Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Twilight Saga

Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (Official Series Site)
Genre: YA- Paranormal Romance

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.

Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.

Title: Twilight
Series: Twilight, Book 1
Start & Finished: 11/10/08- 11/11/08
Published: 2005
Pages: 498 (paperback)

On June 2, 2003 a woman, not quite thirty-years-old had a dream “about a human girl, and a vampire who was in love with her but thirsted for her blood” which inspired her to write a book that was later to be known as Twilight. Immediately recognized as a bestseller by an editor at Little, Brown and Company Publishing, this relatively unknown woman, named Stephenie Meyer who had hardly any writing experience at all was given a three-book contract. Her characters Edward and Bella finally made it into the world and they have been beloved by young adults and actual adults ever since.

"Vampires, while dark and icky, are attractive, sophisticated and intelligent. They're forever youthful, powerful—things people crave or envy," said Stephenie Meyer in an interview and I quite agree with her. Ever since I first heard about Twilight, I knew that I would like it as vampires have always been my favorite type of “monster.” However, I was still wary about reading a series that had such a huge following of mostly teenagers. J.K. Rowling on the other hand, I discovered when I was still a teenager myself a couple of years before the first movie adaptation was released so I jumped into that craze early. Once I learned that Twilight was going to get its own film adaptation I simply had to read the book first. It took me until about a week before the film was to be released but I finally did sit down and read them. Now all I can think is: what took me so long?!

There was just so much about this Twilight that I loved! I read a lot of vampire fiction yet I always find it fascinating how an author puts their own spin on the vampire legend and
Stephenie Meyer is no different… but her vampires are. They're captivating, charming, attractive, enthralling, mesmerizing, and of course interesting too. There is no bursting-into flames-in-sunlight here, instead they glitter in sunlight, don‘t sleep, are impossibly strong, and even enjoy playing baseball.

The instant I opened the book, the story and the characters simply came alive. I loved the little rainy town of Forks, Washington, loved Bella, and simply adored Edward. At its center, Twilight is simply a teenage love story- kind of like a modern day Romeo and Juliet. Yet throw in some vampires, both good and bad and its little wonder that Ms. Meyer had such a major hit on her hands. Yes, the author’s religion did have a bit of an impact on the novel and true, not everyone enjoyed her story but personally, she’s created a world that I wouldn’t mind visiting again and again.

Picture Explanations
Author's inspiration of Fork's woods
Lion and the Lamb: "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb...," he murmered.
Baseball: The Cullens can only play baseball when its raining and they really enjoy it.

Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural twist. The “star-crossed” lovers theme continues as Bella and Edward find themselves facing new obstacles, including a devastating separation, the mysterious appearance of dangerous wolves roaming the forest in Forks, a terrifying threat of revenge from a female vampire, and a deliciously sinister encounter with Italy’s reigning royal family of vampires the Volturi.
Title: New Moon
Series: Twilight, Book 2
Start & Finished: 11/11/08- 11/12/08
Published: 2006
Pages: 563 (paperback)

Stephenie Meyer explored the world of love and vampires in her first book Twilight but in New Moon, the second book in the series, she begins to explore losing true love and werewolves. The author said she “pitched a fit” once she figured out exactly how her sequel would play out. She does reassure her readers that she isn’t crazy but that that she is “a character writer” that writes “stories because of [her] characters; they are the motivation and the reward. The difficulty with strong, defined characters, though, is that you can't make them do something that is out of character. They have to be who they are and, as a writer, they're often out of your control.”

Edward is one of these types of characters and when he decides to leave Forks behind without Bella, you truly feel her pain… or maybe the better word would be anguish. There was a bit more teenage angst than I was used to in New Moon, which was a little annoying at times, but I truly liked the direction the book took- I just wish Edward wouldn't have been gone so long. Bella’s friend Jacob Black helps keep the book from being totally depressing though since “Jacob was simply a perpetually happy person, and he carried that happiness with him like an aura, sharing it with whoever was near him. Like an earthbound sun, whenever someone was within his gravitational pull, Jacob warmed them. It was natural, a part of who he was.”

Jacob becomes a bit more than what he was originally during the first novel, in fact because of the “cold ones” his entire tribe is changing and several members are becoming werewolves. Once Bella discovers this and stops her hysterics (“Wasn’t one myth enough for anyone, enough for a lifetime?”) he begins to help her heal the wound Edward left behind. The movie adaptation of New Moon is scheduled for release in the fall of this year and I’m thoroughly looking forward to it.

Ever since Jacob first appeared in the Twilight series, there have been strong feelings on both sides of the Edward/ Jacob camps (some do prefer to remain “Switzerland”) but while I like Jacob, I am still firmly entrenched in the Edward camp. This is a seriously dark part of the Twilight series but it’s also a very important part too. Jacob is not perfect, and actually “a bit of an underdog (no pun intended") but he’s an interesting character nonetheless. Many things happen that I did not particularly enjoy in this book but they were necessary and in the end made the story even better.

Links: New Moon Wikipedia, Real Quileute Nation, New Moon Fanpop
Interview: Entertainment Weekly, Book Stories,

Picture Explanations
LaPush: Real life place that is found in the book
Volterra: A real life small town found in Italy.
Yellow Porsche: Alice has no problem with grand theft auto...
Readers captivated by Twilight and New Moon will eagerly devour Eclipse, the much anticipated third book in Stephenie Meyer's riveting vampire love saga. As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger.

In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob -- knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?
Title: Eclipse
Series: Twilight, Book 3
Start & Finished: 11/13/08
Published: 2007
Pages: 629

The award-winning, bestselling, phenomenon that all started with a dream by Stephenie Meyer then known as the Twilight series, has finally reached the third part of the saga called Eclipse. This series has been translated into over twenty languages, and has established a fan following almost big enough to rival J.K. Rowling. However, instead of an epic grand adventure, the Twilight books are essentially a love story that eventually becomes a love triangle. Of course, there are many dangers that the main characters have to face throughout the books too. When your best friend is a werewolf and your boyfriend is a vampire, you know there's going to be trouble!

"Of the three novels, Eclipse was the most fun to write," said Stephenie Meyer. Too bad it wasn't the most fun to read! It was essential to the storyline, I enjoyed learning about Jasper and Rosalie's background (in their own words no less) (and I would be interested in maybe a novella that explores that more) but in my opinion, Eclipse is the least memorable of the Twilight saga despite the very cool battle at the end. I think this particular book suffered mainly because a lot of it seemed to drag by. Maybe the author was a little rushed when it came time to edit and maybe not. All I know is that I liked Twilight and New Moon a whole lot more.

However, the stories and the characters just transcend generations and I think it’s unfair to label them “young adult.” The author has pointed out on many occasions that she wrote the book for herself (with no intentions of publishing) when she was almost thirty and her story just appeals to women, young girls, and even some boys everywhere and of all ages… however, the teenage girls are still her main audience.

Stephenie Meyer even threw an Eclipse Prom at the Arizona State University as a promotion for this book, much in the spirit of the ones that Anne Rice used to throw for her vampires. Meyer’s just had a mostly younger crowd to cater to! Her books have inspired people the whole world over to write novels (and fan fiction), create music known as Twirock (similar to the Harry Potter inspired Wizard Rock), and of course read.

Links: Book Wikipedia,
Interview: Twilight Blogspot, Amazon Exclusive

Picture Explanations
Bonfire: A very necessary instrument in vampire battles
Volvo: Edward's car

Part 1:

Part 2:

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare, woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife to reach the ultimate turning point.

Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fate of two tribes hangs.

Now Bella has made her decision, and a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life - first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse - seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed...forever?
Title: Breaking Dawn
Series: Twilight, Book 4
Start & Finished: 11/13/08- 11/14/08
Published: 2008
Pages: 756

Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga comes to a close with her fourth book Breaking Dawn ."It’s the end of Bella's story. She's not going to tell the story anymore but I don't know if I'm completely finished with the characters. There's a reason it had to end though. I think there's a natural arc to a story, if you prolong that unnaturally it doesn't read well. Its not a good story anymore," said the author soon after its release.

In my opinion, the fourth Twilight doesn't really mesh with the rest of the books. Of course, it's a logical conclusion the series and the author says she's had this ending in mind since the very beginning. I'm not even going to argue with her decisions as a good majority of the story was necessary, I just felt like this was less of a YA novel and much more adult. There was plenty to giggle over in the first two and half books but not so much with this one.

There haven’t been too many good things said about Breaking Dawn with many people in agreement that it was their least favorite book in the series and I’m afraid I have to agree. Ms. Meyers should have given the readers a little more time to process Bella’s new status but Meyers said that Bella “overcame the major obstacles in her path and fought her way to the place she wanted to be. I suppose I could try to prolong her story unnaturally, but it wouldn't be interesting enough to keep me writing. Stories need conflict, and the conflicts that are Bella-centric are resolved.”

That may be true but it still felt rushed to me and I miss the characters too. Just about everyone I know that had raved about this series the entire time it was being released was disappointed with the ending and many told me not even to waste my time with the book. Truthfully, it wasn’t that bad but I still felt oddly bereft when I had finished the story.

Links: Breaking Dawn Wikipedia, Book Fanpop, Twilight Cakes
Interviews: Borders from Twilight to Breaking Dawn
Picture Explanations
Esme's Island: Edward and Bella visit here.
Wolf: The werewolves make several important appearances.

The Twilight Saga
1. Twilight (2005)
2. New Moon (2006)
3. Eclipse (2007)
4. Breaking Dawn (2008)

~ Note: I won Breaking Dawn from J. Kaye's Book Blog. Thanks again!


  1. great review on the Twilight books. I really liked the first two books. I love that Edward glitters in the sunlight too ;)
    I never liked how obsessed Bella is in these books.
    And I really disliked the last book too.

  2. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the Twilight series,Lady Tink(I think Breaking Dawn is better than many people thought it was)and am on Team Edward but like Jacob,too.

    Stephanie Meyer also wrote a sci-fi novel called The Host(which is more adult orientated)and it's a great read as well. Her character based take on the genre makes it just as compelling as the Twilight books. If you get the chance,I highly recommend it.

  3. Nice profile and review of the series. I am glad I read the series before it became a cultural phenomenon so my enjoyment was not coloured by all the hype. I also found the final book a disappointment. It never felt true to the events that came before.

  4. I change my mind all the time about this series. Sometimes I wish I had never bothered with it at all, other times I wish I had just read the first book and called it quits! Instead, I read the whole series (well, sort of) and HATED it by the end! I didn't read Breaking Dawn very well because it started making me mad. I keep thinking I probably should at least try and read it properly, but it was just so bad!

  5. I only read the first half of your review as I've only read the first two books. I'm enjoying this series but am not in love with them.

  6. That is a lot of Twilight!! Great reviews. I loved the pictures you posted along with them. Perfect. :)

  7. This is the best review I've seen on the Twilight books! You've put us all to shame :) I've only read the first book but I adored it and I do want to finish the series. You've just reminded me with your fantastic...did I say fantastic....yes! Amazing review. I like how you added the interview with Meyer too. I didn't know the book came to her in a dream. Very cool. Why can't I dream like that!

  8. Naida: Seems like we agree on everything about Twilight lol.

    Lady T: I didn't hate Breaking Dawn but I was very disappointed with it still. I have heard of The Host but the whole idea of it kind of creeps me out so I've avoided it so far. I might have to give in and read it though.

    ScifiGuy: Thanks! I do wish I had read the books before the movie ever was a possibility too. I liked being able to have a somewhat "reference guide" when it comes to what people and places looked like but I didn't really stick with the actor images all that much after all.

    Kailana: I'm glad I read the books but I did cry when I finished the last one because I REALLY didn't like the way it ended.

    Samantha: I was a ginormous Buffy fan so it didn't take the book long to sucker me in. It's ending was a bit of a letdown for me though so I can't say I hope you like the last two...

    Mari: Thanks! Yeah, it took me a while to write and it seemed like even longer to post!

    The Chic Geek: I'm so glad you enjoyed it! *blushes*

  9. great recap of these books. I really enjoyed this series...except the last one.

  10. Ooh great review of the saga! First, have to say that I've always been firmly in the Edward camp :)

    I loved Twilight, was entertained for the most part by New Moon but didn't really enjoy Eclipse. I've heard so much about Breaking Dawn that I feel like I've already read it.

    I'm curious if she really won't write another book for the series. Maybe not Edward & Bella focused but on some of the other characters. I would imagine that with the huge success of the books, movie, etc. her publisher might be nudging her in that direction!

  11. Great reviews! My biggest complaint was that Bella chose Edward. I was totally on Team Jacob, for a number of reasons, but then I always seem to prefer fur to

  12. Serena: Thanks! Yeah the last one was a bit of a stinker, I don't care what the author says.

    Iliana: Edward is the best! I really hope she writes another set in this world even if she is through with Bella. Thanks!!!

    Mo from Unmainstream Mom Reads: Thank you. Oh I much prefer fangs to fur and always will but I've recently started liking werewolves too.

  13. Um wow. That's a lot of twilight info!

  14. I enjoyed reading your reviews of the Twilight books, Jen. Eclipse was actually my favorite of the series, and I can see why Stephanie Meyer had the most fun writing it. I actually had the opposite reaction as you--feeling that the book worked better and was more full of action than the first two, both of which seemed to drag in the middle for me. I did enjoy the series though as a whole.

  15. I love your reviews, Jen!
    After reading the whole series, my favourite among all is still the first installment. ;)

  16. I kinda felt the same way about breaking dawn.

    I'm not in love with the books but I did enjoy them. :D

  17. Hi LadyTink!

    Decided to check out your saga review. Very sweet!!

    I think that has the story line progressed, it became more grown up, maybe it was supposed to, I don't know. Maybe growing with the characters. I know my niece is enthralled with the books, but my sister won't let her read 3+4 until she's older -- way too grown up for a 10 year old.

    Dottie :)
    (thanks for the linkage!)

  18. Well, if you like the book and, therefore, like the plot and the story, you will love the film because Chris Weitz is true to the book beyond what I could have imagined or hoped for. This movie felt like it was made for the fans, so I can understand that if you're not a fan of the series how it may feel like a laboured effort to watch "New Moon". But if you love Bella and Edward **and even Jacob--Taylor Lautner was FANTASTIC in this!**, you will leave wanting more!



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