Twilight (Twilight #1) by Stephenie Meyer
10-11-11 Edit: Now that I have the page of alphabetical book reviews and it's easier to find these old reviews than it used to be, I feel the need to add caveats. Now that the series is so popular, and given some of the fans, some of the things I said in these reviews make me cringe today. I am not a complete moron. I swear. I have good friends and people I highly respect who loathe the series with an abiding passion. I do not. But I can see why you do. I am not going to defend the series here and now, but I will say that I would have been more cautious and defensive in my praise if I had posted these reviews later than I did.
I really really liked this book. It's romance and suspense, with very very large doses of both. It did have a fault -- the love story seemed too intense, too unrealistic. Even for a teenager, I think. But... I'm not actually quite sure I would change that. Because, given the intensity, given who the characters are, and given the supernatural world, all the consequences are perfect. Once you have all those premises, what follows is extremely realistic, both from a fictional and a nonfictional (is that a word?) perspective. Nonfictionally (heh), certain steps naturally lead to certain results; fictionally, this love creates enough problems for it to work. We don't believe stories where everything goes right, you know. You're allowed to use coincidences to create problems for your characters, but not to solve the problems. When it comes to suspension of disbelief, we have trouble believing things like a perfect love, but throw in enough resulting chaos, and everything feels nice and realistic once again! Sad, but true. A symptom of living in a fallen world, I suppose. Anything true has to address that as well as hope.
And well, I've never fallen in love with a vampire. Maybe it would be that intense. I hate to give away that falling in love with a vampire is part of the story, but I don't think you can read anything about this book without finding that out. And I've already mentioned it to many of you in person. And it's obvious fairly early on, if not stated outright. Anyway, even with the mushiness, it's a delight to read. For one thing, the main character is now one of my favorite fictional characters. She's awesome. She has enough practicality and prose about her to compensate for the romance, and is still nerdy enough for people like me to love her. And then, of course, the suspense will keep you reading. And ok, I'll admit, I enjoyed the romance. Yes, a part of my brain was saying, "This is too unrealistic. I'll have to mention that on my blog." But the other part of me was being a normal woman and enjoying it! Unlike some movies, like Sleepless in Seattle, the couple actually spends time together before the end of the story! Whoa! What a concept! Heh.
Melanie's right and our fascination with vampires is disturbing, but... well, at the very least, this book is much less disturbing than other vampire stories out there. And keep in mind, Melanie, that Dr. Reynolds LOVES Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. It is possible to have a good story about vampires, even one that isn't just about killing them. Twilight may not seem to be in the same category, but this is only the beginning. New Moon and Eclipse, coming up.