Reading Challenge: The Twilight Saga

As part of my reading challenge for 2013, I am re-reading my tried and true favorites. I started this off with a series that I've read countless times and that I had missed last year when I was avoiding re-reads in an attempt to read 40 new books in a year. Twilight. Sigh.

In case you live under a rock and have never heard of the Twilight series, here's a little synopsis for you. Bella is a high school junior who moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father. Upon moving to this rainy, dismal little town, she encounters a group of incredibly beautiful students, one in particular who catches her fancy. Edward. Bella comes to find out that Edward is a vampire (as is the rest of his unusually attractive family) and she fall desperately in love with him, and him with her despite his lust for her blood. Running around with a bunch of vampires proves to be pretty dangerous for Bella so Edward decides to take his family and leave Forks to spare her from the inevitable pain and possible death that awaits her if she continues to be with him. This throws Bella into an intense depression, after several months she finds companionship with her new best friend Jacob (who is also in love with her). Turns out Jacob is a werewolf and Bella is once again thrown in to the world of the mythical while she struggles to go on day-to-day without Edward, whom she still pines for. In an effort to have some fun and take a few risks, Bella decides to go cliff diving. Alice (Edward's psychic sister) has a vision of this and assumes that Bella has committed suicide, in a round about way Edward finds this out and is destraught. Bella and Alice go on an adventure to Italy to save Edward from his own self-distruction. After that debocle, Edward and the rest of his family (the Cullens) come home to Forks and life resumes happily for Bella and Edward, while Jacob is miserable because the girl he loves is in love with his natural enemy (werewolfs + vampires = enemies). A love triangle develops as Jacob tries to convince Bella that he is a better fit for her. Meanwhile, Bella has decided she wants to become a vampire and after many long debates Edward reluctantly strikes a deal that if Bella marries him he will change her. I'll stop there in case you don't know how the story ends because it's a good story and I don't want to ruin it for you!

This series is comprised of four novels Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn plus one novella called The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner in which author Stephenie Meyer delves in to the side story of a new born vampire that goes hand in hand with Eclipse.

I know most people who are going to read the Twilight series already have, but if you haven't read it let me just tell you that it is one of the most absorbing series I've ever read. When I first was introduced to the series I was very reluctant to read it. I don't like to do things just because everyone else is doing it, so since it was such a phenomenon, I resisted the urge thinking it was probably not as good as everyone thought it was. I saw a trailer for the movie one night when I went to the movie theater and I was like "Hey look Cedric Diggory is in a new movie!" Then when my co-worker brought me the book one day and told me I had to read it, I gave in. I read the first book in less than a week. I remember specifically that I finished Twilight around 6:00PM on a Friday night and immediately went to Target and purchased the entire series. I finished New Moon the next day and was done with the series in less than two weeks. Yes, it's that good. And I agree with you nay sayers out there, it's not that it's the most well written YA series out there, it's more about the characters and relationships that completely suck you in!

Here is why Twilight is so good: Remember what it feels like to fall in love for the first time and how consuming it is? You don't really have to remember because Stephenie Meyer captures it so completely. A lot of people say that Bella is stupid to be so engrossed in Edward, when he leaves her whole world falls apart. Well, do you remember being 17? That's what it was like, so give Bella a break already. What makes Twilight wonderful is that it is the ultimate love story and each relationship whether it's Edward and Bella's love and devotion, Bella and Jacobs undying bond of friendship, or even Bella's relationship with her father Charlie is perfectly crafted. This isn't just a story about vampires and werewolves and a mortal girl stuck in the middle, this series would be nothing without the relationships.

One of my favorite quotes from this series comes from New Moon: "One thing I truly knew — knew it in the pit of my stomach, in the center of my bones, knew it from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, knew it deep in my empty chest — was how love gave someone the power to break you." - Bella

I love this quote because it is exactly what the over-reaching message of this series is. It captures that totally high school mentality of being consumed by the one you love.

A couple thoughts about Bella: Bella catches a lot of flack for not being a strong female role model or literary heroin, but I disagree. I'll give it to you, Bella's a brat and kind of annoying here and there. But she is also brave and loyal and would do anything for her family and friends, even give her own life. Her every motivation is driven by love, I don't think that makes her weak.

I'll admit that this last re-reading of this series wasn't my favorite read through. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the first time I read this I turned around and re-read it, and then re-read specific parts and books in no particular order because I couldn't get enough. Honestly, this was the first time I've ever read it and felt a little bored. But I think that has to be expected. Plus, I really prefer to read this series in the fall, it's got a moody atmosphere to it that fits nicely in to late September and October. That said, I'll love this series forever and will likely re-read it as the need strikes throughout my whole life.

"And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of forever."
Here's a cute little collage I made from!

Reading challenge update: Completed 6/50

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