Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tasty Tome Tuesday!

Yeah, I know it's Wednesday on the east coast already, but hey. I had to actually work today. Onto the tome!

Stephanie Meyer

4 out of 5 Bacon Strips

Oh, Twilight. So young. So angsty. So full of fangs. Is it any wonder I love you?

Twilight is very definitely a Young Adult book. It is not for adults, though it has a devoted fan-woman following (as well as a rabid fangirl one). The basic story: New-girl-in-town Bella meets gorgeous Edward and his gorgeous siblings. She begins to date Edward, only to discover his secret (and if you don't know it by now, well, get out from under your rock, because I'm not hiding spoilers): He's a vampire.

A less-than-a-century-old vampire. Who goes to high school. And all his "siblings" are vampires, as are his "parents".

Still with me? I admit, it's not for everyone. The level of suspension of disbelief asked of the reader is pretty high. And if you're not a vampire fan or a YA fan or a romance fan, you should probably skip it. (I'm actually all three, so this was rather a trifecta.)

Meyer's prose is competent and straightforward. Her use of the first-person narrative gives her the opportunity to indulge in the sort of adolescent purple prose we've all committed to paper somewhere, and it struck me as charmingly honest. High school is still horribly vivid for me, and Bella's doubts, fears, triumphs, and failures came across as real and true to her.

Much has been made of Edward's "abusive" behaviour, of his controlling nature and Bella's seeming abdication of her will to his desires. Other reviewers may have a point, but I didn't see it. My own taste in men may have something to do with that, but honestly, I don't think the whole book is a loving paean to teenage domestic violence, as some have painted it. I think it's a fairly good portrayal of the violent passion of a teenaged love-affair. Old as Edward might be, he's never had a relationship before, never been in love, and has no more experience with such a tempest of emotion than has Bella. There are people who never master the art of serene romance: they are not all abusers or abused, and I don't think Bella and Edward are any more dysfunctional than any other teenaged couple in the world.

I could have done without Bella's constant bellyaching about her looks, but such self-deprecation is pretty standard for teen girls, and it does read as genuine. Edward's noble vampire routine got old fast, as well, but I've never liked the noble ones. Meyer has some interesting ideas about the species, but her ideas are never as well-fleshed as I'd like them to be.

On the whole? B+. It was a fast, enjoyable read, and I'm sure I'll visit it again in the future. It definitely deserves a spot in the vampire canon for its innovative twists on the characteristics of the species and for its being one of a very few decent vampire romances in the world. If you're looking for something to read between trick-or-treaters or while you roast that Thanksgiving turkey and ignore your mother-in-law, Twilight will charmingly, effortlessly, and enjoyably fit the bill.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book. Have you read the whole series yet? I won't tell you anything, except that I read all four in a week. You now I am not a huge vampire fan, but I was sucked in. I thought it was really well done. My husband doesn't even like any of this type of stuff (vampires, YA, romance novels), and I made him read it - he is sucked in as well.

    Great review. I tried to not read the series, just like I did with the Harry Potter series. I guess I maybe just needed a good book to sink my teeth into (bad pun intended). :-)


Gimme some eggs for my bacon!