Isabella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her dad after her mother remarries and relocates. She has to settle into a new school and a new way of life. And Forks- well, it’s the kind of town where everyone knows everyone’s grandparents and the like.
The school thing isn’t too bad though. Although she didn’t have to many friends in Phoenix where she had lived, she attracts a great deal of attention at her new school. What is even more difficult for her to comprehend is that there are a number of guys that are vying for her attention. Then she seems them in the cafeteria. They are the Cullens family, and they were the most beautiful people she had ever seen. The five Cullen children were adopted by Dr. Carlisle and Esme Cullen, who were also beautiful.
Bella has the fortune of sitting next to Edward in her biology class. But he, uh, reacts with a surprising amount of distaste. Throughout the class, he leans away from like he is offended by her odor; and later he goes as far as to try to re-arrange his schedule so he doesn’t have classes with her. Next Bella knows, Edward is missing from class for the rest of the week. But when he comes back, he is quite polite and gentlemanly towards her. Thus the cat and mouse game begins. Edward is quite fascinated by Bella because he finds her difficult to read. She on the other hand can hardly keep her wits about her whenever she looks at his glorious face! Then Edward saves her from what would have been a horrible car accident (one of the boys in her class lost control of the car on ice and nearly plowed into her). Then she realizes that Edward is not all that he seems. He’s incredibly fast. To top it all it seems that there is an Edward sized dent in the boy’s car. Her own personal superman? Or something else? One thing is for sure, Edward’s family seems a wee bit annoyed about his heroics. Further still Edward is rather ambivalent about answering Bella’s questions as to how he saved her.
Bella figures out the answer to her question from a “campfire” story told by Jacob Black. The fact that Edward is a vampire doesn’t freak Bella out. She is more than tolerant; she’s downright accepting. Edward takes her to meet his “family.” He and Carlisle (his surrogate father) tell her the history of how the Cullen family came to not hunt humans…
Carlisle was born shortly before the time of Oliver Cromwell. His father was a minister who hunted “demons.” It seems as though Carlisle’s father saw demons everywhere much like those in the Crucible. Carlisle carried on after his father, but was a lot more reasonable. But he did find some real vampires. On the night he and his followers attacked, an elderly vampire attacked him. Carlisle hid, but turned into a vampire soon after. Appalled by what he had become, he tried various ways to kill himself. After not eating for a long period of time, he attacked a herd of deer and discovered a way to satisfy his need to feed without becoming a monster. The Cullen clan is the largest vampire clan outside the Volturi (an Italian clan).
Some vampires have gifts. Edward can read minds (well of everyone except Bella). His “sister” Alice is able to see the future. Jasper can influence the emotions of those around him.
Anyway, as part of her day with the Cullen family. She watches them play baseball. In the midst of the game, another group of vampires show up- James, Victoria, and Laurent. These hunt humans. When the get a whiff of Bella’s scent, the hunt is on as far as James is concerned. A dangerous cat and mouse game ensues with the whole Cullen clan acting to protect Bella and her parents. They get James in the end, but Bella nearly dies.
I was reluctant to read this series. I heard many people going on about it. But, I’m not into pop literature so I resisted. What changed my mind? Well I listened to this podcast called Fire and Ice. I was looking for book review podcasts. Anyway, the four teenage girls were drooling over Edward. Ok! Drooling doesn’t begin to cover it. So I purchased the first one. The rest is history…
Bella- I was annoyed with this girl. That’s not bad. I think a good book is one where you can become irritated with the characters. She was just so irritatingly not observant. I figured out pretty quickly that Edward was a vampire. I mean Meyer does follow Bram Stoker in that vampires are these irresistibly beautiful people. And ok, I get that he’s drop dead gorgeous. But come on, you can’t control yourself better than that? And for crying out loud, love is fine but why would you throw you’re life away to be “undead” for all eternity. Edward, although lovely, is the first man sees ever fancy herself in love with. What’s the rush? Take some time to figure out who you are first?
Edward, is quite the cultured gentleman. As SIP noted, there was the Jane Austen reference to Edward Ferrars and Edmund Bertram. Actually he reminded me of the character Lucian in Underworld. I can sort of see why the girls were swooning over him. Anyway, he is a lot more rational about Bella’s humanity. It’s good someone has their wits about them.
There was one tiny thing I didn’t like. WHAT WAS UP WITH THE LACK OF NECK BITING IN THIS BOOK??? I mean no one died. I was hoping that with the introduction of James, Victoria, and Laurent someone would get it. But nope, no one died. To me that is the hallmark of a vampire novel-that someone dies. I was hoping for some chills.
The book was extraordinarily well written. It was told from Bella’s point of view. My understanding is that Ms. Meyer is going to write this novel from Edward’s perspective. That may be quite interesting, especially the hunting scenes. Stay tuned for New Moon which is the next book in the series.
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