It was October 2005. A lonely teenage girl was walking through the book store. She’d always had more books than friends. She wandered the stacks and glanced over the books on the new release shelf. There it was, right at eye level, a book called Twilight. Curious, the girl picked up the book, she flipped it open and read the words she will remember until the day she dies.
“There were three things I knew for certain: one Edward was a vampire. Two some part of him, and I didn’t know how strong that part was, thirsted for my blood, and three I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.”
That lonely girl put the book back on the shelf and bought a Batman novel instead!
Yes, I was that lonely teenage girl, and I have now finally read Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight.
I feel the need to say that I read this book by audiobook on 2X speed. Of course with my long commute every day, I read many audiobooks, and I normally crank up the playback speed to at least 1.5 but for some reason, I felt the need to mention this for this particular novel.
I went into this book expecting the worst, and I expected this review would be me just nit-picking this novel to death, but I won’t.
Now that I have read this book my perspective has changed somewhat. I don’t care about the improbable size of the high school for a small town or Bella’s inner ear condition that makes her inhumanly klutzy. I don’t really care that ALL of the teenage male characters having a crush on Bella, I don’t even care about the Bio teacher’s surprise blood type lab having the student’s prick their fingers like you could just do that in a post-AIDS world. No, I don’t care about any of that.
I was surprised with this novel. To my amazement, Stephanie Meyer had created a fascinating, sympathetic character with a rich backstory I really wanted to follow through their amazing character arc. Oh, not Bella! No, I’m talking about Carlyle.
Yes, Edward’s DAD is the best character in the novel! His backstory is given in just a few paragraphs, and I found myself wishing that this was the basis of the novel.
Carlyle was born in the 17th century. He was a son of a witch hunter who grew up to hunt vampires. After a hunt went wrong, Carlyle found himself turned into a vampire. When we realized what had happened, Carlyle tried to kill himself and failed. He went into a self-imposed exile trying to starve himself to death. He finally gave into his thrust and ate animal blood. Slowly he learned that he could eat animal blood and resist praying on humans.
Carlyle tried to convince other vampires to do the same, but they rejected him. He couldn’t truly belong in either human society or vampire society. He still wanted to help others somehow so he managed to master enough self-control to become a doctor, constantly surrounded by blood, but never giving into his thrust. . . and damn it why isn’t that the story in Twilight?!
I’ll be honest, if you drop the Edward/ Bella story and had made this whole series about a young Carlyle, struggling to remain the man he was and fighting the beast within himself. I could have really liked this story. but c’est la vie!
I will say this for Twilight though: I’ve read far worse YA novels.