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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Yes:  I'm reviewing that Twilight.  This was my first time reading it, and I feel like I can be a little more objective than I would have been if I read it in 2005 when it was first released, or in 2008 when it became a movie.  I was actually surprised at my reaction:  I thought it wasn't bad.  In fact, I downright enjoyed the first half of the book!  The writing was pretty good, the setting felt quite real, and I kind of liked the main character, Bella.

The book opens with Bella en route to live with her dad in a very small town in Washington.  She's lived a big majority of her life with her mom in Phoenix, but because of circumstances with her mom and her new husband, Bella moves to Washington just before the start of her junior year of high school.  Just like any teen undergoing a major change halfway through high school, she's nervous and has to figure out where she fits in the new school's social setting.  Teens aren't the only ones who will identify with the situation; adults will read about Bella's growth and remember their own first days of high school.  And is it really any different of a feeling when you start a new job?  The same questions unite us all:  will we "fit in?"  Will we make friends?

Bella is also dealing with a new climate.  At one point she tells another character that her favorite color is brown, because "brown is warm."  The reader knows that she's reflecting on the lack of green in Arizona's dry, warm climate.  Bella is struck over and over again with all the green and all the rain in Washington.  Stephenie Meyer doesn't beat the reader over the head with descriptions of setting, but she does pepper it into the storyline enough to really transport us to the wet northwest.  And no spoilers (can there really be anyone out there still to spoil this for?) but the setting ends up being pretty important to a few of the characters; this is a story that could not have taken place elsewhere.

I also spent the first part of the book really feeling like Bella was a well-developed character.  The book is entirely from her POV, so we know all of her hopes and fears.  She's a pretty average teen with slightly higher-than-normal klutziness.

Then, about halfway through the book, my opinions took a sharp right turn.  I'm trying to avoid spoilers, even though this is a well-known plot.... there's a relationship that develops halfway through the book, and it really tainted my opinions.  The writing continues to be pretty strong, but the relationship made me very, very worried for any young female readers.  Bella falls for a character with a very large chronological age difference.  While a person of a certain fantastic race may appear to be a teen for dozens and dozens of years, they would have the maturity and life experience of someone much, much older than a teen.  To my grown-up eyes, it appeared to be an older adult preying upon a teen.  Also, the relationship progressed really quickly.  Again, as a grown-up, I was downright scared for the character.  But I tried to remind myself that it was fiction, and that it involved vampires, so hopefully teens aren't actually taking romantic cues from it.  Hopefully.

My final little quibble was that there was very little action until CD 10 (out of 11 CDs).  I was enjoying the setting and character development, though, so the lack of major action until later was ok with me.  A reluctant reader, however, might give up before then.

So I guess we'll say that I had mixed feelings.  I enjoyed it way more than I expected to, and will probably read the sequels.  But on the other hand, some of the romance scared me a little, since the main character is just a teen.  Oh, and I listened to this on CD and the narration is absolutely perfect.  Not too fast, not too slow, nice and clear enunciation.  The whole thick book fit on just 11 CDs.  I didn't look at a physical copy; I suppose it could have a larger typeface.  I could see myself potentially selectively recommending this.


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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4 People left their mark' :

  1. This is the book that got me into paranormal. And after I've read more, I look back on that one and feel blah. The first one is actually the best I think it goes downhill after that. None the less, I've watched all the movies LOL

  2. I own this on audiobook... it was my Mom's and she was a HUGE Twilight fan. So it's now in my collection. I read all of the books when they came out because my Mom told my sister and I that we just had to read them and we loved them (then). I recently listened to the audiobook version and still enjoyed it very much. It helped me get back into reading again (so did Harry Potter and both thanks to my Mom).

    Nice to see a review from someone who hadn't read it yet and judged the heck out it. :)

  3. This was one of the first books I read in the paranormal genre when I was about 17 and although some of the writing is shocking, I, like most other seventeen year olds, fell completely and irrevocably in love with Edward Cullen. I understand your concerns and now when I read it I sort of cringe, but at the time, I didn't think of Edward as being much older. I think Twilight is a bit like a gateway book, if it gets readers into paranormal, then there is nothing wrong with it. Nice to see such an open and honest review!

  4. Man the movie on this book made such a boom, someone loves it, someone hates it.