Sunday, October 28, 2007

Stephenie Meyer/TWILIGHT

let me preface this by saying that i don't usually read romance nor vampires / paranormal (so i have nothing to compare it to). i love watching tele shows about it, but reading it, not so much. i'm not certain how this book or author caught my eye, probably just random surfing. i read it was her debut novel and won accolades. it is considered YA fiction, which i've been reading some due to the fact that a fellow crit member is writing YA, and she had suggested my own novel may fall in that category.

bella swan leaves everything she knows in phoenix to move to forks, wa with her father, a town that gets the most rainfall in the united states. we learn that she does this as a sacrifice, so her mother can move around with her new husband phil, who plays minor league ball. this theme of self-sacrifice runs through the entire book, and it is meant to be bella's forte as well as foible. she is all of seventeen and has to maneuver through the pangs of attending a brand new high school in a teeny town where everyone knows everyone else's business. on her first day, she catches the eye of edward cullins, one of the adopted sons of dr. cullins. of the five children, they are all pale, beautiful, and move with astonishing grace. hmmm.

to bella's terror and (let's be honest) thrill, she is seated next to edward after seeing him at lunch in bio class. only to have the boy lean away from her like she stinks of filth, his fists clenched in agony. as bella becomes THE MOST POPULAR girl in school, in which the geek to the sunny boy decide to chase after her, she finds herself becoming more and more obsessed with edward and his smouldering golden eyes. their relationship truly begins when edward shoves her out of being crushed in the school parking lot, even tho he was half way across the lot and managed to stop the oncoming truck with his broad muscular shoulder.

i started reading this book yesterday at lunch (at the boba house, yeah!) and finished this morning. i felt it was good storytelling in that the characters and their quandry drew me. edward is the brooding, chilvarous, beautiful vamp boy who contiuously saves bella throughout the book. and she, in turn, is the awkward and clutzy girl who doesn't see herself as pretty, but everyone else seems to. the prose is okay at best. there is constant description of how magnificent edward is (everyone wants to screw -- er, make out with -- a vampire!) and bella wonders why he would ever ever love her.

the problem is, i couldn't help wonder myself. other than the fact that bella has a delicious floral smell which makes edward want to suck her dry like a good latte, what does he see in this girl? there are hints to her maturity (she takes care of both her mother and father in many ways) as well as her bookish intelligence (she is writing about shakespeare and mysoginistic themes in his plays), the main parts of the book are her trying not to whisk her panties off every other minute and edward restraining from eating her up completely.

thus, i would say the weak points are in some characterization. bella is sacrificial to the end, and is the girl that needs to be saved by a vampire who loves her as both a person and a possible food source. but the tension provided by that is well drawn out by meyer, if you're willing to go along, and not think the whole situation a bit ludicrous. i found it hard to relate to high school again, at the same time, i could relate to getting that first true crush/love, and being consumed by the littlest things.

all in all, it is a rather fluffy story with some good tension hinging on the theme of forbidden love. i would rate the prose as okay, at times cheesey--but hey, it's a YA vamp romance--and the storytelling as the strongest point. if you aren't into YA and fluffy vamp romances, i wouldn't recommend it. if you dig the stuff, i think it's a lighthearted read.

i'm sort of in love with edward myself now. who knew i had an angsty teen girl still crouching within me waiting to be saved?


Cheryl said...

It's interesting that you question Bella's attractiveness--I also found myself wondering why so many guys had such big crushes on her. A little unrequited love never hurt a girl.

cyn said...

cheryl, how did you like the book? i def was drawn in by the story and the forbidden love between bella and edward. i thought her being clumsy was endearing, and there were parts in dialogue which made me laugh. there is something about her narrative tho, which is a bit irksome. maybe the way she is so fixed on edward's physical beauty? not that a girl hasn't been there, but it almost diminishes his other personality traits in a way.

Cheryl said...

I have to admit it's been quite a while since I read it. I also have to admit that I'm not a fan of vampire stories at all (I don't know why) so this one didn't grip me like it has gripped some others.

There was definitely a lot of description in the book--of Edward, of the weather, etc. It kind of bogged me down, although I can see how it would be important to establish mood in a book like this.

I have since peeked at the beginning of the third book and admit I'd like to know what happens in the rest of the trilogy (I haven't read book 2 yet). The thing is, while I'd like to see what happens to Edward and Bella, I really just don't dig vampires.

cyn said...

yeah, i was into lestat circa 1991, but also lost interest in vamps after that. having said that, i too wonder what happens. the reviews on amazon for book 2 and 3 have some bad comments. so i'm leery of investing or trying to read a story which may annoy. i do think (i may be wrong) that bella may change herself into a vampire? which somehow, ruins the whole romance for me. but i'm just talking out of my arse now. thanks for responding. 8)

to give credit to meyer, she created a love situation where even those who are not interested remain curious. that's saying something.

David L. McAfee said...

I read this book on the recommendation of a 17-year old counter girl at Waldenbooks.

"It's GREAT!" She told me. "I loved it."

I should have realized that the concept of a "GREAT" book probably varies greatly between a 17 year old girl and a 33 year old man.

Not that I thought it was bad or poorly written (quite the opposite, actually), but it was definitely not my type of book. Still, Kudos to meyer for creating something so many others love. That's every writer's goal.

That said...cyn, most books on Amazon get bad comments at one time or another. I wouldn't use that as my basis for picking a book to read.

angelle said...

my little sister jsut asked me to buy her the entire trilogy. but she's 13.

Anonymous said...

I found this book extremely difficult to read because the writing was extremely poor. The first few chapters of the book suffer heavily from the hand of the author trying to quickly fill in background and describe events to get to the part of the book she really wanted to write. As a result it's full of scattered clauses and forced adverbs. Furthermore, there are some really unbelievable parts and inaccuracies that broke my ability to stay in the 'dream' of the book. For example, a van is described as having tires that lock up and squeal "against the brakes." If the tire (wheel) is locked, there's no squealing against the brakes, it's LOCKED. If you've ever seen a car lock up its brakes on ice, it doesn't really squeal, it kind of wooshes. Kids drawing blood in class to find their blood type? Yeah right, it's not even allowed to scrape out cells from your cheek with a toothpick in most places these days. It reads like an unresearched first draft.
Still, I pressed on, trying to ignore those problems. I know young adult readers will be blind to cliches and will pass over affected or poor word choice. And on the plot/character level, it's OK. I get a little tired of hearing how PERFECT Edward was, and I didn't buy that Bella was truly in love. That said, teens get pretty obsessive. Bella goes on about how smart she is, but it's tiring as the things she's so supposedly adept at are pretty basic and I don't buy that she's anything more than smug.
I'm fine with Edward being stuck as a teenager for decades.
I'd love to see the question addressed of what happens when Bella grows up and Edward doesn't, but that opportunity is passed up.

In summary, if you love reading about characters constantly staring into each others eyes and those eyes revealing their tortured souls or passion or sacrifice or whatever, this book won't make you flinch. Otherwise, it's going to be a trek.

Anonymous said...

I readed twilight, new moon and eclipse... all 5 times i guess..
maybe more. the point is, twilight new moon, are and will always be the best books EVER! i love it. my sister thinks i'm crazy, but i know i'm not. i just can't stop read them, and i'm waiting for the newest part and movie!!:D

CS said...

I agree with the constant Edwards eyes hair, cool hands, had me at vampire...The eyes is too mushy.I hope the next book isnt all about edwards gorgeous everything...i just couldnt take it. Its not like i know anyone to relate him Needless to say, it's almost depressing to hear about him over and over again.

i loved it im addicted and will read on even through the golden eyes repeating..Why? I like vamps...I secretly long to be one and...Edward. Oh yeah, I want to know what happens to Bella...vamp or not.

hot sammy said...

i loved the twilight book and movie i read the book 23 times and the rest of the books 23 times im so glad that u r alive there my favorite books ever

Anonymous said...

yo i AMY DUNN me and my bestie think twilight rox edward,emet and jasper are hot LOL and bella,rosly and alice rok our world so obviously it is the BEST. peace out from AMY DUNN and ZOE CONNA