“You are going to hate it in so many ways,” I told Jessica before she started reading Twilight. I could anticipate the criticisms: sappy romance, amateurish writing, serious transgressions of feminist ethics…
As it turns out, Edward Cullen trumps all of the above. “You didn’t tell me this was a vampire romance,” growled Jessica, who was feeling thwarted because all copies of book two were checked out.
It’s not hard to understand why the Twilight series has millions of followers, including Jessica and me. The formula is love, danger, and sacrifice. Edward and Bella are 17-year-olds whose attraction to each other is unhealthy and absolute. He’s a vampire, impossibly beautiful, masterful, and about as powerful as Superman. She’s a klutzy human who happens to smell more delicious to vampires than anyone else on earth. Edward is a “vegetarian” vampire, one of a family who feed only on animals, but he can barely control himself around Bella.
The story begins with entertaining, sometimes humorous twists on the teen-romance theme, and slowly builds to high suspense as Edward tries to protect Bella from other vampires who hunt humans. Bella and Edwards’ dilemma, and the dangers they face, become more complex and anguished in the second and third books, New Moon and Eclipse.
Jessica was quite disgruntled to learn that the series isn’t complete–she and the rest of us will have to wait for a resolution in book four, Breaking Dawn, which is due to be published in Fall 2008.