Hachette (1 May 2008)
Having never read the Twilight books, I approached this with a neutral stance. But it quickly won me over with its medical procedures, memorable characters, claustrophobic setting, and big ideas, as well as what it means to be human.
Welcome to the future, where souls have the options of many planets and species to inhabit. The souls have invaded Earth, creating a utopian society where violence doesn’t happen and money is not an issue. Wanderer is inserted into host Melanie Stryder, after a mighty struggle to avoid the souls. Usually the host fades, though their body is well and truly active controlled by the soul. Mel remains fighting furious, but to reach common goals she has to work together and get along with Wanderer, nicknamed Wanda.
Wanda at times seems even more human than the humans themselves. It’s difficult enough dealing with your own conflictions, and even worse when there’s a voice in your head that demands to be heard and obeyed.
Wanda is a fascinating character, often putting aside her own wishes to do what Melanie wants – but sometimes she takes it too far. Gradually Wanda comes through as her own person, doing everything she can to help the plight of the human survivors she’s found, even when they try to kill her. But her journey is a long way from over.
As lives are lost, readers will feel the pain. The novel is very much an epic, a heart-wrenching story that will force us humans to have a long hard look at our species. My only complaint is that there are so many pages that the book became awkward to physically hold. And I’m still not sure what to think of the ending. But overall this is an astounding story that will stay in the minds of readers long after reading. One of the most brilliant books I’ve read all year.