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The first book in the "Twilight Saga" by Stephenie Meyer.

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OK Bella, so you're hot and bothered ... GET ON WITH THE STORY ALREADY!

  • Jan 7, 2010
Hundreds and thousands of fans couldn't possibly be wrong, could they? I figured with so much hype surrounding Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series, there had to be something to it. So I took the plunge and dug in.

Now, please ... before hordes of young female fans climb all over me and shower my review with negative comments, I hope that they'll understand this review is being written by a fifty-something male for a similar audience. In summary, it just wasn't my cup of tea and I don't think it will be for any other male reader that's much past the age of twenty.

Bella is the seventeen year old daughter of a family split by a typical amicably negotiated divorce. Mom lives in Phoenix, Arizona, while her father, Charlie, is the police chief in Forks, Washington, a foggy, perpetually cloudy, rain-soaked stereotypical piece of small town America. The story is simplicity itself - Bella meets and falls in love with Edward Cullen, a boy in her class who coincidentally turns out to be a 100 year old vampire!

No less than the entire first half of the book is filled with endless breathless expressions of Bella's infatuation with Edward. Her adulation knows no bounds and while it was forgivable in the sense that it was probably a realistic portrayal of teenage first love, the mind-numbing repetitive nature of her hormonal utterings definitely started to grate on my nerves.

On the other hand, when Meyer FINALLY got around to telling the Cullen family story and outlining her somewhat modern mythology of the origin of vampires, the transmission of vampirism and their interaction with daylight and the regular world of the human species, things got genuinely interesting. But, too little too late, and even that bit of enjoyable quality was mitigated by the fact that the stars in Bella's eyes continued to shine unabated through the second half of the story.

Edward's perfection and Bella's hero-worship was simply too much for me. One star for the tedious repetition, four stars for the quality of Meyer's version of the vampire myth - that's two and a half stars on average. But I'll call it two stars because I also couldn't figure out why a 100 year old male vampire - a "man" by any standards even if he's housed in an eternally youthful boy's body - would be interested in a 17 year old girl. That was more than questionable to me. It actually started to push the needle on my moral meter into the red zone!

If you're a teenage girl, go for it with all the gusto you can manage. I'm sure you'll love it! If you're a male over the age of twenty-five, consider yourself warned. You'll probably have as much difficulty seeing the fascination as I did.

Paul Weiss

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July 11, 2011
Good review !
January 10, 2010
Nice review.  I was actually more disturbed by Meyer's character development and prose more so than anything else.  Way too many moments where she just spends time talking about how perfect Edward is.  It was like Meyer was working with a Thesaurus and said, "What's another word for 'perfect?'  Oh, look 'seraphic!' That works!" and she went ahead and used it.  I got so sick of seeing Bella pretty much worship Edward.  But I was more disturbed at the fact that Bella seems like a typical Mary Sue character.  She's hardly flawed or anything like that.  She's supposed to be an awkward teen yet all the boys she meets fall for her, and all the girls she befriends want to be like her.  It's annoying to read about characters who just aren't believable.  In the event that you read the rest of the series (I tortured myself... somehow) you'll see that Meyer's writing style never really changes.  The second book is slightly better if only because Edward isn't there (but Bella's almost religious infatuation with him is still there) but the last two books are worse than the first.

Loved your review.  If you ever catch the movie on television, though, it's worth watching just for a good laugh (it's absolutely horrible, but in a funny way if you're the type that can stand to laugh at bad movies). 
January 14, 2010
Great explanation about the characters. I felt the same way. I'm surprised that you say the last two books are the worst. From fans of the series, I am hearing that the last two books are the best and that the second book is the worst.
July 26, 2010
I'd don't need to worry about the last two books being worse because, having gagged over the first, I have NO intention of going any further. Thanks for the comments, Sean and Adrianna.
January 10, 2010
Your review made me wonder how much influence Bram Stoker's 1897 novel "Dracula" had on Stephanie Meyers. Although I have not read "Twilight," I have read "Dracula" and found it to be also tedious, slow and repetative but with truly fascinating elements once the vampire and his history are discussed. I placed the blame on the Victorian writing style which emphasized flowing and flowery prose over succinctness, but it seems as though this may be a running problem in the world of vampire novels. Best of luck if you tackle the other three books, but I think we both know the likelihood of that!
January 10, 2010
I've always liked the flowery nature of Victorian prose so I did enjoy Bram Stoker's original Dracula. As far as the other Stephanie Meyer novels go, you got it in one. The likelihood I'll read them is somewhere between zero and the proverbial snowball in hell! Thaks for the visit and the comments.
January 10, 2010
JDunn, I actually heard in an interview that Stephenie Meyer never read Dracula.  So chances are she didn't have it as an influence at all.  In fact, she even admitted she knew, well, nothing about vampires before starting Twilight other than the same stuff most people had heard before (Can't go in sunlight, garlic, etc.) but before Twilight she never read a vampire book.  Not Dracula, not Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles... nothing.  So I'm guessing it had no influence.
January 09, 2010
Nice review.  Based on the other reviews of the book, it looks like you're not so alone in feeling this way!  I take it you didn't catch the movie?
January 09, 2010
Are you kidding, LOL? Not a chance in the world I'd spend the money on it. Next movie I go to see is almost certainly going to be the new Sherlock Holmes flick!
January 10, 2010
Haha, well, even if you don't like Twilight, something tells me that you'd get a kick out of @Sean_Rhodes' list of Disturbing Twilight Products!
More Twilight (book) reviews
review by . June 30, 2010
I first read Twilight the summer after my senior year of high school. I was still 17, stuck up in bed for months recovering from a minor surgery, and reading at my most voracious pace yet (where was Netflix Instant in 2007, huh!?) in order to get away from endless Full House reruns. I had long since abdicated library authority to my mother and she had perfected the ability to pick a perfect mix of young adult and adult fiction and nonfiction for me. After one of these library trips, Twilight found …
review by . July 10, 2010
There has been a lot of smack written about Twilight, mostly because the book’s primary audience is not articulate enough to adequately voice their opinions of the book beyond: “Edward is so dreamy,” “I want someone to love me that much,” “Vampires are sexy.”  What Meyer has done is taken every romantic cliché from a book or movie and compiled it into one book that doesn’t move beyond its primary archetypes.  Without plot dynamics …
review by . June 23, 2010
My older sister is a librarian, and for Christmas and my birthday she often gives me a stack of "good books" - the ones she's heard good things about, or would recommend. A couple years ago, Twilight was part of the stack. She was insistent that I should give it a try, even if I am not a fan of vampire stories. I am a middle- and high school teacher, so I figured I really ought to know what my students are squealing about. I read it over three days, and determined that it is definitely …
review by . June 25, 2010
Listen, I'm not a Twilight-hater, nor am I a hard core fan. I read the books a few years ago and was swept up by the love story between Bella and Edward. I certainly give this book props for how captivating it can be. However, in order to analyze this book critically, and fairly, I'm going to look at how healthy the Edward/Bella relationship really is for teens to be digesting as they read Twilight. This is more of a response to the ideas portrayed in Twilight vs. an outright review of the …
review by . July 20, 2010
I read the book because I am a middle school teacher and thought I should be familiar with the novel because of its popularity with my students.  The book is honestly poorly written and incredibly predictable, but despite this obvious reason to dislike the novel, I could not put it down and soon found myself reading the other books in the series.  The Twilight series has become my guilty pleasure.  Here are my thoughts as a teacher on the appropriateness of the text for your adults:   …
review by . January 05, 2010
Twilight- Not Worth The Time
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review by . May 18, 2009
I will never understand the huge following the the book Twilight has earned. In my opinion, this 'book' is more along the lines of a teenage girls fanfiction about some other vampire romance novel they picked up at an airport book store. Here are the reasons I shall never pick up these books again:    1. The characters are painfully underdeveloped.    2. While there may be one or two well written passages, they are ruined by the horrible ones that follow.   &nb …
Quick Tip by . February 22, 2011
Clumsy generic insipid character has a sparkly vampire boyfriend who should have been spiked through the chest in the first book.
review by . July 12, 2010
What a wonderful plot for a young adult book. What could be more heart wrenching? A tragic battle between love and death. Boy meets girl. Boy wants to eat girl, yet boy is madly in love with girl. The series I should mention is not only for teens. I've known a few adults to have gotten off on the vampire romance. Though some cynics may throw the word beastiality around, the sexual tension is what keeps the pages a turnin' and the sales a rollin.' With that in mind, the novel should …
review by . June 28, 2010
Okay, I'll admit it. I first read this book because of the hype. Also, because the trailer of the movie looked interesting. Lastly, I've been going through Harry Potter withdrawal and I'm trying to find a fantasy series to put all of my pent-up energy in. So, now, what I have to say is this: WHAT THE HELL?!!      This book's premise sounded interesting. Bella moves in with her dad to a remote town in Arizona and falls in love with a vampire. But I foolishly thought …
About the reviewer
Paul Weiss ()
Ranked #15
   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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About this book


Twilight is the debut, young-adult vampire-romance novel by author Stephenie Meyer. Twilight was initially rejected by 14 agents, but became an instant bestseller when published originally in hardback in 2005, debuting at #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list within a month of its release and later peaking at #1. That same year, Twilight was named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Children's Books of 2005. The novel was also the biggest selling book of 2008 and, to date, has sold 17 million copies worldwide, spent over 91 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and been translated into 37 different languages.

It is the first book of the Twilight series, and introduces seventeen-year-old Isabella "Bella" Swan, who moves from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington and finds her life in danger when she falls in love with a vampire, Edward Cullen. The novel is followed by New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. A film adaptation of Twilight was released in 2008. It was a commercial success, grossing more than $382 million worldwide and an additional $157 million from North American DVD sales, as of July 2009.
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ISBN-10: 0316160172
ISBN-13: 978-0316160179
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Vampires
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Date Published: October 5, 2005
Format: Format
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