Book Review, Twilight

Review: Twilight Saga, by Stephenie Meyer

5.00 avg. rating (99% score) - 1 vote

I’m not certain what makes some stories as popular as they are, while others, of the same caliber, barely make it off the shelves. Certainly Harry Potter was amazing and deserved every bit of the success it got (I myself am the proud owner of the entire set!). But there are other stories of the same genre that should have made it as big as it did, and yet didn’t.

The same goes for Twilight. While the story is enchanting, the characters are lovable and the plot is addictive, I still find it curious how this series made it so big while others didn’t. Because, after all, Twilight isn’t a literary masterpiece; at the end of the day, it remains a teen romance.

Some have even dared suggest that it might be better than – gasp – Harry Potter. This thought is just too much to bear for me, so I shall just carry forward with pursed lips. One day, if ever I have regained enough composure, I will comment further on this. But not today.

I read Twilight under duress; I was promised a lifetime of damnation if I didn’t read it (OK, maybe not THAT bad a threat was made on my life and the threat probably wasn’t THAT serious, but teens can get very defensive and when they do, they are scary!). And I am very glad I did. It was a very relaxing and entertaining read, and I found myself looking forward to the release of the last book in the series, Breaking Dawn, with probably as much anticipation as the book’s real fans.

In short, Twilight is a YA (young adult) vampire romance. Although some people have classified in the horror genre, I wouldn’t quite agree with that; the violence in the book is hardly at the level of prime-time TV shows and surprisingly light for a story about something so, well, bloody as vampires. Classifying it as horror is kind of insulting to books of that genre; I would even dare say that Twilight takes the horror out of vampirism, and makes vampires lovable. As a fellow wordpress blogger put it: “Hey Edward, bite me!” (Edward is the main character’s very charming and gentlemanly love interest and yes, he is a vampire.)

The strength of the series lies in the fact that it really is written for teens. No attempt is made to set the tone of the book as moralizing or patronizing, which might come as a surprise to those who have heard about the author’s strong feelings about religion. When you read Twilight, you really get the impression that a teenager is talking to you, lending it great authenticity that made it such a success amongst teens as well as amongst those who work with them (including yours truly). Interestingly enough, there are some lessons to be learned from the book; however, they are character-driven, in that they are the conclusion of a natural process of self-reflection the main character goes through rather than coming in a rain of miraculous eye-opening wisdom bestowed upon some hapless teenager (something many parents probably hope for).

After the book’s phenomenal success, the obvious happened. Just like anything else that might make them a potential buck (or a couple million of them), movie studios threw themselves at Twilight and, lo and behold, we have a movie coming out. WHAT a surprise.

It all comes down to this. If you are willing to set aside your prejudices about teen romance books and vampires, if you are willing to let go of any expectations, and if you are willing to admit that everyone does wish for something unusual to happen to them, I would strongly recommend you get yourself a copy of Twilight for some great reading. But don’t be expecting high literary reading or anything more than the story of a teenager from a teenager’s point of view – then you’ll be sorely disappointed and it’s a shame because the story is truly amazing.

But please, whatever you do, don’t go around looking for a vampire to bite you. And if you are tempted to do so, you might want to consider seeing a psychologist.

If you aren’t yet convinced, take a look at Stephenie Meyers’ official website for a sneak peak and some more background information.

And for those of you who have read and like Twilight, click here to stroke those embers into a full obsession.

I have yet to click. I like the little sanity that I do have left, thank you very much.

5.00 avg. rating (99% score) - 1 vote

6 thoughts on “Review: Twilight Saga, by Stephenie Meyer

  1. Just catching up with your blog so sorry this reply is late…

    Twilight turned into such a literary giant thanks to something called Marketing, and viral marketing, that is where people pass on the values of the work. There are even blogs that are faked just to spread the word of products.

    Like Stephen Kings novels, these books just took hold and have not yet let go, because they are a good fun read, which makes up for any short comings in writing!

  2. 🙂 I’m a recent Twilight reader and I admit to being completely captivated by the stories. I started reading them about 3 weeks ago and I’ve read each one multiple times at this point. They don’t let me go.

    While they’re certainly not literary masterpieces by any means, they are, like you said, just a great read with a very good story to tell. I admit to being a bit disappointed that some things were not explored, especially in the 4th novel, but I had to remind myself that the book was written for teens, not necessarily for people looking for that deeper story. I’d love for her to spin out more about Jasper however, he intrigued me.

    Anyway, glad you liked it and I just had to admit that I have my own obsession with this series. It hasn’t let me go yet!

  3. WHW: You’re right, marketing did have a lot to do with the success of Twilight a fun book but by no means of any literary worth. I didn’t know about the fake blogs though… Which ones? And do you know how to spot them?

    nolebucgrl: Ah ha, your secret is out – and, what an honour, on my humble little blog! And btw… Twilight will *never* let go -evil laugh-. Sorry, the Twilight mood caught me 😉 What in particular were you disappointed were not explored? I read it during the summer and don’t remember the details… And maybe Stephenie Meyer should consider doing an adult version of Twilight from the POV of Esme and Carlyle!

    Have you seen the movie?

  4. I have seen the movie, twice actually. I was okay with it the first viewing, tho annoyed at things that were added and things that were left out. The second time around I tried to put my book bias aside and I did like it better. I didn’t respond to Bella in the first viewing but liked her better the second.

    I think you’re right about Twilight never letting go. I have 3-4 other books sitting here to read that are unread because I prefer to go back to my favorite scenes in the Twilight series. It is a sickness.

    Mainly my disappointment was in book 4, I felt that it was too “neat”. I didn’t like that Bella ended up not having to sacrifice anything to be a vampire, she still got to see her dad, she was still BFF’s with Jacob, the sex was even better…you know, she didn’t have to sacrifice. And while Edward was tortured over her pain during the pregnancy, the actual act of having to turn her was taken out of his hands, she was dying anyway. I’d have preferred him to have to really angst up over what he was doing. You know what I’m saying?

    Have you read the unpublished manuscript for Midnight Sun yet? Twilight from Edward’s point of view? I think I’m actually more in love with that than Twilight itself. She needs to hurry up and finish writing it and get it out there for me. It’s a pain to read the 264 pages online (not that I haven’t done it 3 times already).

    Anyway, that’s the main highlights of what I felt was missing…again I have to remind myself it was not meant to be that complex. The ideas are there though, they’re just not explored.

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