Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.
Wildly imaginative and populated by believable characters with believable faults. Yes, there will always be a contingent of readers that will cringe at Meyer's name being attached, but, to me, it shows she can go far byond Twilight, and that she's growing, leaps and bounds, as a writer.
At it's core, it's the story of humanity, which can get a bit rah-rah us if it's not done well, but I think it's pretty deftly handled here, down to the negative reactions that Wanderer has to fight against the threatening feelings and actions she encounters when she becomes, as Ian describes her, an expat. This is, definitely, the only book I've ever read that gives you an alien invasion from the alien's POV, from her power struggle with her host body, to the two of them becoming friends, sisters--and that was the heart of it for me, the connection between Mel and Wanda.
I've seen accusations that it's just a rehash or rip-off of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (or Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, though that seems to be less well known, sadly, since it was very pioneering), and while the criticism is somewhat valid (we don't create in a vacuum, and some thing, like Invasion, have become part of our pop culture consciousness, the way all great pop art does; the way Romero is when you think of zombies) but it does so much more with it, giving us a look at the culture, and the lives, of the aliens, of their reasoning, their thoughts and their past. That's what makes it unique for me.
Are some of the characters frustrating? Absolutely! And that's realistic, when you consider what they've gone through. A friend called it "the zombie effect," when you really don't know how to treat the body of a loved one, and can't quite deal with the fact that they might be gone. It can cause ugly behavior. I found that that only added to the layers of the book, that not everyone feels one way or the other.
It was the first Meyer book I read, before I knew what any of the fuss was. I enjoyed it.