I read it. Have you read it yet? It’s suddenly a big thing: An adolescent vampire love-saga, and about as non-Anne Rice as you can get.
My dad gave me a copy, cus he lost a night’s sleep devouring the pages. I had a similar experience, getting through the 400+ pages in less than 36 hours.
But I donno if I liked it. I mean, I kinda liked it. The writing was compelling, but I don’t really think the writing was *good*. How can that be?
The story revolves around its narrator, Isabella, a 17 year old teen who has left her newly re-married mother in sunny Phoenix to move in with her father, Charlie, on the drippy wet Olympic Peninsula in Forks, WA. Her daunting task: To face a new high-school and a life with clouds and rain.
Soon after starting her new school, ‘Bella’ begins to notice a group of kids who seem different from everybody else. They are pale, elegant, worldly and absolutely gorgeous, particularly the younger boy, Edward. Interest develops into intrigue and as their non-conventional relationships develops, intrigue evolves into love.
The thing that most irritated me about the book was that, while the thoughts and motivations of her obsession and his vampire cohorts are given central stage through-out the story, the other characters, the ‘human’ kids who welcome Bella into their midsts with open arms remain strictly one dimensional. Almost caricatures of teenagers.
Countless passages mention the color of Edward’s eyes, and the meaning of their tone in correlation to his mood, but nary a sentence is spared on the possibility that any of Isabella’s human friends might have personal motivations outside of flattering interactions with the narrator. She does not seem at all interested in the possibility that Jessica, Eric or Angela might also have inner lives.
This type of self-involvement isn’t unusual; actually pretty typical for a human teenager, but unfortunately Meyer feels the need to account Edward’s obsession with Isabella to the fact that she’s different from anyone else. His words depict her as rare, unique. He says at one point that he can never predict her reactions, while I generally knew what she was going to do several paragraphs ahead of time.
Yes, I found her self-involvement irritating. Go ahead, smirk, the irony isn’t lost on me. At least the author is able to make Bella’s perspective interesting enough to draw you in- Not because her personality is particularly gripping, but more because interesting (usually perilous) things keep happening to her.
I got the feeling that the characters and the location were extremely solid in the author, Stephenie Meyer’s mind, and she was thus able to convey a vivid sense of place and action in the story.
So what’s my beef with the writing?
I don’t know. While I don’t require big words or major complications in my literature, I was still left with the eerie sense that somehow this bank of vivid pages never got beyond the surface layers. It was all laid out there, like a large, opened package. There weren’t any dimensions. It was like…
It was very much like… watching a movie: An entertaining, appealing movie. Yes, visually intriguing, believable; but it did not reveal any truth, or provoke tangents of thought beyond an immediate interest in what would happen next.
Yup, that’s my review in a nutshell. The book ‘Twilight’ is a pretty good movie.
And strangely enough, they are filming a movie of it…