Though many of us old Harry Potter fans at UCSB will never be able to replace J.K. Rowlingâ€™s series as the best series of our youth, many are seeing a different sort of fantasy series take its place at the top of the bestseller list. Indeed, since the climactic end of Harry Potter, more and more die-hard book fanatics have switched over to the next craze — the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.
While the story of Twilight is mostly incomparable to the magical world of Harry Potter, its fantastical theme of vampires and werewolves has the same spellbinding effect on its readers, as well as having many juicy romantic points for those (mostly girls) who canâ€™t help but go gaga over gorgeous, unbelievably sophisticated protagonists. Yes, it does have romance in it, but donâ€™t deem it unworthy just because of that generally distasteful quality. When it comes to books I can actually enjoy, Iâ€™m definitely not a fan of love stories. This is one of very few exceptions.
When I was given a copy of Twilight (the first book in the series) as a birthday present, I was extremely hesitant to start reading it. I have never been the type of girl to enjoy romance novels, and even with the obvious fantasy and horror undertones it sounded too loaded with mushy love scenes and relationship drama to be worth my time. However, it did not take me long to change my mind.
Essentially, the story is about a young girl, Bella, moving to a rainy town in the state of Washington to live with her father, and winds up getting romantically involved with a mysterious, yet beautiful boy at her high school named Edward Cullen. The only catch is, Edward is not just an extraordinarily good looking fellow. He also happens to be a 108 year-old vampire, who luckily abstains for moral reasons from drinking human blood, but with an abnormally compelling and inconvenient thirst for her blood. Along with trying to make their relationship work, Bella also ends up having her life threatened on numerous occasions that require the superhuman strength and senses of her vampire companion to save her.
What makes the story worthwhile is not simply the obvious problems for Bella and Edward as a couple, but rather the entire style in which it is told. While not a prolific writer by any means, Meyer is able to make the story incredibly involving for her readers. Even the mundane activities in the book become gripping plot devices that support the behavior of the characters and draw you deeper into the story. And of course, if you still canâ€™t stand the idea of reading about true love, there are always the incredibly engrossing â€œaction scenesâ€ to pull you in, with plenty of fun supernatural powers and thunderous fight scenes between vampires and later, werewolves.
My one complaint about this series is, unfortunately, some punctuation and other grammatical errors. The writing style is very down to earth and easy to read, but seems to have been pushed through the editing process far too early for its own good. Meyer obviously knows a good deal about literary classics, as she makes allusions to many great works in her writing, even doing some analysis of Romeo & Juliet in a way that ties in nicely with the forbidden love present in her story. The lack of even the basic amount of editing at some points, while not in any way detrimental to the story, is just a tad bothersome for me, and probably others who expect grammatical perfection from books at the top of the bestseller list.
But as a whole, I cannot stress enough how interesting this book series has turned out to be for me, as doubtful as I was before I read it. As cheesy as it sounds, any lover of fantasy novels is sure to get a kick out of this series, regardless of how much your stomach churns from the idea of reading a story involving romance. While it is not fair to relate or compare it to Harry Potter, it can definitely help fill the void where the once mighty wizard boy reigned.