Author: Stephenie Meyer
Series: The Twilight Saga
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publish Date: September 6, 2006
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Supernatural
About three things I was absolutely positive:
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him – and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be – that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.
When Bella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret.
What Bella doesn’t realize is the closer she gets to him, the more she is putting herself and those around her at risk. And it might be too late to turn back.
Realizing that I was likely one of the only people who had yet to read the Twilight series, I resolved to embark upon a Twilight marathon over my Thanksgiving break. To say the least, the marathon is off to a bit of a slow start – although I could blame this on circumstances that are out of my control (homework, obligatory Thanksgiving dinner, etc.). Despite spending a pitiful three days reading the first book in the series, I’m determined to finish the remainder of the series (maybe in a week or so?).
Having watched the first three movies several years ago, I had a vague understanding of the plot, but the majority of the details were a bit fuzzy. If my memory serves me correctly, the book and the movie were fairly similar, and there were no main plot deviations in the film adaptation. In all honesty, I enjoyed the book more than I enjoyed the movie. The movies always seemed a bit…flat. And I could never take Robert Pattinson seriously. My mockery of the movies led me to believe that I wouldn’t enjoy reading the series itself, causing me to put it off until recently.
I considered myself accident prone before meeting Bella. Compared to her lack of balance and physical limitations, I’m a professional ballerina. She felt the need to continually remind us of her unathletic nature, blaming it as the primary cause for every embarrassing moment she encounters during the novel. Consequently, I had a love/hate opinion of Bella while I was reading. She was very whiny and needy, the spitting image of a damsel in distress (her wallowing in self-pity only magnified her character flaw). Then again, she felt no fear when she was with Edward – she never even faltered when she learned of his vampirism. I’m not sure if this would be classified as hypocrisy on Bella’s part or a poorly written character on Meyer’s part, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with Bella as a character, let alone the protagonist. I think there is the potential for further development of her character in later books, however, so I’m still hopeful that I will eventually reach the point where I develop a moderate liking for Bella.
I think Edward also deserves a few comments. Pattinson’s portrayal of him in the movies definitely didn’t do the Edward of the novels any justice. In the film adaptations, Edward appeared either stalkerish or pathetic, depending upon which scene you chose to dissect. I was pleasantly surprised by his portrayal in the novel, which came across as much more realistic. He seemed truly invested in his relationship with Bella, stopping at no ends to protect her. He was sweet, caring, and romantic – to characters above and beyond purely Bella. And yes, he has earned a spot on my very long (and still growing) list of book boyfriends. Granted, he isn’t at the tippy top of the list, but he should be honored to even make the list in the first place.
As for the minor characters, I wish that some of them could have been developed further. Certain characters, such as Renee, Jessica, and Rosalie, were never fully described – readers know virtually nothing about them at the conclusion of the novel. I was particularly intrigued by the vampire characters, but many of my questions went unanswered; I’m hoping Meyer simply intended to keep readers in suspense and will answer some of my questions in later books. For example, I would have loved to learn more about some of the minor characters’ backstories. Above and beyond Carlisle, you don’t learn much about their pasts…or their personalities, traits, preferences, etc. I wish Meyer would have spent more time developing some of these characters, but I can continue to hope that she expands on them in later books!
I love Meyer’s portrayal of vampires, particularly her unique approach to the subject. She creatively developed a process for how a new vampire can be created, conveying it clearly to readers. I loved her inclusion of superior senses and motor skills for vampires. And most of all, I loved…the SPARKLES (if you hadn’t already guessed). Even though there is no obvious reason for this trait, the vampires still sparkle! Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle…
Ok, my sparkling rant is over. Moving on to my one complaint with Meyer’s twist on these creatures: their lack of fangs. What vampires don’t have fangs?
While the writing isn’t outstanding, I found myself fascinated by the plot and unraveling action. I couldn’t put it down, reading much later into the night than I probably should have on more than one occasion. I haven’t been this captivated by a book in months, so it was a refreshing change. I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive before I started reading – I wasn’t sure that I would make it to the end of the very first book in the series. I was taken aback by how much I actually enjoyed the first installment, especially after hearing a great deal of criticism about the series. Therefore, I’m looking forward to completing my marathon (and I’m already 1/4 of the way through the next book!).