Books║•║About   Blog║•║Writing Workshop║•║Contact  

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Impressions of Twilight (the novel)


Genre: fantasy/gothic romance
My rating: 4/5
Content rating: Very Clean: no swearing, no graphic violence, no sex
Comment: A surprisingly good read.

For those of you who haven't read the books, or watched the movies, I'm not going to spoil anything for you, but if you haven't either read or watched Twilight, you should know that I used to be in your camp, and probably for the same reason--I didn't think I'd like it.

So I went into reading this book with a lot of preconceptions, in fact, expecting to be disappointed and confused by the book's popularity. As a writer, however, I felt duty bound to read what everybody else is reading, and at least try to relate to their fascination. Now, upon finishing the book, I'm happy to report that I may now be counted among Twilight's fans.

It is by no means a classical romance, and if you can't appreciate fantasy, you probably won't appreciate this series either. Despite being Gothic Fiction, there was nothing unusually dark about this book. There were no references to Satanism, other than perhaps to occasionally allude to vampires as "demons," but in this story, the vampires are just like anyone else in their propensity for good or evil, except that they start at a deficit, because on a physiological level they crave to kill (for obvious reasons). The “good” vampires found a creative solution to this problem, which almost everyone should be able to relate to. The bad ones just embraced the whole serial killer thing.

If you still think that vampires and romance don't go together, you should probably know that Stephenie Meyer carefully crafted them to be everyone's ideal in terms of physical attributes, and once you get to know a few of them, you might begin to suspect that these "monsters" represent ideals of conscience and morality, too. Moreover, the story taps into the recent superhero craze that has catapulted Marvel movies into the blockbuster category more often than not. Faster than a speeding bullet, invincible, immortal, strong as Superman, agile as Spiderman . . . even with a few of the wilder abilities of the Jedi from Star Wars, these vampires make Dracula look pretty pale by comparison (not literally, since they're all white as ghosts). And then, to cater just a little bit more to the female audience, the heroine, Isabella, is every girl. Literally, I think she embodies every girl's fantasies, fears, and realities. She's described as pretty ordinary, but everyone in the book finds her extraordinary. She has just the right mixture of modesty, shyness, and hidden potential that makes her an easy character to relate to. Personally, I found myself relating more to the vampire hero, but that was probably just a desperate attempt to hold on to my masculinity (the books are written in the first-person, from the heroine's point of view, so she gets to say things like "I love you, Edward," and then when I'm reading it, it sounds like she's putting words in my mouth--no offence Edward, but you're really not my type).

Despite the fact that the books and movies appeal primarily to a female audience, I found that I was still able to relate to and enjoy the story--occasionally I even stopped noticing that my gender had been summarily changed. So, without giving too much away, if you haven't read the books or watched the movies yet (and the more rational part of your mind doesn't object too much to superheroes with superpowers), I'd recommend you stow your preconceptions long enough to do one or the other. I think you'll find the story is surprisingly good.