Friday, February 23, 2007

"Twilight" by Stephanie Meyer

My 15-year-old sister, Katie, has been bugging me to read this YA vampire novel and when she got another sister, Lib- the busy mother of a toddler- to read it in a matter of days I figured I should check it out. Lo and behold, I got stuck in the Detroit airport without a book(!) on the way home and there just happened to be a Borders on the way to my gate. Coincidence? I think not! Obviously I had to buy it and find out what's keeping all of Katie's friends from doing their schoolwork (Katie regards this with pride, winning converts to her cult of Slackerhood). I was not disappointed. Twilight is what I refer to as book candy, books that would rot your brain if you read nothing else, but are great fun when you want something light and enjoyable. I'd actually rate it fairly high on the book candy scale, maybe a Scarffen Berger chocolate bar, or a creme brulee type of book, rather than Pixie Stix or M&M's. Who, me? No I don't have a sweet tooth. It's just, you know, a convenient rating system, I'm pretty sure the Library of Congress uses it too..

Twilight is set in the small town of Forks, Washington. Apparently a real place, Meyer picked it because it's in the Olympic Peninsula, which is the rainiest place in the US, making it the perfect spot for a family of 'vampires with hearts of gold' to hang out, posing as high school students. The main character, Bella, is a teenaged girl who moves to Forks from Arizona to live with her father and catches the attention of Edward, one the the devastatingly handsome vampires. The vampire "family," the Cullens, have renounced their natural food source (humans) and are dedicated to living peacefully and fitting in, with only the odd trip to the widerness to drink deer blood, to keep them occupied. Ew.

Bella figures out Edward's secret and realizes that she doesn't care because she's falling in love with him. The only hitch is that Edward thinks she smells really good, no I mean REALLY good. Yup, you guessed it, Good enough to eat! And he has to be constantly on his guard to keep from attacking her (Meyer is a member of the LDS, a Mormon, so no steamy vampire sex scenes here, instead there's a not so subliminal substitution of death for adolescent sex. It elevates the book from the trashy vampire romance novel genre of which it would otherwise be a part and isn't actually too far off in many ways- teenaged boys being not unlike vampires at times :). Crazy hijinks ensue when a vampire tracker sets his sights on Bella and only Edward can save her.

My only real complaint about Twilight is the way Meyer keeps harping on how strikingly gorgeous the vampires, especially Edward are. It gets ridiculous after.. oh.. maybe the first 50 times? Possibly even earlier than that. Otherwise it was a very quick and enjoyable read. The romance is sweet, if a little overdramatic at times, and the plot is exciting and left me waiting eagerly for the next installment.

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