Monday, April 07, 2008

Book Reviews: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse

I never in a million years would have thought that I would write a raving review about teenage vampire books, but here I am. Perhaps you have heard of these books: Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse. Apparently they are bestsellers. The last book in the series is Breaking Dawn and it comes out in August. I CAN'T WAIT!

I think that part of the reason I enjoy these books so much is because they are set in Forks, Washington, which is on the Olympic Peninsula for those of you that don't know. A lot of scenes also take place in La Push, and I've been to both places. I love, love, love western Washington so reading about these places that I know and like is pretty cool.

The main character in Twilight is a seventeen year old girl names Isabella (Bella) Swan. Bella has lived her whole life with her mother in Phoenix, but when her mom gets remarried to a professional baseball player who travels a lot, Bella moves to Forks to live with her father, Charlie. In Forks she meets Edward Cullen, an incredibly handsome seventeen year old who is the member of a mysterious family in town, the Cullens. It doesn't take long before Bella discovers that Edward and his family are, in fact, vampires!

But the Cullens are unique vampires. Their patriarch, Carlisle, "created' all of them and taught them to live a "vegetarian" lifestyle, which essentially means that they don't drink human blood, only animal blood. They still crave human blood, and as it turns out, Edward happens to crave Bella's blood even more than the average person. Which makes the fact that they fall in love with each other pretty interesting...

But there are other bad vampires out there in the world and when three of them wander into Forks and find Bella hanging out with the Cullens, they're intrigued. And one of them wants Bella. How far will the Edward and his family go to protect Bella, and will it be enough? Ooooohhhh....

New Moon picks up a few months after where Twilight leaves off. This is actually my favorite of the three books that are out so far. Without giving too much away, I will say that there are some really interesting plot twists that occur in this book and that set up the rest of the series. Specifically worth mentioning is Jacob Black, a family friend of Bella's who is a sixteen year old member of the Quileute Indian Tribe in La Push. Tribal legend has told of members who turn into werewolves when vampires are around the community, as well of an ancient treaty between the tribe and the "vegetarian" vampires (i.e., the Cullens). Well, turns out the legends are true! And young Jacob turns into a werewolf, the mortal enemy of the vampires. How is Bella supposed to handle the feud between her true love, Edward, and her best friend, Jacob? Ooooohhhh.... (Tons of other important stuff happens, but I don't to give it away.)

Now we get to Eclipse, the most recently published book. This book is hard to describe without giving too much away about New Moon. There are things about Eclipse that makes me not like it as much as the other two books, but at the same time Meyer does some stuff here that is pretty intriguing. I didn't like what she did, but you know, sometimes your characters have a life of their own and a writer can't really control it. Maybe Meyer planned it all out, but there's a part of me that thinks that a natural progression occurred beyond her control. Let's just say that things get pretty complicated for Bella here. Vampires, werewolves, true love... that's a lot for an eighteen year old to handle.

I can't say why I like these books so much. It's not the vampires because I'm still pretty ambivalent about vampires, but Meyer is just a good storyteller. I care about these characters and feel like I'm a part of their lives. And she's set things up so that there is a really compelling story going on here (partly because Edward is going to be seventeen forever and Bella is... not. Can you tell where this is going?) I don't know how she is going to wrap all of this up in Breaking Dawn but I already feel like she can go a number of different ways and still have it be satisfying.

My one little gripe about these books has to do with the romantic relationship between Bella and Edward, and especially the developments in New Moon. I understand that they love each other and all that, but look, I've been seventeen and in love, too. I too was convinced that it was going to be forever, but as it turns out, it wasn't. There's a part of me that is concerned about the message that these books send about teenage relationships, but I'm trying to ignore that because, well, one of the teenagers is a vampire that was born in 1901, so he's been around the block. Maybe it's possible to fall eternally in love when you're seventeen if the person you fall in love with is a vampire, because really, that's a pretty special circumstance. And heck, I'd be in love with Edward Cullen, too.

I am really getting into Young Adult books, now, I don't know why. I kind of think that I have a Peter Pan complex, though. Young Adult books, High School Musical movies and music, teeny-bopper films, The Disney Channel shows... What's wrong with me?


Anonymous said...

I love these books too! I just finished reading The Host. My review is here:

If you liked the Twilight series, you'll like this book.

RoxxFox said...

Well you’re definitely not too old for these books. I’m 27 and my mother-in-law who got me hooked on the series is 49!

It is a timeless story that appeals to all ages (especially women). The irresistible mysticism and magic that surrounds the story and it’s characters appeals to that little part in every on of us that secretly want a magnetic, passionate force that pulls us into their world. We all secretly hope we are the favorite flavor of an “Edward” waiting in the shadows.

To me, it is far more than a “teen” book. It is an exploration into the boundaries of “human” nature and what lies beyond those boundaries.

Anonymous said...

I absolutly love twilght I have just started reading new moon and started crying when Edward left Bella that was so sad and he did it so unemotionaly which made it even more sad.

Anonymous said...

I would have to say this book is probably a five star rating. The Twilight Saga is amazing and Stephanie Myers exhibits much passion and love in her writing. This series is famous. It's plain to see. At the beginning when Bella and Edward part because he thinks it is best, the reader feels deeply saddened because there is so much love between Bella and Edward. As Bella kind of turns to Jacob in the story, all you want to say is "NO NO NO." It's obvious that Edward and Bella are meant to be together. Every relationship has its twists and turns, but what they have is so real and they can make it out great. Throughout the story Bella makes some dangerous decisions and places her life in danger just to hear Edward tell her not too. After she takes it to far and jumps off the cliff and Edwards sister sees her, she reports to Rosalie, Edward's other sister, that she had jumped and possibly kills herself; Edward goes to the Volturi, the royal family and law persecuters of the vampire kind, and tries to kill himself just to be with her. Stephanie Myers compares her writing in the book many times with Romeo and Juliet. Which I agree there is so much love just like that story. The book is overall a great story and I would reccomend the series to all readers everywhere!

Bee said...

I wouldn't worry about the getting hooked on YA Fiction books, I'm 32 and am having the same issue. It never helps that the young adult section of Borders is chock full of supernatural romances, a la Twilight, and they have these beautiful covers that draw the eye. I have read a LOT of YA Fiction in the past few months (thank goodness for Amazon or I would have to pretend to have a teenage daughter every time I'm in the bookstore) and I could recommend some pretty good reads if you liked Twilight.