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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Twilight read


The box of books arrived yesterday. My husband raised his eyebrows. My daughter joyfully disappeared upstairs with the last two. As I have come down with a dreadful cold, I read Twilight yesterday evening.


It was fine and not vampire horror at all. A page turning read. It was more teen aged Presents with fangs, than blooding dripping horror vampire. If I was a teen aged girl, I would be in love with Edward. I found him far easier to fancy than the lead love interest in Wicked Lovely. But it did not have the in depth world of say Northern Lights. For some reason, Stephanie Meyers reminded me of Virginia Andrews who wrote Gothic horror/romance stories in the 1980s. It is the same sort of market. (And I did have a Virginia Andrews stage at one point -- I think my mother would have fainted in horror if she had realised at the time, but there again she did think a lot of what I read was trash...).


I had lots of questions -- questions my daughter assures me are answered in the next few books. For example where does Bella's mother fit into the whole thing. And why is the music important? And what is there about Bella that means her thoughts are hidden and why is she personally so attractive to vampires? Where do the werewolves fit in? And how does Edward being with Bella break the truce?

If I was reading from an adult writer perspective, I would mention the lack of internal conflict. Or rather the lack of sustainable conflict as Bella makes her irrevocable decision to be with Edward early on. The I love you bit comes too early as the saying it does not make matters worse. Stakes should have really been upped for both Edward and Bella at that point. It needs to make matters worse. Equally, there is no real sense of sacrifice in the end. What does Edward give up? What does Bella? In part because we never are Edward's POV, you never get this real sense that he is being pushed to the edge. Also, Bella does not really seem to understand what the stakes are for her, should she give up being human. The ending thus relies more on external conflict and feels slightly flat. You need more than yearning to hold a romance up. Also it would have been helpful to have some of the bad vampire bits foreshadowed earlier (for example had Edward ever hunted with the tracker/did he know him his past?), so there was this sense of menace building. It seems to come from left field as it were.

BUT if I put my adult concerns to one side (and I do try to do that) and read like a reader, it is a fun read and hearkens back to the days when I was a teenager. So it really depends on if you want to pick fault or if you are just going to enjoy. It is very good entertainment for teen aged girls. I suspect boys will be less enthralled.

I will read the next three, probably in the next week or so.
My daughter read the third and most of the fourth yesterday. She has promised to study and did spend an hour on her French yesterday. Bribery and corruption is all.

So read it to see what the fuss about...and if it gets teen aged girls into reading romance so much the better. Read it like a reader, rather than like a writer and you will enjoy it much better.

5 comments:

Biddy said...

I've read the first two and have the third sitting on my shelf. I agree with you from a writer's point of view but she does keep the page turning. I have to say after book 2 I was getting a feeling that Bella was turning into the sort of 'too stupid to live' character.

Michelle Styles said...

Being a page turning read for the targeted market is all that counts for the vast majority of readers. And really bottom line sales show that she hit a chord. And it is a page turn read that holds the targeted market enthralled.

The question then becomes if it didn't work for me - -why, and is there anything I can learn/take away from this that I can put into my own writing. For me, it is wondering why everything went flat just before the baseball game, and I thought -- how many more pages.
My daughter is like -- you need to read the next one to understand and has become a total fan-girl.

Kate Hardy said...

There's sport in it??? Sigh. I had thought about these myself. But if there are pages and pages of sport... (I used to skip the endless Quidditch games in HP, too. I didn't feel they moved the plot forward enough.)

liz fenwick said...

DD has just finished book one and handed it over as she reads book two. I am reading purely because of friend's description of the sexual tention in it. She is such an svid reader that I habve to respect her pov.

Will let you know my thoughts after half term as I am key activity facilitator at the mo :-)

Michelle Styles said...

Kate --
Not too much sport. One scene. No sport in the next book which I finished last night.

Liz -- The sensual tension is well handled but no greater than say a good M&B Romance which of coure has the bedroom door closed. The key is in the little details and the way they notice each other.