first Twilight novel sets the scene for a dark romantic saga and is
bound to keep you reading into the
vampire hours of the night.
Stephenie Meyer (2005): Before
the first Twilight book came on the scene, vampires were largely
confined to such genres as horror and paranormal romance. Think Bram Stoker’s
Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles and Charlaine Harris's The Southern
Vampire Mysteries to name just a few. The
universal appeal of this series, however, has infused a wider audience
with a thirst for all things fanged and reignited an interest in the
pale undead This has lead to a surge in vampire literature, both old
and new. Though teen-centric, Twilight, like the Harry Potter book
series, extends in its appeal far beyond its intended market, thanks to
its rich array of characters, themes and plotlines.
So just what is it about this story that makes it so widely appealing?
Is it the teen angst that's so easily relatable, the promise of
love, or the backdrop of imminent danger? Is it the story
itself or the way Meyer brings it to life on the page? For me, it’s
all these things, and more. I love every moment of the story, the
development of the characters, the discovery of Edward’s dark but
alluring nature, and most of all Bella’s commitment to love above all
things. For what is life if we don’t follow our hearts, regardless of
This, like all four Twilight books,
revolves around 17-year-old Bella Swan.
Bella moves from sunny Phoenix, Arizona, to the rainy town of Forks,
Washington, to live with her dad, Charlie. At first she’s depressed by
the dismal weather and dreading her first day at school. But then she
encounters the pale, brooding Edward
Cullen and life in Forks becomes a whole lot more interesting.
When Bella sees the Cullen siblings for the first time, in the school
cafeteria, she can’t take her eyes off them. She is intrigued by their
strangeness and fixated by their physical perfection. She finds herself
drawn to Edward and is distressed when he in turn seems repulsed by
her. We later find out that he is, in fact, tortured by the effort not
to drink her blood because it’s so inordinately appealing to him.
Bella tries to resist her attraction to Edward but it is a fruitless
effort. She is annoyed by his often-aloof behavior and, unaware of his
vampire condition, can’t quite figure him out. But when he jumps in
front of a van to save her, she is unconvinced by his claims that she
imagined his super-human strength. That’s when she begins to wonder
just who and what he is.
After hearing a legend about vampires and werewolves from a teenager
called Jacob Black, Bella figures out that her crush is a vampire. She
is more intrigued than disturbed by the revelation. As far as she’s
concerned, his immortal condition is a mere footnote in their
relationship. Her love for him leaves her utterly unconcerned for her
own safety. He, however, lays far more importance on his nature. And
when a killer vampire called James comes to town, Bella begins to
James is an expert tracker and a ruthless killer. When he sees how
possessive Edward is of Bella, he decides to hunt and kill her, just
for fun. Bella flees Forks with members of Edward’s vampire family, all
of whom feed on animal and never human blood. After James convinces her
that he is holding her mother captive, she sneaks away to meet him,
only to find that he’s been lying and that her mother is in no danger
at all. Now she’s the one in deadly peril.
James almost kills Bella but Edward appears at the last moment to save
her and murders her would-be killer. The incident leaves Bella battered, bruised
and broken, but does nothing to resolve her desire to become a vampire so
she can be with Edward for all eternity – a decision he responds
to with dismay. The book ends on a cliffhanger and leaves us hungry for
> A chapter-by-chapter summary
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