Author: Stephenie Meyer
(this is one of the prettiest covers I have ever seen)
Review Number: 11
Genre: Paranormal/Young Adult/Romance
Stand alone or series: The first in a series. Followed so far by New Moon and Eclipse. Breaking the Dawn is in the works.
Summary: Amazon.co.uk says When 17 year old Isabella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father she expects that her new life will be as dull as the town. But in spite of her awkward manner and low expectations, she finds that her new classmates are drawn to this pale, dark-haired new girl in town. But not, it seems, the Cullen family. These five adopted brothers and sisters obviously prefer their own company and will make no exception for Bella. Bella is convinced that Edward Cullen in particular hates her, but she feels a strange attraction to him, although his hostility makes her feel almost physically ill. He seems determined to push her away until, that is, he saves her life from an out of control car. Bella will soon discover that there is a very good reason for Edward’s coldness. He, and his family, are vampires and he knows how dangerous it is for others to get too close.
Why did I read the book: Thea has been trying to get me to read this series for months now.
Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with my brain when I am clearly controlled by my heart – and other parts of my body as well.
My brain tells me that this is a Young Adult book and therefore deals with stuff way behind the level of maturity I should be reading; that I shouldn’t relate to any of the characters at all as they are so much younger than me; and most of all it tells me that the story is not even a very original story. I mean, if you look at the basics – teenage girl who moves to a small town to live with one parent and falls in love with a vampire who is bad-good and doesn’t drink from humans and muchos angst ensues. I’ve seen that before and it was called Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Well, it turns out that all it takes to shut my brain down is a clever writer who comes up with a narrative that captivates, a heroine who is a clever analytical, down to earth human being and a man/boy who is everything any girl or should I say, any woman would want. So, there I was, reading page after page, convulsively, without being able to put the book down. Completely sucked in and thinking of excuses not to go to work so I could finish the story:
Bella Swan moves in with her father in small town Forks where she must go to high school. There she meets this guy, Edward Cullen, who is gorgeous and mysterious and seems to dislike her at first sight. She doesn’t understand why until his attitude towards her starts to change and he gets a bit friendlier. One day, he saves her from being crushed by a car in a way that makes her think that he is not a normal human – he moves way too fast and as he shields her with his back, a dent is left in the car. She starts to wonder what he could possibly be. One day she is at the beach with her friends and a guy named Jacob Black ( I need to mention him here because it seems his role in the sequels is quite big) who belongs to a native American tribe tells her a legend about Vampires and mentions Edward and his family, who seem to be vampires that do not drink blood from humans.
By this point, feelings have evolved quite a bit between Bella and Edward. He is always around now trying to keep her safe, as clumsy Bella is prone to accidents. And she realises that it doesn’t matter to her what he is. In a chapter that I particularly found amazing, Bella goes through her mind and her feelings and ANALYSES them in a very grown up way. She is in other words, a teenager who is very tuned with what she wants and why. Edward tries to keep her away for he thinks he is dangerous to her but he fails. He is completely attracted to her in different ways. He wants her as a man, but also the scent of her blood is the most alluring thing that he has ever come across in his century old life, which means that they can never share more than a few kisses. He cannot take the chance of losing control.
We only know this when he tells her, though, (in a much-expected conversation) for Bella narrates the story and everything is from her point of view. That worked really really well for me. There is not an omnipresent narrator, which would allow us to see everyone’s point of view; we are stuck with Bella. So we must follow her, and discover along with her all the mystery concerning Edward and the rules that he lives by – is he really that fast and strong? How come he walks in the sun? Where does he sleep? -, learn with her about his family and how each of them has a different skill. Edward for instance, can read minds – but not hers, which is also another thing that fascinates him about her.
And fascinating is the key word here. You go along the book, feeling Bella’s embarrassment at her clumsy ways, her surprise at the new discoveries, and the fascination that she feels for Edward. Most of the book is about their relationship – this is a love story at its purest form, of two people that are so in love and in need of each other than I can’t help being fascinated by them.
There are also other things which underline their relationship that I am hoping will be explored in the sequels: Are they really meant to be together? Is it their destiny or their future can be changed based on their choices? If they are supposed to be together, what does it mean for them?
I am interested in seeing what will Stephenie Meyer’s choice be in her next books – their love story can not work as it is – there is no future for a human and a vampire. It is an impossible situation, as Bella will grow old and Edward will be stuck in his 17 self. Plus it is potentially a very dangerous situation for Bella to be surrounded by people who would love to drink her. And a very important question: what is the point of having such a godlike, gorgeous creature for a boyfriend if you can barely touch him?
I loved this book with all my heart. I am completely in love with Edward and I really wish they could work things out. Although, there is this tiny bit of brain that is left working and it keeps screaming at me that such obsessive relationships are not healthy, that they should not be so useless without each other, life MUST exist outside the boundaries of Edward and Bella. But my heart just yells “ Shut up brain! Let me just enjoy this.” And then the other parts jump at the convo “Oy, you two! Edward is talking in his musical voice and telling Bella that she is his life now and he is freaking all kinds of awesome” And I realise that I am most grateful at this point that there is no sex in this book . If it had I am pretty sure I would be a puddle of drool in my study now.
In the end, I could resist this book no more than Bella could resist falling in love with Edward. It was unavoidable. I will certainly read the sequels but I must take a break from such intense reading for now.
Notable quotes/parts: The book is mostly about Bella and Edward’s love story but there are some action sequences toward the end and I thought they were good too. A group of Vampires who do drink blood from humans come to Forks and one of them has his eye on Bella. The Cullens come up with a strategy to save her and I was enthralled. At first , I was a bit put out, I couldn’t believe that Bella was such a magnet for all vampires in the world but it was later explained that the whole hunt had nothing to do with Bella at all and that was a VERY good twist which also explained more about Alice’s (Edward’s “sister”) background.
Additional thoughts: What is it that attracts me so much to vampire stories? I remember being 15 and being completely in love Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles (the first three ones, mind you, after Queen of the Damned I lost interest). The Vampire Lestat was one my teenage crushes –but then Tom Cruise came along and ruined the whole thing for me. Years later, I found Buffy and Angel and watched every single episode of both shows. No to say Bram Stocker’s Dracula is one of my favorite movies. Gary Oldman as Dracula owns my soul.
It makes me wonder if I shouldn’t read those Black Dagger Brotherhood books but to be honest, I am afraid I will become obsessed! LOL.
Verdict: BUY IT NOW. It was way beyond my expectations and I can only thank Thea for her recommendation.
Reading Next: A Hunger Like no Other by Kresley Cole