Twilight (The Twilight Saga)

September 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Twilight Books

Twilight (The Twilight Saga)

  • ISBN13: 9780316038379
  • Condition: New
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The #1 New York Times bestseller is available for the first time in a mass market paperback edition, featuring a striking movie tie-in cover. 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 no

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5 Responses to “Twilight (The Twilight Saga)”
  1. T. Adlam says:

    Review by T. Adlam for Twilight (The Twilight Saga)
    Rating:
    It seems this book has received massive amounts of acclaim, but I never heard of it until I decided to watch The Dark Knight. A preview for the movie Twilight came on and mentioned that it was based on the best-selling novel by Stephenie Meyer. Since the preview looked good and I prefer to read books before seeing the movie, I picked up a copy.

    Now that you know why I purchased the book, I should also mention that I’m not necessarily the target demographic and haven’t been for a few years. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the good YA fantasy fiction book every now and again. (I’ve been called a perpetual teenager on more than one occasion.)

    I’m going to try and keep this review as spoiler-free as possible. In case you haven’t already gathered it from other reviews, or the book description itself, Twilight is about a young girl named Bella Swan who moves to Forks, Washington and finds herself in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen. The climax of the story happens when a vampire who doesn’t abstain from feasting on humans, as the Cullen coven does, decides he wants Bella. Up until this point (first three quarters), the novel progresses at a moderate, but not lagging pace and then instantly picks up.

    The book itself is a rather easy read, however, the characters seem somewhat shallow. Bella is supposed to be an honour student, but behaves exactly the opposite. Edward, who has been in existence for more than a hundred years, should be more intelligent and far wiser than is portrayed in his character. Armed with this tidbit about him, Meyer had plenty of room to play around and mold him into so much more, but never truly took that opportunity.

    In fact, after finishing the first book (I’ve read both Twilight and New Moon), I wondered what a century old vampire might find utterly attractive in a seemingly average 17 year old girl, besides the fact that she smelled delectable, could pick out a common tune by Debussy, and had a penchant for identifying the mitotic phases of an onion. Even Bella herself wonders the same thing and makes it plainly obvious by asking almost every other page what this magnificent Adonis can possibly see in her, which became rather tiring.

    (On another note, I’m still trying to figure out how any person with dark circles under his eyes and lavender eyelids can be likened to Adonis. It could just be me, but the way Meyer described their features, I couldn’t help imagining a well-fed crack fiend half the time.)

    While I don’t understand how the love between Bella and Edward can be so true and deep as made out in the book, considering they only knew each other for a few months, I can understand how Bella formed such a strong attachment to Edward: he saved her life on more than one occasion and, in a sense, has become her personal Superman. Is this right thinking? Dunno, but I guess constantly saving a girl who can barely walk without tripping does equate to being inexplicably lovable.

    By the end of the novel, I realized that Bella’s character, though stubborn, was unbelievably insecure–more so than one would expect from the typical teenage girl–and Edward, arrogant as he can be, used this insecurity to his benefit (whether consciously or not), thus causing multiple crises of conscience for “putting [her] in harm’s way”.

    When one really steps back from this novel and looks at the entire scope of it, the true dysfunction of their unhealthy relationship is obviously apparent.

    Plus, Meyer’s overuse of the word incredulous began grating on my senses, not to mention all the glaring, whining, cringing, grimacing, and her overwhelming need to append a “he said” or “she said” to almost every bit of dialog that transpired. (Surely, even truly young minds are able to keep up with the general flow of dialog). And let’s not get started on the editing: You know the editor was asleep at the wheel, or either non-existent, when there’s a glaring grammatical error within the first ten pages.

    But, despite all of that, I enjoyed the book. Meyer is a wonderful storyteller. There was a cliffhanger at the end of each bite-sized chapter pressing the reader to continue on, if for no other reason than to see whom else is glaring or grimacing at whom. The story also had a light-hearted comedic edge which played in its favor.

    Rather than feeling as though I were trudging through a heavy piece of fantasy fiction, I was able to let my mind relax and float into the story as if I were watching some strangely intoxicating reality show about a clumsy teenage girl and a thoroughly confused vampire. In the end, despite their flaws and not fully understanding their logic or reasoning, I even enjoyed the characters Meyer created.

    This is a novel you should pick up when you just want to shut off your brain for a little while and escape reality. Basically, you shouldn’t try to read this novel with too serious an eye. Ideally, it should be read while curled up in your most comfortable outfit eating your favorite snack with the lights dimmed, and television and phone turned off.

  2. Rachel Rooker says:

    Review by Rachel Rooker for Twilight (The Twilight Saga)
    Rating:
    I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. I thought young adult fiction had hit its low point with Eragon, but apparently I was wrong. Bella Swan (literally, “beautiful swan,” which should be a red flag to any discerning reader) moves to the rainy town of Forks, and the whining begins on page 1. She goes to live with her father Charlie, and is quickly established to be a mopey, ungrateful, self-pitying little toerag. Bella then attends her new school, which turns out to be an all-out caricature of high school with about zero (rounding up) grounding in real life. Her classmates’ reaction can be summed up thusly: “OMG. NEW STUDENT. OMG YOU GUYS, NEW STUDENT. STARE AT HER, FOR SHE IS CLEARLY SUPERIOR TO US.” Bella Sue is promptly adored by everyone in the school, except the mysterious Cullens, who spend their time brooding, being pretty, smoldering, being perfect, and sparkling. No, seriously. NO, SERIOUSLY. Bella meets Edward, the Culleniest of the Cullens, (meaning he is more perfect and emo than the rest of them,) they fall in love within thirty pages, (much of this time is spent in Bella’s head going back and forth between “Does he like me?” “Does he hate me?” “Do I like him?” “Why does he hate me?” and on and on and on AND ON. That is, when she’s not being a horrible snobby twit to the boys at school who show affection in genuinely sweet ways, i.e., not breaking into her house and watching her while she sleeps. While she sleeps. Not knowing that he’s there. IN HER HOUSE.) The plot shows up somewhere in the last fifty pages, which involves an EVIIIIIILL vampire named James who wants to eat Bella. James is the only character I like.

    I generally try to find something redeeming about books, but I honestly have nothing good to say about this drivel. Meyer writes as if the reader is an absolute idiot who has to be told every sing tiny little thing; we are never given the chance to interpret what’s going on in the characters’ heads. There is no mystery, no intrigue, no suspense. The characters themselves are cut-and-dried, stereotypical, and maddeningly unoriginal. Bella’s (supposedly) the clever, beautiful heroine, Edward’s the dark, brooding bad boy, James is… uh, the guy that wants to eat Bella. Meyer clearly wants Bella to be a strong female character, but the horrible sad truth is that she’s pathetic. Bella follows Edward’s every word religiously, never sticks up for herself, has no spine to speak of, plays Suzie Housewife to her father, and has no existence outside of her “romance” with Edward. On that note, let it be said that Nathaniel Hawthorne got more romance into a few lines about a rosebush than Meyer managed to cram into 400 pages. Edward and Bella’s relationship consists almost entirely of staring at each other dewey-eyed and arguing about who’s prettier (NO I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.)

    You know what? This could have been a great book if Meyer had focussed more on the relationship between the leads, (and treated it for what it is: unhealthy, creepy, pathetic, borderline psychopathic,) and less on how perfect Edward is (interesting note: the word “perfect” or related terms like “flawless” are used to describe Edward more than a hundred times. That’s just bad writing, guys.) What burns me up most about this book is that Edward and Bella are obviously meant to portray the perfect couple. Yeah, I really want my hypothetical daughter to walk out on her family for a guy she barely knows, invite said guy to sleep in her bed, have absolutely no life outside of said guy, and turn into a sniveling wreck when this guy looks at her the wrong way. And I also really want my hypothetical son to break into his girlfriend’s house and watch her sleep (SERIOUSLY, GUYS?) , abandon whatever life he has so he can stalk this girl, and be so possessive of her that he throws a fit whenever she so much as looks at someone other than him. And people think these two are good role models? WHAT. JUST WHAT.

    This book really wouldn’t bother me if it were being taken for what it is: a silly, sappy, shallow, juvenile, wish-fulfilling rag. The fact is, everyone is going on about how its literary merit rivals the frakking “Scarlet Letter” and how Bella Swan is the new Elizabeth Bennet (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?). “Twilight” should be rotting on some publisher’s desk in a pile of rejection letters; not being lauded as the greatest novel since “Pride and Prejudice.” I weep for literature.

  3. Elizabeth A. Barr says:

    Review by Elizabeth A. Barr for Twilight (The Twilight Saga)
    Rating:
    I wasn’t going to read this, but all the sparkly text and hystrionics on the internet piqued my curiosity. It took a couple of goes to get into it, but once the story hooked me, I found it difficult to put the book down — except for those moments when I had to stop and shriek at my friends, “SPARKLY VAMPIRES!” or “VAMPIRE BASEBALL!” or “WHY IS BELLA SO STUPID?” These moments came increasingly often as I reached the climactic chapters, until I simply reached the point where I had to stop and flail around laughing.

    The plot revolves around Bella Swan, a Mary Sue whose primary skills seem to be having a martyr complex, attracting trouble, and falling down. She moves to the rainy town of Forks to live with her father after some banal shenanigans make it impossible to live with her mother. Or so she likes to claim, but like I said, one of Bella’s superpowers is Being a Martyr. At her new school, Bella is instantly feted as the queen of the social scene — everyone likes her except (shock!) the impossibly beautiful Edward Cullen. Who is a vampire.

    (Particularly grating is Bella’s OUTRAGE that the normal boys of Forks like her and want to spend time with her, and express this by being friendly and openly indicating that they have a romantic interest in her. I mean, sure, it’s awkward being the subject of unwanted romantic attention — or so I’ve heard — but at least they’re not playing creepy mind games and breaking into her house to watch her sleeping, because that would be — oh, hang on…)

    Edward doesn’t actually hate Bella, he simply lusts after her. I mean, wants to suck her blood. I mean, sniff after her creepily. Bella apparently poses a threat to the entire non-evil vampiric subculture, so of course Edward asks her to go steady with him. But not until they’ve spent many, many, many chapters engaged in tedious ‘banter’ that is possibly intended to remind the reader of Pride and Prejudice, or at least, remind the reader of some fanfic based on a loose film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

    Then they hook up, and Edward glitters in the sun a bit.

    Then some evil vampires turn up, one of whom is obsessed with Bella. Why? Because her blood just smells that good. Apparently there are sequels — well, there’s no “apparently” about it, I can see the sequels from where I’m sitting — but unless they involve Bella Swan and the entire town of Forks being obliterated in a nuclear devastation, I don’t intend to read them.

    Twilight should be taken as mindless fun, but it has a lot of subtextual ugliness that makes its popularity disquieting. Bella is one of the most useless, insipid heroines I’ve encountered in a long time — and I genuinely love Fanny Price, btw — while Edward is like a textbook example of a creepy stalker boyfriend. There’s a strong element of wish fulfillment — average girl attracts bad boy who’s willing to change for her — but I cannot be comfortable with a text that portrays abuse as love. Apparently, the series is popular for its abstinence subtext — Edward and Bella can’t be together until their relationship has taken the proper form, that is, Bella’s a vampire — but possibly parents should be wondering if it’s really a good idea to conflate “marriage” with “death”.

    Or, possibly, I’m overthinking. When a series has become this massive, I don’t think it hurts to give some serious brain-time to the question of what, exactly, is being consumed.

  4. M. Lohrke says:

    Review by M. Lohrke for Twilight (The Twilight Saga)
    Rating:
    there are so many problems with this book that i can’t even begin to address them all. but i will say this, ‘twilight’ is probably one of the worst, if not THE worst, books i’ve ever read. the writing is amateurish at best [cliches, stereotypes, purple prose–how anyone can applaud meyer’s prose is puzzling]; the editing–or lack thereof–is appalling [this is a 200 page novel, no more and probably less]; the grammar and syntax are unforgivably bad; the plot is onion-skin thin; and the characters are uniformly dull and uninspiring.

    it’s hard to imagine how so many people got suckered into this book. the novel’s protagonist, bella swan [really? i mean, really?], is a complete idiot. she has no dreams, no motivations, no ambitions, no hopes, no goals, and not a single original thought of her own. she spends 500 pages spewing endless platitudes and commenting on edwards ‘perfect face,’ ‘amber eyes,’ and ‘perfectly-muscled chest’ ad nauseum [those references number in the HUNDREDS, easily]. she constantly wonders why edward, a 100-year old domineering vampire, wants her. apparently she’s the only one who doesn’t realize how ‘beautiful’ she is. honestly, this is the kind of novel you’d expect see selling for $1.99 at the supermarket checkout, not winning all sorts of awards. at one point i was half-expecting to close the book and find de-shirted fabio on the cover. and a glittery vampire? gimme a break.

    frankly, i’m mystified at its popularity. if nothing else, i guess it goes to show what clever marketing and stories of wish-fulfillment and so-called ‘forbidden love’ can do to some women. it’s made meyer a multi-millionaire, i’m sure, and turned her publisher into a cash cow. i don’t begrudge anyone his or her success, but when it comes via a turd like ‘twilight,’ it’s well, more than a tad saddening.

    what’s even more disheartening are the ‘twlight’ apologists who say that ‘at least young women are reading!’ [as if reading trash is preferable to not reading at all.] i guess you could make that argument, but with that kind of logic you might as well congratulate an anorexic for eating a marshmallow.

  5. Wendy L. Trimboli says:

    Review by Wendy L. Trimboli for Twilight (The Twilight Saga)
    Rating:
    I wanted to like this book. For one thing, it came highly recommended by reputable reader-friends (sorry guys, nothing personal). It took me a good 200 pages to even realize that I didn’t like it, but as the pages slipped by, so did this book’s potential to tell a convincing, complex and emotionally-gripping story.

    I didn’t mind the slow start. Bella Swan’s teenage over-reaction that “the world is going to end, or at least suck for a while” when she moves from Phoenix to Forks, WA was a familiar yet believable theme for a young adult book. I forgave her silly name and her paralyzing (literally) clumsiness. For a while.

    Then Bella discovers the attractive, standoffish, teenage vampire clique. Don’t get me wrong, I knew there would be vampires. I had hoped they would bring some intrigue, interesting character interaction, and a few creative supernatural twists to the mix. I was wrong: Edward, the main vampire/love interest must be the most blatant example of author-male fantasy insertion in a story I have ever read–the way his beauty is praised ad-nauseum, as is his ability to out-play/perform/karate/run etc. every mortal/immortal on the planet in any game/sport/musical instrument/hand-to-hand combat/race etc. certainly attests to that. Edward and his (almost) equally Hollywood Hot family are less creatures of the night, and more a blend of Greek god and barbie doll whose baseball games are confused for thunderstorms by us mortals. They are also apparently perpetual high school students, moving to schools every few years to keep anyone from catching on. Is this consistent with Meyer’s view of noble “vegetarian” vampires who only want to alleviate the mortal misery of their weak human neighbors? With Dr. Carlisle the one notable exception, I can’t quite suspend my disbelief that a hundred years would NOT be enough time to fake your age, get into law school, med school, the foreign service branch of the state department…(or at least use certain inherent skills to become pool boys or tennis instructors).

    All this was mildly irritating, but what really brought the star-count down for me was that this book had so much potential to challenge my perception of the world, to make me think. I kept reading because I expected there to be a twist…not a “gotcha” moment, but one where the characters grow too big for the box they’ve been placed in, where they become bold and try to deal with their issues. I wanted to Bella to challenge the emotionally manipulative hold Edward has on her. I wanted Edward to fail at something and discover humility, and even have to rely on Bella for a change. I wanted Bella and Edward to discover that there are consequences for misinterpreting an attraction based scent/beauty for one based on communication, compromise, and time. I kept reading, sure that something complex and meaningful would happen…

    I hope I don’t spoil anything when I say that the characters start off in the shallow end, and end up in the pool parking lot. When the action finally started at around pg 400, all I could think of was what one of the robots on Mystery Science Theater 3000 sarcastically remarked during a B-movie that was being thoroughly panned: “And the reason this part works so well is that we care about the characters!” If a random “bad guy” is suddenly going to appear at the end of a book and try to kill one of the main characters for no apparent reason, I want to at least care about them!

    Finally, a brief note on the writing itself. I thought some of the mood-setting description was pretty well done, and honestly didn’t notice anything truly jarring until after the appearance of Edward. Suddenly, cliches like “a carved statue”, “an Adonis”, “his angel face” surface at least every page or so, as do numerous purple descriptions of eye color meant to substitute for character depth. Over-dramatic facial expressions abound, especially in the more intimate moments: grimaced, shuddered, gaped, glared. And finally, the awkward dialog tags. Characters “demand”, “chuckle”, “mutter bleakly”, but never “say” anything unless they say it “harshly”, “quietly” or “tenderly”. The line ‘”Yes”, she agreed’ made me laugh out loud. All these “little” things, once I started noticing them, made the character’s actions seem even more inconsequential and ridiculous.

    Bottom line: obviously this isn’t literature, but neither is it a thought-provoking or even “fun” frivolous read. There just isn’t any substance there to care about, no challenge, just a pretty boy and a “good-smelling” girl who needs to be rescued half a dozen times. Some other reviews have compared this book to fan-fiction, and I think that’s a fair assessment. I’ve written overwrought fan-fiction in my time, complete with the “seagreen eyes” and “nymphlike shoulders” but that doesn’t mean everyone’s wish-fullfillment fantasy needs to blow into a doorstop of a book.

    For a more convincing and complex approach to the violence and passion inflicted by one man’s uncanny sense of smell, try Patrick Suskind’s book Perfume.

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