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  Bookends: Dan Davidson


Reviewed: May 7, 2009
By: Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: Little, Brown
544 pages, $11.99

The Twilight series has been the latest great hope for the young adult publishing industry, with Stephanie Meyer being hyped as America’s answer to J.K. Rowling. This is a comparison the author wisely rejects.

The first book in the series introduces us to Bella Swan, a teenager who moves to Forks, Washington, to live with her father. She is not happy about this move initially. There are many complaints about the rain and the clouds. Things change when she meets Edward Cullen, for whom she has an immediate fascination, a attraction which, as it turns out, is shared.

Bella is a beautiful girl who doesn’t know how attractive she is. She is physically clumsy and seems to be a magnet for trouble. Edward ends up saving her from a number of potentially fatal situations.

It will no surprise to anyone, after four books and a movie, to learn that Edward is a vampire a member of a family of “vegetarian” vamps - meaning they don’t drink human blood - which has chosen to live in this town because it tends to be isolated and overcast.

Meyer’s vampires are not traditional. They tend to be physically gorgeous, have an erotic impact on normal humans, have no fear of crosses, garlic, sunlight, any of the usual stuff. What does happen to them in sunlight is that they get shiny, which tends to give them away, so they do prefer twilight (hence the book’s name) and darkness.

Because of all the press Meyer’s work has received, no one who reads this book now will be able to avoid already knowing that Edward is a vampire, so all the vague hints that might have created an air of mystery for first readers is lost. What’s left is way more or a romance novel than it is a thriller. Bella’s interior monologue is just crammed with obsession, reaction and insecurity, and was a bit cloying for my personal taste. Only towards the end of the book, when the town is visited by a less friendly group of vampires, do things actually manage to get tense more in the thriller vein.

This wasn’t a bad book, but anyone looking for something more along the line of Buffy, Angel, St. Germain, Vicki Nelson/Henry Fitzroy, or any of the other thriller/vampire stories out there should probably look elsewhere.

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