Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Twilight

I was thirteen when I read the first Twilight book. I forgot about it afterwards, but it has been impossible to escape the 'Twilight' craze lately. I will however only talk about the book and not the movies.
The first Twilight book was a reasonably nice book. The plot was predictable and cliche and added nothing whatsoever to the fatasy-genre. It is based solely upon the mysery that has always surrounded vampires and werewolves and didn't bring in new or fresh ideas.

The protagonist, Isabella 'Bella' Swan, has to move to a little town where it is usually dark and rainy. There she meets Edward Cullen, who keeps to himself and is incredibly beautiful. She falls in love with him, he follows her around, he saves her, she does research, she confronts him, he admits he's a vampire who only drinks animal-blood. Nothing surprising or new here.
She's accepted into the vampire-family and when they are playing a game of baseball during a thunderstorm (otherwise everybody would notice their incredible superpower) they are met by a group of human blood-drinking vampires. One of them takes a liking to Bella and the vampire-family do their utmost best to protect her. But she gets a distressed call from her mother to save her from the blood-drinking vampire. She "escapes" and faces the vampire on her own, who turns out to not have her mother as a hostage. Her mother is somewhere on a holiday. Edward comes just in time to battle him, but Bella has already been bitten, so he has to suck the vampire-venom out. This poses a problem, because her blood is the one thing he wants the most, yet he also wants her alive. But, of course, his love is stronger than his bloodthirst and everything is alright.


As you can see, the summary of this novel doesn't take very long. It isn't a masterpiece of writing. It is fun to read and the way it is written wil get a 13-year old blushing. But as soon as you have read works by Shakespeare you must admit that Twilight is easy.

Bella is a very weird heroine. She is defined by her love for Edward. He is her everything. When he leaves her, for her own safety, in the second book she becomes a wreck. She is unresponsive to anything and wants to die. Is this a good image to convey to young teenagers?
She lets him take care of her, until she decides to "sacrifice" herself to the vampire, in order for him to leave Edward alone. And that's what we get. A 16-year old that is madly in love with a vampire, who is beautiful beyond words and is meant to attract people the way he attracts Bella. Only in this case it is real love and they swear to be together forever! I hope you can see that this is all very stereotypical and not very entertaining if you have read stories like this one before.

Edward is a very steoreotype immortal. Brooding, sexy and dark. yet his character is immensly shallow. There is no real depth to his feeling of having lost his soul. Stephenie Meyer doesn't explore the psychological side of this, which could have lifted the book to an entirely different level. His extra power, being able to read people's minds, and the fact that he can't read Bella's just seems desperate to me. Meyer was clearly trying to somehow show how special Bella is compared to other human beings but also compared to other vampires.

Concluding, Twilight is very entertaining if you just simply want to have something to read on a quiet stay-at-home night, but it is likely you will have a ton of other, better (!) books in your shelves wortth reading. I can understand the entire hype around the movies, because the books are thrilling to a thirteen-year old who is just discovering books with real romance. Yet I find it baffling how people can go crazy about this and spend tons of money on it, but aren't as charmed by Jane Austens books or books by the Bronte Sisters. Somehow they don't seem to apply to the main audiences taste. But maybe those are the books you get to after you have finished this genre. If that was the case I would encourage everyone to read them as quick as possible and move on!

What are your thoughts?

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