Friday, 21 August 2015

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Saga, #1) - Book Review

4/5 Stars

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...


Edition: Paperback
Pages: 434
Chapters: 24 (Plus a preface and an epilogue.)
Publisher: Atom

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


Twilight is the epitome of a guilty pleasure for me.

I'm not usually one for a story predominantly focused on romance, but this book manages to sneak past those feelings and embed itself in my brain. I've seen the negative criticism; I've seen the positively gushing reviews; and I fall somewhere in the middle.

I don't find Twilight nearly as bad as it's sometimes portrayed, but, conversely, I'm not overcome with obsession. As a supernatural love story, this novel hits the mark. It has some decent insights into the young teenage mind, and, while exaggerated, works keenly with the insecurities most of us have; the dramatic search in life for a purpose, and for that someone we connect with like no other.

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

When Isabella Swan moves to the rainy town of Forks, her main focus is to remain undetected.
To blend.
But then she meets the vampire Edward Cullen and his family, and Bella's reality changes forever.
She can't seem to quench the emotions that overcome her for Edward.
And Edward, despite his common sense, can't stay away.
Romance with a vampire doesn't seem so bad in Bella's mind.
Until the full danger and severity of her love lands on her doorstep...

Plot - 4/5 Stars

Twilight is through and through a supernatural love story, with action and danger on the side. As I said, not my normal reading pattern, but what this book does, it does well. There's a decent beginning that surprises me by being well-written and hooking. It's a very particular type of story, with a very particular cast of characters, so it's easy to understand why it polarises so many.

The plot's main, and obvious, focus, is the developing relationship between Bella and Edward; the mysteries that surround him, and the Cullen family. Despite the story mainly playing catch up with the blurb, the tension and suspense utilised between our two lovers is spot on. I'm definitely a sap. There are some incredibly sweet moments, along with some incredibly creepy and stalker-like ones. One word you'll definitely think throughout is 'cheesy', but damn if it doesn't all work together well. There's a certain magic you can't put your finger on, but it's alluring nonetheless. 

I'm not a fan of the insta-love, of course, but it doesn't bother me as much as it bothers others. In the same way, I don't like the sparkly elements, either. I'm a die-hard Buffy fan, and I love evil, yet conflicted, vampire characters. The sheer idiocy of 'sparkly' vamps comes off as hilarious more than threatening. I do get its significance, and the reasoning I respect, but it just doesn't jell.

When the plot and pace pick up 3/4 of the way through, I feel the author's done a good job of setting everything up, and, you know me: I love my action and action-related suspense. 

Pace - 3/5 Stars

While I do enjoy the burgeoning romance of our leads, the pace isn't up to my speed. The majority of the novel develops arduously. There are some unnecessary scenes and repetitiveness that hold everything back from being completely smooth. 

It is much better with the introduction of James and his gang, but it's a long way to that point.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

The majority of Meyer's characters have fantastic chemistry, with only a few exceptions in the form of Bella's human friends at school. The likes of Jessica and Mike feel more fluff than important, and while their scenes aren't terrible, they're just not riveting.

Everyone else, though? Awesome. 

Bella herself divides people like crazy! I was honestly surprised when reading over some reviews. The common problem a lot of people had centred on Bella's 'boring' personality. I disagree, of course. Personally, I find that Bella is blank in a way that allows the reader to slip into her perspective more smoothly. She also has some strong traits that really make a difference. She's perceptive, intelligent, and incredibly brave. There's a lot of recklessness woven throughout, but, overall, I really like her. Some of her one-liners and attempts at humour are stellar. 

Mr Edward Cullen himself has a strange allure almost instantly. He's quite callous in certain ways, cruel, but once that pretence slips, he's irresistibly kind and compassionate. I mean, who doesn't have that one little dream where someone gorgeous and loving comes along to look after you? (If you think you don't, you're lying!) 

Bella and Edward are specific characters that don't represent everyone, and I feel with a lot of criticism, that's where the focus lies. 

Meyer has a great bunch of people to play with: They're divisive, diverse and they definitely do dominate the story.

Writing - 4/5 Stars

The writing isn't perfect, but nor is it terrible. It can sometimes be too flowery with its prose, bumping up against some awkwardly assembled sentences and tense shifts. 

On the flip side, however, there are a few fantastic passages, and the plot and characters are well-built.

Overall - 4/5 Stars

Twilight is a phenomenon in the YA genre, and it's not hard to see why. From a guy in his twenties who enjoys this series, give it a go with an open mind and a little suspension of your normal beliefs. 

Although, I'm not sure how many people are left on the planet who haven't some knowledge of Twilight...

Next Instalment: New Moon

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