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Aug 04

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Review: “Twilight”

Okay, just to be clear here: I’m reviewing the book, not the movie. I haven’t seen the movie, but I use the pictures because it brings more hits. True story.

Now, I approached this book with a bit of trepidation. After all, what would I tell people if I actually liked it? Twilight has earned the rap of being a girl’s book and more specifically a tween girl’s book. However, as a writer in the fantasy genre and some one who’s been fascinated with vampire books for a long time (recent evidence), I thought it was worth a read.

So here are my thoughts:

 

(1) This book does for chicks, what a sword and sorcery book does for dudes. If you read any typical sword and sorcery book, it has some very typical elements: the young orphan raised in isolation; he discovers he is “special” and is sole person who can save the world; and in the process he will save damsels in distress, fight alongside buxom but ferocious female warriors and become unbelievably powerful (the late Robert Jordan is perhaps the epitome of this in his endless Wheel of Time series).

Twilight has some similar elements: a girl from a place things are boring and normal; she has an emotionally sensitive relationship with her parents that isolates her; she comes to a place where she is “special” and every boy at school wants to go out with her (including the boy genetically geared to destroy her); she will bravely, for love, put herself in dangerous situations where people fight for her because she is so special.

(2) Once again, we have secular vampires. The religious elements of vampirism have been taken out (the fear of the cross, holy water, etc) which leaves them as a sort of social group. In the book, they are balanced by a native Indian tribe who have been there for centuries (and who, I suspect, are werewolves). Thus the vampires become a marginalized part of society, largely through the actions of some bad apple vampires who hunt and kill people.

(3) The vampire elements are a backdrop for a romance story. Stephanie Meyer claimed that her inspiration for Twilight came from reading Pride and Prejudice. You can see the elements there: the forbidden love, the social danger, the major subplot of family relationships, and even the comedic elements (Bella can’t play sports to save her life, and for someone who likes to hang out with bloodthirsty vampires, she tends to hurt herself a lot).

So to answer the broader question: “Did you like the story?” I liked parts of it, but then again, I wasn’t the audience for this book. This isn’t a book for people who like vampire/fantasy stories, it’s for people who like romance stories. My favorite plot line was not the love relationship between Bella and Edward (which was the main plot), but the subplot of Bella’s relationship with her father, Charlie. Neither Bella nor Charlie are good at expressing emotion yet throughout the story you see Charlie attempting to show his love for her in his own way (putting chains on her tires while she was asleep, etc.)

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