Author: Stephenie Meyer.
Genre: Fiction, fantasy, vampire fiction, romance, YA, teen.
Publication Date: October 5, 2005.
Summary: Isabella Swan's move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife - between desire and danger.
My rating: 3.5/10.
My review: This book is not only horrible, it's extremely dangerous, because, unlike the Harlequin Romances of back-in-the-day, which at least targeted house-wives (aka adults) with developed critical thinking skills, this book glamorizes abusive, co-dependent relationships, and lack of any self-reliance, to young women. I can confidently say that I consider it bad parenting for any parent to hand a book like this to an impressionable young woman who may not have the life experience yet to know that no matter how gorgeous a boy is, if before you even know each other he sneaks into your room and watches you sleep every night, that is not romantic, nor does such behaviour have anything to do with like or love of any kind.
Bella is a Mary Sue. A Mary Sue is usually defined by the following - she is usually "plain" or "ordinary" by self-proclamation, yet most male characters are inexplicably attracted to her; she is almost always clumsy, shy, awkward, and/or any other such "endearing" qualities; she is involved in a love triangle with two highly attractive and sought-after men, one of whom is usually the archetype of a brooding, tortured, tough "bad boy" who is in some way healed by the heroine's love, while the other is a more typically caring, gentle, and friend-like. It sounds like I'm describing the book specifically, but I'm not. Dozens of fan fiction sites have thousands of first stories by 14-year-olds that read exactly like Twilight. Edward, on the other hand, is some kind of anti-social, sick psychopath that treats Bella like absolute dirt - though he says a lot of highfalutin love phrases about how she is his life now, he also continuously reminds her that he could (and wants to) kill her (anytime!), that she is weak and inept, that she is less smart. Their relationship is probably the most chilling aspect of this book, more chilling still because it paints it as love. One of the last scenes in the book, where Bella begs Edward not to make her go to the prom, and cries, and he leans in close and tells her that she will do it, for him, reads more like a scene from a horror or a thriller, not a teen romance at a happy end.
The last quote I isolated below, I believe, describes this book perfectly, although I don't think that was the author's intention. When Edward tells Bella that he is her prisoner, and she remarks that as he says it, it's his hands going around her wrists, it illustrates a pretty typical dynamic in abusive relationships. One partner saying that he is under the other's spell to make his obsession or fixation sound romantic and justifiable, meanwhile being completely in very dominant control of the whole situation.
♥ "I decided as long as I was going to hell, I might as well do it thoroughly."
♥ Here in the trees it was much easier to believe the absurdities that embarrassed me indoors. Nothing had changed in this forest for thousands of years, and all the myths and legends of a hundred different lands seemed much more likely in this green haze than they had in my clear-cut bedroom.
♥ "How old are you?"
"Seventeen," he answered promptly.
"And how long have you been seventeen?"
His lips twitched as he stared at the road. "A while," he admitted at last.
♥ About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was part of him - and I didn't know how potent that part might be - that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.
♥ "It's twilight," Edward murmured, looking at the western horizon, obscured as it was with clouds. His voice was thoughtful, as if his mind were somewhere far away. I stared at him as he gazed unseeingly out the windshield.
I was still staring when his eyes suddenly shifted back to mine.
"It's the safest time of day for us," he said, answering the unspoken question in my eyes. "The easiest time. But also the saddest, in a way... the end of another day, the return of night. Darkness is so predictable, don't you think?"
♥ "Yes, you are exactly my brand of heroin."
♥ "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb...," he murmured. I looked away, hiding my eyes as I thrilled to the word.
"What a stupid lamb," I sighed.
"What a sick, masochistic lion."
☠♥☠ "If I'm away from you for any length of time, I'll have to start over again. Not quite from scratch, though, I think."
"Don't go away, then," I responded, unable to hide the longing in my voice.
"That suits me," he replied, his face relaxing into a gentle smile. "Bring on the shackles - I'm your prisoner." But his long hands formed manacles around my wrists as he spoke.