By Reviewer Shawna (originally posted February 23, 2008)
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Primary Audience/age group: Young Adult
Genre: Thriller, Romance
# Of pages: 498
Year of Release: 2005
Part of a Series? Yes, 1 of 4
Rating: 2 View Scale
Recommend? No (See Below)
Description: The budding romance between Bella and Edward is anything but typical. It’s downright scary. Bella Swan is distinctively average herself until she finds the love of her life Edward in the gloomy little town of Forks. She discovers that he and his family are vampires, but even that doesn’t stop her from falling in love.
Review: Stephenie Meyer brings a new twist to the traditional vampire stories of death and mayhem. She weaves a tale of forbidden love between Edward and Bella that draws you in with utter abandon. The passion between them is so mesmerizing that you forget about the world around you. And that’s the main problem. It leads your mind away - ever so subtlety - down a road you want to take but knowingly will regret later.
Positive: Compared to most other vampire books, this one is much less gory. The Cullen family has chosen to rebel against their inborn desire to kill humans and hunt overpopulated animals instead. Carlisle, Edward’s adoptive father, has even chosen to become a doctor in order to save lives instead of take them. They are truly a family that lives by their convictions.
Spiritual Elements: Carlisle’s father was a Protestant pastor in the early 1600’s. Carlisle was following in his father’s footsteps until he was transformed into a vampire. His deeply-rooted religious beliefs caused him to despise what he had become, but he eventually came to the realization that he could control his blood lust, to a degree. He chose instead to hunt overpopulated animals and start a coven of vampires who would choose to follow his beliefs as well.
The vampires are compared to gods in regards to their remarkable beauty and immortal nature.
Violence: As a young vampire, Emmett, Edward’s brother gives into temptation and kills two unsuspecting women, which he later regrets. Before becoming a vampire, Esme, Edward’s adoptive mother, runs off a cliff and kills herself after her child dies. Carlisle, Edward’s adoptive father, brings her back to life by turning her into a vampire.
Bella is almost attacked by four men who have malice on their minds. She is rescued by Edward.
James, a visiting vampire, is a tracker, which means he hunts (tracks) humans with his senses in order to kill them. He has is sites set on Bella. Spoiler Warning: He traps her by telling her he will kill her mother. Then he attacks her, throwing her into a mirrored wall and breaking her leg. The only way to stop him is for the Cullen family to kill him. It is implied that they rip him to shreds and burn the body in order to succeed. The scene is somewhat bloody.
Language: H*** and different forms of d*** are mentioned a few times. At one point, Bella “internally curs[es] Jessica to the fiery parts of Hades” for telling another student a secret.
Sexual Content: To be perfectly honest, there are no inappropriate love scenes or risqué behavior to mention. But, the book is very intense, passionate, and sensual in regards to the love between Bella and Edward. They are star-crossed lovers, who have a huge obstacle between them. Edward is a vampire, and although he’s very much in love with Bella, he’s always tempted by her blood. He kisses her seductively several times. Edward tells Bella that they will never be able to be totally intimate because of his fear that he may lose control and kill her.
After Bella meets Edward, she begins to dream of him every night. He eventually admits that he watches her through her window every night. He is so afraid of losing her, he wants to protect her at every moment. He even spends the night in her bedroom, holding her until she falls asleep. Her father is unaware or else he would not approve.
The Cullen family consists of a mother and father, three adopted sons and two adopted daughters. They live in this manner as not to draw attention to themselves. The rumor going around school is that the children live as couples, which is true to an extent. Emmett and Rosalie are married, but their façade is that they act as brother and sister. Alice and Jasper are a couple as well, but there is no further mention of their relationship.
Other: Bella’s parents are divorced and her mother has remarried. In order to gain information about the Cullen family, Bella flirts with a younger boy. Bella is so nervous about seeing Edward, she takes cold medicine to fall asleep. There is a crude joke about heroine. Edward can hear others thoughts, and Alice can see the future to a degree. Bella is rude and disrespectful to a concerned adult.
Rating: 2 for intense sensuality/passion
Recommendation: Even though I greatly enjoyed the book, I think that is a bit too intense and that Bella and Edward's relationship could quickly and easily become very physical. It however does not result in premarital sex although their relationship is extremely passionate. Their behavior towards each other seems to be quite obsessive as well. The electricity between Edward and Bella was very mesmerizing. The book drew me in in such a way that my mind took their relationship way beyond what was actually written. This is a subject that hits very close to home for me. I love to read a good love story, but I would prefer a more God-centered tale that teaches about God’s perfect plan of intimacy within the context of marriage. I want to teach my daughter to have a pure heart and mind. Although the book is extremely well written and engaging, I am not able to recommend it to teens under 18.