Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn.
Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife-between desire and danger.
Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.
“How old are you?”
“Seventeen,” he answered promptly.
“And how long have you been seventeen?”
His lips twitched as he stared at the road. “A while,” he admitted at last.”
I’m going to scare some people, here. I don’t actually hate Twilight. It might be the surprise of the century, I know. I’ve read this series probably more times than I want to admit. It isn’t a fantastic example of high literature, but it isn’t terrible either. I’ve read way, way worse. In fact, I’ve read way worse this year… I’m a big proponent of Lindsay Ellis’ video titled Dear Stephenie Meyer, which if you haven’t watched it before you should. It goes into how it became popular to hate on Twilight, and how it may not have deserved all the hate it got.
Twilight is just a typical high school love story, idiots included. It is just that one of them happens to be a vampire. Bella is the typical reader insert. Some complain that she doesn’t have a personality, but in my opinion that isn’t strictly true. It is to a point, but I have seen real people (and many, many book protagonists) with less personality that Bella has. She does have a tendency to be into whatever the boy she likes is into but – teenage girl. I will not deny that Bella is incredibly stupid at like, every turn though. And the bigger problem is that the Cullens all think she is somehow a genius (spoiler: her genius idea fails. Lol).
Edward actually has even less of a personality than Bella, in my opinion. He just kind of does what he wants. He doesn’t always seem, in my opinion, to like what he is learning. He just does it because he doesn’t have anything better to do. He does get better as the series goes on at this, though. As it is in book one, I’m not particularly certain why Bella likes him, except for his looks.
Now for the romance portion of the review. There are valid criticisms out there. I’m not getting into the whole “should a 100 year old vampire really be falling in love with a teenager?” argument. That is an entirely different post that I may someday get around to writing. Today is not that day.
Yes, Edward does kind of stalk Bella. You can chalk that up to being a vampire with vampire instincts, or his boredom. In any case, it isn’t a really good look. Edward also likes to decide things for Bella. Things he thinks she do or think. For example at the end of the book he takes her to Prom even though he knows that she doesn’t want to go – because he thinks she should have this high school experience. And he doesn’t even entertain the idea of Bella being a vampire because he thinks she shouldn’t want to become one. Again, not a particularly good look.
However… I’m not particularly put off by this. It is a bit shallow, especially in this first book. It is more of an obsession than love. On both sides of the relationship. I think it shows a level of stupid head-over-heels in love some people get in the first time they fall in love. And it is sort of fun to watch. I’m not advocating for it, but again, I’ve read romances with worse relationship dynamics.
Also, there is the Vampire lore. Which is surprisingly not bad if you dig deeper than sparkletown. Everyone knows that vampires in this world sparkle in the sunlight, which is really the only truly bad part about the worldbuilding in the series. And it’s just more bizarre than bad, in my opinion. Meyer actually added other parts to the vampire lore that aren’t really anywhere else, like that vampires in this world never sleep. They just can’t. There is also the fact that their disposition is tied in part to what kind of blood they get, human or animal. And also that vampirism is actually really rare in this world. Because you can’t have a bunch of bloodsuckers running around killing people, can you? That would attract attention. Plus there is so much more. I actually really enjoy the worldbuilding in Twilight.
But why do I like it so much? Because it is happy. Twilight is optimistic in a way that I sometimes have difficulty finding. I love a good book that will make me sob, but that is easy – just kill a main character and enter the waterworks. It is much harder to find a series that consistently makes me happy. Yeah, there are moments of tension. There are moments of stress. Book two, New Moon, is one large depression fest. But overall the tone is more positive. The conflicts are minimal and over quickly and it is more about Bella and Edward finding a way to be in love together. As long as nothing is trying to break Bella and Edward apart, they’re happy – which means I’m happy.
Also Alice. Alice is fucking awesome. I would love to be a sister to that woman so much. And Charlie is the best dad in the world. The side characters are so much better than the main characters in this series that sometimes I feel like I read the series for them only.
So yeah. Not the best written, but this isn’t bad at all. I’d call it mediocre. I enjoy reading it, especially when life is trying to strangle me like it has been recently. I go to this series when I just don’t need any more stress and I just need a happy outcome. The plot mostly makes logical sense, if you don’t count the fact that Bella is an idiot. But at least she is an internally consistent idiot.
Also, I credit Twilight for getting me back into reading after High School killed any desire I had to read for fun ever again. And it was what eventually brought me to figuring out that my favourite genre to read is Urban Fantasy.
Read Twilight, or don’t if you can’t handle some of the issues with the relationship. Which I totally understand if that is the case. I’ll just be over here enjoying myself.
Also as a sidenote: I really, really like the cover. Say what you want about it, it just is striking as hell.