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The Twilight Saga, Book 1
Copyright 2005, Little Brown & Company
Plot Summary: Bella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Bella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Bella, the person Edward holds most dear. [Amazon]
Creature Feature: vampires, werewolves
Worldbuilding: Since Meyer’s vampires twinkle like they’re wearing neon glitter when in sunlight, I like that the story is set in Forks, WA, the rainiest place in continental USA. It makes sense. As does the reasoning behind some of the vamps having “super-powers”. The world-building was well thought out.
Originality/Believability: I didn’t find the characters to be “true” teenagers. They didn’t quite behave the way teens do. There were a few times when I thought the story just might get to the truth, but it remained nothing more than a fairy tale– a fairy tale with blatant allegory for saving sex for marriage.
Storytelling: You know the kind of books that are hard to put down? The kind that are never far from your fingers? The kind that make you burn water on the stove? TWILIGHT was one of those books for me. I was glued to the pages for two days. I admit it– I have a weakness for characters who knowingly do stupid things.
However, there are problems in this book that a good editor or better first reader should have picked up on. 1) Why doesn’t Bella faint when she’s at the hospital and sees Tyler all cut and bleeding? She doesn’t even feel woozy or anything. 2) For the entire novel, we’re lead to believe that Edward wouldn’t be able to stop himself if he gets a taste of Bella’s blood, but when it happens, he stops himself and the only explanation we get is that it wasn’t easy. I needed to see more of this. It was built-up to be a crucial moment in the book. I needed more than “it wasn’t easy”. I would have loved it if Bella had to witness Carlisle physically removing Edward from her. She should have seen his monster. I feel the story fell short of its potential. 3) A lot of the names were really close, and I think that could have been better planned: Bella/Billy, Edward/Emmett/Esme, Jacob/Jasper/James/Jessica, Carlisle/Charlie, Alice/Angela, Lauren/Laurent.
Badass Factor: In a romance, there’s usually a bad guy/girl who opposes the relationship or represents opposition to the relationship, but TWILIGHT lacked such a villian. Although Rosalie and Billy oppose Bella’s relationship with Edward, they don’t *do* anything about it. Billy confronts Bella, but doesn’t take it any further. Rosalie avoids Bella altogether. I would have liked more opposition from these characters. I wanted a confrontation between Rosalie & Bella. I wanted Billy to confront Bella’s dad, Charlie. I feel TWILIGHT could have benefited from a clear bad guy. Bringing in a bad guy for the climax didn’t heighten the stakes for me the way it could if the bad guy had been a character who was close to either Bella or Edward.
TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) Moments: There are two that stand out: Bella falls in love with Edward for no good reason than he’s there, and then later Bella goes off to meet the dangerous bad guy by herself. (But like I said, I’m a sucker for heroines who knowingly do stupid things.)
Notable Quotes: “I can’t always be Lois Lane,” I insisted. “I want to be Superman, too.”
Buy/Borrow/By-pass: If I was a teen, I’d put these books on my Buy list, but as an adult, I’m afraid they’re Borrow.
Despite all the problems with the book, I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series, New Moon. TWILIGHT was a light, easy read, a nice distraction from the everyday.