Twilight (Stephenie Meyer) – Book Review

Bella Swan arrives in Forks to find a strange family aren't what they seem in the first instalment of the Twilight saga...

I must first admit that I approached the first in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga with a degree of trepidation. I am one of the few who have not watched the films and the recent hype attached to the Twilight phenomenon had left me sceptical as to whether it could really be anything more than Hollywood fodder.

Having meant to read Twilight for a while, I was slightly devastated when I first opened the book to find that it was written in the first person. Up until this point I had never had a great experience with first person narratives. They were cumbersome, intrusive and often narcissistic, and so I must now make a second confession. I let this tarnish whatever enjoyment I was to glean from the book for the first fifty or so pages.

But that’s when Edward and the Cullens got interesting.

There was a shift in the narrative, and suddenly Bella and I were far away from the nigh-mundane tale of a teenage girl moving to a new town and school. Although the teen-angst that attaches itself to such a story remained, the story that was developing began to expand beyond such limits.

Although the emotions conveyed by Bella throughout are, at times, exaggerated and over-amplified, you find yourself absorbed in their intimacy. The fact that its protagonist’s fascination is centred on a group of fantastically beautiful and powerful vampires suggests that there could be no appropriate telling that shied away from such inflated emotions and such hyperbole is often comfortably counterbalanced with wit and humour.

A strong story remains even if Bella’s emotional involvement is stripped away. Meyer’s depiction of vampires is fresh and injects a new vitality into a monster that has appeared in countless films, television series and books. Meyer’s vampire still thirsts for blood, but isn’t scorched in the sun. The exploration of this idea leads to one of the more memorable moments in the book.

Apart from quelling the apprehension I felt when I first picked it up, Twilight can also lay claim to what other saga introductions cannot; it can stand alone and not feel empty or lacking. Meyer weaves both a sense of conclusion and anticipation into the last chapter of Twilight and, although you may feel yourself reaching for New Moon, Twilight is its own entity.

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