Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

I had turned up my nose at these books for a long time. The kids in the school I teach in were reading it, the posters and books stared at me every bookshop I went to. I tend to be suspicious of popular bestsellers. Sorry to say, but many bestsellers are um... crappy.

But I fell in love with the movie Twilight. It made me 'phase' into a different world, a lovely, impossible world of escape. A world with gorgeous vampires who have found an alternative diet to human blood, and who treat humans charmingly. Still, I didn't think I would have to suffer the book. I had looked at the first few pages, and didn't like the writing. Then, I watched New Moon. I continued to like the story and characters. My bibliophile friends recommended the books. If I liked the movies, I'd enjoy the books better, they said.

So I read the books. One by one, all four of them. Twilight - sets the premise, introduces the characters, the vampires and humans, some of the dangers. Good stuff. New Moon - a little too mushy in parts, the writing slips and slides lazily through the first half. We meet the werewolves, and the vampire romance gets complicated, the book saved by the second half. Eclipse - The romance reaches the peak of difficulty but the characters also develop more. This book is better than New Moon. (Haven't watched the movie yet)

And then, Breaking Dawn. The final book in the saga. The final book always has a big responsibility--it has to tie up loose ends, it has to be worth the preceding books in the scenario and challenges it presents, and it has to provide bonuses to sweeten it all. This book does it all. There are a couple of major bits that are initially hard to accept, but Meyer weaves these so essentially into the plot that we accept and read on. Courageous of her, I must say.

I'm convinced. Stephenie Meyer is a tremendous writer. Like Rowling. Different target audiences, but both are powerful plotters, create characters that readers will love. Any writer who can pull off a series or saga like this, culminating in a satisfying, super-exciting final book, is bloody darned good at her work.

Don't get me wrong, these books are not 'literature' - but they're excellent books to escape into. Meyer's one character, Edward Cullen, could become one of the most unforgettable and beloved characters in fiction. He wears Robert Pattinson's face in the films, but readers would do well to remember that Pattinson is not Edward--no real man could ever be him. Pattinson merely plays this character beautifully. As does Kristen Stewart for Bella Swan, the human in the romance.

Well done, Stephenie! I may try The Host some day.


Samprita said...

hey Hash,

Enjoyed reading your review. Very well described and I totally second what you've said.. :)

Let us know what you think of "the Host" if and when you read it!

Roopa Banerjee said...

I haven't read any of Stephenie Meyer books. Despite some friends having recommended these. Your review was very good. Concise and non-gushing.Made me want to read these books finally.Will do so:)Thanks for throwing a spotlight on agenre I dont usually read.

Deepika said...

nice review:)...and i have enjoyed reading every book in the twilight saga.:) waiting to read "the host"

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, Hash, I really struggled with the first book. I was determined to read it and finish it mainly to see what the fuss was about. I still can’t understand its appeal very well, to be honest. The writing is really awful. Anyway I’ve stayed away after the first book. I’ve watched a couple of the movies on TV, and only survived those because of Robert Pattinson!