Twilight: You Either Love it or Hate It ((Part One))
"About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him, and I didn`t know how dominate that part might be, that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him."
-Stephenie Meyer, Twilight
It all started with that quote. You pick up the first book, look on the opposite side of the cover of the girl holding an apple, and there it is, plain as day. Whoever Edward is, he's a vampire. You already know the whole secret, right?
Wrong. There's a lot more that goes on in these books than just the fact that Edward's a sparkly, strong, somewhat controlling, annoying, cynical, demanding, kind, thoughtful, strange, off-putting, loveable, pessimistic, selfless vampire. All those things, wrapped up in one! It's up to you whether to love him or hate him.
Now, it may not sound like it, but I'm 100% Team Edward. :) Because Jacob is a million and two times worse. But I digress. That's not the point of my essay--to argue teams--rather, to illustrate the high points in Twilight. I've seen a lot of negativity regarding it, but I don't think people have related it to others in the right light. So, this is kind of my attempt at letting you all know the good things about it. And, of course, I'll illustrate some bad things, too.
Here are a list of things you might think about Twilight from what you've heard:
1) It's all about evil.
2) It's inappropriate.
3) It's extremely shallow.
4) The vampires...sparkle. It's stupid.
5) It's unrealistic, and overall a waste of time.
It's all about evil: Twilight is, by all means, a story of the triumph of good over evil. The Cullens (the main vampire family in this book) are, as dumb as it sounds, vegan-vampires. In their opinion, that means they only drink the blood of animals. No killing people, no human murders. On the contrary, they strive to be good, regular people. Which doesn't always work. But they try, which, in my opinion, makes them good.
It's inappropriate: I wasn't allowed to read Twilight until I turned twelve. I'd call it a PG-13 book, but mostly, this first book is made up of conversations. So I don't find it to be inappropriate at all. It's no worse than what I write myself. :-)
It's extremely shallow: I will not deny the fact that Bella often makes extraneous comments about how good-looking Edward is. Looks are something front and foremost in her mind, mostly because she doesn't see how Edward could ever care for her. Bella is, esentially, a plain girl. So, yes, you will see a shallow side of each character. But there are also the perceptive, in-depth moments which make you think. So I think it balances quite nicely. We ourselves can be shallow at times. (Well...I know I can!) I think it makes the characters more realistic.
The vampires...sparkle. It's stupid: Everyone knows that Stephenie Meyer's vamps sparkle. They're...like jewlery! Totally glitzed-out! It's up to you whether it's stupid or not. I kinda like it, myself! The reason being that Twilight was based off a dream. In Stephenie Meyer's dream, the boy sitting with a girl sparkled. So...she just didn't say, "Hey! Let's make 'em sparkle!" There was a reason.
Here's an excerpt from Twilight:
Edward in the sunlight was shocking. I couldn't get used to it, though I'd been staring at him all afternoon. His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday's hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. ((chp. 13, pg. 260))
It's unrealistic, and overall a waste of time: Another personal opinion matter, but my own experience was this: I enjoyed the book. I've re-read the series several times. And, of course, this isn't suppossed to be realistic. Are fairy tales realistic? Twilight is a toned-down fantasy. It also has a little horror, and drama...and romance! So it's a mix of everything.
Surprisingly, Twilight came into our lives by the reccomendation of my voice teacher. Up until the day she was told about it, mom had thought it was a silly, teenaged drama and romace. What she found beneath that infamous cover was a book layered with wisdom, maturity, and suspense. Needlessly to say, she went and saw the movie in theatres! I was only eleven, then, and wasn't allowed to see it yet.
By the time a year had passed, mom decided I could watch it. We sat down together, and I was hooked. I loved the movie--and I knew I just had to read the books. So I checked the first one out.
It was all I did for a whole week. I managed to consume all four books in a matter of seven days. I loved it. I loved Bella, and Edward, Jacob, the Cullens. I felt like I knew them. I would read whatever chance I got, up until the last minute before all my appointments. It was early December, so we were quite busy.
I don't much remember a reaction to the first book except L-O-V-E. My mom and I then went to the theatre together to see New Moon. A year later it was Eclipse with one of my friends. Most recently, Breaking Dawn Part One came out in theatres. We took my tomboy cousin with us who, upon walking out of the theatre, had this to say: It was AWESOME! And those are just the movies. The books are infinitely better, even though I've adored each of the films.
And now, some not-so-high points. The first Twilight novel is quite long based on everything that happens. Stephenie Meyer tends to write with much description, so I can pretty much tell you what Bella has for breakfast every morning. Some parts do tend to drag, but if you're a fast reader, you can get past them quickly and onto the main point.
Another thing that bothers me is Bella's constant whining. Yes, sweetie, we all know how handsome Edward is and how you don't measure up to him. GET OVER IT. He obviously sees something in you. Quit being such a pessimist. So, yes, her complaining and inner monologue can get to be bothersome. I tend to overlook it.
Those are basically it for the first book. I might be biased, but truly, I can't think of anything else. If you don't strongly dislike a teeny bit of whining and a hearty amount of description, then you're good to go.
Overall rating for first book: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ (4 out of 4)
Overall rating for movie: ☆ ☆ ☆ (3 out of 4)
"I knew we were both in mortal danger. Still, in that instant, I felt well. Whole. I could feel my heart racing in my chest, the blood pulsing hot and fast through my veins again. My lungs filled deep with the sweet scent that came off his skin. It was like there had never been a whole in my chest. I was perfect--not healed, but as if there had never been a wound in the first place."
-Stephenie Meyer, New Moon
The above quote is what you'll find on the back copy of New Moon, the second novel in The Twilight Saga. New Moon is probably my least favorite book, but mostly because Edward is good and gone for most of it. I won't say why--it would give too much away--but I can let you know that Bella gets pretty depressed about it.
In this book, we see more of Jacob Black. We really get to know him, and maybe even love him a little bit. Goodness knows I did. Until...well, later. But you'll find out more about that in a little bit.
The beginning of this novel is suspenseful. Then comes "the happening." The Happening changes a lot of things in Bella's life, and all you Edward-lovers will be more than a little upset. But still, this book explores in depth what Bella's life is without her vampires.
In this book, you get a look at some shape shifters! This was a neat aspect, another good-over-evil thing. This is is, even, perhaps less romantic than the first, so it's pretty safe. It does have some aspects of Romeo and Juliet. You all know how that ended. *rolls eyes* So, yes, this one can get pretty dramatic.
I didn't like the part after Edward left, where Bella is in a constant haze. You kind of feel like you're in one yourself. It can get annoying. When she pulls out of that phase, though, you end up feeling like her: extremely cautious and aware. The book goes on, occasionally boring, until Jacob comes in. Jacob is funny. He's good-natured. He's generally happy. But, of course, there have to be more mythical creatures, so in come the wolves!
I don't have a whole lot to say about New Moon, except a new family of vampires will be introduced to you. I don't like them....and I don't think you will, either.
That covers the first two Twilight books, their perks, and their downsides. Keep an eye out for part two, in which I will talk about Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. Comment away!! :) If you have questions regarding the books, leave them in the comments, and I will answer them in my next post. Thanks!