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The Twilight Saga
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
Member Name: obscuredbykep
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
Advantages: The most gripping books I have read in a long time
To put it simply - I love to read. While, it hasn't always been a favourite pastime of mine, Harry Potter changed that, they really got me more into books, and subsequently, I have read them all several times over. I then got bored of them, and didn't know what else to go to, stuck in the belief that, I was more addicted to the series, than to reading, but I soon found other books I enjoyed, the Chris Kuzneski books, 'No time for Goodbye' by Linwood Barclay, 'Say Goodbye' by Lisa Gardner, and I even read the Dan Brown books. That was all this year, starting in January, being currently unemployed, I have had so much time on my hands, and reading has really filled that, but when I finished my last book, 'Say Goodbye', I was at a loss for what to read next.
The other way I have been filling my time, besides writing on here, is watching films, from going to the cinema, bargain DVD buys etc, I have probably watched and read more this year, than in the past 10. Film-wise, you'd be hard-pressed to find a recent release that I haven't watched. And it was in keeping with this, that the film "Twilight" caught my attention. Curious, from trailers I'd seen, adverts for the DVD and to see how Rob Pattison was as a leading actor, I decided to watch it.
I wasn't disappointed, in fact, I was rather taken with the film, finding the story line rather great, and from that, am eager to watch the sequel released in November this year. I was so taken in fact, that I decided that I wanted to read the original books, and branched out with a quick visit to Amazon and ordered the first 3 in the series for a total of about £11.
This review isn't just based upon the book 'Twilight', since I would find it impossible to do, as with the Harry Potter books, I wouldn't be able to review them individually and instead view them as a complete series. Don't worry though, I'm trying to introduce you to the series, so won't be giving too much away about any of the books (I made the mistake of reading a review on 'Breaking Dawn' whilst waiting for it to come in the post, and that gave too much away for my liking).
Also, lets face it, the likely hood of someone wanting to read just Twilight isn't that likely, people know it is a saga of books, so I thought a series overview would be the most appropriate!
It is rather interesting to read how it all started. On Stephanie Meyer's Website, she says how the idea came to her mind in a dream. The dream was the scene of Edward and Bella in the Meadow, and from that, she was infatuated with writing their story. She searched for the names, Edward since it was old fashioned but romantic and Isabella, the name she had reserved the daughter she didn't have. It was interesting to read that Rosalie was originally going to be Carol, and Jasper was going to be Ronald.
There are 4 books in the saga - 'Twilight', 'New Moon', 'Eclipse' and 'Breaking Dawn', there is also a fifth book, which has so far been left uncompleted, entitled 'Midnight Sun', there is more about that below.
All the books revolve around Isabella Swan, the leading female of the story, and her love for Edward Cullen. Edward is a vampire, and is part of a Coven of 'vegetarian' vampires (don't drink human blood), lead by Carlisle, he has his wife, Esme, and his adopted children, Edward, Rosalie, Jasper, Alice and Emmett. Children is perhaps the wrong word to use... Rosalie and Emmett are a couple, as are Alice and Jasper.
Edward has the ability to read minds of everyone except from Bella, which becomes central to the plot in 'Breaking Dawn'. Alice can see visions of the future while Jasper can control the moods of people around him.
In Twilight, Bella moves to rainy Forks, having been used to sunny Phoenix in order to live with her Father, Charlie. Her mother Renee is newly married to Phil, who as a baseball player needs to move around a lot.
Bella hates Forks, the cold, wet weather, and is nervous about beginning her new High School, however she attracts a bit of attention from a number of the boys there, but there is only one who really attracts hers - Edward Cullen, the mysterious boy who acts strangely around her.
The book continues as their relationship evolves, and Bella learns of the reality of Vampires. She discovers why Edward acted so strangely around her, and they finally form a romantic relationship...
The next book in the saga begins a few months after the last left off, shortly before Bella's 18th birthday. Her relationship with Edward is strong, and perfect. However, on her birthday, when opening presents from the Cullens, she ends up with a paper cut, the scent of her blood proves too much for Jasper and Edward has to react quickly to protect her.
After this, Edward does some deep thinking, and assures himself that he is just too dangerous for Bella to be around. The Cullen's soon leave Forks, leaving Bella broken.
This book sees Bella forming a close friendship with Jacob Black, from the Quileute tribe. Through the book they become great friends, and Jacob helps Bella feel better about Edward, even though he never really leaves her mind. Later however, their friendship becomes rocky, after Jacob discovers something about himself he never expected, he is a werewolf.
Later, a vision of Alice's sees her rapidly returning to Forks, and the real action unravels...
With Edward and Bella back together, and the traumatic events of the last book behind her, their relationship is the strongest it's been, and there is now the understanding, that despite Edwards objections, Bella is set to join him eternally after she graduates from High School.
Meanwhile, there is a string of murders in nearby Seattle, and it is noticed by the Cullens that it is not a human string, it is clearly vampires - and not just one or two...
The final book of the saga - and the longest. It is actually split into three "books" internally, the first and third being told by Bella, and the second by Jacob. It brings together all the events of the past books, the underlying threat, the promises made by Bella and Edward to each other. Jacob finds his true love, and the Cullens face the biggest threat they have known...
The "fifth" book of the series, is not actually a completed book. Originally, Stephanie Meyer has it running as a side project, it tells the story of 'Twilight' but from the perspective of Edward. And it really delves into the thoughts of him when he first meets Bella. I haven't finished reading it yet, so can't really comment on it completely, but one chapter in, and it is certainly very interesting.
The draft (about 260 pages) was leaked on the internet, much to the dismay of Meyer, and that has caused it to be put on indefinite hold, since she doesn't feel she can write it anymore. To make it fair for all her readers, she has placed the draft on her website for anyone to download.
My Opinion on the Series
Like I said the film really grabbed me, and it hurled me into the series, that was last week, and I have now completed all four books, as well as seeing the film about 4 or 5 times. It is no understatement to say that I am as taken with this series as I was with Harry Potter.
Meyer definitely has a real talent for writing, using the less common style of writing in first person, from the opinion of the character, using "I". And that really pays off, creating such a personal level to the books, which I haven't ever experienced.
Similarly to Harry Potter, all the books end up leading to the final, but are in them selves perfectly great stories. Through the series she really develops the characters, giving their stories, you learn of how Carlisle became a vampire, why he chose his way of life, then it explores how Jasper came to be, and Alice and Rosalie, explaining perfectly their attitudes. I can honestly say that I have never read a series with such great development and thought behind the characters.
Vampire vs Werewolf stories are common, they feature in a million films, countless stories and so, you might think that it is a genre that has been already done a million times over, but Meyer introduces so many elements to it that it becomes something else, wholly original and unique, incorporating all the various legends that everyone associates with them, but giving them a brilliant twist. Her background stories, such as those of the Volturi and the legends of the Quileute tribe, they add so much extra interest to the books, and from book to book you learn more.
The series is the most captivating I have read. I was completely drawn in, and (sadly?) actually missed not reading them, the days gap while I waited for 'Breaking Dawn' to arrive was agonising, as I longed to know what was going to happen, it played on my mind constantly. Both myself, and my younger brother who is now following in my footsteps of reading them, agree that this saga is more "un-put-down-able" than the Harry Potter series. I was so in to it, that I read them all in the matter of a week, about two days per book, which I am rather impressed with, given that 'Breaking Dawn' pushes close to the 800 page mark.
Meyer has done so well in creating such an imaginative and thrilling series. While, they may be deemed as books for girls, due to the romantic side attached to it, I really don't think they can be classed like that. The action in the books is great, the stories so different to others I have read. Meyer has created a whole new world, I would perhaps go as far as saying she has re-designed the Vampire and Werewolf genre.
It was inevitable that these books would be turned into films, and I am eager to see them all completed, even though as with all films - the books are always better. The real test for this series will be in a year or so time, when I should think I will return and read them again. With Harry Potter, I have read them over and over, and each time enjoyed them completely, if this saga manages that, then they will have definitely surpassed J K Rowling's magical universe.
It is inevitable that some things are predictable in books, and this is especially more prevalent in book series' where you learn more each time. The mark of the great author is the one who leads you up the entirely wrong path.
Meyer does this.
While admittedly, there were some parts that I did see coming, they were small things. There was so much that as I read I was actually shocked, great revelations jumped out, and you thought back to the different parts of the stories and it made so much sense I didn't know why I hadn't thought of it.
I have the problem of being a bit eager to know what happens sometimes,. (I was one of the people, who when reading the last Harry Potter book, I skipped to the last page to see if he lived..) which probably explains why I read so fast. When waiting for 'Breaking Dawn', I read a review on here that gave away two major plot pieces, and I was really pissed off with myself for being so curious. But even knowing what I knew when I read, it still managed to take me by surprise when the things happened. I was still captivated by the storyline even though I vaguely knew what was going to happen at the end of it.
Would I recommend them? Well, I think you should know that by now.
I sincerely feel that these are such a great series of books that they can be enjoyed by so many. Aimed at a younger market, the sort of teenage group, they are obviously aimed a bit higher than the audience of Harry Potter, which gives them a much more adult feel, and allows more exploration into sex, which, I suppose a bit more of would have made the books that bit better, or at least, more, evolved.
I am interested to see if this series was a fluke, or if Meyer can achieve such great intrigue in her next series, aimed at the Adult market, which begins with "The Host".
They are cheapest off Amazon, at just about £3.50 each for the paperbacks, but 'Breaking Dawn' is only available hardback, which is £6.50.
Summary: The most gripping books I have read in a long time