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I first heard of Twilight last summer, but thought nothing of it. Over the following couple of months, I kept hearing it mentioned on various forums and websites, and so my curiosity was piqued. But did I really want to read a stereotypical vampire love story? Well, the answer was yes. The genre is one that I have never really explored before, andso I was intrigued not only by the summary, but by the reviews I'd read of the book.
"About three things I was absolutely positive.
First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him - and I didn't know how dominant that part might be - that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him."
It's true that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I feel that I have to mention something about the cover here, or rather, the UK cover. If you see this book in an English bookshop, it will more than likely show a large-nosed, black-haired girl on the cover, which is a pinkish-grey colour. More than enough to put anyone off.
However, the US cover of this book is beautiful and very symbolic of the tale - a red apple being held out by cupped hands, which is perhaps meant to represent forbidden temptation. I would recommend, if you are bothered by such things as book covers, to try and obtain a US copy of the book rather than the UK version.
**Plot** (Minor spoilers)
Seventeen-year-old Bella Swann has just moved to the town of Forks to live with her Dad. The town is unfamiliar, and to Bella, unfriendly. She's enrolled at the local school, and on the first day makes some tentative friends, but at the same time is intrigued by the astoundingly good-looking Edward Cullen, and his family.
He seems to take an instant dislike to her, and Bella is determined to find out why. Eventually it is revealed that Edward, and his family, are vampires, who have until now, kept their true identity a secret from everyone else in the town of Forks. Bella and Edward fall deeply in love, and this is a tale of passion, forbidden romance and adventure, as they must fight a group of renegade vampires determined to capture Bella.
If you read Twilight, it is almost guaranteed that you will fall in love with Edward Cullen. Despite being a vampire, he is, in every other aspect, the perfect man. Good looking, chivalrous, wealthy...the works.
Bella Swann is the perfect anti-heroine. She's clumsy, constantly getting into accidents, and is so achingly normal that you wonder why Edward is so fascinated with her.
The two central characters are ones that will stick with you for a long time after finishing the book, and you really feel for them in their plight and search for love throughout the book.
As well as Edward and Bella, there's a supporting cast made up of Edward's family, Bella's Father, friends from school, and the intriguing Quileutes from the LaPush reservation.
Edward's family are wonderful, and not at all three-dimensional as some side-characters can be. They each have their own backstory, and this goes a long way to making them believable.
If you are familiar with the fandom term "Mary-Sue", then I believe it is fair to say that Bella's schoolfriends fall under this category. There's not too much to be said on them, but they serve their purpose in the story.
The Quileutes don't quite come into their own in this book, however we briefly meet the young and eager Jacob Black, who takes a shine to Bella. It's important that you remember Jacob though, as he appears prominently in the sequel, 'New Moon'.
**The Vampire Genre**
I know that a lot of people have been put off reading Meyer's novels because they don't want to read a book set in the vampire genre. However, Meyer turns the genre on its head by giving us vampire's that are not bloodthirsty demons, and showing us another side to vampire mythology.
Meyer's vampires are astoundingly beautiful, with iridescent skin and amber eyes. They feed only on the blood of animals, and never humans, and their skin is cold and hard to the touch. They don't sleep in coffins - in fact, they don't sleep - and they can venture out in the daylight.
The very fact that Meyer has subverted the stereotypical vampire is one of the things that makes this book, and its sequel, so very irresistable.
**The Twilight Phenomenon**
The book has received critical acclaim since its publication in 2005, including reaching #5 on the New York Times Bestseller List, and being named in the Top Ten Books for Young Adults.
Not only that, but an online fandom has sprung up, with millions of fans worldwide combining ideas and theories on forums, and writing Twilight based fanfiction. One such website, The Twilight Lexicon, is even in personal correspondance with Stephenie, and has several very interesting Q&A sessions with the author. That site can be reached at www.twilightlexicon.com
The series has also caused a stir across bookshops in America, with a series of Twilight proms being held simultaneously this past month. The Twilight phenomenon and fandom looks set to grow even more with the release of Eclipse in August.
**Sequels & Extras**
There is currently one published sequel to the book, 'New Moon'. A third book in the series is set to be published on 7th August 2007, and will be entitled 'Eclipse'. I believe there will be at least one more book after that, if not more.
However, as an author, Stephenie is very forthcoming about providing her readers with a LOT of extras, and coming from the Harry Potter fandom, that is a treat indeed! On her website, Meyer has posted cut scenes and outtakes from both Twilight and New Moon, as well as the first chapter of a book called 'Midnight Sun', which is Twilight from the perspective of Edward. Her website can be found at www.stepheniemeyer.com
Pages: 464 Author: Stephenie Meyer Sequels: "New Moon" and soon to be released "Eclipse" Price: £6.99 (RRP)
At its heart, Twilight is a stunningly beautiful and well-crafted novel. It's astounding to think that this is Meyer's first book, as it is so well written, and has such an amazing plot.
As I mentioned before, she definitely goes against the Vampire-novel grain, and so if you have apprehensions about that, there is no need! The book is also billed as a Young Adult novel, and again that might put some people off. Don't be though - my Mum has read and loved this book!
You will fall in love with the characters, most notably the elegant and beautiful Cullens, and you will want to be Bella (if you are a girl, that is!)
If my review has convinced you to read this book, then I can only offer you one piece of advice: order New Moon (the sequel) at the same time! I didn't, and was on pins and needles whilst I waited for it to be delivered, before devouring the book in one sitting.
If you only read one book this year - make it Twilight.