Like almost every other girl out there, I was intrigued with how the world was swept away by this romantic vampire-meets-human tale. So I borrowed it from a friend, Kwini, who actually shares the same passion — or guilty pleasure — for intellectual…smut. Boy, was I taken in for a surprise. See, Twilight is about a human girl named Isabella Swan, a.k.a. Bella, who falls in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen. The conflict is supposed to arise from the fact that Edward wants Bella’s blood, like how some regular human folk are addicted to chocolate. Hm. That alone had me clamoring to find out how they’d settle this conflict. What I did not count on was the part where it says that Bella and Edward are in high school. Dealing with Biology, P.E. and prom. The moment I read that Bella is seventeen, thoughts of wanting to relate to any of the characters went flying out the window.
The first few chapters are interesting enough. Edward is very intense and easy-going at the same time. Of course, he has occasional bouts of teenage drama, but he’s a lovable character overall. Amazingly, I was able to relate to Edward. Yes, amazing, because as a woman, I usually relate to the heroine, not the hero. (Just don’t think that I’m the type of person who’d fall head over heels in love with my favorite soya milk that I’d rather make out with it than drink it.) Vampiric Edward is a perfect metaphor for people that hold precariously onto their self-control even when temptation beckons so strongly. Needless to say, I love Edward.
Bella, however, is annoying. Not only is she painfully Mary Sue, she also has this nasty habit of wasting pages on endless thoughts of self-pity. Yes, yes, you’re awfully plain but every male character, save for your dad, is chasing after your skirt anyway so what the heck is your problem? Frankly, I’m used to Jayne Anne Krentz’s fast-paced supernatural romances, where every page must be turned because it’s action-packed. There’s no space for idle thoughts and we don’t spend every five paragraphs asking ourselves, “What’s the point of the last few sentences again?” In comparison, Stephanie Meyer’s pace makes me feel lethargic.
(Then again, Jayne Anne Krentz’s characters are a decade away from high school and her books are intended for mature readers. I suppose Twilight is like the supernatural version of teen pocketbooks like Sweet Valley High and Sweet Dreams.)
If I had not seen the Twilight movie trailer when I got to the 400th page, I never would’ve thought that there would be a major antagonist. He arrived too late. Worse, his stint was too short to make an indelible impact. No fight scenes, no adrenaline rush, no nothing. Might as well just mention him in passing as it wouldn’t have made a difference.
Now, here’s the funny thing. Despite my complaints about the fan service-y writing, the Mary Sue protagonist, the overly mushy middle chapters and the mind-numbingly slow pace, I could not put the book down. Hence my bafflement…
The second book, New Moon, is a different story, though. There’s a character there, Jacob Black, who’s a lot more fascinating than anyone in Twilight had ever been. Let’s just say, I had imagined he’d look like Steven Strait.