Wednesday 1 July 2009

Book Review – Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Series


WARNING – If you have not read this series, reviews of the second and third novels in the series will contain spoilers of the first

I first heard of this book a few years ago in a newspaper article that suggested that it had developed a cult following which certainly piqued my curiosity. Of course this was followed by the film of the book and a ton of hype which made me even keener to take a look.

I managed to get my hands on the first three of the four books and launched into them immediately. Twilight is a romance (usually my least favourite genre as few authors can write romance without making it cheesy and embarrassing) centred on Bella Swan a 17-year old high-school student who has moved to the small, rainy town of Forkes to live with her father and Edward Cullen, a vampire.

The book documents Bella’s move to a small town, her melancholy nature and her efforts to fit into her new school, that is until she meets a stunningly handsome and brilliant student in her school who seems to have an immediate, hostile reaction to her. This upsets and puzzles her until a few days later the same young man warms to her. They develop a friendship that puzzlingly blows hot and cold on Edward’s part until he saves her life by throwing himself between her and a truck, amazingly coming away unscathed leading her to discover that he is a vampire and in love with her.

The dialogue in this book between the two protagonists just sparkles. You are as drawn in by the character of Edward as Bella is and it is very easy to see why these books have such an obsessive following amongst women. Whatever happens in the book and wherever the plot has reached, you wait for the author to take you back to the tender, charged scenes and words between Edward and Bella.

This is rather a compelling read, where the plot is almost secondary to character development. I read the whole novel with a smirk on my face.

New Moon

I was keen to continue the saga of Bella and Edward in this second novel in the series, based on how much I enjoyed the first book. The story here though, takes an unexpected turn. We find that Edward has abandoned Bella, believing her better off without him, leaving her devastated and unable to function. Meyer charts her utter desolation and her gradual return to a semblance of sanity through the help and friendship of Jacob Black, a Native American Quilete youth living on the nearby reservation of La Push.

This second novel is less of a love story and much more of an action novel. We follow Jacob and his community at La Push as they are drawn into the world of vampires. We also find Bella wondering if there is anyway for her to survive without Edward and whether Jacob could become a reason for her to carry on. This is until there is news that Edward might be in trouble and only Bella can help.

I missed the dialogue of the first book in this novel, the love story that kept me hooked was absent for most of this book and I found myself getting distracted, although Jacob Black is a very likeable character.

Meyer’s has been charged with being a poor writer in the past and in this book, that became apparent on many occasions.


I was a little disappointed by the second book in the series, however, seeing that Edward had returned, I had hoped for there to be some redemption in the third instalment.

In this book, Edward and Bella are back together but with new concerns. Bella is wary that she is aging and Edward will forever be seventeen. With this in mind, she asks him to turn her into a vampire too. He is not keen, believing that she has a soul and a chance at attaining heaven, whereas he has neither. He sets the condition that they must marry before he will consider Bella’s request.

We find that the Cullen family have moved back to Forks at the same time as some of the Quilete, including Jacob, are turning into vampire-hunting werewolves (hmmm…). The two groups exist alongside each other due to a long-standing truce and agreement that they stick to their own areas. This is until a series of brutal murders with all of the hallmarks of vampire killings rock the nearby city of Seattle. Edward’s sister, the telepathic Alice Cullen, sees the killers heading their way and vampires and werewolves have to ally themselves with one another in preparation for what promises to be an epic encounter.

As with the other two books, perhaps more so, I was reminded of the writer’s adage “show, don’t tell” – i.e. subtlety over simplistic writing. This book may be for young adults, but that rule still stands (Garth Nix’s Sabriel, for instance, seems to have no problem with this rule). I also got rather fed up of Bella and Edward’s anguished proclamations and especially Bella’s endless whinging.

Having said that, this book was better than the second one. Something I did enjoy was the way Meyer filled in many of the back stories hinted at in the previous novels: the origins of each of the vampires and many of the werewolves are clarified. I have to say though this still wasn’t enough as by the end of the book I was ready to strangle Bella for her miserable whining, Edward for his self-flagellating martyr-complex and Jacob for deluding himself that he can try and replace Edward. It’s almost perverse then that I am looking forward to the fourth instalment in the series, Breaking Dawn, which Kooky says she will get me from the library.


  1. I had to read your review as I will never the books as my sister has made me sick through her hype!! Your review was well balanced - I don't think there will be protests at your door lol lol

  2. Oh yeah, i need to get that booky...

  3. Big Sis's Lil Sis31 July, 2009

    I must admit that I do agree with your comments on all books. However I promise you that once you read book 4 you'll be "smiling with a smirk" again. I have to say book 4 and 1 are my favourites. Book 2 was a bit too depressing for me (I wanted to strangle Bella). I can't wait to see what u think of no 4!!

  4. dr.peppergirl01 October, 2009

    hey if you love these books by stephanie meyer you will really enjoy the books by julie lessman. her newest one is a passion denied. they are so romantic a passion UN deniable it is sure to leave you wanting more. Since receiving this book I have read it 5 times, and believe me every time is worth while with adventure and more. This is a book that you will want to read over and over again. I have never been so blessed in simply reading a romance novel.