I’m not sure how long it’s been since Twilight was relevant, since the last time I heard some discuss it with excitement. But for me Twilight has a prevalence that never quite fades, especially in the book community where I see it quite often on bookshelves and in videos about books we can’t believe we still like.
I find a lot of book bloggers who are my age seem to feel a bit of a stigma relating to Twilight. It was the book you read when you were an angsty teenager that actually isn’t that good but you were fanatical about ten years ago. I don’t really fit into this because I WAS an adult when I read it for the first time. Hence my adult discussion. This has never been a childhood book for me, it’s never been a guilty pleasure either. Twilight came to me in a pivotal stage of my reading life. I was about a year out of university and just really starting to pick up book for pleasure again, I probably hadn’t read a book just because for about 5 years at this point. Although this wasn’t the first book I chose, this book did pull me in and you know why? Because it got me excited.
That’s right, as an adult Twilight got me excited. Maybe part of it was that I wasn’t that far off the age of the protagonist but enough older that I could fully appreciate her thinking without having to reflect it to my own life. At the same time though, this book did relate to me. The power of love I think is a universal thing, whatever age we are we are always looking for or holding on to that connection, that spark we get from love. This book is that notion. Edward waited over 100 years for Bella and as creepy as that is, it gives you hope that there is someone out there for everyone. It certainly gave me that hope and the strength not to settle in my own life for something (or someone) mediocre.
I’ve got problems with this book don’t get me wrong. First vampires, I don’t believe they exist. If I did think they were roaming around I do not think they’d have toge capacity to love like humans. I see vampires as more intelligent zombies, not emotionally complex creatures. Still Spyke in Buffy had this all going on and he seemed slightly more believable as a vampire in love. I also don’t think that vampires would sparkle.
Beyond this, I loved the ideas of the vampires in this book. I liked that they came out in the day. I liked that they had this tight knit community. I liked that Carlisle had created this clan of vampires who all had a moral code. The vegetarians of vampires. And although I don’t think this is an entire new concept I do think that it was done in a new way. On the other hand, I hated the werewolves. I just didn’t think they added a lot to the story beyond the folklore.
Infatuation vs love was also a debate I had with myself when reading this book. If vampires make their prey infatuated with just one smell of their pheromones then was Bella even actually in love with Edward? And why would Edward who was over 100 years old choose to be with someone who would be so inferior to him intelligence wise? There is no way, no matter how clever she is that he could have ever felt they were on the same level. Even emotionally. He would be far more complex.
Still the book plays it off well and I think that’s because it doesn’t give you a chance to question things while you’re reading it. It is, as much as it’s just the story of a normal girl in an extraordinary situation, still ridiculously action packed. I wasn’t wondering these things while I was reading, I was just desperate to see how it all panned out.
I also appreciate how this book does the full circle. It starts where it ends and if this book had been a stand alone and not a series that would have been a fine ending for me. I was always in it for the love story and never really the vampire politics. I found it interesting but not interesting enough for it to drag me through all 4 books happily. I read them all but they never sat with me like Twilight did.
I kind of found that I didn’t really connect with the other characters either. I think characters that you’re even meant to like, like Carlisle and Alice. I feel like every side character in this book is either far too intense (mainly the vampires) or far too laid back (Bella’s parents). If my daughter had received the kind of injuries Bella had I’m not sure how happy I’d be just believing she fell down some stairs and through a window. She was never portrayed as clumsy as they tried to pretend she was at the end of the book to cover this big massive lie and if that didn’t sit well with me I have no idea how her parents just went yeah ok.
I like the setting of Fawkes. I always have the images of mountain ranges, big forrests and this small American town in my head that I just adore. This is the kind of please that I’d like to live. I also think they got it really right in the film which I think shows what a great job Stephanie Meyer did describing the location of this book and the stark contrast between there and Texas.
My final thoughts on this book are quite simple. I have issues with this book. More than I’ve got to in this blog post. I feel like I’ve picked these up over the years from other people critiquing the book. But despite it’s (ever increasing) flaws, I still love this book. This book makes me feel nostalgic for a situation I’ve never been in, how fantastic is that? And this book still makes me feel excited which is what reading is all about.
I feel a reread coming on.
Thanks for reading 🙂