I am not a fan of teenage romantic fiction, but when I saw my friends going crazy about Twilight, which is the first part of a series written wih the same name, by Stephanie Meyer, I decided to give it a shot.
Immediately after reading the book, I found it difficult to keep my thoughts submitted to my life. There was a longing to read more, to know what happens next. Though the writing is nothing great for literary fans, the way the author has built the story will draw the average reader right in.
The book focuses on the teenage romance between Bella and Edward, who are the lead characters. Bella is portrayed as clumsy, disaster-prone and stubborn. She moves in from Phoenix to Forks, to live with her father. Bella was a social outcast in Phoenix and therefore, she thinks of herself as an ugly duckling.
However, she becomes very popular in Forks. In Forks, she becomes drawn and fascinated by the Cullen family, especially Edward (he seems perfect in every sense – extremely handsome, strong and intelligent, yet mysterious) who appears to hate her but is always there to save her whenever she is in danger. Bella soon realizes that Edward and his family are a group of vampires. However, they are a good lot as they feed on animal blood and not humans.
The first half of the story mostly builds up on their romance. The atmosphere is so intoxicating that you do not realize how absorbed you are in their story until after you finish reading. I read it in less than a day, without moving an inch from my bed. The electricity between the two is maddening. Since the book has been written in first person, I could actually feel the tension, self-restraint and abstinence in the book which made it intoxicating, sensuous and disquieting. The times when they are in their Biology Lab together and are trying so hard to keep away from each other is more intense than any depiction of love in other books. It has a strange unearthly quality to it. Their love is wild and obsessive.
The second half of the book has more action and excitement. The beautiful world of the two lovers is suddenly shadowed by another family of vampires who want to kill Bella. Edwards’ struggle to protect Bella and keep her safe makes you long for someone as caring as Edward in your life. It indulges your fantasies in what romance can be like.
There are instances in the book where every young woman will be able to identify with Bella- timid, lacking self confidence, the ugly duckling and yet independent and self sacrificing. One can also draw similarities between the characters of Bella and Jane Eyre and Rebecca (where the ugly duckling falls for Mr. Handsome/Perfect).
However, the message sent out by the book is mixed. Though it talks about the power of love and the ability to be able to withstand the lure of sex with someone you love at such a critical age, it also glorifies love that is forbidden and dangerous. Bella is so totally dependant on Edward that it is alarming at times. She thinks of nothing else and desires him to the point of wanting him to drink her blood. Moreover, the other characters in the book are uninteresting and have not been well – developed.
On the whole, I would say that though Twilight is not a great piece of literature, there is definitely something in the book that makes you think about it long after you have turned the last page and wonder whether maybe there is someone like Edward out there for you.