BOOK REVIEW: TWILIGHT

twilight-stepheniemeyerTWILIGHT (Twilight, #1)

Author: Stephenie Meyer
Published on: September 6, 2006
Genre:
Paranormal romance, Young Adult

Published by: Little, Brown and Company
Format: E-book, hardcover, paperback, Audible

Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife-between desire and danger.Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.

REVIEW

Say what you want about the Twilight saga, Stephenie Meyer had a great idea. Twilight is one of those books I wish I had written. The idea of a human falling in love with a vampire is intriguing. It’s no wonder that this book has become a huge phenomenon. That’s despite the lackluster lead characters, Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. I risk taking flak by saying that, but it’s my opinion.

Pretty much everyone and their dog are already familiar with Twilight even if they don’t like it. So I won’t talk much about the plot. The book centers on Isabella “Bella” Swan, a girl who moves to Forks, Washington to spend some time with her father. He’s Charlie, the chief of police. In the meanwhile, Bella’s mother Renee is traveling with Phil, her new husband. Shortly after enrolling at the local high school, Bella garners lots of attention from the students, especially boys. She is said to be quite attractive. On her first day, Bella encounters the Cullens, a small group of siblings who keep to themselves. The most enigmatic of them is Edward, who for some reason displays hostility toward Bella at first. They soon warm up to each other.

A series of events lead Bella to start wondering if Edward is what he appears to be. At one point, Edward rescues Bella from being crushed by a student’s van. He was standing at least a hundred feet away, so his rescue seems impossible. Bella’s suspicions increase after Jacob Black, a childhood friend, tells her a story passed down by his tribe, the Quileutes. Bella asks Edward to be truthful with her. He asks to hear her theories, and Bella can only come up with superhero stuff. Edward warns Bella to stay away from him, because he’s the bad guy. Eventually, Edward tells Bella the truth: that he and his family are a coven of “vegetarian” vampires. They feed on animal blood to avoid killing humans. Edward tells Bella that no other person’s blood has smelled so irresistible to him Surprisingly, Bella doesn’t show fear when Edward tries to scare her away from him. Bella says that she isn’t going anywhere. The two of them fall for each other.

Every story needs complication, and Twilight has it. A nomadic coven of vampires arrives at the vicinity of Forks. These vampires do feed on humans (the Cullens are one of only two covens who drink only animal blood). Despite Edward’s attempts to protect Bella, the coven’s leader, James, sets his sights on Bella.

While a pretty great book, Twilight could have been better. For one, Bella constantly reminds the reader how impossibly beautiful Edward is. That gets old pretty quickly. We get it, Bells. Also, Bella acts awfully passive in certain occasions when she should fear for her life. There was no guarantee that Edward wouldn’t kill her that day when he revealed the truth about what he is. Another thing I found stupid is that Edward breaks into Bella’s room a bunch of times, and watches her sleep. The author calls it cute. I call it creepy. Take it from a guy. I wouldn’t spend hours watching a girl sleep, no matter how beautiful she is. Even a man with unlimited time should have better things to do.

As a lead, Bella is rather weak. It’s no wonder that memes have come up that compare Bella to other popular female protagonists, such as Katniss Everdeen. Leads don’t have to be that heroic, but being dull doesn’t help either. If Bella had had at least one meaningful aspiration, it would have redeemed her. Bella should have had a purpose other than to be clingy to the love of her life. That is a common point of criticism against her: that Bella teaches you that being single makes you worthless. While that is nonsense, I slightly agree with it. I believe that finding true love is a very important achievement. If you never find it, whatever else you’ve achieved has less meaning. Unless you can be Batman. Or the President. Or the next Steve Jobs. You get the idea. 😀

Despite the less-than-stellar leads, the story is quite solid. Other than the (ugh) sparkly vampires, most of the characters were pretty good and decently fleshed-out. I particularly liked the character of Alice Cullen. She’s cool, and her perky demeanor is contagious. I found it amazing how happy Alice is, given her past (well, she doesn’t remember her human life). Alice is quite hard not to like, she’s so charming. And she’s my kind of girl. Don’t tell Jasper, okay?

Even with its flaws, I wouldn’t recommend that you give Twilight a pass. If you can get past its flaws, you may find it quite a satisfying read. Not bad for a debut author.

MY RATING

Seriously liked it!

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