Sunday, September 17, 2017

Review: TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer

Rating: 4/5 stars

I originally read Twilight ten years ago when it was at the peak of popularity and everyone and their mom was reading it at that very moment. The book was gifted to me by a friend who was in disbelief that I hadn't yet read it, and so I did. And I hated it. It took me six months of trudging through the story until I finally finished it. I don't know if it was my refusal to conform to popular opinion that made me hate the book, or if it was the actual story itself, the writing, or some other factor, but I feel like I didn't give the book a fair chance, especially since I did actually love the movies. Now that a decade has passed and I have somehow acquired all four books (they were all gifted to me), I feel like it is time that I revisit this series with a more objective perspective and actually read all four tomes this time.

I wasn't actually planning on starting this series until next year, as there are some other books I was trying to read first, but when I happened to pick up Twilight one night just to look at it, I ended up reading the whole first chapter. I must've subconsciously missed being in Washington or wanted a romance story because I just kept on reading from there.

I probably don't need to summarize this book since its popularity has led everyone to know at least the gist of the story.

It would be very easy to critique this novel and list out its flaws. I could go on about minor plot holes, about Bella and Edward's relationship seeming hasty and unfounded, about Bella being naïve and not seeing the danger in Edward, but I don't want to dwell on that. I enjoyed this book, purely for its entertainment value (hence the high rating), and I'm choosing to put aside its aforementioned flaws because I'm sure those have been critiqued enough already.

I want to mention a few things, though, that stood out to me:

Edward says and does a lot of things that could be construed as stalker-ish and manipulative, or in other words, emotionally abusive. I would've said that that's the case if I hadn't already read this book and seen the movies and know that he's actually a good guy, but he does tell Bella multiple times that he's dangerous, that he's the villain, that he's not good for her, and he follows her everywhere. I just feel like his character is portrayed concerningly wrong for who he actually is.

I know that a lot of people don't like Bella because she is so weak and dependent on Edward; people like the "strong female character" instead. But you couldn't have strong females without the weak ones. I actually find that I relate quite a bit to Bella, and I like her. She's klutzy and meek, but I'm the same way. However, I completely don't understand why she didn't tell Alice and Jasper about the phone call in the hotel room. (By the way, why did they not use cell phones except for at the most convenient time in the book? It would have made more sense if they had them from the beginning. They're in high school and don't have phones and I was just very confused by that.) Alice and Jasper could have helped Bella concoct a plan. And Bella says that's she's accepted that she won't see Edward again, but how is she okay with this? Earlier in the book, she said she lived for Edward. Anyway, I thought that this scene leading her to confront James alone was the only stupid thing Bella ever really did.

The scene in the ballet studio is the climax of the book, but somehow it felt anticlimactic. I think the movie did a much better job at interpreting it, with Edward having trouble stopping sucking Bella's blood out. That makes so much more sense since he has such a strong allure to her. But in the book, he has no problem stopping and there is no suspense of if she'll live or not.

And lastly, how did Charlie feed himself before Bella arrived? He's utterly hopeless at cooking.

I actually enjoyed Twilight this time around. I was sucked in to the story, something I didn't expect to happen, and the romance had me giddy. I will say, though, that the writing is rather elementary, not being distinctive of Meyer's style yet but still amateur. This is her debut, after all, so I do hope that it will improve over the course of the series, especially since I read The Host and felt her writing was much more developed there.

This review wasn't as objective as I hoped it would be, but my enjoyment of the book kind of overshadowed my desire to analyze every aspect of the story. I'm okay with that though.

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