Stephenie Meyer has created characters that I care about and enjoy spending time with. I've read the books several times.
If you're looking for a typiStephenie Meyer has created characters that I care about and enjoy spending time with. I've read the books several times.
If you're looking for a typical action-packed vampire story then look elsewhere (not that there isn't action and suspense in the story).The Twilight series is essentially a love story that yes, involves vampires. It is the element of the "vampire" in the story that makes it so heart-wrenching. I found the story compelling because of the feelings it evoked in me - Twilight: the intense emotions of falling in love for the very first time; New Moon: the pain that can come with loving someone; Eclipse: the complexity of emotions that come with self-awareness, realizing mistakes and making difficult choices, knowing the consequences. I laughed, cried and sometimes even forgot to breathe (I felt so much)!
The Twilight saga seems to incite love or hate. I was surprised by the 1-star reviews, but then saw a pattern: criticism of the writing style, the dialogue, the alleged wrong messages to YA, the superficiality of Bella's and Edward's love, and dislike for the characters (cries of either "too perfect" or "too flawed" to be likable). And as I read those reviews, I thought to myself: "Did we read the same book/s? Are these the same characters we are talking about?"
I think a person's enjoyment of the books will depend on one's perceptions (how you see things) which is influenced by one's preconceptions (ideas or views of the world based on experiences and beliefs). And perhaps the hype around the books has only served to antagonize, dare I say it, the more cynical or critical amongst us. I admit to being a romantic. I enjoyed the dialogue and interaction between the characters (yes, even the cheesy bits). I found it real and believable despite the supernatural subject matter, but mostly I could relate to the characters and empathize with them. I have come to love the characters of Bella and Edward (and the secondary characters) and am captivated by their love for each other, even if it happened quickly.
For me, Bella is an independent girl, overwhelmed by an attraction to the enigmatic vampire Edward, who struggles for inter-dependency (this is evident later in the series). Yes, Bella is dazzled by Edward's looks, but her love for him is not superficial. Bella realizes her feelings for Edward AFTER she finds out he is a vampire. Quote from Twilight: Bella: "I can't explain it right...he is even more unbelievable BEHIND the face. The vampire who wants to be good - who ran around saving people's lives so he wouldn't be a monster."
And how could one not love Edward? He is such a gentleman, a good, moral character with unimaginable self-restraint. Edward painfully struggles with his natural instincts as a vampire to drink Bella's blood because he cares for Bella and could not bear hurting her. He struggles with doing what is right and what he wants. Bella fascinates Edward because she is not afraid of him. Bella sees through the mask he wears amongst humans and is not afraid to argue with him. Isn't that what we all want? To be yourself and be loved despite your flaws; to be able to communicate freely.
Can love work between a human and a vampire? What is it that draws one person to another? When can we say we have fallen in love - years, months or days? Is it when you have seen to the heart of the person and want to be with them despite obstacles/flaws? Perhaps you can fall in love quickly, but staying in love over time is the true test.
The message isn't "you are nothing without a man" but that one can love so deeply that it hurts to be without them... that love makes you vulnerable. When you love someone you give them the power to make you happy, but also the power to hurt you. What would you sacrifice to be with the one you loved? Bella considers the implications in the sequels.
My advice: Enjoy it for the fiction/fantasy that it is! And if you have concerns about "wrong" messages your kids might get from it then by all means use it as a platform for discussion and to develop their critical thinking skills to help them make choices in life. ...more
Switched was one interesting book. I loved the story. Every new development was exciting and fun and left me wanting more. The whole plot line is suppSwitched was one interesting book. I loved the story. Every new development was exciting and fun and left me wanting more. The whole plot line is supposed to be a mystery, and I don't want to spoil it for anyone so I'll make this a little vague.
Wendy is a teenager who has, as she puts it, anger-management issues. She also has odd eating habits, odd hair, and an odd way of getting what she wants. Most people think this has to do with what happened to her when she was younger, because her mother tried to kill her as a child. Throughout the book, Wendy is thus struggling with the knowledge that she is hard to deal with, cold, and distant with people. And now that she's moved to ANOTHER new town, ANOTHER new school, with ANOTHER new house, she has promised her brother she's going to try to make this place work and not get in as much trouble. She tries making friends, and so is connected with two boys, one being her love interest with a secret, Finn.
My favorite elements in this story were:
- The Chosen Paranormal Element: I don't want to give away what Wendy is, but it's super rare to read a story about them. It was very cool to see something new and different come out in a story, instead of the same old vampires, werewolves, or fairies (Don't get me wrong, I like some of those, but...they get tiresome after the hundred or so novels you read about them).
- Wendy's Emotional Damage: I think this was dealt with both with subtlety and finesse. You can really believe that Wendy has been emotionally hurt, and that her life has been extremely impacted by that damage.
- Wendy's Tough-Girl Personality: No damsel-in-distress here. No matter what is happening, whether she has an annoying popular chick giving her grief, two kidnappers trying to subdue and capture her, or an all-out battle engaged around her, Wendy is always trying to find a way to at least help take out the bad guys. Wendy doesn't wait around to be saved, she gives it everything she's got to save herself.
- The Romantic Interest: NO LOVE TRIANGLE!! YAY!!! I am beyond sick of love triangles. She loves one guy, that guy loves her, they have issues that make sense, and the teen angst doesn't go on forever. Wendy doesn't just whine over the fact that their romance seems impossible, she goes out and tries to get the man she loves anyway.
- The Quirky Viewpoint: This author has an interesting way of looking at things. There are several lines in this book that I find completely perfect, which is rare in any book. I love her point of view and would continue reading just to hear more of the way Amanda sees the world.
What I Didn't Like:
- The Ending: It sucked! It was a cliff hanger, nothing had been really settled, Wendy was doing something both stupid and annoying, and it left me unsatisfied and listless. Fortunately there's a sequel. Unfortunately, there's a sequel to that sequel, and it isn't out yet.
- The Runaway Syndrome: Seriously, it's a 257 page book and yet Wendy manages to run away from home four times, not to mention running away from the situations and conversations she dislikes about six times. About the only thing Wendy doesn't run away from is a fight, which isn't always a good thing.
- The Powers: While they sound really awesome, and seemed really cool, they weren't really integrated into the storyline very much. Neither were they fully explained. I was very disappointed not to see these used more in the story, and Wendy's powers never got to grow at all either. Very early in the story they discover one of Wendy's powers, talk about how she has to train it for the rest of the book, but never seem to get around to the actual training. Maybe Amanda Hacking tackles this issue in the next book in the series.
Anyway, that's what I thought of Switched. It was a beautiful story, that I adored. I would have given it five stars if the ending hadn't been so disappointing. The rest of the book had me completely mesmerized, but the last chapter just didn't deliver. Even a cliff hanger can be alright, but the ending just left me vaguely annoyed. While I still want to read the next book, that ending stunted my desire a little bit, which was just too bad. The rest of the book had been thrilling and exhilarating, and I couldn't wait to see what was next. Now, I want to know what happens but I'm not so die-hard HAVE to know as I was before. ...more
The Vampire Diaries is darker than Smith's other books, but every bit as enjoyable and entertaining. The dark edge actually allows for a wider audiencThe Vampire Diaries is darker than Smith's other books, but every bit as enjoyable and entertaining. The dark edge actually allows for a wider audience... I vividly recall when, over ten years ago, I noticed my copy of The Awakening was missing from my bookshelf, only to find it in my 27 year old brother's room!
To be quite blunt, IMO, Vampire Diaries is what Twilight wishes it could be (sorry, Twilighters, don't kill me!).
As always, Smith is very skilled at showing the depth of her characters. The lead heroine, Elena, is beautiful and the most popular girl in school, but she silently doubts herself and the life she's made for herself so far. She doesn't know where she belongs. As the story continues, she grows as a character as she realizes how much the people in her life mean to her, and how much she is willing to give up in order to protect them.
Stefan, the vampire and romantic interest of Elena, is self-loathing and blind to his own good heart. He lives off of animals, and even then feels guilty when he accidently kills his prey. This conflict with himself only deepens when Elena enters his life, and he is convinced he doesn't deserve her love. Yet, despite this, Stefan fights for what he believes is right, even if it's against his own brother, Damon.
To complete the little triangle, we have Damon, who is also a vampire (and my favorite character... Damon = *swoon*). Damon is snarky, cold, handsome, and darkly hilarious. He knows what he is and he doesn't apologize for it. He also knows what he wants, and that happens to be Elena. But don't write Damon off as a one-dimensional character... Smith manages to write him as all of the above, while still capturing the reader's sympathy as we begin to see aspects of Damon that he himself refuses to acknowledge.
Just as a warning, these books can get a little scary, though never so much that I had trouble sleeping or anything. However, my older sister (who was around 16 at the time) had to crash in my room one night after reading a scene where Elena and her friends encounter a menacing presence in the local graveyard. So parents of younger readers might want to preview the chapters to make sure their daughter or son can handle it.
As both a teen and now as an adult, I love these books. They are well written and intruiging, especially compared to most of the other young adult books available today. L.J. Smith has yet to disappoint me! I very highly recommend Vampire Diaries....more
I am fairly certain that this entire book was written on the back of several paper napkins on the bus ride to the publisher's...
More than half the boI am fairly certain that this entire book was written on the back of several paper napkins on the bus ride to the publisher's...
More than half the book takes place in the tunnels and seems to consist mostly of filler babble. The most interesting thing that happens in the tunnels resulted from a risk that was very unlikely to have been taken, given the circumstances, so it seemed very convenient and gratuitous.
The book is chalk-full of bad writing, horrible editing errors (multiple cases of character confusion... saying Darius when they mean Damien, for example), and continuity errors. The Casts are so obsessed with trying to make these characters seem like "normal teenagers" that they come across seeming shallow and moronic. I mean, what teenager in their right mind is going to be thinking about what boy they want to kiss when the world as they know it is crumbling around them?
A fantastic example of the sloppy and embarassing writing, is when the writers devote an inordinate amount of time talking about the girls' cute purses, which they must be sure not to leave behind in the tunnels. Given the fact that in book four, the girls fled the HoN mid-ritual-circle and unable to break their hand holds as dangerous chaos erupted behind them, it seems unlikely anyone was worried about something as trivial as a freaking CUTE purse. Not to mention the fact that they would have had to have been holding their purses throughout the whole ritual in the first place, which also seems very unlikely (if not downright LAME).
The characters continue to be an unnerving mix of endearing and annoying qualities. The twins are still unbelievable cartoon characters, Zoey is still the self-conflicting love-obsessed-horny-but-I-don't-wanna-be-a-ho she was in the other books, and Hunted comes with the added bonus of a really embarassingly racist portrayal of an African-American girl who is the polar opposite of Shaunee.
As the icing on the cake comes from the return of the love triangle. If you weren't already sick and tired of Zoey's constantly shifting and conflicting affection, you will be very tired of it after this book. And, just like in Marked, Heath-- despite his earlier and rather vehement rejection of Zoey, makes a mind-numbingly unlikely and painfully gratuitous re-appearance which will leave you wanting to rip your book in two.
BUT... having said that...
If you've made it through the first four books, you might as well keep going and read this one, too. As with the first four books, despite how earth-shatteringly bad the writing is, you can wade through all of the embarassing and poorly written crap and somewhere beneath you'll find the makings of interesting and endearing characters, and a compelling plot.
It'd be kind of like rummaging through a dump... it's trashy, smelly, embarassing, and downright awful, but somewhere beneath all the garbage there are little treasures waiting to be discovered. It takes a lot of work, and for most people it's not worth it, but if you can stomach it you might find something worth keeping.
Oh, to go back in time and encourage the publisher to hire a GOOD writer to write this series. If they had, they might have really had a true gem and a rival for Twilight on their hands....more
First I want to address the POVs issue. While it was refreshing to see another POV in the book , I think the authors spread themselves a little too thFirst I want to address the POVs issue. While it was refreshing to see another POV in the book , I think the authors spread themselves a little too thin with it. I didn't need to read the angsty drama of the boys' perspectives, you already get enough of that from Zoey. I did, however, think that Stevie Ray's POV was essential to the plot as there was so much going on with her that only leaving the book to Zoey would have completely lost the plot of the *other* red fledglings and Rephaim. I don't think we needed to see Rephaim's view either since we were already getting it from Stevie Ray. There was just too much time spent on rehashing things from different POVs and it made the book seem sluggish. Seeing the drama at the end with Stevie Ray from 3 different people was just unnecessary, I'm almost shocked they didn't throw in Aphrodite's perspective on that too. The Casts should have just left the telling of the story to the two new High Priestesses and let us have a little bit more plot.
The plot was another issue with me. Really, not a lot happened in the book. And the few major things that did happen were kind of tossed to the side while everyone dealt with their relationship drama. I would have much rather had two very romantic scenes with Stark and Heath and get on with it then have to read 15 little pointless ones where nothing happened. The stuff that happened with the council, Neferet and Kalona at the end was totally brushed off so Zoey could go deal with her emotional issues. The councils mindset in response to the two of them should have been a really big deal and should have been addressed but instead it was "Boo hoo, Zoey hurt Stark's feelings. What's she going to do?" I guess what I'm trying to say is that the Casts are developing this amazing plot but they are dealing with it the wrong way.
I didn't like the characters as much in this book either. Maybe it's because I feel like since this is Book 6 that Zoey should start showing a little more maturity. If I have to read the words 'bullpoopie' or 'raging case of diarrhea' from her mind one more time, I swear I'm giving up on the series. The bond of the nerd herd wasn't so apparent. I missed the comic relief of the twins and their teasing of Damien and Aphrodite. All their scenes together were just a whole bunch of nothing but filler.
I thought the death was actually one of the book's more redeeming qualities for me. I thought it was well-placed and necessary for Zoey to develop as a character and as a hero. I'm surprised by who Zoey is left with as a romantic interest since he wasn't even in the first books but after reading his character in Tempted, I think it was the right choice. Of course, who's ever really dead in these books?
I gave this book three stars because I *wanted* to like it so badly but I just didn't. I think the storyline is amazing but the whole time I was reading it, I was just annoyed. Annoyed with the pace, annoyed with the characters and to be honest, annoyed with the immaturity of the writing which never bothered me before this book. It may sound kind of weird but it's like I want to know what happens, I just don't want to have to read about it anymore....more
Betrayed, the second book in the House of Night series, picks up where Marked left off--Zoey, newly Marked as a vampyre fledgling, must take up her neBetrayed, the second book in the House of Night series, picks up where Marked left off--Zoey, newly Marked as a vampyre fledgling, must take up her new duties as Leader of the Dark Daughters. Along with her good friends Stevie Rae, Erin, Shaunee, and Damien, Zoey wants to find a new direction for the group after the ouster of nemesis Aphrodite. Amid all the stress of drama of perfecting a circle casting, Zoey's love life is also in turmoil. She finds herself attracted to not just two boys, but also a very sexy young professor who seems to be attracted to her as well. What will Zoey do about obsessed ex-boyfriend Heath, whose friends are disappearing at an alarming rate? And what about the fledgling vampyre Erik, who is everything Zoey should want? Betrayed is indeed quite dark in tone, and the story takes a tragic turn just when Zoey should be celebrating.
After a bit of a slow start, Betrayed picks up nicely around fifty pages in or so. The storyline takes place over just a few days, and it is action-packed. Zoey's grief and shock are well written, and her boyfriend dilemma is believable as long as it's between Heath and Erik. But Betrayed is not without fault. The idea of a professor, even a young one, flirting shamelessly with a sixteen year old is just icky. The "Twins" are so superfluous that I feel they are forced into scenes. And if teens actually continuously used language the way these teens do, I'd be very, very surprised. Not over the cursing itself, but just the general conversation seems so stilted.
While I did enjoy Betrayed more than I initially thought I would, it could do with a bit of housecleaning to rid itself of too much coincidence and too little realistic interaction among the teens. I also think that much of the "vampyre" rituals seem to be more "witch-like" than they should be. But in general I did enjoy the story and I still like the whole idea of The House of Night and creepy undead creatures and people who aren't what they seem to be....more