Tuesday, March 4, 2014

YA Vampire Romance Review: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Twilight (Twilight, #1)Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say? I loved it.

I didn't expect to love it. In fact, I resisted picking up these books until now specifically because of the vocal anti-Twilight reviews and office conversations I'd been privy to. So why did I finally decide to pick them up? Simple. Two weeks ago I figured how to link my table to my cable box and wanted to test drive it with movies I was pretty certain my husband and son wouldn't want to watch, and the first three Twilight movies were playing, all week, for free. My husband joked that I'd already seen them (we'd watched Vampires Suck together last year), but I put on my ear buds and watched them anyway.

I was blown away. The movies are fantastic. Funny, scary, romantic. I was hooked. When I finished watching the three free ones, I picked up the last two on Google Play, another app I hadn't fully test driven for movies. When they were over, I had that familiar feeling when you come to the end of a story but you're not quite ready to let it go. The fact that snippets of pages from the books were highlighted as the credits for the last movie rolled on. That got me. I immediately picked up Twilight on Kindle and devoured it in just a couple of days.

My opinion? Wow. I loved Twilight. Of course, many of my friends are against it because Bella's a bit flaky and Edward isn't exactly the best boyfriend material. Top that off with a rather unhealthy, obsessive relationship, and I can totally get where they are coming from. However, this is also what caught me up in it. Bella's so insecure and awkward, yet here is this beautiful boy who adores her. Edward is fascinated by and drawn to Bella, but he has to fight with every facet of his being to suppress his instincts to feed on her. Even having watched the movies and heard the plot from countless friends, I still got caught up in wondering how such a pairing could possibly work. And for the most part it doesn't, at least not yet.

Bella's internal conflict is central to this story. Many say she comes off whiny, or that her instant popularity in school is unrealistic. Honestly, I don't think that's the point of the story. I enjoyed it. It was interesting to watch her slow transformation. To watch her begin to come out of her self-imposed shell for Edward. Her tendency towards being a loner and failing to see what other's like when she looks in the mirror is something I empathized with. Not every teenage girl can be confident and graceful.

As for Edward, his struggles to come to term with his long dormant humanity as opposed to his instinctual thirst are quite exciting. I found myself feeling what Bella felt: confusion, attraction, and even fear. His demonstration of power in the meadow, apparently the first scene Meyers wrote, is terrifying. Everything that initially attracts her to him is designed to draw prey into his clutches. Yet, she accepts him. And he is torn. He cares for her so deeply, he worries that the only way to protect her is to take himself out of the picture.

And yes, he's sparkly. And his family is beautiful, almost angelic in appearance, and good natured. But, they aren't the norm for vampires in this story. They are the aberration. The real vampires in the story are much less benevolent. In fact, they are downright scary. We only get a peek into the darker world from which the Cullens have separated themselves. Just a peek, but it's enough.

Overall, I loved this book. It has romance, action, and danger, and I find myself thinking about it and wanting to read it again, even now before I've finished reading Eclipse. I have a feeling I'll be reading this one again and again. I recommend this book to fans of YA romance who don't mind sparkly vampires and teenage angst (there's a lot of both).

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