Friday, November 14, 2008

BOOK REVIEW: Twilight

Bella is a young girl who moves to a small town in Oregon to live with her estranged father. Despite her feelings of alienation, she begins to develop new friendships. But she also begins to notice a group of students who keep themselves somewhat aloof from the rest of the school.

Edward Cullen and his foster siblings maintain a certain amount of social distance. Bella quickly becomes infatuated with Edward and soon becomes just short of obsessed with finding out more about him.

Entranced not only by his good looks, but also by assorted odd characteristics, Bella begins to suspect there may be highly unusual aspects of Edward’s life. Following a nearly fatal accident in the school parking lot, Bella begins to suspect that her suspicions have fallen far short of the reality of the situation.

It is no secret that Twilight is the story of a girl who falls in love with a vampire. It is also quite obvious after a few chapters that you are in the middle of a girl book. (It rates a 3 on the Husky Rogue scale—being that a “husky voice” is mentioned 3 times.) For the male reader, be warned that several chapters transpire in which we are given meager tidbits of suspense, carried along primarily by Bella’s commentary on how good-looking Edward is.

However, there are two major redeeming qualities for this story. Bella gradually learns of the vampire culture that is woven into our own. This mythology of the vampire is slightly original and translates well into the American Northwest rainy forests. As the vampire story always does, interesting questions are raised concerning the “rules” of such a creature in the modern world.

The other redeeming quality of this book is that the plot gets abruptly interesting toward the last third. Granted, it’s a long romantic stroll to get that far, but the turn of events makes for a decent page-turner. My only other complaint might be that the trigger for this sudden plot point seems slightly contrived and out-of-the-blue.

Most girls will like this book. Most guys won’t. As far as the ethical issues, the vampire issue is so watered down, that these creatures are not necessarily evil in and of themselves. It is more along the lines of superheroes who must choose to resist becoming supervillains. The primary moral issue is the likelihood that the average young girl reader will find this to be more fuel for the delusion that has ruined many lives—the delusion that the bad boy is just a misunderstood good boy and that true love will change him.

In defense of Bella’s apparent shallowness, it might be argued that Edward is also an attraction to her because he is genuinely interested in her and is very protective.

The ending is unpredictable, which is rare to find in a book. It is clearly taking a breath for the next book, but the final image is eerie and enthralling. If it takes walking through a pink cloud to get to another exciting ending, I might very well try the next one.

3 comments:

Abbie said...

Good review- thanks. I've been trying to get a handle on this book before I decide if I want to read it. Not sure I can handle the teenage pink cloud, but I am curious about the eerie and enthralling final image!!!!

WhitneySkyWalker said...

I've read all of them and I still can't decide if I liked them or not! I think they're probably worth reading, just to see what all the hype is about. But you summed up the book really well with your review. The second book (New Moon) will be harder to get through; it was for me. Replace the pink clouds with teen angst times 100.

David said...

"The primary moral issue is the likelihood that the average young girl reader will find this to be more fuel for the delusion that has ruined many lives—the delusion that the bad boy is just a misunderstood good boy and that true love will change him."

the female relationship equivalent of the leeroy jenkins mindset! oh, the horror!

and teenage pink cloud, then teenage angst in the follow up. this is the kinda stuff that i'm allergic to. no wonder my sister eats this junk up. i kid, i kid, but seriously, i am indeed allergic to teenage drama, of all varieties. i'll pass