Twilight (Twilight, Book 1) by Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers (2005)
audiobook narrated by Ilyana Kadushin
Once again I decide to find out what these whacky kids are reading these days and I find that there is a new series of books that features mythical beasts and adventure. This series is the "Twilight" series by Stephenie Meyer. The series just recently ended? with book 4 "Breaking Dawn" and a movie based on book 1. With the movie soon to be released I had to check this one out. I've always been a fan of vampires and when I heard this series featured vampires and shapeshifters that just added the oomph to the idea.
The general idea in the book is that it is adolescent romantic fiction featuring vampires. The last series featuring mythical creatures that captured the reading youth didn't have any vampires, or romance for that matter, but wizards and werewolves and others, that series was the "Harry Potter" series. This book focuses on the vampires and romance, that is missing in teens lives. Together vampires and romance have always been tied together. Bram Stoker's "Dracula" the first major book of vampires was very romantic in nature and Anne Rice's vampires are pretty much nothing but romance. But don't let that deter you...in case you're one that thinks romance is for saps. After all the whole premise of vampires is the romance. With "Twilight" we follow the adventures of Bella as she finds love in the small town of Forks, Washington. The problem is the person she's in love with is a vampire.
Bella has just moved in with her dad for her senior year in High School and goes through the typical high school traumas of trying to fit in and finding a sense of self. Forks is a small town and seems to have some secrets. One of those secrets is the Cullen "family." Dr. Cullen is said to be a very talented doctor and his wife have 5 adopted children. The "children" all seem to be normal teens, except they possess exceptional beauty and grace. Edward Cullen is the one that captures Bella's eye but when she is seated at his lab table in Biology class he acts as if she repulses him.
Not understanding what she did to offend him, Bella finds their paths constantly crossing. One such crossing is on a snowy winter day when a van driven by a fellow student nearly crashes into her. The crash should have been instant death for Bella, but out of nowhere Edward whisks her out of the way. Looking back at the van Bella notices a nice hand sized dent in the van, and at the same time wonders where Edward came from, and most of all why did he save her?
As the story progresses the love between Edward and Bella grows to the point that it the reader knows it was MEANT to be. But a human in love with a vampire can lead to problems. Especially when 3 rogue vampires come to Forks and decide to hunt down Bella. Bella makes her escape but with a "tracker" vampire that is only a fleeting escape. At this point without giving too much away, I have to admit the final battle is pretty much non-climactic. However the information and the story continues and is a very nice opening book to the series.
The author, Stephenie Meyer, does change some of the mythos behind vampires, as do all writers of vampire fiction. The big issue is that vampires can come out in the day. However, in the Olympic Peninsula town of Forks sunny days are rare so there's still some mystery there. The vampires do still feed on blood, but the Cullen family are "vegetarian vampires," feeding only on animals and not humans, great for keeping the deer and mountain lion population down. The temptation to hunt humans still lingers, keeping an edge to this story.
So go out and read what the "kids" are reading, and enjoy a fun romp through a vampire high school. If you are a listener of audio books the reader is Ilyana Kadushin, and as the story is told from Bella's point of view, Ilyana's voice sounds just as you'd imagine Bella to sound.