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I'm looking to identify a book which is a recent (2010+) paperback of which I've only read the first pages.

It presents the history of earth as the constant struggle of two factions of one alien race (or two races) who use humans as hosts to escape earth. The struggle has gone on for some millennia. One faction is trying to help the humans (and losing); the other fraction's victory will mean the end of humanity.

It's set in modern times. It starts in a city (NY?) in the United States with a fight between two groups of these human-hosted aliens. One host gives his life, so the alien symbiont must find a new host. It does so at the last moment: the host is male and "physically suboptimal"—i.e., a typical nerd.

The aliens need human hosts to survive; without them they seem like globular shadows and will die after some minutes. They physically enhance their hosts and communicate with them telepathically (like a voice in your head).

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    You mean factions – ThePopMachine Jun 14 '13 at 23:49
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    @ThePopMachine Darn, "fraction" aliens sounded so much more interesting... – Izkata Jun 15 '13 at 1:10
2

I finally found it: It's The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu.

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Pretty sure you're thinking of The Host by Stephanie Meyer, of Twilight fame.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316043044/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0316043044&linkCode=as2&tag=alec00-20

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    Could you provide some reasons why you think that's the book? What details match up? I came to roughly the same conclusion when I was searching yesterday, but couldn't find enough of a match in the synopses (only mention of one race, no mention of a city or anything that sounded "physically suboptimal"). – phantom42 Jun 12 '13 at 15:42
  • Nope. The human protagonist in "my" novel is male. – Martin Schröder Jun 12 '13 at 17:26

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