Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Twilight Saga Collection

I have been hearing about the Twilight books for quite some time and have been curious. With the movies, I have heard even more about them. I went to Amazon and read the beginning of the first book. It is engaging. I decided to treat myself to an early Christmas present and have bought the boxed set of four hardcover books.

Have any of you read them? Did you like them?

13 comments:

beautifulshell said...

I haven't read them, but I've read a whole lot of snark about them, which is entertaining. The reviews haven't so much made me want to read them, this in particular: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/07/AR2008080702528.html

That said, all the talk has me a little curious!

beautifulshell said...

Oh, about that review - it has plot spoilers, so if you don't want to know any major plot points, don't read all the way down...

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the link. I'm not going to read it just yet, but I'll come back to it at a later date.

I do know a bit about the plots of the books, since I have read reviews in the past but I'm not going to go out of my way to spoil them right now since I decided to order them. At any rate, I will read the first book and will likely report back on what I think. If I like the first book enough, then I will continue.

I have always loved books set in school or that feature people who are in school, so this is right up my alley, at least from that aspect. I did enjoy the few pages that I read at Amazon, so I think I might enjoy the first book.

melodious b. said...

Objectively, the Twilight books aren' very well written, but they make good light reading as long as you take them with a grain of salt--or, like, a tablespoon. I would feel uncomfortable recommending them to a kid, though--the sexual politics can get pretty upsetting.

stratomiker said...

I read TWILIGHT, the first book and thought it was very good. It's a very gothic retelling of Romeo and Juliet and Catherine and Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights), but set in an average American high school, which makes it strangely alluring. It is pathetically romantic, aimed at teen girls, but even with that constantly going on, it didn't bog the story down; things kept moving at a good pace and we're consistently interesting.

It is a little more adult than usual teen romance, not particularly sexual but instead because it obsesses about 'the unattainable male'. In this case, the utmost unattainable male - he's a vampire, and she's human. Lots of conflict there, like in the sexy adult romances.

I liked it a lot, but not enough to read the other three books. I have seen both movies and they are very good, heavy on the romantic obsession, but good stories.

I think the author's spin on wholly American vampires and werewolves is pretty clever and you have to give her props for coming up with a pop culture phenomenom.

I have friends who are writers of very serious vampire erotic poetry and fiction and into the whole adult vampire thing, and they love these books. What I find interesting is that Twilight and its clones are the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys of today. Things have changed a bit, eh?

Mike

beautifulshell said...

melodious b - i would agree about not recommending them to a young girl (although there's something to be said for getting kids reading, whatever it is)...from the movie and reviews I've seen, Bella seems like one of the *most* pathetic "heroines" of all time. In every way that Nancy Drew et al. are independent, strong, and ahead of their times, Bella seems...just not. The women's-college-grad in me says YUCK!

Jack C said...

Funny you blogged about this- I just finished reading this for my Young Adult Literatue class- I found it a little too "girly" for me- Too many long descriptions that talk about his muscular chest, his wonderful smell, and those "smoldering" eyes- Those eyes smolder so much, I'm surprised the Pacific Northwest didn't go up in flames...
I think the first book is extended exposition for the books to come after, but I doubt I'll bde reading them-
Glad you covered this one on your blog- I'll go read a Hardy Boys book now- LOL!
Jack

Chelsea said...

I've read them all and enjoyed the first book immensely. Bought the 2nd in the bookstore b/c I couldn't wait a few days to borrow it from a friend! I don't particularly like how she develops the plot in later books, but still enjoyed them.

Since then I've started thinking about them instead of just reading them. And I've become a bit uncomfortable with my enjoyment b/c Bella (as beautifulshell so eloquently put it) is not an independent heroine; and by how controlling Edward is in relation. Apparently there are quizzes online that let you evaluate Edward's relationship in terms of an abusive one -- and it meshes fairly well. My feminist side is just rebelling.

Here's a hilarious link to Edward Cullen vs. Buffy the Vampire Slayer : http://blip.tv/file/2261825/. It remixes clips from Buffy, the Twilight movie, and even Harry Potter (briefly) to juxtapose the strong heroine that Buffy is with Edward's obsessive ways. It's not really spoilerish -- if you know the basic plot, no surprises.

Those negatives said, the first time around was a lot of fun! Hope you enjoy them.

Jan said...

I've read each of them at least twice. They are not my favorites, and they are not nearly as well-written as some other books, but they are engaging reads, and Meyer has come up with an entirely new and interesting description of vampires and werewolves. My favorite book of the series is "Eclipse," and I waded through "New Moon," my least favorite, to get there. But I do have to say, and maybe it was because Meyer's agent rushed "Twilight" to get it out in a hurry, that the three sequels are much better written. I'd say my favorite current book series are Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, and my favorite older ones are Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton. For the comments about Edward's controlling behavior, although I loved his character, I have to agree. But I also want to point out, having been on the wrong end of an abusive relationship at one time, that Jacob's character scares me more (if he were real!). While I like his character as well, I found many cases where he was a little too physically brutish and forced himself onto Bella (although a wee bit of that is Bella's own weak personality - but only a wee bit!) a little too much for my liking.

stratomiker said...

Bella (as beautifulshell so eloquently put it) is not an independent heroine; and by how controlling Edward is in relation.

******I've read some of the erotic adult vampire romances (J. R. Ward has a good series) and the same is true: the women are weak and obsessed with the guys and the guys are tough, macho and demanding (if not outright abusive). And they are all vampires. Makes you wonder what happened to the liberated woman. But most of this kind of fiction is like that. You can't have obsessive love and be a liberated person. It's a necessary character flaw of the paranormal genre heroine.

The pop romance genres are mostly about intense obsessive love and explicit pornographic sex. Authors attempt to make the heroines liberated, but they always end up slave to the master in the love relationship. It has to be. It's right there in the tip sheets you have to follow to write them.

The Twilight books are preparing a whole new generation for this kind of romance, but even so the books do have their merit. Series book fiction has evolved to this. This genre is what is the rage today for girls. Boys are reading paranormals too, but they are a tad more directed to adventure and gore.

I know of only one popular boys series that is similar to the Hardy Boys - Alex Rider. And I don't know of any popular girls series similar to Nancy Drew or Judy Bolton. Gone are the days of series books as we knew them.

Mike

Kathleen said...

I joined a "Sci Fi" Reading Group at the local library.

I have always been crazy about mysteries, until I reached the age in which they became a little bit predictable (the mother-in-law did it in Victoria Holt's novels, an author I adored as a kid).

Nancy and girls series included, I still enjoy an outstanding mystery.

However, I have never been "into" the sci-fi genre and slept through "2001: A Space Odyssey". As a chronic insomniac- I really ought to buy it on DVD!

The ONLY other movie I slept through was Mel Brook's "Silent Movie".

I felt Stanley Kubrick was laughing AT his audience in "A Clockwork Orange" due to pseudo- symbolic interpretations and finding profound meaning where there was none.

I did join the "Sci Fi" group with an open mind. The first book was just disgusting as a friend of mine had died recently and the writer was talking about a deceased main character as made of ashes.

I finally put it down in disgust.

I was attracted to the group mostly by the reading list including Ray Bradbury. I LOVE his work!

The third book was "Twilight". The librarian was all excited. She explained there was a list of about 30 people awaiting the book so to return it as soon as possible.

Although I tend to go much further into reading a book before putting it down, I got about 30 pages into it and thought "I do not care about these people" and found it to be the epitome of boring.

I dropped out of the group and felt badly as the leader was terrific.

What I'd like is most any other genre (except romance).

I tried to start a Nancy group and wanted to include all ages during the summer as I have no car. They preferred the winter and kids only.

Oh well... Bring back "The Twilight Zone"! Now that was class, thought-provoking with a Who's Who of future stars.

If you are into vampires- Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins, for you young 'uns) has this very simple but fascinating website. I hope he is still faring well. He is in his eighties.

http://www.jonathanfrid.com/

Unfortunately that series is very out-dated.

Riddle me this- the premise of the series: Why did Victoria come to Collinsport?

Thanks!
KT

Chelsea said...

stratomiker,

You've made some great points about the book genres, which makes me wonder how on earth we managed to get Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Obsession, sex, love, liberation, strong females, all in the same package. I was thinking about this while watching the Vampire Diaries b/c there we also have the tension between strong female leads and obsessive male vampires played out, but with some of the same balance that Buffy had. (Not as brilliantly, of course!) Elena (Vampire Diaries' Bella) at a few points flat out tells Stefan she won't be treated poorly and he respects that. Haven't read the books, so don't know if they follow too carefully on this.

If you want to read a pop romance author who struggles with the female liberation more than most, I'd recommend Eloisa James. In real life, she's an English professor, but I've noticed that her early books tend to fall prey to the heroine is subordinate more than her later ones. She's starting to break out of the conventions in really interesting ways, despite the historical periodization of her work. Not perfect, but a start.

I also want to put a plug in for Cassandre Clare's Mortal Instruments series, which I just finished (what's out at least) and loved. There is one major plot line that might make people uncomfortable, so read reviews if you're worried. It's too spoilery to tell you whether you should be worried or not! I devoured these -- faster than Twilight or anything else I've read in awhile.

Jennifer said...

I just read the review mentioned in the first comment.

Washington Post Review

This is the funniest part:

"Educators, readers and parents have all made much of the fact that the Twilight series promotes a wholesome version of teen love for its dreamy, predominantly female readership, citing how the books' protagonists practice abstinence (as opposed to, say, the lewd excesses of Harry Potter's cohort, or those out-of-control Pevensie kids)."

Yeah, those Pevensie kids are really perverted (ha!).

The Twilight books are overall good, though flawed, but the last book is messed-up in so many ways. What was the author thinking?