The Armchair Critic

(Pretending to know everything)

11/12/2008

Twilight Series

Posted by Lee i.

It's been awhile since I've read a book that practically compels me to write a review about it. Or in this case, them. Not that there's been a dearth of books worth reviewing. Quite the contrary. It's just that there's never been so much buzz generated by a series of books since Harry Potter. If there were, I must be more out of touch than I initially thought.

Case in point. I have never heard of Twilight until Candy started raving about it about two weeks ago. The first book in the series, Twilight, first appeared in 2005. I must have been hiding under a rock, or (wishful thinking) in a forest in rainy, gloomy, Forks, Washington.

The Twilight series tell the story of sixteen year old human Bella Swan and eternally seventeen Edward Cullen, a vampire. I had a surfeit vampires with Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, so I was a bit hesitant to read the books. Not another vampire story... Another thing that made me hesitate is the fact that the books are targeted towards young adults. Goodness, I have a son who is almost in that age range. How could I possibly relate to a human-vampire teenage love affair?

Well, I was a teenager once. And Twilight is not really about vampires.

Twilight is about relationships. Bella's connection with her estranged father, her relationship with her childlike mother, and yes, her involvement with Edward. About 3/4 of the book explores those. There is no vampire action until towards the end of the book. But the lack of action does not mean boring. It is sweet, exciting, revealing, full of angst. Suddenly, I was a teenager again - wondering if the boy I liked liked me back. Wondering what he was thinking.
It just felt so wonderful to be high school again when the most complicated thing was you being afraid your boyfriend and his family might bite you. The author, Stephenie Meyers may have been trapped in a body of a high school junior as she perfectly tells the story of young forbidden love through Bella's voice. While some people think the some parts of the book are cheesy, look at it from a teenager's point of view. You'd be waxing lyrical, too. Then you'd understand the book's appeal.

Twilight creates its own vampire myths slightly different from Anne Rice's. The vampires here are still dangerous but more alive and human than not. In this book at least, Edward's being a vampire is just incidental. Sometimes you forget that he is a vampire. Take away his immortality, super powers and the fact that he is "dazzling", and he is just your regular guy next door. You are wrapped up too much in the story that everything and anything is possible. Even a lover like Edward Cullen. Sigh. Don't get me started there. :-)

I won't recommend Twilight to my 10 year old DS just yet. Although he's expressed interest to read it, I am not sure he's mature enough to handle the love story. Not when his last read was The Spiderwick Chronicles. While the book is "clean" - no swearing, no passionate kissing scenes - I'm sure the beauty of the relationships would be lost on him and all he will be able to say is "Eeeek..."

With all the hype and the buzz, Twilight does not disappoint. Just let yourself go. I did. And not only did I enjoy the books, I love discussing it with friends. It's been a long time since I've had the pleasure of trading book notes with anyone else. If only for that chance at active interaction, I'd read the series again...and again.

8 comments:

tnapay said...

oooohhh wow, lee. great review. and the series is a must read. will link this to my blog. i would love to have twilight non-readers to check your review and be enticed into reading the books (and see the movie too). am so excited. kakakilig talaga ang storya. :)

Liezl said...

Bru, laki ng problema ko ha, I have started reading it (as promised) and yes, feeling ko HS ulit ako, to the point na nanaginip na ko having a crush to somebody na super kilig ako nung pansinin ako. hahaha I cant work seriously kse nabibitin ako pag bitaw na ko sa pagbabasa. I asked DH when sya punta Mla, n he asked y? ano papabili mo? hehehe I want the 3 books pa. My DD is so excited pag pinagkukwentuhan namin pero dapat di lalampas sa nabasa ko na. hahaha

Alby said...

I keep blaming you Lee for getting me hooked. This time around, I want to thank you. When I read the last Harry Potter book, I felt kinda sad that there might not be another title that will keep me glued reading through the wee hours of the morning or get me to eagerly anticipate the next book. So Twilight it is. The good thing is that I started a few years too late so there are now four books - and I now own all of them (thanks to my very own Edward Cullen - whose name happens to be Ariel), and I am halfway through the second book. The sad news is that I know I'll be done before weekend so I will again be left eagerly wanting more. But hey, I can always re-read the entire series. I've already read Twilight twice - once very quickly, and once very slowly, savoring every word, pausing, now and then, to create a vivid mental picture. Sigh. And When I'm not reading, like right now, I am daydreaming. You are definitely right, it's high school all over again. :D

Candy said...

So true, ladies!!! I'm an incurable romantic. Books such as these remind me of eons ago, of another life. I too am "obsessed" (hubby's words, not mine) to the point that I've read and reread everything at least twice, with Twilight at least thrice pa! I started reading this because my gr.6 students started reading this and several parents have asked me if this was something they should allow their kids to read. Of course, front lang iyon. Hehehe. I got immediately hooked into it, just like the kids. Of course, they're dreaming of their own Edwards pa, always in a hurry to grow up. Actually, this is a good springboard for us to talk about in our Puberty Class, esp. on relationships!

Liezl said...

Hello! I'm done reading (twilight) , and will start re-reading every lines. hehehe My DH have no choice but to read it also. He wants to find out why I'm so obsessed. Can't wait to have the next 3. sigh! Layo ng LB eh, sa weekend pa ata makakapunta Mla.

scrapgurl said...

I'm not yet done with New Moon. No time to read eh. Really enjoyed book 1.

Grabe naiyak ako when Edward left Bella in the woods...

tnapay said...

hay naku cel. i tell you, humahagulgol ako while reading new moon. ang sakit kse. lol. anyway, you girsl might want to read midnight sun. edward's version to twilight. bitin nga lang but you will definitely appreciate getting in edwards's mind. :)

kaka addict noh? hihihi

Liaa said...

Lee,tama ka. In order to appreciate the book, you have to let go of yourself. Whether you're a teenage or someone who has a teenager, I think everyone should get a chance to experience the Twilight series. I've encouraged most of my colleagues to read the series parang library yung office pag lunch time, everyone's holding a book. I love everything about Twilight.