Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Twilight Series and The Host

With New Moon coming out in theaters this fall, and Eclipse in full production, I felt it was time I made a few comments about The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer. While the four titles in the series kept my attention, as did The Host, another of Stephenie's absorbing reads, I was disappointed at the anticlimax reached at the conclusion of the series (as well as in The Host). With such interesting characters as the Cullens, Jacob and Bella, it was disappointing to see the series end in a brief standoff with the opposition backing down (or as in The Host with not a whisper about what happens with Melanie and her friends after Wanda's "choice").

Stephenie has the power to pull her readers into the story and keep their interest well. She has an active imagination and I can certainly understand why she has such a good following.

That said, I have to confess that I only started reading The Twilight Series when my teen granddaughters encouraged me with, "Grandma, you have to read them!" I had no intention of reading about vampires and such, prior to their insistence, and now that I have read the series, I find myself ambivalent. While I admire the Cullens for their fortitude in giving up human blood, I find myself unwilling to fall into the vampire cult so easily. I found Edward's love and respect for Bella quite charming, but I also found his eagerness to watch her sleep a little unsettling, as I did their spending the night together (her sleeping/him watching). Indeed, as a mother and grandmother, I find the whole idea that teenagers find this behavior acceptable (whether in humans or vampires) completely astounding.

Critics of this particular muse will say, "But, nothing happened." My stance remains the same. My response, "But, it could have, and allowing a teenager to believe that spending the night with her boyfriend, in the same bed (even if nothing happens), is opening a door to temptation that no unwed person should open." In today's society of open sexual relationships, I draw the line and say, "No." It takes a person with real courage and conviction to do the same.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Host, and felt the storyline moved along quickly and kept the readers' fingernails well-bit. I would have enjoyed it more if Wanda had watched the "revolution" gain ground before . . . Well, Wanda had a choice, and her choice left this reader wanting. If a sequel were planned, giving Melanie's view of the revolution, then I could accept the conclusion.

Would I recommend The Twilight Series to others? In light of my opinion on avoiding scenes that would encourage the temptation of promiscuity, no. If Stephenie had avoided writing those few scenes in the first book, I see no harm in a little make-believe with the Cullen vampires and their "higher ethics" than the normal vampire.

Would I recommend The Host? Yes. It is an interesting read, the premise of a higher lifeform (which is also a lower lifeform) than we humans was quite interesting, and while I was disappointed by the ending, I do not see that as any reason not to recommend the story to others.

Would I read other novels by Stephenie Meyer? Of course.