Book Review - Twilight

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I don't do generally do the whole vampire thing. One of my university roommates was a wee bit obsessed with Anne Rice's vampires and I tried the books. I like Interview with a Vampire but The Vampire Lestat made my eyes glaze and I was happy to give up on it about a third of the way in. Ok and sure, like most girls my age I had a healthy crush on David Boreanaz's brooding Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But overall I've avoided the whole vampire genre. Then I started to hear rumblings of some good vampire novels that were making the rounds. Particularly Twilight. People who, like me, didn't normally go for this genre were raving about this. And it's a YA book and I do enjoy YA books. So I dutifully added it to my library request list. I picked it up and then proceeded to ignore it for a couple of weeks.

The first thing you notice about this book is the cover. Simple, yet captivating. Eve holding the apple. Temptation. And doesn't that just look like the most perfect apple? It makes me want an apple - that apple. The second thing I noticed is that this is a big book. It tops out at over 500 pages. That's quite long for a young adult novel. I was wary thinking about reading nearly 500 pages of a young adult book about vampires. Do vampires get angsty? And then I hit the preface.

I'd never given much thought to how I would die - though I'd had reason enough in the last few months - but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.

I stared without breathing across the long room, into the dark eyes of the hunter, and he looked pleasantly back at me.

Surely it was a good way to die, in place of someone else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something.

Seeing as it was already after 8pm I should have stopped there. I know this tactic. The author was then going to go back to the very beginning of it all and I was not going to be satisfied until I reached this point in the book. And I also knew that this was likely to be very near the end. I looked at the clock. I looked at the book and I sighed. I thought that maybe I really wouldn't like it and could skip ahead to the end to find out what happened (something I rarely do). No such luck.

Isabella (Bella) Swan moves to Forks in the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State to live with her father. She mourns the loss of the sunny skies of Phoenix but figures she can learn to live with the rain. During her first day in her new school she notices a group of students in the cafeteria. Something about them intrigues her. She finds out that they are the Cullen family and that they don't really associate with anyone else. When she wanders into her biology class she finds herself seated beside Edward Cullen, an exceptionally attractive, and mesmerizing, young man. But for one second he looks at her with such complete loathing and hatred that it takes her breath away. He disappears for awhile but then over the next few weeks he's friendly towards her. He pulls her closer while trying to push her away and Bella is completely and totally captivated. But she knows that there's something different about Edward...she just can't quite figure out what.

And like Bella I was captivated. Bella is an unusual character. In some ways she's very much the stereotypical head-over-heels in love teenager. But in other ways there is something that stands out about her. Perhaps it's just the fact that she's in love with a vampire. Or how she reacts to being in love with a vampire. And Edward? Edward is so very crush-worthy. I foresee fanfic art of Edward popping up in girl's notebooks. I really do wish I could pinpoint what it was that so captivated me about this novel. Sitting here, attempting to think objectively about it I cannot put my finger on it. It's not the best written book but I cannot get it out of my head. It's just simply a fantastic story.

I have two items of advice for you. The first being don't be like me and start this at 8pm in the evening. I was unable to go to sleep until I finished it which was after midnight and then I had vampires in my head and questions galore running through my brain (I hope that most of them will be answered in the sequels) and could not get to sleep at all. Today my eyelids are being held open by toothpicks. The second is that if you are going to give this book to someone else to read leave them alone. If you try to distract them from it expect to be growled at and perhaps have heavy objects thrown at you. Especially once they get to about the last third of the book. Do not disturb them under any circumstances - it will be hazardous to your health.

And now I'm going to go troll my library's website and obsessively check my account until I see that the sequel, New Moon, is ready and waiting for me. And I'll be frequently checking author Stephanie Meyer's website to see if there are any updates on Twilight being made into a movie (please note that the website contains spoilers for the books).

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Photo Credit: Hachette Books USA page on Twilight

Quotations taken from the Little Brown 2005 hardcover edition, page 1.

Contributing Editor Sassymonkey also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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