10 March 2011

Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer

Thoughts and Reflections
Yes, I admit it, I read the Twilight series... Let me explain myself. I became interesting in reading the series last autumn. I had heard that the language in the novels was incredibly simple, repetitive, and without too many words specific to vampires or the supernatural. As such, I decided to use the novels to improve my Russian language skills. I read the first 3 books in Russian and was pleased at how easily I could read them, whilst still expanding my language skills. The fourth book I read in English. Its plot was a bit more convoluted and I found I was a bit confused reading it in Russian, so switched to the English (for now). I also admit, however, that I was curious about the books. I have a personal weakness for cult fiction and was very interested to find out what it was about these books that was so captivating, especially considering that the language is so simple and uninteresting... And then, somewhere in all its simplicity, I found myself caught up in the plot. I wasn't going to admit that I had read these books to anyone except my nearest and dearest, but the speed in which I read the fourth book (750 page book read in 3 days!) made me think that this book might actually have something to it worth writing about... 

Each book walks the reader through a rather captivating adventure. I wont go through each one or each novels respective themes. The themes of this book are a mixed bag, mostly insignificant or uninteresting, some disturbing. Themes of family and the importance of marriage, etc. were consistent throughout the book. The main theme and point of the novels is the relationship between Bella, the protagonist, and Edward, a vampire and her lover. Their relationship is both thrilling, but also disturbing. I would describe it as an obsessive relationship. The relationship is almost animal in nature, attraction being a scent and personalities being nearly forgotten, initially anyway. In the book, this relationship turns out to be quite positive, but the fact that the obsessive nature of this relationship has been so unquestioningly accepted by the books young readers, makes me worry a bit about youth today... I wouldn't want any young girls today thinking a stalker is really a charming vampire ready to sweep them off their feet with love and adventures...

I could see why teenage girls especially would enjoy this novel. Basically, it is a contemporary and fantastic Cinderella story. A very average girl walks into a very average town and meets the supernatural: vampires, shape shifters, etc. Not only that, but she finds the love of her live and experiences great adventures with him. Adds a bit of spark to the humdrum, I suppose.

To be honest, there isn't a tonne to say about these books. I enjoyed reading them and certainly found them captivating. I was periodically frustrated at the poor grammar, uninteresting language, or a misused word. However, the simplicity of the language allows the reader to read it quickly, focusing more on the plot than the language... which is the point, I suppose. All in all, a decently entertaining read. I may have sacrificed a few brain cells to read the series, but I enjoyed them. I'm still a bit shocked that I'm admitting reading them, though...

Brief Synopsis
This is the story of Bella, a very average teenage girl, who moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father. There, she meets Edward, a vampire, and his family. She quickly falls in love with Edward, who is also in love with her. He is torn between his love for her and his desire to suck her blood. However, his love for her wins out and they fall deeply in love and embark on a number of wild and life threatening adventures. At last, at the end of the fourth novel, they manage to settle into a life together.

About the Author
Stephanie Meyer was born in 1973 in the Connecticut and grew up in Phoenix, Arizona.  She attended Brigham Young University in Utah, graduating with an English Bachelor's degree in 1997. Meyer is a Mormon, which is thought to be the reason behind her fairly conservative themes throughout the novel. She currently lives in Phoenix with her husband and 3 sons. The Twilight Saga are her first published works, being published between 2005 and 2008. The books are also being made into films, the last of which will be released in 2012.

Things I Liked About this Novel:
1. The entertainment value. I'll admit, I was caught up in the plot.
2. Bella. I enjoyed how average she was. I can see how so many teenage girls could relate to her.
3. The setting. What can I say, I'm a sucker for the West Coast. Perhaps having lived on Canadian West Coast for many years helped develop the setting in my mind. Such a pretty place.

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