Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves – Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she’s never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.
Let me first say that fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series should not expect this book to be anything like her young adult novels. That said, in my humble opinion Meyer’s first adult novel is absolutely brilliant! After a bit of a slow start, the story drags you right in. The plot is imaginative, and the characters are compelling, especially Wanderer. You’d expect these alien invaders to be evil but in fact they’re not and Wanderer represents the best of them, even going so far at the end of the book to commit a self-sacrificing act in order to help the humans she’s grown to love and care for. In fact much of the book is centered on the developing relationship between Wanderer and the human rebels who she winds up eventually joining with. Even Melanie, who’s body in essence was stolen from her develops a close and caring relationship with Wanderer. The novel underlines some of the best themes you can find in literature: love, betrayal, loyalty, loss, friendship, and sacrifice. One last positive regarding this first “adult” novel of Meyer’s is that there is nothing in this book that would be inappropriate for advanced young adult readers of her “Twilight” series.