I have a confession to make, dear reader: I finished reading the first book of the Twilight series last night. As in, I didn't put it down until gone four in the morning. I was persuaded (read: bugged incessantly) by one of my exes that I couldn't understand the films properly and criticize them without reading the books. Which is fair enough, so I obtained them from a mate (for free — I sure as hell wasn't paying for them) and got cracking on the first book.
Twilight is the story of a girl who falls in love with a 100 or so year old virgin vampire. With issues...
I thought that the writer did a good job of capturing the whole "first love" thing, but that some criticisms are valid. For instance, it is not romantic to sneak into a girl's house and watch her sleep. And Bella (the books' protagonist) is remarkably critical of herself for someone who has stated that most of the school is after her romantically.
It also doesn't help that the book is told in first person so that it smacks of wish fulfilment (the film's version of Edward, Robert Pattinson, has said that he believes it to be this). One wonders if her husband read the book and was annoyed at his wife writing herself falling in love with a vampire.
Both the fandoms and hatedoms blow this book out of proportion. Were this book not to involve vampires in the slightest, it wouldn't look out of place on the shelf with the Mills & Boon romance novels. Most of the criticisms can be boiled down to:
a) That vampires were much cooler until she came along and made them "emo." (Emo vampires are nothing new, just look at Van Helsing) and
b) That sparkling in the sunlight is a stupid ability for a vampire to have. I agree with this one, as it assumes that humans are basically magpies going "LOOK AT THE SHINY HUMAN, LET'S WALK CLOSER TO IT!" (The rationale is that being shiny will attract prey.)
Having said that, the book is not actually that bad. I didn't read any passages that made me want to chuck the book across the room in disgust. I'd say she's like the Dan Brown of romance novels; hardly the writer of the great American novel, but she can create an interesting tale nonetheless. And she kept me reading until the end, which is more than Bram Stoker's Dracula managed to do.