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Sunday, October 25, 2009

So, it has come to this: Chris reviews TWILIGHT

Yeah, I've read Twilight, the first novel of Stephenie Meyer's vampire series that has sold bazillions of copies and is now threatening us with a second motion picture. Even though I'm hardly the target audience for these books, I figured that it's culturally relevant enough to acquaint myself with it.

And I have to report to all two of this blog's faithful readers that much to my surprise, I enjoyed Twilight more than I had anticipated. So far as vampire fiction goes I'm still going to consider Dracula to be the high bar, along with Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles (the first several books anyway). But in Twilight I found a satisfying fulfillment of something I hadn't realized there had been a dearth of: a thoroughly modern-day American vampire mythos.

And that's the thing that makes me want to read the other books in the Twilight series: Meyer does establish quite a deep and empathetic lore in her tale of Bella, Edward and the Cullen clan of vampires. Yeah, they're vampires. I can finally buy into that. Up 'til now, what little I'd known of the vampires in the Twilight books had caused me to muster up a "meh". I mean, "vampires" who aren't afraid of sunlight, aren't repelled by garlic or crucifixes, etc.? Those aren't vampires, those are people with severe eating disorders at most. But having the read the book I kinda like this updated take on the vampire physiology, just as I thought Anne Rice had a brilliant and even sensible basis for vampires in her literature.

In other aspects, Twilight reads much like any romantic novel aimed at adolescents and young adults... and that's fine too. Vampire fiction cuts across a huge swath of genre. In this case it didn't detract from my personal appreciation of the novel at all, and I don't foresee it being a hindrance in my reading the other installments of the Twilight series either.

So if, like me, you've been wandering the bookstore aisles and inwardly debating whether Twilight is a book worth sinking your teeth into (or at least sinking into your wallet and plunking down money for), I'll have to give it a good recommendation.

And maybe sometime I'll even draw up the courage to watch the movie...