Science fiction and fantasy                                            


by Stephenie Meyer


Isabella Swan doesn't think she belongs in the small town of Forks, in Washington State. She's socially awkward, sensitive, and over-anxious. With her ancient car and chronic clumsiness, she feels like the odd one out in her new school. In other words, she feels the same angst that almost every teenage girl does when hormones kick in.

Bella has moved away from sunny Phoenix to be with her father, who is divorced from Bella's mother. The weather in Forks doesn't suit her, and she doesn't expect to make friends easily. But socialising turns out to be easier than she thought it would be, in spite of her lack of coordination and her inability to remember names. Bella is even confused by her popularity, particularly with young men. Yet when she meets the pale and interesting Edward Cullen she discovers a new and more pressing set of concerns than the search for peer approval.

At first Edward's behaviour is erratic. He's alternately frosty and polite towards Bella, and she doesn't know what to make of him. But she is drawn to him, captivated by his perfect face and his enigmatic nature. Edward usually only hangs out with a small group of equally pale students, all of whom keep themselves to themselves. When he starts talking with Bella she senses that a line has been crossed, and that Edward's actions have gained their disapproval. She gets plenty of warnings, both from Edward himself and from other people, about the danger she is getting herself into. But no matter what people say to her she doesn't seem to be able to stop herself from wanting to be with him.

Twilight is an intense and mesmerising vampire love story. Bella is a character many readers will be able to identify with, because she's so true to life: insecure, reserved and unconscious of her own charm, her experiences of school life will mirror those of many other teenagers. But she's also a touch drippy, the polar opposite of the gutsy, high-kicking heroines that have come to dominate modern fiction. If you met a Bella in real life you might be tempted to douse her in cold water and yell "snap out of it!" until she came out of her haze.

Edward, on the other hand, is everything unfamiliar. He's old, strong, dangerous, alien, and curiously attractive. In other words he is a metaphor for male sexuality. Stephenie Meyer has taken the vampire and made him a symbol of the world Bella is on the brink of entering, one that seems to her to be full of forbidden knowledge, dark secrets and terrible risks. Whilst this isn't a new take on the vampire myth, the theme has an enduring appeal and Meyer puts it into sharp focus. Twilight is skilfully written, so it's easy to get caught up in Bella's adventures as she discovers the seductive world of the supernatural that exists all around her. This novel won't be for everyone, due to Bella's aforementioned drippiness. But for fans of modern undead romance this gothic successor to Buffy and Lestat will be just the ticket.

Book Details

Year: 2005

Categories: Books

  YA     Horror
  Female Protagonist  

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4 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
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