Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In review: Twilight

By Stephenie Meyer

The first in the vampire Stephenie Meyer series, Twilight knocked my socks off. I. literally. couldn't. put. it. down. Had. to. have. more.

Stephenie introduces her main characters quite well, at least for Bella she does. In the opening pages you get an inside look at how Bella behaves before she meets her vampire, Edward. She's self-conscious and she doesn't fit in with her peers. Hmm, how often does that happen in a book?! It's even to overlook this unimaginative character development, because the plot that Meyers writes is so loving and so unequivocally romantic, I felt like I was reading all the best romance novels written in one book—Jane Erye, Pride & Prejudice, and more modern romance novels from Judith McNaught, like Whitney My Love with Edward filling the role of Clayton (they do both have storied histories). What I loved about Edward though is that he's a 90-year-old vampire—a vampire thirsty for Bella's potent blood. He's been raised to respect and not necessarily care for humans, but just to be indifferent to them—especially if, like Edward, you can hear the prattle inside everyone's heads. The only exception to this is that Edward can't hear Bella's thoughts. I did have to wonder if this was part of the magnetism...if, for once, he was able to use his imagination and intelligence to figure out what's running through a human's head. As the story progresses, though, you can see he becomes more than merely curious about Bella thoughts. He falls in love with her flaws and assets: clumsy and selfless.

Meyer's paints a beautiful picture of discovery on both sides, but it's written from Bella's point of view. Midnight Sun, however, retells Twilight word-for-event in Edward's perspective, which the draft can be read on Meyer's website. The draft made me love Edward even more and want to know more of the thoughts that ran through his head at pivotal moments, but because some stupid assholes leaked the draft, Meyer's says the story is on hold indefinitely; she posted what was leaked on her website. The draft didn't even get to the meadow scene, which is the best scene in the entire book because it's where Edward makes the resolute decision that he's not going to let the monster get the best of him and kill Bella.

There's a lot of sexual tension in this book, which grows with each book within the series, but Meyer's works out a nice balance to keep it PG enough for the series' intended young-adult audience while still remaining true to the very hormones and feelings teenagers at that age are going through.

Rating: A. I would give it an A+, but I did feel that Meyer defies logic a bit by having a blood-thirsty vampire fall easily in love with Bella, and vice versa on Bella's part as well. Although Edward is hot, as a reader, we're never given much for the reason why Bella falls in love with him besides the fact that he is beautiful and he's a novelty. Everything is about a smoldering look, a soft touch, a gentle caress, a breathtaking kiss that you have to wonder if Bella is a little shallow. But it's a book that delivers entertainment, especially the new dimension that Meyer's adds to the vampire race. Even Underworld vampires paled in comparison.

More reviews on the remaining books in the series to come!

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