by Stephenie Meyer
YA fantasy. 498 pp.
Little, Brown. 2005.

So, after much goading from many people, I have finally read Twilight. In fact, I spent my first day in San Diego reading it. All 500 frickin' pages of it.

Oh. The summary. May as well pirate the flap copy . . .

When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret.

What Bella doesn't realize is the closer she gets to him, the more she is putting herself and those around her at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back. . . .
Edward's "dark secret" is that he's a vampire. (Come on, you can't tell my you didn't already know that.) This is what has put me off of reading the book for so long. I just don't get into vampire fiction. And the first couple times I picked this book up and tried to wade through the first chapter certainly didn't help.

This time, though, I actually managed to get far enough into the book to be interested in finishing it. Likely, this is due to this being the only book I had with me at the airport when I checked in three hours early. I will say that I found Meyer's take on vampires to be interesting. I like how she has gone about recasting them. I like Edward and her portrayal of him (as long as I don't apply any Queer Theory to him and the novel, anyway); it's similar to the male character in Tuck Everlasting, but actually likeable. (I don't think Bella's very likeable—we shouldn't be allowed into some characters' heads.)


Five hundred pages? Merciful heavens. Why don't editors edit anymore? The only true plot action occurs in the fifth hundred pages. I'm willing to accept what she's done in the fourth hundred pages because that's when Bella knows that Edward is a vampire and they're developing their relationship. I'm even okay with the third hundred pages because that's when Bella has figured out that Edward is different. But the first and second hundred pages . . . That was an exercise in How Much I Can Overwrite My World Creation. It could have been done in twenty pages. Maybe less.

Regardless, I was interested in seeing the fulfillment of the plot. And I just walked to the mall so that I could visit the Devil Den's Little Sister (a.k.a. B. Dalton) and buy New Moon so that I can see what Meyer does with werewolves. (I already forced an admission out of Absent that Jacob is a werewolf. Which was good, since he won't make that discovery until halfway through the book and since that's what I'm reading for, it's nice to know where it will happen so that hopefully I can avoid getting pissy about the inevitable overwriting that will lead up to that discovery.)

Now I'm off to the pool to read.


FoxyJ said...

I pretty much felt the same way about the book--it was good, but not that good, and way too long. I have New Moon sitting on my shelf from the library, but I still haven't gotten around to reading it because I'm not sure I want to deal with 600 pages...

Edgy said...

I'm now 100 pages into New Moon. I thought I didn't like Bella in the first book. Wow. I like her even less in the second.

eleka nahmen said...

I loved Twilight, even as I KNOW how much I shouldn't.

I'm so with you on the Queer Theory though. I won't let myself impose any of it onto the book or else I know I'll have violent reactions.

Jér said...

I liked Twilight okay, and wasn't really bothered by the overwriting—I read it basically in one sitting, so any drawing-out of the story Meyer did just flew right past me. The book didn't floor me with its brilliance, but (since I found myself identifying with her to certain extent) I didn't find Bella annoying.

New Moon, on the other hand, could have used not only a thorough editing but a bit of redaction and a good rewrite. I loved the beginning, thought the middle was okay, and hated the end. Bella and Edward ended up losing most of the sympathy they had gained in the first book by being whiny, melodramatic and unsympathetic, and Jacob and his friends just irritated me from the get-go. The finale felt tacked-on and ludicrous to me, while somehow at the same time being clumsily foreshadowed/telegraphed all the way from the first few pages.

I'll be reading the rest of the series, probably, but I hope Eclipse is of higher quality than either of the first two.