Where to start?
I had difficulty with this question, partly because there are so many books with which to begin the first leg of this blog journey. Questions concerning hundreds of books swirl unnoticed daily, but one question I have heard several times from both adults and young readers is, “What is Twilight about?”
The Twilight Saga is popular with some, but others say it’s evil; the movies are a hit, but some parents refuse to allow their child to watch them. Why? Because of rumors? Doubts? Worries? Because of the mystery of the unknown?
My 14-year-old sister asked me about the Twilight series. Her friends asked my opinion. And now it’s time I share it with you.
Twilight is the first book in a series of four by young author, Stephanie Meyer. When I first picked it up, it captivated my attention and I did not put it down until I turned the last page. I had watched the movie with my cousin and enjoyed it; the movie, I found, nearly quoted the book word for word and followed every plot twist, so it can be considered accurate in that respect.
The Twilight series revolves around the relationship between a human (Bella) and a vampire (Edward). To pull this off without death and bite-marks around every corner, Stephanie Meyer “tweaks” the history of vampires. In Dracula and old vampire movies, the bloodthirsty creatures do not go into the sunlight because they will die, but in Twilight, they avoid sunlight because their skin sparkles like diamonds and they don’t want to stand out. Meyer's vampires do not sleep in coffins and the main vampire family (the Cullens) strive to live their lives without biting human beings.
Bella (human) encounters Edward (vampire) at school and he is drawn to her because of a couple mystical reasons—-her smell and the fact she is the only human being who’s mind he is unable to read. And so begins the unlikely romance.
Stephanie Meyer has a very unique imagination and her ability to look at things in a different way adds great value to the success of her books. However, I believe the books portray an unhealthy relationship between a man and woman (vampire or not). Through the books, Edward is slightly overbearing, almost obsessing over Bella, and telling her (in many cases) what she may and may not do. Bella follows his every desire and even says she would rather lose her soul than to be without him. In the second book, New Moon, Edward leaves her in an attempt to protect her and she almost kills herself because of life without him.
As the books progress and Edward returns to her at the end of New Moon, a new focus on sex crops up. Bella desperately wants to take that step of intimacy, but Edward does not, only because of his fear of hurting her (being an all-powerful, rock-crushing vampire). In the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, they finally get married and the first several chapters focus solely on the honeymoon.
I think this is a questionable read for young girls for a two reasons:
1. It revolves around an unhealthy relationship. Though the story is unique and interesting in many ways, the “knight in shining armor” syndrome is woven through every word. Bella cannot survive without Edward, she is helpless, and Edward repeatedly appears at the perfect moment to rescue her from danger and death. This appeals greatly to females, but for young girls and teens who are still learning about life and relationships, the Twilight Saga presents a skewed picture (vampires aside). Unless young readers can read it without allowing it to affect their views of a relationship, I would suggest leaving it on the bookstore shelf.
2. It focuses on the “intimacy” factor a lot. Now, intimacy is not bad. Bella and Edward do get married before having sex, but after marriage, the focus on their actions together is a bit overdone. I found myself rolling my eyes and wishing some of the other beautiful sides of marriage were shown.
As stated earlier, Stephanie Meyers has a very remarkable imagination and developed a unique and captivating story. I enjoyed the first two books, but upon reaching the third, Eclipse, the story dragged. Her writing style is very simple and did not captivate me and, by the third book, the plot lost a bit of steam and felt monotonous. A love triangle blossomed between Bella, Edward, and Jacob (a friend who is part of a werewolf-type clan sworn to kill vampires and protect the people) and the plot took a tiny tiptoe forward.
Book four, Breaking Dawn, jammed three times as much plot in, keeping me much more interested, but the conclusion of the book fizzled out, leaving the reader feeling a bit deprived.
Breaking Dawn spent the last half training vampires to fight the “Volturi” (the top leaders of all the vampire world) who were coming to attack. When they finally arrived, no epic war took place, no huge battle; instead, they negotiated and the Volturi left...for the time being. This left the series open for a continuation, but I think it would have been better to wrap it up with a satisfying conclusion.
Lastly, I want to acknowledge the many questions concerning the fact this book is about vampires.
“Aren’t vampires anti-Christian?”
“Isn’t this just a book on evil?”
To tell the truth, I don’t know. I don’t know a lot about the history of vampires. In my own mind, I group vampires in a category with any legend or folklore creature—-werewolves, fairies, witches, mermaids, zombies, wizards, etc. Yes, they seem to be one of the darker creatures of myth, but I read about them with just that in mind—-they are myth. I do not believe they are real, I do not read them as if being real, and I suggest other readers do the same.
If there was a fine line for reading—-this is bad, that is good, this is evil, that is not—-then discerning between what books to read and what books to leave in boxes would be easy as pie. Readers need to build up their own discernment. They can’t let what someone tells them (including me) form their view on books. The key is to know what you believe, know your morals, and know why you hold those beliefs and morals. Then those will help you sort through good, bad, evil, and uplifting literature.
I believe parents should strive to teach their children why they believe these things so that the children can build up their own solid mindset before reading books; because, let’s face it, parents won’t be able to protect their child’s bookshelf their entire life. Eventually that bookworm son or daughter will have to make his or her own choices (the statement that haunts every parent, right?)
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
May we strive to do this through our reading and our writing, and may my blog help fellow readers to establish firm beliefs and morals concerning what literature and novels they choose to open.
If anyone has questions, opinions, or thoughts to add, please feel free! I want this to be a blog where we can discuss books, not just a blog where you read what I write and take it or leave it.
Violence Level: ****Romance Level: **** (highest in fourth book, Breaking Dawn)
Christian Focus: * (none)
Readability Level: ** (very easy reading)
Story Depth Level: ***
Recommendation: ** (Low)
For a more detailed explanation of the above ratings, go here!