TWILIGHT by Stephanie Meyer
“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…,” He murmured.
“What a stupid lamb, ” I sighed.
“What a sick, masochistic lion.”
Review by Jana L. Perksie (DEC 5, 2009)
I usually do not read books labeled “young adult.” I am an adult, many years away from being young, (except at heart!!), and, with a few exceptions, i.e., the Harry Potter novels and Wilson Rawl’sВ Where the Red Fern Grows,” I read literature for grown-ups. Yet, to my delight Stephenie Meyer has created an extraordinary young adult series, called “The Twilight Saga.” Twilight is also the title of book one. These are original, delightful novels — even for someone who prefers her/his literature a bit more sophisticated. I could not put the first book down, literally…and will begin book two, New Moon, as soon as I finish writing this review. Believe me, there’s a reason that more than 10 million “Twilight” series books are in print. They are addictive.
As an aside….I did see both “Twilight films,” Twilight and New Moon, which are now playing in theaters or on DVD. The movie versions are outstanding and true to the original storylines. The movie characters really resemble those I had in my mind’s eye as I read and imagined what Ms. Meyer’s world, and the folks who people it, look like. And the books’ characters, especially Bella and Edward, are amazingly well depicted. Although all four books are on the market now – great Christmas presents for those uninitiated in “The Twilight Series” – there are two more films in the making to complete the movie series.
Isabella Swan is seventeen – a typical teen, good looking but somewhat clumsy. She is adapting herself to her long limbs and changing body. Her parents have been divorced since “Bella,” as she is called, was a baby. She and her Mom live in sunny Phoenix, Arizona, where she has few friends. Bella is shy and is somewhat of an outcast amongst her peers. She is a moody and private person. But she gets along with her mother – miracle of miracles for an adolescent girl/young woman. Bella is also this stories narrator, so the reader experiences everything from her point of view.
Each year she visits her father, Charlie Swan, the chief of police in rainy, dreary Forks, Washington. These annual visits have been more of a torture than a treat for Bella. The constant rain, boredom and loneliness would get anyone down, except for those used to life in Forks. She has only three friends there – Jacob Black, a Native American of the Quileute tribe, (also a teen – and a handsome one at that), his father, Billy Black, and tribal leader Sam. All three are absolutely fascinating and original characters. They have known Stephanie since she was a toddler. The three of them have always regaled her with ancient Quileute legends.
Bella’s mother, Renee, is about to travel with her new husband, Phil Dwyer, a minor league baseball player, to Florida for spring training. Bella has little choice – she can move with her mother and stepfather to Florida, or go to Dad in Forks. She decides to go to Dad so as not to be a third wheel in her newly wedded mother’s marriage. Bella, is not a selfish person. She tends to consider others’ needs before her own, a trait that can bring her joy, but can also endanger her life.
It is in Washington that major changes effect Bella’s world. Once installed at Forks, she is not reticent about expressing her displeasure to Charlie, who would do anything to make his daughter happy – except move away from his home. When she begins high school, the lovely Bella, the new kid on the block, surprisingly finds herself very popular. With all the attention she receives, she is quickly befriended by a several students. Unused to being the center of attention, she is dismayed to find that many boys/young men compete for her favors. And she begins to enjoy living with her easy-going, somewhat introverted father. But Bella, who is more embarrassed than flattered by her newfound popularity, has eyes for only one boy – the dazzlingly handsome, aloof, charismatic, Edward Cullen. He is the most beautiful person she has ever seen, with his golden hair, and his dark brooding eyes – even his voice is mesmerizing. Edward is the youngest son of the mysterious and reclusive Cullen family. He and his four siblings, also noticeably beautiful, sit apart from the others, at a separate table, during lunch….but they never eat. He watches her intently, but alternates between interest in Bella and what appears to be anger at her.
When Edward and Bella are assigned to be lab partners in chemistry class, he avoids working with her or even looking at her. As a matter of fact, he is downright nasty. However, when an accident almost ends Bella’s life, Edward saves her in a most non-human way. It is than when Bella discovers that Edward and his family are “benevolent vampires” who have vowed never to drink human blood. They hunt animals, and the blood of deer, mountain lions, bears, etc., is their source of sustenance. They don’t eat – except for animal blood – so they dine in private. They do not sleep, and of course, they all have the usual vampire super human powers…and then some. They are all extremely sophisticated, accomplished and alluring. They can walk in daylight but their skin gleams and glitters in direct sunlight. These strange and potentially dangerous beings, unlike the characters in most vampire fiction, seem to have hearts and souls. So as not to give themselves away, they are happiest when it rains and is dark and misty outside. The head of the household, Carlisle, is a respected doctor in the community, whose citizens have no idea that there are vampires in their midst, although Jacob and his Native American tribe know.
So Bella and Edward grow close as friends, and then they fall intensely in love. They yearn for each other – and although the word “yearn” may sound corny, it really describes their feelings for each other. “Twilight” is labeled “young adult” because there is no culmination of the couple’s strong sexual attraction. They do not have a sexual relationship. However, there is much sensuality here and plenty of erotic kissing. Actually, I think the abstinence gives the feeling of more passion than usual – more sexual tension. Edward is a gentleman and also fears that intercourse with Bella might harm her…him being a super strong vampire and all.
As Bella says, “About three things I was absolutely positive: first, Edward was a vampire; second, there was a part of him — and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be — that thirsted for my blood; and third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.” Bella also discovers the reason behind Edward’s initial hostility toward her. He is torn between his desire to love her and the desire to devour her. He is afraid his vampire nature might become stronger than his self control.
I do not want to give the plot away. Let it suffice to say there are multiple storylines and much danger here – to Bella and her family. And there is love. Plus, the Native Americans are more than what they seem.
Whatever flaws there are in this novel, (it IS fantasy fiction!), the magical narrative overcomes them threefold! I am thrilled that I have three more books to read in the series. This one is exceptional!
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 4,567 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; First Paperback Edition edition (September 6, 2006)|
|REVIEWER:||Jana L. Perksie|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Stephanie Meyer|
|EXTRAS:||Reading Guide and Excerpt|
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||More Vampire stories, not necessarily for teens:
From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite
The Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton
- The Twilight Sage: Boxed Set
- The Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack
- The Twilight Saga: New Moon–The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
- The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide
Movies from books:
- Twilight (2008)
- The Host (May 2008)