Monday, February 9, 2009

Book Review - Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Saga)

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Twilight by Stephenie Meyers is a popular Young Adult Paranormal Romance novel and the first installment of the the Twilight Saga. I've picked up a soft cover copy a couple of months ago in the supermarket due to it's attractive cover (movie cover in fact), and it certainly did not disappoint. The book is a very pleasant read for the ones young at heart and is well worth 4.5 Pink Hearts in my review.

Isabella Swan, who was very particular at being called Bella instead of Isabella, was a 17 years old high school student. After her mother remarried, she volunteered to move from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington to live with her father. The move was a drag to her, she disliked the town Forks, the weather was always gloomy, and she hated the attention that everyone gave her in school, since she was the "new girl" and police officer Chief Swan's only daughter. That is until she met gorgeous Edward Cullen, who acted as if he had bi-polar personalities and wouldn't stop telling her she should be scared of him.

Edward Cullen was a vampire of nearly a century old. He was gorgeous, lightening fast, extremely strong, can read other people's minds and even sparkles like diamonds under sunlight. Having practiced "vegetarianism" along with his family for a long time, his self-control towards human blood had only been second to his sire/father Carlisle, until Bella Swan came to his Biology class to sit by his side. To Edward, Bella was different. Not only was her blood much sweeter than anyone else's, her mind was also silent to him. She intrigued him, and he couldn't stay away from her, but he had to let her know that he was dangerous, far too dangerous for a human.

In Twilight, Stephenie Meyer did a very good job developing both her characters and the plot. Although the whole story was written in Bella's first person POV, it was easy to see how much Edward loved her, and how unselfish his character can be (although one can argue that if he was selfless, he would have just stayed away from Bella, but then we wouldn't have such a book to read, would we?), hence, making him so lovable that I fell in love with him instantly. The fact that he repeatedly warned Bella that she should be afraid of him, and to try to scare her off was also very cute of him.

The plot of Twilight, being a paranormal romance, was very believable, and the introduction of Stephenie Meyer's concept of vampires were also made very smoothly. There was no long awkward explanations, we just found out little bits here and there about them as Bella did. The plot also flowed very well without any unnecessary scenes, and the introduction of James, the antagonist vampire, was, although a little sudden, but not at all unexpected.

The secondary characters in the story was also fantastic, especially Edward's sister Alice Cullen. She was cute, funny and can also see the future. She was my second favorite character in this book, just after Edward. Her character was not only essential to the development of the plot, but also very entertaining to read.

What didn't like about Twilight was that, although, after Edward and Bella got together, everything was logical and lovey-dovey, I did not quite understand why Bella fell so deeply in love with Edward in the begining. Yes, he was drop dead gorgeous, he saved her life, and was everything a girl would want, but that did not lighten the fact that he was a vampire. And Bella, not only that she was not one bit bothered by that fact, she didn't seem surprised either. Now, I did not think that was normal; especially when she didn't seemed to believe in the supernatural before (or at least Stephanie Meyer did not mention that she believed in it). In my opinion, it would probably be better if it was written in a way that she fell for him, but not too hard in the beginning, then gradually began to love him so much that she would have done anything for him.

As for Edward, although his character was very well developed (as in actions did not clash with personality, and how he could melt your heart anytime), he acted like a teenager, or at least, a person under 30 most of the time. He certainly did not have the wisdom a 100 years old vampire should have. I guess one could argue that this is because once you become a vampire, things do not really change, and these "things" include personality and the way they think and act. But nevertheless, the impression it gave me was that Stephenie Meyer's characters were a bit on the shallow side. Yes, Bella being shallow I can understand, because she was only a 17 years old teenager, how can she not be? But the fact that Edward was a little shallow took away quite a few points for Twilight in my books.

Unlike some other reviewers, I had no problem with Bella being "helpless." I didn't believe it was true helplessness in her part. Keep in mind that she was only a fragile human, and she was up against all these strong unbreakable vampires, what else could she do? Put her with the other humans in the story and she would definitely be above average on the weak-strong scale. Plus, one of the things made her seem more "helpless" than she really was, was the fact that Edward had always been over protective. With a boyfriend like that, one is bound to look a little weaker than she really is. And I'm glad that Bella didn't argue about it, like some other female characters in other books, trying to act all tough when she wasn't. (I guess it doesn't take much to see that I really hate characters who act strong and I-can-take-care-of-myself, when the next second, she lies on the floor half dead and helpless because she thought too much of herself. It's better to embrace your weakness and let people help.)

In conclusion, the paranormal romance novel Twilight by Stephenie Meyer is a book I would definitely recommend to anyone. It would leave a smile on your face by the end of the book, if not throughout most of it. However, do keep in mind that this is a book for Young Adults with aims to satisfy girly fantasies, so the characters does have more shallow personalities, and the quality of writing is not necessarily the best (it did not bother me though). If you'd like to read a well written paranormal romance with truly strong female characters, read the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole instead. But if you're more interested in a light hearted easy read, you should definitely try Twilight if you have not already done so.

In addition, if you liked the movie but have not read the book, I do suggest getting the book. Although I liked the movie too, but the it was low budgeted and have left out or altered many essential scenes. Reading the book would let you enjoy and appreciate the story much much more. And if you have read the book but have not watched the movie, its DVD will be out in March.

All Reviews for the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

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