WARNING! THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS!! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK AND DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU!!!
I first heard of Twilight when DH found the movie trailer on Apple.com. He called me over to his computer and told me to watch, saying it sounded like something I’d be into. It was romance + vampires. Sounded right up my alley.
Well, I never actually saw the movie in theaters. I kind of wanted to, but the throngs of teenage girls turned me off. Then, I learned it was a book series. For Christmas, DH put the first book, Twilight, into my stocking. I must admit, I think I actually rolled my eyes when I saw it. LOL I think I was turned off by the fact it was written or geared toward young adults. I do have a few friends in the writing industry who avidly read young adult, but I haven’t read them since I was… well, a young adult.
The book went on my shelf and sat there. I even stuffed it into my hospital bag when I checked in to give birth to my daughter. But it still sat untouched. One day, after we’d come home with a new baby, my hubby asked me if I’d read it yet. Since he’d given it to me as a gift, I knew he’d keep asking every few days until he became so annoying that I’d read it just to shut him up. Before things escalated to that point (lol), I decided to pick up the book, if only to give me something to do while breastfeeding.
Twilight and the other books in the series, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn are all written in first person. I find first person point of view to be tedious most of the time, and the only author to really pull it off in my opinion is Jim Butcher of Harry Dresden fame. However, I found myself not hating the writing style. Actually, the writing style is probably the best part about this saga. I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Meyer’s prose.
You see, as an author myself, I rarely read a story just for the “story” these days. I pay attention to how an author tells a story, how they set up their characters, and where they lead them. I must say, parts of these books were painfully obvious, plot-wise. In order to have any kind of suspense in a saga where each book is a tome, there has to come a time when the hero and heroine are separated. In romance especially, there comes a time when the heroine puts herself in a stupid or dangerous situation, whether intentional or not. With a teen story, you have to have the disapproving parent. And with a beautiful girl, every dude in the neighborhood wants to hook up.
These books had all of the above.
The heroine, Bella Swan, suffers from an affliction we like to call in romance the “TSTL syndrome”, or “Too Stupid To Live”. While I understood Bella’s angst, her recklessness was taken a bit too far at times. Jumping off a cliff into the ocean by YOURSELF comes to mind. Riding a motorcycle for the first time by yourself without a helmet is up there as well. How about walking alone through a dark, ominous part of town (which is also up there in the predictable section with the unsavory ne’er-do-wells she needs to be saved from)? Not to mention Bella’s kinda whiny. I have to admit, I didn’t like her character much, until the last book when everything comes together.
The Jacob storyline throughout bothered me. At times, he reminded me of a creepy stalker who won’t take no for an answer. He was determined to convince Bella she was in love with him, at the expense of forcing her to her feelings. That rubbed me the wrong way. What man will force a woman to kiss him except the insensitive ones? I didn’t like Jacob much. At first, I felt for him pining over a woman who would never love him. I think we’ve all been there at one point or another in our lives. But once he became a wolf, his “alpha-ness” took over. Didn’t like his version of alpha. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some alpha males in my stories.
What bothered me is when Edward left town in book two, New Moon, Bella begins doing reckless things just to hear his voice in her head. His voice isn’t a memory, it talks in her head as if he’s there with her, prompting her to do the disastrous things just to hear it again (which is supposed to make us understand why she risks her life… Uh, no, she’s still TSTL. LOL). Anyhow, this was never explained as the story went on. I fully expected Edward to be secretly spying on her and inserting his voice in her head as a part of his mind-reading powers. But when he eventually does come back to town and learns of Bella’s recklessness, he’s genuinely shocked and horrified at the things she did. So his voice in her head really was her own psyche? I didn’t like that much.
However, book two also has one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in a book, with regards to artistic expression as a writer. And that is the passage of time while Edward is gone. I absolutely ADORED what Ms. Meyer did, and praise her editors for letting her do it. I think I literally exclaimed, “Awesome!” when I saw that. It probably doesn’t mean much to you readers, but for me, it made me sit up and take notice of this series moreso than I would have otherwise. To put it simply, instead of chapters, six (I think it’s six) consecutive pages simply has one word centered on it in capital letters. The names of the months passing. Totally original in my opinion.
Toward the end of the series, I fully expected Jacob to find his mate, to imprint, I think, as they called it. But what happened I totally did NOT expect. I had expected him to imprint with Leah, and in fact, it probably would have been more “comfortable” for me if he had. The romantic in me SO wanted it to be her. Poor thing is still out there somewhere without a mate. But the intense draw between Edward and Bella seemed to be along the same lines of Jacob’s pack’s imprinting with their mates. I actually expected there to be some similar explanation with vampires, but Ms. Meyer didn’t go that way. That surprised me, seen as how they felt so deeply for each other, to the point of wanting to curl up and die when separated even for a little while. It seemed supernatural to me rather than merely finding your one true love.
My recommendation, however, is for this saga to only be read by young adults 16 and older. If you have younger teens who want to read it, you should read it first and then decide. There’s nothing overly gory or scary in these books, however, Ms. Meyer doesn’t always “close the door” with regards to the sex scenes. While the scenes are nothing as hot as what I write (lol), they’re still intense for the type of story it’s marketed to be, especially as the books go on. If you don’t want your young teen to read that, proceed with caution. I actually believe this story, the entirety of it, is geared toward adults but marketed as young adult because of the age of the characters. However Ms. Meyer did succeed in taking me back to my high school days, as horrid as they were. I remember sitting next to “that guy”, being excited or disappointed in class when he did or didn’t show up.
All in all, I devoured the books (no pun intended) in just a couple of weeks. Let me tell ya, it’s hard holding a 700 page hardback behemoth while clutching a nursing newborn, but by golly I did it!
I loved the prose, I loved the way Ms. Meyer told her story, even if it was predictable and annoying at times, and I enjoyed her new take on vampires. Edward’s unwillingness to turn Bella and his reasons for it are a far cry from vampires in your “typical” romantic fiction. I’m used to vamps getting it on and biting women with nary a care. Edward was portrayed much differently, and that was a breath of fresh air.
All in all, I would recommend this series despite the rabid fangirls. I still haven’t watched the movie, but I’ll probably buy it on DVD when it comes out in a few weeks. My only suggestion is to buy all four books at the same time to save yourself the midday trip to the bookstore when you’ve just gotta find out what happens.
Good job, Ms. Meyer. Four stars from Becka.