This book is an exacting re-tread of the inexplicably popular first book of the Twilight series, the book from which the entire series earned it's nom...moreThis book is an exacting re-tread of the inexplicably popular first book of the Twilight series, the book from which the entire series earned it's nomenclature. Fortunately, Mrs. Meyers (also the name brand of my favorite laundry detergent) proves that she is learning something as she goes along. Thankfully, the writing is improving from book to book though the mythos of the vampires and werewolves still remains contradictory and immaturely expressed.
The best part is that unlike the first book wherein the lack of cohesion made Bella seem like a floating head lost in the absence of either explained or implied physical structure, Edward seems to have a body and isn't entirely cerebrally constructed. It's also nice to get some idea of what Edward ever saw in Bella in the first place because, frankly, the first book was a hot mess when it came to addressing the reciprocity of their relationship. If only there were some indication of Edward's perspective in the first book, he might not have seemed like such an unbalanced and stilted lack-wit.
Unfortunately, since this is such an exacting re-tread, it also seems to offer very little in terms of intrigue in terms of plot and seems grossly overdue, possibly to the point of irrelevance. I do not understand why Mrs. Meyers chose not to give any insight into the Edward character whatsoever in the first book, making him so inscrutable and obtuse as to render his behavior ridiculous and irrational. When Bella asks Edward if he has multiple personality disorder the day before she falls "irrevocably in-love" with him, she had a point. Based on the way the character is written in the first two books, he seems mentally and emotionally unbalanced bordering on deranged. Then in an abrupt about-face, Mrs. Meyers re-writes the entire first book from Edward's perspective in the 5th installment of the series.
This simply smacks of stunt-writing in a series that seems to be running out of imagination. Poor Mrs. Meyers seems to be learning just how difficult is it to keep a teeny-bopper soap-opera going. Perhaps now she might re-write the rest of the novels now that she has developed her skills a little and integrate all of the characters together?
I finally realized why it is that this telling of the introductory novel from Edward's perspective rankles to no end. Edward is written like he is autistic or has asperger syndrome - as though he has no understanding of anything human despite not only living among humans for more than a century, but also that he was human himself once upon a time.
Regarding the issue of Edward's almost complete lack of sexuality in the first novel, it still seems absurd that he killed for a decade while finding his path, but never once considered having sex with anyone ever. It would have been more realistic and interesting if he had voraciously engaged in sexual behavior before adopting a monastic lifestyle, abstaining from all sex for years, possibly decades, before meeting Bella. Otherwise, it just makes him seem even more freakish.
These books truly seem to have been written for 12-year-olds, where holding hands and piggy back rides are the epitome of "love" and neither lead character has any knowledge or interest in sex. By 17, even if a teen doesn't fully understand sexual desire, they at least have a desire for that unknown quantity where their emotions run so hot it feels like their hearts cannot be contained within the confines of their chest and an intensity of longing that certainly feels real at the time.(less)
Katherine Neville consistently amazes me. Everything she writes is technologically advance for the time and endlessly fascinating for techno-thrilling...moreKatherine Neville consistently amazes me. Everything she writes is technologically advance for the time and endlessly fascinating for techno-thrilling mysteries.
The only minor quibble I've ever felt in regard to her books is the inclusion of some kind of romance between the hero and heroine, which, to me, always feels slightly off-kilter. As with "The Eight" and again in "A Calculated Risk", the break-neck pacing of the storyline comes screeching to a halt for a sexual interlude just prior to grande finale. It turns out, inevitably, that the hero was assisting the intrepid genius-heroine because he's been secretly in love with her from the moment he first saw her. He is also smarter than she is and has anticipated her every move, smoothing the way for her whenever possible. In my opinion, this plot point detracts from both the overall storyline and the development of the heroine by suggesting that she isn't nearly so clever. Furthermore, that he fell for her before ever meeting her or at first sight, shows that his interest had nothing to do with her intelligence or personality. Considering these are books featuring great female lead characters and are exquisitely crafted mysteries, it's surprising that the romantic and sexual relationships of the leads are so thoroughly bungled.(less)
I am loving this book. It sings to my soul. To make the book last longer, I am reading more slowly than I have read a book in years, savoring the anti...moreI am loving this book. It sings to my soul. To make the book last longer, I am reading more slowly than I have read a book in years, savoring the anticipation. It's lyrical, poetic, mysterious, and relentlessly fascinating.(less)
Vacation is sometimes a beautiful thing. Regardless of what else may go wrong. Even when everything that can go wrong does - one can always take some...moreVacation is sometimes a beautiful thing. Regardless of what else may go wrong. Even when everything that can go wrong does - one can always take some enjoyment in reading a good book.
"Twilight" to books is as a soapy lifetime tv-movie is to television. I wonder that Stephanie Meyer ever was a teenage girl or ever met one or what on earth she could possibly have been reading because I was once a teenage girl and although I usually like light juvenile novels (Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, et al) I just couldn't get past the literary immaturity of this work. This book, while a fast read, is as fluffy and insubstantial as cotton candy. Enjoyable in the moment and forgotten instantly, except for those niggling little details that don't quite fit.
What bothers me most about these books, this one in particular, is that it's almost good. Almost. There are true kernals of interesting elements only they're so poorly constructed, researched, and imagined that they're ruined by the writing. It missed being a truly good and interesting book by so very little that it seems more like literary laziness, which is insulting to the reader. It had foresight and lacked cohesion and research. Pieces of research co-mingling actual folklore regarding the stories of Romeo and Juliet with Vampire and Werewolf lore, with some fine-tuning would have made the novel so much more interesting and enjoyable. I laughed when, on one page, Edward enumerates how he is the perfectly designed predator meant to lure his prey to him, then, two pages later, says that humans are instinctively repelled by his alien qualities. So which is it? Are humans drawn to them or are they repelled? In which case why go to high school of all places where the residents are perpetually obsessed with themselves and everyone around them. Anyone like Edward or Alice or Rosalie or Jasper or Emmett would be a constant source of sexual desire and curiosity to the other students. Also, if the smell of humans and blood is so delectable and renders them uncontrollable, how could they be in rooms with pubescent girls and post-pubescent female teachers for hours on end?
Then there is our heroine, Bella, who rolls her eyes so often that I wonder that she doesn't suffer from eye-strain. Without any sense of self or insight, without an iota of the inner turmoil and insecurity most high schoolers grapple with daily, every other statement from her is accompanied by some variation of "sarcastically". On the other hand, we have our intrepid hero, Edward, who only ever seems to "laugh darkly". Who are these people and why are they interested in each other? The dialogue between them is so stilted as to be inscrutable of their actual emotional state. The declarations of love from Bella and Edward seem to come from nowhere. The dialogue and storyline leading into their "love" story are so poorly constructed that I imagined Edward speaking with a Victorian-era British accent as stiffly as if Mr. Darcy were supplanted from Derbyshire directly into a modern high school.
The issue of their "connection" is almost unbelievable. In the absence of sexual desire and personal curiosity, what is it supposed to be between these two? From one side, there is sexual desire wherein sitting so close to each other and physical attractiveness is more than enough for a teen to consider themselves "in love". (I clearly recall the high of fancying oneself "in love" with that incredibly attractive high school boy). Feeling the buzz of adrenaline just being in proximity to them. Thinking about their eyes, hair, mouth. From the other side, there is actual interest, wherein they want to learn as much as they can about each other because enjoy each others company so much...but other than their one science lab they're supposedly "in love" before they ever have more than a cursory conversation during which Edward interrogates Bella like a prosecuting attorney or therapist. And, I'm sorry, but she just does not seem that interesting - particularly when one considers that she is so mentally and emotionally limited as a 17-year-old compared to someone who has traveled the world and lived for more than a century. (Isn't it funny that she doesn't ever once ask about what it's been like for him to live through all of the major changes in the world?)
Although Bella seems clear on her motivations for liking Edward (his physical attractiveness), why does he like her? Edward doesn't seem to have much desire for Bella other than a desire to eat her and moderate curiosity because he can't read her mind. Also, that he's maintained his virginity for the past century is seriously bizarre and denies all truth of teenagers caught up in the maelstrom of hormonal development. Honestly, we're supposed to believe that he NEVER once ever wanted to have sex with anyone? Not even when he was human before Carlisle changed him? Not in the 90 years since? Not only that, but now that he's found "true love", his sexual desire for her is limited to hand-holding, hair-touching, and a few chaste kisses? In the absence of physical desire or sexual attraction surely there should be some other level of connection that draws them both inexorably to each other.
This book, rather than being written for teenagers, young adults, or adults, is really written for pre-pubescent twelve-year-old girls. Buffy, as a show, was written better with a more interesting and developed universe - complete with the unique conundrum of a human girl, a teenager, a slayer, loving an ancient vampire in spite of herself, in spite of him, and of him loving her in return.(less)
If you hybridized The Scarlet Letter with A Handmaid's Tale and a soupçon of Orwellian sci-fi you'd come up with When She Woke - with nary an original...moreIf you hybridized The Scarlet Letter with A Handmaid's Tale and a soupçon of Orwellian sci-fi you'd come up with When She Woke - with nary an original idea as caulking therein. Still it was a quick read and held my attention. I was simply hoping that it would be more like Devil In the White City, rather than a strict cribbing of material.(less)
With as much intensity as I loved the lyricism of the first book, I HATE the direction the Dexter novels are now taking. The flight of fantasy asserti...moreWith as much intensity as I loved the lyricism of the first book, I HATE the direction the Dexter novels are now taking. The flight of fantasy asserting that Dexter's Dark Passenger is an alien-being inhabiting his body is ridiculous and the ruination of the series. A story about how a boy with a monster within trained by his detective-father in the art of vigilante justice to feed his darkest desires is a great book. Tutoring his young proteges in the fine arts of mass murder is a premise that could last indefinitely - an evil alien? GMAFB.(less)
While I still enjoy them from time to time, all Dean Koontz books tend to run together for me now. A hero who is good, but wounded, resisting someone...moreWhile I still enjoy them from time to time, all Dean Koontz books tend to run together for me now. A hero who is good, but wounded, resisting someone or something that is evil. It's rather tiring because there is good and bad in everyone. I don't believe that anyone is all of one or the other.(less)
I loved this book in the way that I loved Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. It is well-written, sad, but draws a person in and stays with them. More th...moreI loved this book in the way that I loved Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. It is well-written, sad, but draws a person in and stays with them. More than a year after I read it, I still think about it.(less)
Without rhyme or reason, I am re-exploring the classics. Books and plays that I know well and have written about academically. This is one. Shakespear...moreWithout rhyme or reason, I am re-exploring the classics. Books and plays that I know well and have written about academically. This is one. Shakespeare, Homer, Marlow are others.(less)
Slightly better than the first - mostly because the Bella character finally develops a little and the entire book isn't wasted with her mooning over h...moreSlightly better than the first - mostly because the Bella character finally develops a little and the entire book isn't wasted with her mooning over her obsession with Edward.(less)
I like the Harper Connelly mysteries that Charlaine Harris is producing. The only caveat is the romance between the step-siblings. I find it over-play...moreI like the Harper Connelly mysteries that Charlaine Harris is producing. The only caveat is the romance between the step-siblings. I find it over-played and squicky.(less)