Saturday, May 1, 2010

Monsters in May Review: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (& The Host Giveaway!)

Welcome to the first installment of Monsters in May!
(Giveaway details are at the end of the post!)

Bella Swan expects her typical teenage life to become even more average when she moves to the rainy small town of Forks, Washington to live with her dad. All that changes, though, on her first day at Forks High when she spies the pale and graceful Cullens across the cafeteria. Bella is drawn to the entire beautiful family, but especially to the youngest, Edward. However, her initial excitement upon discovering he is her lab partner quickly turns to fear when he levels a menacing glare at her as she takes her seat beside him. After an entire class of strained and inexplicable silence, Bella is relieved the next day when Edward doesn’t appear at school. After a week, however, her curiosity is piqued and she can’t help but wonder what happened to the bizarre, beautiful boy. When Edward finally returns, he is surprisingly civil, and Bella begins to wonder if she imagined the whole incident. After a near-death experience that she hopes will bring them closer actually has the opposite effect, though, Bella is once again left hurt and confused by Edward’s Jekyll and Hyde behavior. After months of cold silence that Bella tries her best to ignore, Edward seems to experience yet another mood swing and is suddenly much more than polite to the bewildered heroine. As their odd relationship progresses, his cryptic comments and thinly veiled warnings leave Bella frustrated and determined to find answers. A fateful trip to a nearby reservation and a strange conversation with an old friend reveals the truth at last, but it’s almost too bizarre to believe. However, Edward’s unearthly speed and grace, as well as his apparent ability to read minds, don’t leave much room for doubt and Bella is finally forced to accept the impossible truth – a truth that irreversibly splits her future into two distinct paths and leaves her to face a choice she never dreamed she would have to make. Unfortunately, that’s only the beginning of Bella’s problems; the average girl from Arizona soon finds herself caught up in a dark and dangerous world, trying to outrun forces that far surpass her mortal strength.

Stephenie Meyer weaves a mesmerizing tale of dark romance in her debut novel, Twilight. While there are plenty of mysteries and an action-packed climax, the cast of characters transcends the plot itself. The unfathomable psychological motivations of the mystifying hero will leave readers puzzled, eagerly trying to unravel Edward's inscrutable thoughts.  Bella is a completely relatable YA heroine - bookish, a bit of a loner, always feeling out of place. More than anything, it is this intense characterization that has won over millions of readers. The relationship that develops between Bella and Edward is as engaging as it is impossible, and their tightrope walk between destiny and disaster is captivating. This unusual story is charming and will deposit readers in the rainy green wilderness of Forks, right in the midst of the mystery and intrigue. While Meyer's writing style may not earn her a Pulitzer, her storytelling more than makes up the difference. The one-liners and quips sprinkled frequently throughout the novel keep the dark story from turning too horrific, making Twilight an entertaining and consuming read. As long as readers can handle a little cheesiness, they won't regret delving into this enchanting and exciting supernatural romance that has entranced millions and spawned an international phenomenon.

Premise: 4/5
Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Writing: 3/5
Setting: 4/5
Overall: 3.9/5

This novel can be purchased here.

Go here for the Monsters in May details. If any other reviewers would like to participate, simply post a Twilight review, add the image and link back to this page on your blog, then let me know and I will link back to your review! (If a lot of people are interested, I'll probably add a Mr. Linky to simplify things.) Hopefully we can get some good Twilight discussions going! 


***UPDATE! The Host Giveaway has been extended until midnight EST on May 24!***

Thanks to Hatchette Book Group, I will be giving away one copy of the new edition of The Host by Stephenie Meyer with BONUS CHAPTERS to one lucky reader! All you have to do to enter is (1) Follow this blog using Google Friend Connect (left-hand sidebar) and (2) Comment on at least one Monsters in May Review! You can also get extra entries by tweeting, etc. Just go to THIS FORM to enter! Go here to read the book description and an excerpt!

There will also be random small Twilight prize giveaways for commenters! All you have to do is comment on a Monsters in May review post and you're automatically entered. Prizes may include bookmarks, keychains, door hangers, posters, bumper stickers, or magnets (it depends on what I can find - exact item cannot be guaranteed). Winners will be announced in a Monsters in May post and contacted immediately via email. They will have 48 hours to reply with their shipping address or a new winner will be selected.

I will add ANOTHER BOOK (Monsters in May themed, of course) for every 100 new followers during this contest (from the current number of 128)!

The contest will run from today (May 1) to May 24 at midnight EST. I will be posting weekly, but I'll post my last review a little early to give people time to comment and enter. Winners will be selected using a randomizer. I will contact the winners immediately and they will have 48 hours to respond with their shipping address or a new winner will be selected.

*The Bookish Type accepts no responsibility for lost or damaged books.
**Books added later in the contest will probably be from Book Depository, so winners will be limited to countries where this site ships. This does not apply to The Host, which is open internationally.

PS - Don't forget to enter my 111 Follower Giveaway for a chance to win a SIGNED copy of The Curse of Nefertiti by Charline Ratcliff.


E.J. Stevens said...

Great review! I agree that these books are character driven.


blueicegal said...

awesome contest and review keep it up!:P

elizabeth said...

Great review! I agree that Meyer has a way of storytelling!

Susan said...

Hi! I just found you through the Blog Hop. I'm enjoying your blog. I liked both TWILIGHT and THE HOST - Stephenie Meyer has a way of capturing a reader!

Priya Parmar said...

i have to say that i am a twilight junkie. these books are unputdownable!

Whitney said...

Great review! Twilight is a guilty pleasure of mine, especially the movies. Also, I have an award for you!

Elise said...

Thanks for the review.

The Bookish Type said...

Thank you all for reading and commenting! I'm glad you thought my review was accurate! I totally agree - these books are utterly addictive!

@Whitney - Aww! Thank you so much! =)

GMR said...

Enjoyed the review! Twilight quickly became a favorite series of mine...once I finally picked it up. Yeah, I actually waited until book 3 was a few months away from being released before I caught on to this one...but LOVE IT! ^_^


~M.A.CHASE said...

To me, Twilight was good but then it started to get really annoying. I used to love this book then everyone started cramming and it was just all over the place. Who agrees?

The Bookish Type said...

@GMR - You did better than me! I didn't pick up on it till the last book was about to be released! Lol! It is sooo addicting once you start! I'm glad you liked the review! Thanks for commenting! =)

@~M.A. CHASE~ - I am sick of the phenomenon surrounding the movies too. I actually really don't like the movies very much. But I can't hold all of that against the books - I liked the books before I knew there was going to be a movie. The books are still good, even if the whole series is overexposed. I just wish the hype would die down. It's getting a little embarrassing to proclaim your Twilighter-ness because then people associate you with half-naked underage actors and screaming fangirls. Sigh.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

I have not read any of the Twilight books yet. I know, I should get to them - as they do sound great. But, the big hype around them right now is hard for me. I like to read books that aren't that big yet, or anymore. Thanks for the great review!

FionaChan said...

I read the book when the Twilight movie was released. I think your review made me like the books better.

twimom101 said...

I love the twilight books. I actually watched the movie before the book...cause at the time I had never heard of Twilight. but then I ran out and bought all the books. now I have reread them about 4 times. but I thought your review was great! :o)

mountie9 said...

Great review. I love the books, but so far I really dislike the movies

Jennifer Mathis said...

I thought the books were an interesting read but then the movies and the world stopped for twilight. I got so sick of it and the new movie will be coming to theathers soon and then everywhere you go that will be all the topic ugh. And i had probablems with belle in the books and to hear how every little girl wants to be her grrrr * ok getting down off my soapbox now*

mariska said...

I love twilight saga books. And your review was GREAT ! :)

The Bookish Type said...

Thank you all so much for stopping by!!

@Melissa - I totally know what you mean. As much as I LOVE the books, the movie hype is REALLY annoying. It has to end eventually, though...sigh. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

@FionaChan - Wow, I'm honored! I'm so glad you enjoyed my review! =)

@twimom101 - That is one great thing about the movies, they brought people together with the books! =) I'm so glad you liked the review! Thanks for commenting!

@mountie9 - Thanks! Same here! I don't have high hopes for the future ones, either - can you imagine how Breaking Dawn is going to be?? Ughhh.

@Jennifer Mathis - I totally agree about the overexposure!!! However, I don't get why people hate on Bella & say she's anti-feminist. She OWNS both of those boys. Seriously. There's not a single instance that she doesn't eventually get her way. By the end of the series, Edward is totally whipped. She gets Edward, she gets Edward back, she gets to keep BOTH Jake & Edward when the girl can't make up her daggone mind, she gets to sleep with Edward (against his better and clearly correct judgment), she gets to become a vampire, etc etc etc. I need to do a post on this. Clearly I feel strongly about it.

@mariska - Thank you so much!! I'm so glad to hear other Twilight fans think I did it justice =) Thanks for reading and commenting!!

lisa :) said...

So I'm a new follower but any blog with Stephanie Meyer discussion is a worthy one for me to comment on!

I think you have a really fair assessment of Twilight too. I've read a lot of gushing reviews that don't let Meyer suffer any criticism and equally as many that rip the book to shreds without giving it any merit. I like how you gave it props for its charm while still mentioning that it does have its cheesy parts.

I liked how you pointed out called Bella and Edward's relationship "as engaging as it is impossible" - I'm curious about your thoughts on the argument that Meyer set a bad example for young readers with B&E's undying devotion to each other (though it does make for a fab story.)

The Bookish Type said...

Hi Lisa! Once again I want to thank you for your fantastic comments! They really made my day =)

I'm glad you thought my review was fair! I think you have to look at Twilight for what it is and from all sides to be able to appreciate it. It's touched so many people for a reason, right? I hate for people to write it off based on the hype =(

Oh dear, I think I could probably write a book on this topic! I've debated it extensively with my real-world Twilight people, but I'll try to reign myself in here ;-) I don't think Stephenie set a bad example, for the most part. I think that the defining aspect of Bella and Edward's relationship is (obviously) the fact that he's a vampire. It changes everything. I think a lot of people forget that and just think of them as two teenagers. I know there are many people that think Bella is the damsel in distress and Edward is controlling and abusive, but I personally think that if the situation were reversed (Bella a vamp, Edward human) that Edward would be the one in distress and Bella would be the protective one. It's not the fact that Edward is a guy that makes him the stronger one, it's the fact that he isn't human! Bella is trying to keep up with forces that are beyond her, and she just can't do it without some supernatural help! Alice is similar to Edward in the controlling thing, and she's a girl. The vampire aspect is crucial. I say all that to say that I think the same is true of their relationship. For Edward, his first love is his only love (have you read the first chapters of Midnight Sun?), so of course it's going to be powerful and consuming. For vampires, their mate is the center of their universe - it's just a defining trait of their species (look at Victoria and James, or the myriad other vampire couples in the series). I think it's in Midnight Sun that Edward says Carlisle still looks at Esme with the eyes of first love. It's not just a "teenager" thing - it's a vampire thing. As for Bella, I suppose this aspect depends upon your feelings about fate. In the real world, I personally don't believe in fate, but it is clearly a force to be reckoned with in the Twilight universe. As Bella sees it, she was born to be a vampire, and as Edward sees it (another Midnight Sun reference, sorry lol) fate made Bella in exactly such a way that he absolutely could not overlook her in his emo vampire abstraction. Bella also says that, because Edward isn't a part of the natural world, he trumps her natural (soul)mate. It seems to me that their love can't be defined or constrained by our human standards and ideas because it's not really part of our rational human world - it's something else entirely. And, in Bella's defense, she does have a choice. It's not like she meets one boy and rides off into the sunset - she has a legitimate choice; she truly examines her options. And then she makes her choice (sorry, trying to avoid spoilers lol). Having said all that, though, her New Moon depression was a bit over-the-top for me, buuut I can also see how it makes sense within the scenario Meyer constructed. She talks a lot about these issues on her site, and I think her explanation is pretty reasonable.

Sorry I didn't do so well on "reigning myself in" lol - I really think I need to do a post on this and get it out of my system ;-) I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject as well! Thanks again for your wonderful comments! I really hope you'll visit again!

Aik said...

I loved Twilight! Thanks for you awesome review! I noticed your language is very good! :)

Michael Antonio Araujo said...

Hmm I was never really a fan of Twilight. I mean I liked the idea but the way it was written and what was written was a complete letdown for me. I do somewhat enjoy the movies and they are getting better but the books just didn't cut it out. I'm hoping it was the series itself and not the author, and I will be checking out the new book of Bree Tanner.

Epic review, even though I didn't like the novel I still enjoyed reading your thoughts and such.

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