So, I've read the Stephenie Meyer Twillight series recently, and I've now dubbed it to my friends as "Anne Rice Lite". Let's just say that he might be younger in vampire years, but Edward Cullen is no Lestat. All in all I thought the series was cute. Not that the term "cute" is always a good thing, but these were cute in a good way. I think that if I were a 10-14 year old girl, I might even be ga-ga for Edward Cullen, but I'm not and I'm not ga-ga for him now. I'm just bored. Here's my take on the Twillight Series, but don't read unless you're perfectly willing to read some spoilers:
Twillight (Book 1) : Okay, I get it, we meet the Cullens, the book takes a while to figure out a reason for the family's strange behavior. Bella, the teenage girl who is completely adult and independent is our heroine. She moves to the unsunny Northwest and takes care (cleans/cooks) for her father, the bumbling distant (but, still caring) sheriff in town. She and Edward begin their journey together. I see the appeal and I'm curious enough to come back for more. I'm most interested in the Tribe and how the local native americans have physically reacted to the "unnatural" presences of vamps. Also cool? Vampire Baseball is a fab and fun idea.
New Moon (Book 2): So, here is where it loses me on the Edward and Bella romance. They fall for each other awfully fast. He leaves to protect her and she collapses and spends the rest of the book trying to figure out how to move on with her life. For me, I thought that for a strong independent young woman who had been "the adult" in her relationship with her mother to all of a sudden fall so desperately in love that she would stop eating and collapse in the wilderness was a stretch. She seems so wildly practical that the teenage drama of reacting like that just didn't fit at all for me. Where she finds when he runs to be away from her probably death was the best part. Well, that and Jacob... who starts in this book to be endearing but grows in later books to be a great character.
Eclipse (Book 3) : This was my least favorite of the four books. I thought there was a lot of set up, that Bells spent a lot of time worrying, and that I wasn't ever under the impression that the Cullens would lose their battle to protect her. Jacob makes much more sense to me for her and I love his character development here. I guess I'm a Jacob and Bella fan.
Breaking Dawn (Book 4) : This was my favorite of the four books. A real Dracula, a corrupt "government", breaking the rules.... and Bella gets to become a real mate for Edward. Now she's a real 17-year old grown-up... forever. The baby was kind of creepy and I can't say that I enjoyed her name at all... but all in all, if they're going to be in love and fight for one another... this is the way I prefer to see it done.
In the end, I have to say I give them a solid C+ as a whole. I mean that as a good C+ because I was engaged enough to read all four books, I was engaged enough to keep reading and I was engaged enough to really really like some parts of the books. However, in the end I was a little disappointed. I kept hearing rants and raves about these as the next "Harry Potter" so I had fairly high expectations. But if you want a story that skims the edges of emotion and romanticism that Anne Rice still owns, you'll enjoy. I will say that I am a Joss Whedon fan so I really enjoyed Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan as well as an Angel, but I thought those relationships matured from flirty, eyelash-batting romances to deep and true love romances. Here, he looks at her goofy, hangs around a little and bam... she's in love. I was a teenage girl once (and still act like it when I can) and to Bella and Edward? I just don't relate. I've liked bad boys before and I think I would have liked this better if he was more of a bad boy. Just being a vampire alone doesn't fit the bill, if he isn't bad... then he's just a goody-two-shoes, and *yawn* that doesn't do it for me. Sorry.
I haven't read any Charlaine Harris (though I am excited to see True Blood on HBO), nor have I read any Laurell K Hamilton, but I get the impression that those vampire series are intended to be more campy than the serious nature of the vampire that has lived for generations. My friend Chris Golden-personal trainer extraordinaire-is pals with Rachel Caine and he says her Morganville Vampire books are really good. I'll be checking those out soon.
I am stoked to see the movie Twillight though, I think that Robert Pattinson is the perfect guy to play Edward.