Saturday, December 13, 2008

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

"He raised his free hand and placed it gently on the side of my neck. I sat very still, the chill of his touch a natural warning — a warning telling me to be terrified. But there was no feeling of fear in me. There were, however, other feelings..."

When I was middle school all you could get me to read was fantasy and science fiction. After years of a constant intake of vampires, werewolves, aliens, and dragons I was sure I would never want to pick up another book with any of that as content again. As a result, I resisted the recent hype around books like Harry Potter and Eragon. However, even if I'm fantasy-weary I'm still a female and am a sucker for books about relationships as long as that's not all they are about, so I decided to give in to reading Twilight.

Meyer really sucked me in despite my cynicism. There were certain aspects of the book that made me roll my eyes, of course--for example, the book is just littered with long, descriptive examples of Bella gazing endlessly into Edward's eyes and Meyer is a bit heavy handed on working to make Edward seem aloof and mysterious. (Come on, Edward, you may be a vampire but get over yourself.) Despite the fact that their relationship seemed rather obsessive and shallow to me, Meyer did a great job of creating convincing chemistry between the two. I could also appreciate the fact that despite their intense attraction to one another their storyline remained innocent and sex never entered into the picture at all--especially since there are so many young fans. The major objection I had to their relationship that Edward used his abilities to do things that the typical jealous male could not do--like listen to her conversations with other people by reading the mind of whatever male Bella was speaking to and getting into her room to watch her sleep before he ever even had any kind of relationship with Bella. Creepy much?

While her writing style often left a lot to be desired her imagination surely didn't. My favorite part of the novel was a scene where the vampires decided to include Bella in a game of baseball. Through the game Meyer really let them show off their super-human abilities. Because of their heightened strength, they had to wait until a thunderstorm to play because the crack of the ball against one of their swings created a deafening sound that could be mistaken for thunder that would have attracted outside attention if it wasn't for the storm. Also, Meyer created a breed of vampire unlike any other that I've read. I appreciated the fact that she didn't borrow many ideas from the old myths and decided to put her own spin on things.

Despite the fact that the majority of Twilight's 500 pages are dedicated to the young conflicted couple, my favorite character by far was Alice. Alice is endlessly accepting and loving, impish in both appearance and action, and can see the future even though she doesn't remember her human past. I feel like she created a kind of calm for Bella that no one else in the novel could and created a more "human" connection with Bella than even her family or school friends did. I also appreciated the fact that even though she had a heart so big that it seemed to take up her whole body she could still piss Edward off endlessly. Because he often got on my nerves, I got a kick out of someone pushing his buttons for a change.

The last thing that I'll say is that Meyer must have a wonderful sense of humor, because this book made me laugh a lot, which is something that I wouldn't have really expected. Both Edward and Bella were given quite a few good one liners and their comebacks were also pretty witty and sharp.

I did a little bit of poking around Meyer's website and I have to say that for a stay-at-home Mom and a practicing Mormon she defies a lot of stereotypes. I plan on forgetting my fantasy aversion long enough to finish this series and maybe her novel The Host. She let me escape my life for a while and let me enjoy a book without weighing me down and after exams and a rather tough semester, that's exactly the kind of reading I'm up for.


Nihil Novum said...

Oh, Edward! Don't go into the sunlight! You'll... sparkle? What the heck?

katie said...

Loved the escape w/ all four novels & enjoyed the movie 2nd time around. Wanted to say thank you for all the details.