Re-post from the Cowboy Logic Forum – Recommended Reading topic – Nov. 12, 2008

I finally succumbed to peer pressure and read “Twilight“…here are my comments.

Before picking up this book, make sure you have a loved one available to take care of your personal needs…

They will need to make sure you get enough fluids.

They will have to arrange for you to recieve three square meals a day.

It will be necessary for them to take the book away from you at bedtime, so that you will get enough sleep to function.

A person can starve to death reading “Twilight“—it is impossible to put down.  The children will howl about how hungry they are and you will walk to the ‘fridge, open it, point, and walk away.  All while still reading.

My adult daughters warned me, and I didn’t listen.  I took two Satirica bookmarks and wrote a “B” on one of them and a “J” (for Julie, my wife) on the other.  I managed to squeeze in about 30 pages, on and off, while her and I took turns for three days.  We dared not set it down because the other would snatch it up and not give it back.  Once she finally finished reading it, I got nothing else done for two days.

I vowed to catch up on all the things that I am responsible for before I start in on “New Moon“.

I’ve already read the first two chapters.

I’m hopeless.

Nov. 13, 2008

On rethinking this, perhaps I should offer a more detailed review. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers here.

Twilight is another one of those novels that, while it may be appropriate for older teens and written for young adults, it is entertaining for adults as well.  It is categorized as a young adult novel.  It is also a quick and easy read.

The POV in the story is Bella, 17, who has a dangerous love affair with a badboy.  In this case the badboy in question is a mostly-reformed vampire.  It is not the typical vampire story in that this book is a romance novel with vampires, not a vampire novel with romance.  The book is riveting, as I commented earlier, with the low-level tension and suspense rarely giving the reader room to breath, and it sometimes pulls moisture from the reader’s eyes.  The higher-level action flushes the reader and makes the heart race.

Even though it takes a while for Bella to realize the true nature of her boyfriend, Edward, it seems obvious, from the book’s synopsis, that the author wants the reader to be aware of the fact upfront.  However, that knowledge doesn’t seem to spoil any suspense for the reader, since there are plenty of other uncertainties to keep people guessing.

The story is told from first-person POV and the character telling the story is alert, interesting, and witty.  This is part of the lure that keeps the reader present—it is a lot of fun listening to Bella talk. She is cynical, but she doesn’t share her innermost thoughts, feelings, and fears with those she encounters in the story (until she gets closer to Edward), but she does share them with the reader, often through sarcasim.

One thing more you might want to know upfront. The author, Stephanie Meyer, is a Mormon, like Orson Scott Card and myself. She does not preach her religion in the book, but she does follow certain standards with regard to content that some readers of Card’s or my work may have noticed.  I seem to recall that Card teaches in his classes, and mentions in his book “How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy” that profanity is a powerful tool, to be used only carefully and with purpose.  I believe in this, and so, apparently, does Stephanie Meyers.  You will find the same level of profanity in Twilight, less in fact, that you can expect to find in mine or Card’s stories.

Sexual content is another matter.  Twilight is a romance novel, and so the Twilight world does not completely ignore sex as a topic.  It does, however, refrain from covering it in any level of detail and flat refuses to condone teens engaging in it.  It also deals with passion at another level that I would have to place under spoiler alert to discuss properly.

All in all, I enjoyed the book tremendously and recommend it to young and old alike.  If you are an aspiring spec-fic author like myself, or if you plan to write romance novels, this is a very useful and educational book for refining your craft.  Vampire stories in general, and vampire-human romance stories in particular, are seen by some as over-covered.  But Twilight applies a new and fresh approach to the idea and does it very skillfully.

I have placed the entire series firmly on my list of books that are worth taking a break from my novel to read, however I will take my time doing so, with long gaps in between each of them.  I am on too tight of a schedule to frequently shut-down my life to read a book, and I anticipate that the rest of the novels in the Twilight series will engage me too deeply to get anything else done, just as Twilight did.

~ by Bill Housley on December 10, 2008.

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