Let me come clean to you before we begin. The Twilight series was something my sister loved when we were in school and so by default, I mocked it. Just to tease, not because of the series in the least. I mean, I had never read it or intended to ever. I did watch the movies eons ago with her but I don’t remember much other than liking Jacob (appearance wise) more than Edward.
Why pick the book up now?
I was talking about re-reading our favourite books with my dear friend Tavleen (she has an amazing book blog, do check it out) and she mentioned Twilight. That’s when it hit me – Why don’t I give it a try!
To me, it seemed that reading the book for the very first time at the age of 24, and in 2021, gives me space from when it was a huge craze. It’s been over a safe decade since the series was all the rage and attracted equal parts criticism and fandom.
I felt like I could go into it without much bias and so I decided to pick it up. Tavleen also thought it would be like a fun experiment because it would be refreshing to hear some fresh perspective on Twilight after all this while. So, here’s how that went.
Here’s what I think
Twilight was not what I was expecting. I guess what I was expecting was a supremely lame and problematic book if I went off on what the haters said. And if I went on the fans’ views, I was expecting a gorgeous love story that would make me go head over heels. But it was neither.
Honestly, it read to me like a good YA book. It read to me much like Meg Cabot books, which I’ve loved since I was 13. I kept thinking of the Mediator Series in particular because of the supernatural/fantasy element with the male lead being 100+ years old.
I can’t see why people hated this book so much anymore than I can see why people loved it so much.
What I mean is, I rated it 4 stars. I can’t wait to read the other books in the series and I genuinely enjoyed it. But did it strike me as something particularly special or different from other 4-star rated romance YA books that I’ve really enjoyed reading? Not really.
The writing was quick and it made me laugh out loud in a few places. It was through Bella’s perspective, a 17 year old average teenager. A lot of the book, like Meg Cabot’s typical YA books was a mental monologue, albeit lesser so in comparison.
Her feelings, sarcasm, nonchalance towards people in her school, obsession with Edward, and other aspects of her personality seemed very believable to me. Was she a character I loved or was stimulated by? Of course, not.
Neither was there much of a plot or character development for any character, but I don’t believe that was the point of this book. And I think a lot of people miss that.
The point of this book, and what I loved, was the relationship Edward and Bella shared.
Edward and Bella
At first glance, a lot of the things between them may look lame and irrational. How she doesn’t seem to care much at all that he is a vampire and quite easily believes it so. There was no big, dramatic reveal. It happened so smoothly.
It may also seem stupid how easily they fall for each other even before having spent a decent amount of time with each other.
But I get it. There are times in our life, if we are lucky, when we meet someone, romantically or platonically, and we will just connect. Love at first sight. Vibing. Feeling a spark. I don’t know. But you have no way to explain it and you don’t even care to.
It’s so powerful and it’s so precious. And because the other person feels it too, it’s undeniable. And that’s how Bella and Edward’s entire relationship seemed to me.
The point of this book was Bella and Edward’s love bubble and how they feel about each other. The way they just forgot about the world when they are with each other. How they lose themselves in one another. How they develop a bond so strong that it seems like it always existed.
What I loved was how honestly they interacted with each other and well they communicated. They didn’t have the desire to hide anything from each other. What they seemed to share was so natural and pure. Even if they were petty things like when they felt jealous (Edward) or not enough (Bella).
The general power dynamics in typical relationships where there’s that push and pull where you can’t let someone know exactly how you feel right away because then they will have the upper hand and take you for granted? Yeah, even a trace of that wasn’t there when it came to the two of them.
They both were equally smitten by the other. And it worked for them and it worked for the book.
For everyone who hates Bella because they say she is a damsel in distress and heavily dependent on Edward, I agree. But also he is literally a vampire that puts her in dangerous situations she wouldn’t otherwise be in. Of course only he can save her.
Also she is a teenage girl. Her narration of how hot or godly Edward looks is very typical. Why do people forget what people are like at that age and bash YA books I don’t understand? Or pick them up in the first place? This is no literary fiction, no one claims that.
I have to admit that YA books written in the last decade, after the Twilight series that is, are a lot more nuanced and the characters seem more mature. But if I think back to earlier times, me and my friends and when we were coming of age back in the 2000-2012 or so, we were not as woke. We were not as worldly. I’ve known many Bellas. They existed. Probably still do.
For those who have to say that Edward is very possessive, yes he is. I agree. But it’s not in a harmful way. What I mean is Bella doesn’t have a problem with it. They two don’t act like normal teenagers in love. They share something very different. They are both weird. So how they behave with each other is also seemingly weird. It’s their love language.
But I could see one thing through the possessiveness. When I heard that the book series Fifty Shades of Grey had started out as Twilight fan fiction, I didn’t see it. They seemed such unrelated series in every aspect. But I could see hints of Christian Grey’s behaviour mirroring Edward Cullen’s.
The vampire element
It struck me as such a secondary element? I’m sure there are better, more vampire-oriented vampire book series out there. The only one I’ve ever read was The House of Night series back in school and even that was way more hardcore than this.
So, in a way I can see why fantasy/vampire book genre fans would hate on this book. I get it.
Is it possible to dislike this book? Of, course. But there’s a fine line between disliking something vs writing thousands of words of hateful reviews for it.
Okay, so now I’m going to go read New Moon! Let me know what you think about my take on Twilight if you’ve read the book(s).