them to learn by observing today.”

I’m sure. Just bring the bioengineered slave with the belly pouch in, and just get on with the job.

I’m having flashbacks to the naked scene from Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods, except with less gold and nudity and more whining and boredom.

Also, if this is a standard procedure, why are people so interested in THIS one procedure? Oh right, because it’s on the main character. They couldn’t goggle at the procedure YESTERDAY or the one a week from Tuesday. ONLY TODAY. The awful exposition demands it!

Fords raised one eyebrow. “Are they blind to each other’s faces? Do they not have mirrors?”

Must aliens always speak in such stilted prose? Do these authors not know how to write in a normal fashion?

Hell, why are they speaking ENGLISH?

“You know what I mean—a wild human. Still soulless. One of the insurgents.”

And in a better written book, we wouldn’t have these two freaks chitchatting about stuff that they should already know.

Fords looked at the girl’s unconscious body, laid out facedown on the operating table. Pity swelled in his heart as he remembered the condition her poor, broken body had been in when the Seekers had brought her to the Healing facility. Such pain she’d endured.…
Of course she was perfect now—completely healed. Fords had seen to that.

It’s official – the souls are Goa’ulds, only less interesting. Lessee – perfect hosts, facedown, creepy aliens with god complexes and big egos. All we need are some pouch-bellied warrior slaves.

Am I SERIOUSLY the only one who sees this?

“The soul we implant today deserves more respect than to have her host body gawked at this way. She’ll already have far too much to deal with as she acclimates. It’s not fair to put her through this.” By this, he did not mean the gawking. Fords heard the sharp edge return to his voice.

  1. Which seems kind of bizarre. It’s obvious that these souls don’t give a damn about the “wild” humans whose bodies they’ve stolen, so why would they care if somebody stared at the bodies?
  2. Also, how is it disrespectful for them to look at a body she hasn’t STOLEN yet?
  3. Especially when the body is UNCONSCIOUS AND CAN’T SEE OR HEAR ANYTHING.
  4. This scene is kind of… confusing.
  5. And stupid.

At the word Seeker, Fords gave Darren a look that could only be described as a glare. Darren blinked in shock.

Yup, he’s super-patient and super-nice and oh-so-perfect in every way. Except when she’s a dick.

Darren keeps patting the allegedly perfect Drowns and telling him that everything’s gonna be fine, but for some reason he’s also scared: “I didn’t mean to react so negatively. It’s just that I fear for this soul.” Why? If this is such a routine procedure that any Goa’uld…. I mean, bodysnatching soul could do, why all the worry? Did he date this soul? Are they related? Are they old friends? Is he going to get fired if he botches it?

Oh silly me, it’s because we can have more exposition!

“This soul was specially picked for the assignment,” Darren said soothingly. “She is exceptional among our kind—braver than most. Her lives speak for themselves. I think she would volunteer, if it were possible to ask her.”

Great. So the lead “soul” is a Sue from a species of Sues, and so amazing that even the super-amazing souls are blown away by her sheer awesomeness.

For that matter, do these creatures even have gender? I could understand if they slanted in a particular gender direction out of personal preference (like the Goa’uld, who have no gender but tend to like one or the other as hosts), but it sounds like they don’t have bodies or much of a sense of gender. Or a means of communication.

“Who among us would not volunteer if asked to do something for the greater good? But is that really the case here? Is the greater good served by this? The question is not her willingness, but what it is right to ask any soul to bear.”

Because moral and ethical debates should always be undertaken in the OR, rather than someplace where they can actually do any good.

Meanwhile all the med students are justifying their existence by infodumping us in whispers. They prattle about this particular soul living on all six or seven planets, how she’s always trying out new species… sort of a bodysnatching slut.

“She’s been almost everything. A Flower, a Bear, a Spider —”
“A See Weed, a Bat —”
“Even a Dragon!”

  1. What are the chances that on various other planets, the flora and fauna would be the same, look the same, be structured in the same manner (a spider is VERY specific) and be called the same name? I mean, if you went to another planet capable of supporting life, I doubt you’d expect to find a bat or a bear there.
  2. A DRAGON? Is Meyer choosing these creatures based on a children’s storybook?
  3. These allegedly supersmart and sophisticated aliens are pretty sheltered if they consider six species to be “almost everything.”
  4. How do these aliens even possess PLANTS?
  5. I’m not even sure how they possess creatures like spiders or bats. They’re TINY. These things probably couldn’t fit in their bodies.

“At least seven. She started on the Origin.”
“Really? The Origin?”

They better tell us what the hell the Origin is. But apparently whatever it is, it makes our SoulSue even speshuler.

So then our super-patient-awesome-compassionate-loving Drowns basically tells them to shut up or get out, and shames the infodumping students into shutting up. Also, their function in the plot is done so we don’t need them anymore.

So they start thawing out the “soul” (how weird does that sound?) and cut open the back of the human body’s neck, then stick the “soul” into the girl’s neck. If it just burrowed in, I’d say that it sounds suspiciously like a Goa’uld, who are body-possessing parasites that typically burrow into the back of a person’s neck.

Fords never saw an exposed soul without being struck by the beauty of it.

Because of course a parasite is usually pretty. And since the entire species is made of Sues, even nasty brain-snagging parasites MUST be pretty.

The soul shone in the brilliant lights of the operating room, brighter than the reflective silver instrument in his hand. Like a living ribbon, she twisted and rippled, stretching, happy to be free of the cryotank. Her thin, feathery attachments, nearly a thousand of them, billowed softly like pale silver hair. Though they were all lovely, this one seemed particularly graceful to Fords Deep Waters.
He was not alone in his reaction. He heard Darren’s soft sigh, heard the admiring murmurs of the students.

Indeedy-do, we have a Supersue parasite which is SO AWESOME AND PERFECT that even other members of its kind are blown away by how gorgeous it is. And frankly those attachments, which presumably are to snag hold of the human nervous system, sounds even MORE Goa’uldy than before, since the Goa’uld are supposed to possess their hosts by twining tiny tentacles into the brain and spinal column. In other words, the nervous system.

One chapter in, and already I hate the entire parasitical species. And what’s more, this is really pretty boring. I prefer the Puppet Masters approach where we hear how, why and in what ways the aliens invade our planet, and frankly an alien invasion from the perspective of the ALIENS sounds awesome.

So what is Meyer doing? She’s writing a story about AFTER the invasion is over and done with. Yawn.

Fords admired the skill with which she possessed her new home. Her attachments wound tightly into place around the nerve centers, some elongating and reaching deeper to where he couldn’t see, under and up into the brain, the optic nerves, the ear canals.

Yup, this is a Goa’uld. I acutely remember the freaky second episode in the series where we see them try to EXTRACT one of those wormy parasites from a human brain, and guess what they found! Lots of tentacles all throughout the nervous system!

“Well done,” he whispered to her, knowing that she could not hear him. The human girl was the one with ears, and she still slept soundly.

So basically these creatures are utterly parasitical. They have no senses except what they steal from others, and they are incapable of moving or doing anything without possessing a body. What’s more, they are BIOLOGICALLY designed to do nothing but be parasites, given the existence of their nerve-grabbing tentacles.

And frankly the description of this parasite doesn’t work with the “can possess anything” approach that Meyers has presented. She’s told us, for instance, that her parasites can possess plants. Plants do not have brains or central nervous systems, and therefore possessing one wouldn’t be a very interesting experience.

It was a routine matter to finish the job. He cleaned and healed the wound, applied the salve that sealed the incision closed behind the soul, and then brushed the scar-softening powder across the line left on her neck.

Don’t write science fiction if you’re gonna skimp on the “science” parts, m’kay? Use some kind of tissue regenerator instead of “we have magic ointment!”

This skimping-over of just how this is done is especially annoying because these aliens are PARASITICAL. Yet we don’t know if these medical advances are human in origin, or stolen from someone else – after all, I doubt that aliens that stole Stargate technology from the Ancients…. I mean, that are incapable of even EXISTING without a host body to occupy are capable of creating their own technology and culture.

“Perfect, as usual,” said the assistant, who, for some reason unfathomable to Fords, had never made a change from his human host’s name, Darren.


“This is the rare occasion when Healing creates an injury.”

That doesn’t make any SENSE to me. He’s doing surgery, and it seems like it’s fairly common for surgery to involve an incision – especially since I doubt many humans would WILLINGLY allow themselves to be implanted with body-snatching alien parasite, and therefore would need the same surgery as this chick. So why is he wangsting?

Darren began to clean up the workstation. He didn’t seem to know how to answer. Fords was filling his Calling. That was enough for Darren.

I am Tired of So Many Capitalized letters used to Show That Something is very Significant.

He gazed anxiously at the human female’s body, peaceful in slumber, knowing that this peace would be shattered as soon as she awoke. All the horror of this young woman’s end would be borne by the innocent soul he’d just placed inside her.

Well, given that said soul is a parasite who is being forcibly placed inside an innocent woman and stealing her body and brain, I find it hard to sympathize with how vewy vewy traumatized the parasite will be. It’s like saying that growing athlete’s foot is traumatic to the fungus. Or that it’s traumatic to your tapeworm to eat spicy chili.

And I’d like this perspective if it was merely a perspective, and we’re supposed to gradually see the alien (I refuse to call them Souls) change and realize how horrifying this whole thing is… but I doubt we’ll ever get that.

“Good luck, little wanderer, good luck. How I wish you didn’t need it.”

I’d be more impressed by this statement if it applied to the readers. I wish WE didn’t need that luck!


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