Shannon (Giraffe Days)
May 27, 08
Recommended to Shannon (Giraffe Days) by:
Read in September, 2007, read count: 5
Oh my. This book, to me, is like chocolate: a delicious, sinful, addictive indulgence which you convince yourself has beneficial qualities (zinc, calcium, keeps me quiet at that time of the month...) in order to justify your addiction.
By "beneficial qualities", I mean that it's reading, and since when is reading bad? :) Let me say quite clearly that I'm a sucker for romance, especially the intense, passionate, tragic kind. I don't read romance novels*, though, because to me they are lacklustre - Meyer's book has the extra edge I need, though, a great way of keeping doom hanging over the main characters' heads: she's human, he's a vampire.
Sound corny? Yeah, I know, and the only reason Meyer gets away with it as well as she does is because Twilight doesn't try to be anything it's not, and it has such conviction. Only Meyer could get away with giving her narrator the name Isabella Swan. She says in her little bio at the back that she wanted to write believable characters: an interesting choice, then, to write about vampires, but I believed in them, and without such a willing suspension of disbelief, the story would have been a farce. True, a lot of people haven't been able to suspend their disbelief with this book, but that doesn't affect my reading experience :)
Seventeen year old Bella's parents are divorced. She lives with her mum in Phoenix, Arizona, and spends time with her dad Charlie in Forks, Washington State, where it rains almost constantly. She hates Forks, but when her mum remarries a baseball player, Phil, and starts travelling with him, Bella decides to move to Forks.
On her first day at school she notices the isolated group of five beautiful, graceful siblings. Rosalie, Alice, Emmet, Edward and Jasper. One in particular catches her eye: Edward Cullen, with his rust-brown hair and topaz eyes. She is more than a little surprised and shocked when he seems to have developed an acute, profound hatred of her. Her fascination deepens, especially when, after a brief disappearance, he saves her life. She soon figures out what Edward is, and the knowledge doesn't frighten her. The shaky friendship between them develops into something much stronger, and Edward reveals his overpowering reaction to her smell that nearly made him kill her on the spot - hence the look on his face that so shocked her, and the restraint he put on himself during an hour of Biology.
Let's not forget he's incredibly handsome: even though Bella describes almost every glance he makes and every twitch of his lips, not once did I get bored and roll my eyes. My fascination grew alongside hers, until I too fell in love with Edward - in a totally girly, daydreamy way. Yes, I admit it. I don't know if that makes this a girly kind of book - these days those boundaries don't seem to matter so much, and the vampire family is pretty darn cool, what with Edward's extra ability to read minds, Alice's premonitions, Jasper's ability to affect people's emotions, their speed, their invincibility... Bella is at one point compared to Lois Lane, because Edward and his kin really are like Superman.
One of the things I love about YA books: the clarity with which they are written. Granted there is some repetition in Twilight, but to me it's necessary repetition. There's nothing superfluous in Twilight, nothing that shouldn't be there, and the flow, the pacing, is great. It's a fat book, but I read it in two days. I read it with breakfast, on my walk to the subway, on the subway, up the escalator, through the ticket gates, to work, in my lunch break ... you get the picture. I couldn't get enough of it, and it left me with that same craving for more that Harry Potter did (I remember scrounging around for loose change as soon as I finished one of them and dashing off into the city to get my next fix. It helped that four were already out when I started). There's plenty of negative stuff you could say about this book - the writing, the characters, the obsession - but again, I couldn't care less :)
Another thing I loved was all the vampire myths Meyer scrapped. These vampires aren't burnt to ash by sunlight: their marble skin glitters as the sunlight is broken into miniscule shards, like diamonds - hence why they are living in Forks, where the sun hardly ever shines. They are not hurt by crucifixes or stakes through the heart. They do not sleep at all, nor do they eat human food. They drive fast cars really really fast. And they can fall in love. Awwww.
Seriously though, this was one of most fun, most enjoyable, most romantic books I've read in a long time, and I'm so happy there are two more out with a fourth on the way. They are, somewhat predictably, making Twilight into a movie - still in the early development stage - but it's rather fun to go to the author's website and see her own preferences for actors to play Edward etc. Can't say I'm familiar with most of them, but her top choice (now sadly too old), is indeed a perfect match. Who knows who they'll really cast, but as with the book, the characters have to be right or the whole story will be just silly and sappy.
*Since reading this the first time back in 2007, I've started reading some romance novels. Yes I've been corrupted. Or rather, I've always loved romance stories but had trouble admitting it. Now, I just don't care :)