Monday, June 18, 2012

Twilight: A Book Review

The Book

Title: Twilight
Author: Stephenie Meyer

I read this book a a challenge. One of the girls at youth group (High School) began raving about this book--mostly about this Edward guy--and insisted that I read it. I told her that I would read the entire saga if she would read one of my recommendations (a book on Christian living). She accepted the challenge and read my book (150 pages) three times over before I finished the first book of the saga (400+ pages). I am embarrassed that she beat me up in the reading category. There's no excuse, not even grad school. I have to read better.

Technical Merit

Meyer does a great job of getting into the head of her teenage girl. The angst is palpable and probably (obviously?) resonates well with a certain demographic. Unfortunately, I am not part of the teenage-girl-angst demographic, so I found it annoying personally (that was not an objective statement of fact, it was a personal evaluation). My only real technical gripe is that Meyer does not describe action very well. She prefers to tell you what happened rather than show you what is happening. There is a monumental difference between those two forms of storytelling. Generally, the more effective route is to show what is happening, so as to avoid sounding like a grocery list of activities.

Review

I have heard that Vampires are an afterthought in the series, that they are not necessary to drive the story. I actually disagree with that assessment. I think that the idea of a thriving relationship between the living and the undead is fascinating. Sure, I can see how Vampire purists can get up in arms about what was done to the mythology of Dracula's people, but I still feel that it is a valid topic. And yes, Meyer does use the Vampire powers to drive the story. Sometimes, however, it comes across as forced (It's all good, we're vampires. That's how we roll!)

I have a problem with a few of the characters who were not developed as much as I'd like to have seen. Who is Charlie again? Why is he so important? Maybe I have to get into book 2 for that. Also, there's (comparatively) no action in this book. It's all about the girl's infatuation with the Edward the Vampire (He is like a Greek god chiseled out of marble after all). There are three action scenes; the car accident, getting lost while shopping & the ballet studio, they are mostly revealed in a convoluted after-the-fact manner (going back to technical merit). I don't even know what these guys look like when they bare their teeth other than really freaking scary (my paraphrase).

My Takeaway

Don't get me wrong, I kinda liked the storyline. Was it a perfectly written, timeless classic that needs to become summer reading for all 10th graders? No way. But given the right demographic, it can really resonate & open the floodgates of imagination. That's what fiction is all about, isn't it? I suppose I would give it 2.5 out of 5 stars based on the technical merit & my own personal engagement, but I can see why others might rate it higher.

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