Twilight: Harry Potter it ain't! by Peter

I’m not really sure what I was thinking. A 32 year old guy picking up a teen romance.

Maybe it was because I had heard that it was the Second Coming of Harry Potter. My nieces and nephews, not to mention many of their aunts and uncles, some of whom are pushing middle age, were ravenous fans of J.K. Rowling’s fantasy series, and we’d had a few family debates on how The Deathly Hallows would wrap up the loose ends. If this new series had the same draw, I wanted in so I could keep up during the holiday visits.

Or maybe it’s because I’m a fan of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Or maybe because I was one of those basement dwelling gamers in high school. Or maybe it’s because all the hype piqued my curiosity. For whatever reason, I decided to check out Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, the first in her girl-meets-vampire series.

Well, Harry Potter it ain’t.

Twilight is not a bad book, but it is definitely written for an audience of which I am not a member. The story follows 17 year old Bella, who is repeatedly shown to be too smart and too fiercely independent for her own good. She’s an awkward wallflower who nevertheless seems to have just about every male character in the book tripping over themselves to ask her on a date, not the least of which is Edward the vampire heartthrob, who for reasons not clearly explained finds her irresistible. As such, the book is certainly a fantasy. I expected to have to put up with a sugary sweet love story, but after about 350 pages of Bella agonizing over just how impossibly wonderful her chivalrous bad boy vampire beau is, I was simply looking for a story, any kind of story, period. It’s only in the last quarter of the book that the plot gets moving, after we are introduced to Edward’s much more interesting vampire family, and the monsters finally come out to play.

The Twilight series has developed quite a following, so it certainly appeals to a great many people. I didn’t hate it, but my attitude toward it can be adequately summed up as ‘meh’. That said, I can see how it would appeal to young adult readers, fans of supernatural romance, or fantasy readers in general.

If you’re looking for a contemporary fantasy/horror with a little more meat (and blood) to it, however, I recommend Descendant by Graham Masterton, a grim tale about an American vampire hunter during WWII and the Cold War, or Robert McCammon’s The Wolf’s Hour, about a British spy who also happens to be a werewolf. If you are looking for a good bit of dark, violent escapism, these are worth a look.

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