Monday, October 20, 2008

Review: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

I'm going to tell you about a little vampire love story I read this weekend. I think it's going to be huge. Okay, I might be the last person on the planet to have read Twilight! When I first heard about these books, I read that they were addictive, the series wasn't finished yet and so already being hopelessly in the lurch with Harry Potter, I decided to wait until I could just consume all the books at once. But then I kept hearing about them and it was impossible to avoid hearing lots of negative things as well as the positive. So it's likely a bit of that affected my own thoughts. So here goes:

I love vampire stories. It was a YA series about vampires that started my love in the junior high. I remember how my friends and I loved those books (I'm going to post more specifically about them for vampire day) and how I tried to recreate that experience by reading and watching all things vampire after that. There were, even way back then, a fair number of vampire books. I mention that because it became my biggest pet peeve to hear that Twilight started a vampire trend. I would like to point out that there are many very interesting vampire stories and vampire love stories that existed before Twilight, not least of which are the wonderful heartbreaking romances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I remember at Comic-Con hearing someone describe True Blood as a story about a mortal girl in love with a vampire. The girl I was talking to said, "Oh it's like Twilight!" I smiled and responded, "and every vampire love story." thinking she would agree. She just looked at me and said, "oh but have you read Twilight?" (Charlaine Harris series was published before Twilight as well)

So it became apparent I needed to read Twilight. And I really wanted to read it before the movie as well.

(This is going to be longest post ever, all apologies!!!) I love romances as well. I love love love huge epic romances, thick with romantic tension and conflict. I kept hearing how Stephenie Meyer was a master of romantic tension, so I looked forward to the book.

This is definitely gripping reading and I have no problem whatsoever understanding why the teen girls love this book! The book starts out with Bella arriving in a new town one she hates but in this beginning she is doing what she thinks she must. The reason why is not entirely clear until later. Bella doesn't feel she is necessarily a pretty or outstanding girl but the guys fall all over in the beginning. She has eyes only for one "impossibly beautiful" boy with pale skin who seems to hate her from the start.

So the first half was pretty engaging as I waited for Bella and Edward to get together..but wow. Once they did I started wondering if anything else but them telling each other how wonderful they are was going to happen. And then...Bella actually swooned. I couldn't believe it! I almost threw the book. :) Don't get me wrong, I might actually swoon in Edward's presence as well, but it felt just a tiny bit over the top. Thankfully, shortly after this we were back to some action...some evil vamps and all!

So yes, lots of romantic tension and sappiness. Bordering, I felt almost on a little bit of emotional dependency. Even so, Edward is a wonderful vampire hero, impossible not to love, in his erratic mood swings and fierce protectiveness of Bella. In Bella's eyes he is perfect despite the major conflict they have where he sort of wants to drink her blood. He sizzles on the pages and in this way, Meyer effectively allows us transfer Bella's love into our love. :)

Meyer's vampire mythology is a little bit different from the norm. Mostly in how vampires are turned and killed.

One major complaint I've heard is that Meyer is not a good writer. While there was no sparkling prose, I found her writing to be adequate.

Soo...those are my thoughts on Twilight. I think it was pretty engrossing, I feel as though I need to devour the rest of the books and I keep thinking about Edward and Bella. Sigh. Definitely romantic, whether or not the romance is actually all that healthy remains to be seen. ;) (I wholeheartedly approve of the guy playing Edward by the way...he totally looks like my type. ;)

PS Shaun Groves song "Twilight" was going through my head all weekend. ;)


Anonymous said...

Welcome aboard!


Lana said...

Ooh, please tell me the 'no sparkling prose' comment was as ironic as I think it was...

S. Krishna said...

I really loved this first book, but I feel like they slowly start sliding downhill from here, until they crash with Breaking Dawn.

Serena said...

I love Edward as well, wait until the tension builds even more with the second and third books.

Luanne said...

I just finished listening to Twilight on my MP3. What I found listening was I that I was more aware of the descriptors than I would have been reading. For example - glaring, glowering, piercing etc. I found it a little slow in the first half - I agree tension building - but enjoyed the second half more. And of course with the cliff hanger ending I have to go on the the second one! I think I'll listen to it as well.

raych said...

Yes, exactly! To everything.

It was a rip-through read because of all the romantic tension, and Edward is muy sexy even if the relationship is terribly unhealthy (the emotional dependency gets worse in book II, and I haven't read past that yet).

Meyer's writing reminds me of Philippa Gregory's...It's not like she's trying for Marquez status or anything. She's just trying to tell a story, and so what if she uses the same adjectives twice on every page. These things I can ignore (sometimes).

I hear that the books just get worse as you go on. I need to read them because I'm addicted to controversy.

Anonymous said...

I am in LOVE with this series! I am currently in book 4 and just can't seem to put any of them down! I read 2 and 3, Wed-Sun. I like the suspense and the storyline. I am a new vampire fan!

Jena said...

I'm in the group that thinks that Meyer's writing (or more appropriately, revising & editing) skills need a lot of work. I admit that I couldn't put them down while I was reading her books (except the last one), but I skipped over whole pages of tedious dialogue and unnecessary bits of scenes, and I apparently didn't miss out on anything important. I think Meyer's imagination shows promise in the series, but I'm disappointed that such haphazard writing (she showed no devotion to the craft as far as I could tell) has been so highly praised.

But I'm an editor and very, very judgmental about these things. And I've not read anyone who said her book for adults--The Host--was badly written, so I want to read that one and see if her style's any better.

Jen said...

I agree with everyone that Meyers isn't the best writer out there. (I cracked up at the commenter that said she uses the same adjectives twice on the same page--so true!) Sometimes that is a good thing though. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if I read something like Jane Eyre (hands down the best writing I've ever read)I would probably not enjoy reading as much. It just was too much effort. I like romantic fluff every once in awhile.

I also agree with your take on the relationship-definitely unhealthy. New Moon is even worse in that way. I have a feeling you won't enjoy it at all if Twilight annoyed you with Bella's swooning.

I read somewhere that Twilight is such a phenomenon because it recalls the emotions in the reader of falling in love. I know it is true for me. I tend to roll my eyes at other romances but for some reason I really got into this one.

I'm glad you (somewhat)enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

You aren't the last person to have read this book. I have been resisting, but know that I'm going to have to give in and read it before I see the movie.

The Budgeting Diva said...

I loved this series! I devoured the whole series in about a week.

Michele said...

One of the best reviews I've read on this book - you hit the nail on the head. I, too, was engrossed by Twilight, but I am hoping you also review the next three and hear what you think as the series plays out.

And agreed - I loved it, but wouldn't want my daughter to behave like that (dependence which worsens a bit with the series, I think).

Nicely done, as usual!

Anonymous said...

Okay so in my opinion, Twilight and New Moon are the best. Eclipse is okay and Breaking Dawn... well it would be better as kleenex.

"I waited for Bella and Edward to get together..but wow. Once they did I started wondering if anything else but them telling each other how wonderful they are was going to happen."


"And then...Bella actually swooned. I couldn't believe it! I almost threw the book."
I KNOW!! ahhaha

Nise' said...

I read Twlight last weekend as well! My sons really enjoyed it and are on books 2 and 3. There were couple of times that I rolled my eyes at what was happening and had to remind myself, this was written for YA and its about high school. It was definitely not the best book I've ever read, but do plan to continue to read the series.

Anonymous said...

I read Twilight last week! I couldn't put it down! Yes, it's definitely a wish-I-were-still-a-teenager-cornball-indulgance, but that doesn't change the fact that I need to know whether or not Bella becomes a vampire. And so instead of buying bread and milk this week, I am going to buy the sequel. Because it's all about priorities, people!

photoquest said...

I haven't read any of these but my daughter is really enjoying it. Do you think she's old enough to be reading this she's 11 well 12 next month. I'm not worried about the vampire stuff going on just want to make sure there's no heavey sexual content in it. If you could tell me before i go out and buy her the other books i already bought the 2nd one but can always give it to someone . Thanks

Amy said...

photoquest--there wasn't any sex in the book, but I don't know if the subsequent books have some. Honestly, it was a lot cleaner than most YA books

Sharon said...

I bought this book for my daughter, she really enjoyed the book. So I decided to read it after seeing the movie, well what can I say I really enjoyed this book myself it was a lot better than the movie. It didn't beat the Harry Potter books tho but it was close to it.

Movie & Book Reviews

Farrah said...

I read all of them. I have to say i agree with some points. I hate steph as a writer--lets face it. She sucks. The story was catchy, only because you dont come across a seriously romantic tween book, and when i read the twilight series i fit in the age group.

I cant say i still like the books, because frankly my taste in literature has changed extremely. It's a good series, but really not worth the hype and credit the media (and everyone else, for that matter) gives stephanie meyer and twilight.

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment! I appreciate hearing your thoughts.