One nice thing about surgeries — they give you lots of time to read. I finished up The Soldier King on Thursday and started in on Twilight, as promised.
I started by checking the front matter. This book is in its 47th printing in paperback (19th in hardcover). Dang. And I thought I was doing well when Goblin Quest went back for a 4th printing….
I’m about 25% through Twilight, and so far, the book is surprisingly readable. It’s not great, but I haven’t tried to gouge out my eyes with a spork yet either.
It reminds me of Harry Potter: it’s a quick, easy read; our young protagonist leaves one life and enters another, more magical one where they’re amazingly popular; it has lots and lots of pages…
Several people commented that Bella Swan is very much a Mary Sue, and I can see that. She complains about how she’s so unpopular, and in the meantime she’s go no less than four–maybe five by now?–boys sniffing after her. There’s a wish fulfillment feel to the story, which I imagine is a lot of the appeal–just like in Harry Potter.
We’re only beginning to get into the Edward revelations, but I can already see where the dynamics of Edward/Bella are troubling, to say the least. So far, we’ve already seen some radical mood swings from Edward, as well as seriously controlling behavior (physically dragging Bella into his car being the most blatant so far). Pulling her away from her friends to sit alone with him at lunch isn’t by itself a pattern of isolating behavior, but I’ll be curious how many more warning signs we’ll see from Edward.
Mostly, Twilight does what a lot of successful SF/F books seem to be doing these days: it makes the fantastic more accessible. Like Harry Potter, it starts in our own world and grounds the reader before bringing in the fantastic elements. It reaches beyond the hardcore SF/F readers, to whom the first 125 pages will be not only familiar but even a bit boring. Yes, we get that he’s a vampire, and we’ve read this “discovery” process a hundred times before. We’ve read it, but folks unfamiliar to the genre haven’t, which might explain why this is the book reaching a larger audience.
One final thought: this book looks like it was designed to be a quick read. Larger typeface, big pages with larger margins, more spacing between the lines … physically, these pages were laid out in such a way that it makes you turn the pages faster. I find that interesting.
375 pages to go. More thoughts later I’m sure. For now, have a Harry Potter pic, ’cause it amused me.