The Twilight Series: A Romance Story within a Vampire Novel or a Vampire Story within a Romance Novel?

The biggest book franchise since Harry Potter and a multi-million dollar movie franchise which has made its stars household names. It’s fair to say that Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight franchise has done extremely well for itself with millions of fans across the world (nicknamed ’Twihards’). Despite the fact I have made my way to the cinema for each of the five movies, I had not read the book series, apart from the first book. I took up the challenge soon after I saw the last movie at the cinema, and two months later, I had successfully read them all.

For those that have not read the books/seen the film the series centres around teenager Bella Swan, who moves to the small town of Forks to live with her father, and here she meets the mysterious and beautiful Edward Cullen and his equally impressive family. She realises there is something not quite normal about them, and she is proven right when she learns that Edwards and his family are in fact vampires. Of course, they fall in love, and throughout the series their relationship is tested through various different problems including trouble with werewolves and an almost war with a vampire group that are akin to royalty.

The books are in the first person mostly from the point of view of Bella apart from a period in Breaking Dawn where Jacob is the narrator. The series is more of a romantic love story, with the added plot twist of the ‘hero’ being a vampire. The books perhaps rely on the supernatural aspect to make the story more intriguing to readers; take away that aspect of the books and it purely becomes a samey romantic love story.

To be perfectly frank, the story isn’t the problem I found with these books – it’s the writing style of Stephanie Meyer. The book is simply quite badly written and it becomes annoying after a time. Bella as the narrator of the series becomes tiresome and irritating, constantly bemoaning her situation of how two men are fighting over her, how incessantly normal she is, and how she keeps hurting both of the men in her life that love her. The chapters that Jacob narrates in Breaking Dawn are quite refreshing and I felt myself wanting his narration to continue.

The book series as a whole have become quite a phenomenon across the world, and whilst the books are never going to appear in a list of the best books ever written, they probably do appear in the list of best-selling books. The series explores love and romance, but also other issues such as humanity, life after death and the idea of family. While I also think the scriptwriters of the films managed to turn some dismal dialogue from the books and improve it, I did enjoy the books. I noticed subtle differences between the book characters and the film characters, and enjoyed the small moments that were left out of the film from the books. Being an English Literature graduate, I think I will always have a bias towards books, especially when they become adapted into a film and I’m glad I finally got round to reading the series.

“Why did she hit you?”

“Because I kissed her,” Jacob said, unashamed.

“Good for you, kid,” Charlie congratulated him.

(Eclipse)

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