Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twilight, revisited

It's been a couple of years since I've read the Twilight books.

It's still so dang sunny and bright here.

I just felt like I could really use a good read that would take me somewhere a bit bleaker and more comfortably familiar than Sharjah.

Besides, all I've read lately are biographies about interesting British women who are now dead.

So I went ahead and busted out Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn and read them ALL.

It was interesting to re-read them as a finished whole. And I realized a few things (FYI, these things include spoilers).


Twilight is not my favorite book in the series, not at all. That is unusual for me because I tend to like the first book in a series the best. It's hard to beat that original plunge into the world of a great novel, and while I did enjoy watching the mystery of vampires in Forks unfold (again), I think the series got richer as it progressed.

New Moon is so delicious to me. Some people found the heartbreak and moping and cliff-jumping to be over the top and off-putting. I thought it was PERFECT and so genuine. Teenage angst might be ridiculous when you've emerged from it and are regarding it from the other side, but when you're in the middle of it, New Moon is exactly how it feels. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that Edward shows up again at the end, I think this would be my favorite book in the series.

As it is, however, Eclipse is my favorite one. I think Eclipse is a masterpiece of a story. What is especially brilliant about it (and, to a lesser extent, Breaking Dawn) is that every element of Eclipse's broadened, deepened, and thickened plot is present in Twilight. Meyer didn't have to change any of the rules or shift any of the characters. The story seemed to grow organically from what she'd already created and it ended up being quite brilliant.

Now, Breaking Dawn. I liked Breaking Dawn quite a bit the first time I read it, but something about it seemed ever so slightly off. You see, I now believe that Breaking Dawn would have been a better and more natural member of (and ending to) the Twilight series if it had ended approximately 250 pages earlier than it did. The entire plot that involved all those extra vampires coming to visit, the focus on Renesmee's skills and development, and that final showdown with the Volturi belongs to some other book. A small companion book, maybe, one that tells the beginning of Renesmee's own story.

Instead, we have to rush through all the really good stuff - Bella's strange pregnancy, the new werewolf pack dynamics, and Bella's transformation - to get to a plot that doesn't really fit. I think a Breaking Dawn that ended with Bella a vampire, a brand-new baby, an imprinted Jacob, and Charlie in the know would have been perfect. There was plenty of tension (and blood) in the plot without tacking on a larger confrontation with the Volturi.

That's my opinion, anyway. I sometimes wonder what went on behind the scenes with Meyer and her various minions, when they were finalizing Breaking Dawn. I'm sure there were disagreements about what should and should not make it in to the story. It's hard to compare the book we have with the version that may or may not have existed, that we didn't see, you know?

Now back to real life so I can go face that blazing sunshine on this, the day before Christmas Eve. Sigh.

2 comments:

Susanne said...

Is it ever not so dang sunny there? Do they have a "cloudy," cooler season? :)

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Steven said...

New Moon was my favorite, for the same reasons that you liked it. I also liked Twilight. The other two weren't as good in my opinion. I didn't even finish Breaking Dawn, it was so ridiculous.

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