Book Review: Twilight

Meyer, Stephenie. Twilight. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Co., 2005.

About three things I was absolutely positive:
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him–and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be–that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife — between desire and danger.

Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.

I have seen the movie based on the first two books in the Twilight series, so I finally decided it was time to read books. I was working in a library when Twilight was published and remember almost checking it out then, but something stopped me. I’m actually glad that I waited until they were all published, although seeing the movies first has definitely affected how I encountered the books. I have listened to the audiobooks of Twilight and New Moon after watching the movies, and for Eclipse and Breaking Dawn I will listen to the books before seeing the movies. Here’s my review of Twilight.


As with many pop cultural phenomenons, I approach this series having heard mixed reviews – some very strong, and drastically opposing each other. And I’m not talking about the famous Edward vs. Jacob debate… although after reading (listening to the audiobooks) Twilight and New Moon, I wonder how anyone could ever believe Bella would choose Jacob. (That’s not a spoiler, it’s my opinion after reading and seeing movies of two books; I have not as yet read/watched the third one.) No, the opinions I’m talking about are the “twihards” – that’s the term coined for diehard fans of the Twilight Saga – versus those who see the books as antifeminine and other such buzzwords.

Warning: I am going to compare the book to the movie, so if you don’t care to read that, then find yourself another blog to read.

I did enjoy the movie when I first saw it. Since reading the book, I see how much was changed. The biggest thing I noticed is that the book has a very long section where Bella and Edward question each other. They take turns. Bella asks the questions one day, Edward asks them all another. In the book, Edward does not volunteer most information, such as how someone becomes a vampire. Bella has to ask specific questions, and he will choose to answer or not. He does give her histories for each of the Cullens, but nothing about the process. Bella learns that from Alice toward the end of the novel. In the movie there are much few questions (due to time and pacing concerns, no doubt), and Edward volunteers the facts about transformation. My problem with this is that this is a huge point in the book. Edward does not want Bella to know how to become a vampire for much the same reason he does not want her to become one – he is protecting her. He believes that vampires have lost their souls, and he doesn’t want Bella to lose hers. The novel made this so much more clear than the movie, and knowing it makes some things mean a lot more when I watch the movie now.

Some people think that it’s wrong to write Bella being so obsessive about Edward, analyzing everything that he (and everyone else) does and says. My answer to this? She’s a teenager! Yes, I do think Bella is obsessive, but I remember what I was like as a teenager and I obsessed about everything. In fact, there is a part of me that still does from time to time. Her vocabulary is the part that gets me, and the way she speaks that sounds like someone more grown up. But to this, I point out that when I was a teen Dawson’s Creek was criticized for the same thing and I loved that TV show anyway.

I liked the movie a lot, and it’s great that in listening to the audiobook I can see and hear the actors in my mind, even for parts that didn’t make the screen. But I definitely like the book more. Stay tuned for my review of New Moon, coming up on Friday.