Tag Archives: judging a book by its cover

Lisa’s Tuesday Perspective: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

It was almost exactly two years ago that I first read Twilight.  I know this because it was in the middle of NaNoWriMo—and it was distracting me to pieces.

Yes, of course I’d heard of it earlier than that.  I had a friend on LiveJournal who was beyond obsessed, and occasionally posted some fab fan art of the lovely Emily Browning as Bella, and if it weren’t for that, I may honestly never have read the book.  (Proof that I am a sucker for a pretty face, if nothing else!)  And then admittedly, the cover is gorgeous.  Actually, several of the international Twilight covers are gorgeous, as you’ll see a few sampled in this post.

I was trepidatious at best.  There was so much hype about these books (or so I thought, I should have waited a few months. Sigh) that I was almost positive that they couldn’t live up to it.  But admittedly, by the time I got to Port Angeles (that’s chapter 8, if your memory is fuzzy) I was so hooked I was breathing it in.  This was about the point where I fell for Edward.  I think it’s his extremely violent attitude towards the men who follow Bella down the street leering at her—which really is the worst possible reason to fall for a character, but sometimes it happens, yes/yes?

Before this, I have to admit I’d been squinting at the book a little bit, and trying to make it look less like Roswell in my head (I’m not the only person who’s made this comparison).  But Edward was such a… passionate gentleman, I guess you could say, which is really why anyone has ever fallen for him.  He’s exactly the conundrum women look for and can’t find, an extremely passionate person who’s also extremely polite.  As Anne Shirley puts it, someone who could be wicked… but wasn’t.  I was just as eager to learn about Edward as Bella was.  I even—embarrassingly, now—rolled my eyes whenever that kid Jacob came around, because oh my gosh, I want Edward, thanks.  (This was not to last.  Well, for the most part the Edward-love stuck around, but it was often far outstripped by my love for Jacob Black… but that’s another book. Or three.)

I thought nearly every sentence in the book was witty or clever or quotable.  I loved Bella’s quirky, misanthropic voice.  And I loved how clearly you see every single detail in the books.

I admit, this obsessive love lasted straight through the second and third book, but as many have discovered (or I guess don’t need to discover now that it’s so huge), it was very difficult for me to put my infatuation into words.  Hard to admit, blatantly, that I had even read anything as ridiculous as a book about a vampire that sparkles in the sun.  I didn’t want to talk about it out loud.  (Though I did, without hesitation, force Isabelle to read them with me—she actually finished the series—through Eclipse—long before I did).  I realized later that there is very little defendable about the books (there really is something ghastly about a girl who basically wants to die for her first boyfriend) but it’s something I push away when I’m actually reading the book – because then I just exist in that tiny little world of Forks, and I admit… I sort of like it there.

I’d go into how NOT Emily Browning Kristen Stewart is in the movie, or how when I get through the end of the books, my brain literally hurts when I think about Bella and her decisions, not to mention the fact that Stephanie Meyer sort of sets up “Love” and “Freedom of Choice” as direct opposites in the series… I’d even go into my frustrations as a Harry Potter fan when the two series are compared… but this is about Twilight, the novel.    A novel I’m sort of tempted to go and restart, right now.  Because whatever else I have to say about Stephenie Meyers’ books the fact is, they bring me back.  Time and time again.

So Twilight, the first novel in the series, that simple girl meets vampire book, gets an A from me.


Book Geek Wednesday: River Secrets by Shannon Hale

riversecrets

I have to admit, of the first three Books of Bayern, River Secrets is not my personal favorite.  But really, I think my opinion is tainted, thanks mainly to the fact that I really, really, and I mean really hate this cover.  On the one hand I was annoyed because it was impossible to buy this book in paperback in the cover that matched the style of the other two books I already owned in the series, but really, I just want to smack the cover model.  He looks like an uppity, obnoxious little brat.  And that’s unfortunate, because Razo, the character he’s supposed to portray and the main character in the novel, is a character I actually happen to like a lot.  But that kid on the cover… I really do want to slap him upside the head a bit, and I have to admit that that colored my reading of this book.  I don’t know why I let little things like that interfere with my reading experience, but I can’t deny that they do.  It’s like something in the series’ aura has been kinked because of the cover changes, I don’t know.  It’s not feng shui, people.

But shoving all new-age metaphors aside, I think it’s also a fact that I play favorites, and Enna Burning was such a delicious ride for me that it was hard to enjoy switching to a new character.

This review isn’t telling you that it really is a good book on its own, though… which it is.  So let’s ignore my weird associations and look at the facts:

1. Shannon Hale knows her world.  And she knows her characters.  Bayern and its surrounding areas are so real in her head they can’t help but be real in yours, which is awesome in and of itself.

2. We get an awesome new character here in the form of Lady Dasha (she’d be the red-head, above).  I adore her.  She’s sweet and spunky and a nice addition to an already beloved cast.

3. It’s not like we don’t see the awesome characters we love from the books beforehand, even if it is in a slightly smaller scale here.

4. Shannon Hale does something that I really wish Stephenie Meyer had done in Twilight—proved that you can be resourceful, influential and important even without special powers, even if you’re the “normal human being” surrounded by characters with cool abilities.

Besides, you’ve got to read this to get to the newly-released Forest Born.  And I have to admit, even from the one small mention we get of Rin in River Secrets I could already tell that there was something special about her, and that she was someone we’d want to get to know better, so I’m really looking forward to getting that chance!

I give River Secrets a hearty B+.  But really… it’s the aura thing getting to me again.  You’d probably rate it higher. 😉


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