Thursday, 29 March 2007
'Twilight' - Stephanie Meyer
Bella Swann's mother has a new boyfriend, who travels a lot, so Bella makes the decision to leave the sunshine of Phoenix to live in the town of Forks (where her father is the police chief). It rains there all the time (sunshine is a rare thing indeed!) but Bella knows what Forks is like and reckons she can settle there for a while at least. Then, on her first day at high school, Bella meets Edward Cullen. Edward and his siblings keep themselves to themselves but he makes it very clear right from the start that he cannot stand to be anywhere near Bella (which is awkward as she finds him very attractive). The reason for this soon becomes clear, through some detective work on Bella's part, Edward and his family are all vampires and their world can be very dangerous for an unwary human. However, against Edward's better judgement, a relationship develops between him and Bella and things get very dangerous indeed...
As a rule I don't read books for young adults; I've got nothing against them, it's just that there lots more adult books out there that catch my eye and I want to read them first. Therefore I was suprised at how engaging this 'young adult' book (Atom Books) was. Although it was fairly obvious that Bella and Edward would get together, it was handled such that I wanted to know how it happened. The characters were well drawn as well, I particularly liked the involvement of the Indians from the Reservation (I wonder if we'll see werewolves in future books?). The dynamics of Edward's family were also interesting to observe although the fact that each of them have a 'special gift/power' seemed slightly contrived in a deus ex machina kind of way.
The other thing that jarred was the fact that, at times, Bella and Edward's courtship seemed just a little too perfect. Bella is portrayed as a clumsy teenager (who doesn't think much of her own looks) and an outsider but despite all this still manages to get herself a hundred year old (great looking!) perfect physical specimen of a vampire. And he will do absolutely anything for her! This is more than likely simply down to the book being written for a particular audience (teenage girls) but a more cynical reader (me!) would wonder if the author has got a wish fulfilment thing going on...
Conclusions? Teenage girls will absolutely love this book (and secretly wish they could find someone like Edward) and I can see it being a bit of a 'guilty pleasure' for adult readers as well. Despite it's problems, I'd be interested to see where the story goes from here. Thanks to George Walkley (Orbit Books) for supplying me with a copy of this book.
Six out of Ten