Harry Potter will live on forever. Don't even, for one split second, doubt that. So please, let us pay homage to one of the greatest, yet overrated piece of literature in history by taking a moment of silence.
[Count from 1 to 50 here].
[Now recite the letters of the English alphabet seven times. Do the same for the French alphabet nine times].
Moving on, lads.
I can only fathom out four solid reasons why you may never have heard of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga.
Reason number one: you don't read books, in which case I feel utterly sorry for you, you poor, poor thing.
Reason number two: you read books but you live under an enormous rock ... in Antarctica. I understand. No Waterstones. No Barnes & Noble. No Canadian hockey team. Even the things closest to a book that you read over there are written in scrolls similar to the ones found in the Dead Sea caves.
Reason number three: you live in a third world country, so although you read so much that you somehow gain the preternatural ability to read, hence a first class entry ticket into Professor Charles Xavier's school for the gifted, and finally a prestigious invitation to join the X-men so you can use your powers to read alien books, your chances of hearing of the Twilight saga is as good as Mugabe's odds on seeing the gates of heaven.
Reason number four: you're dead. Can't you help there, mate. Sorry.
If you are reading this blog and one of these reasons applies to you (though if yours is reason number four...) then now you know about the Twilight saga.
Latterly the American media has been making some heretic comparisons between J.K Rowling and Stephenie Meyer due to the Twilight saga's popularity and the manner in which Meyer shot to fame.
Thus, is Stephenie Meyer the next J.K Rowling? Honestly, that's a chimera, a flitting dream so pale it's not fit to be called a dream anymore but a lousy afterthought. The thought of the possibility is not in any way as bold or real as my fantasies of Kate Winslet, Jessica Alba and I ... fishing in the sunset. The media and the rest of the world needs to understand that it can never happen (not the part about Kate, Jessica and I – that's definitely going to happen very soon, you watch). Rowling has set a standard so high that even she may never surpass.
To give you a quick synopsis, Twilight (the first book in the saga) centres on a teenage girl, Bella, who moves to the town of Forks in Washington and falls in love with a very sexy vampire, Edward Cullen. Edward, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to rip Bella's throat and drain her blood to the last ounce. But there's a catch: before Edward can bring his gory fantasy into fruition he falls in love with Bella.
Stephenie Meyer never fails to be monotonous when describing Edward, almost to the extent of making the book interminable. I swear I lost count of the number of times Stephenie told me, the reader, that Edward was sexy. What's worse is I'm a bloke and I had to swallow all her narratives of Edward's hard, lean muscles; contoured surfboard stomach; strong, pointy nipples... What the -? Come on! The first few pages of Edward taking off his tight top, I took like a brave soldier. I took it all. But then she just kept going on and on and on and on and on about Edward's sex appeal. It was really disturbing for me, I tell you. I had nightmares. Instead of dreaming of my sunset fishing escapades with Jessica Alba and Kate Winslet, I found Edward sitting next to me, shirtless, a bottle of baby lotion in hand... YIKES!
When I finished Twilight I couldn't help but see it as a female's guide to fantastic sexual fantasies. So why did I read it? Simple: the vampires.
Now, these vampires are not your ordinary vampires. Forget about Angel or those clowns in Buffy. Edward and his entourage are simply something else, out of this world. They make Anne Rice's vampires timid, like little school girls about to get bullied in the playground.
Firstly, Edward and co won't burn to ashes when they step into the sun. They will ... glitter like irresistible diamonds.
Okay, I admit, that part is lame (glitter? What?). But, seriously, what really got me hooked was that Meyer's vampires (not all of them) have supernatural abilities. Edward, for example, can read the minds of everyone, vampires and humans alike (except Bella's, which is in fact the major, causative reason for his fierce love and enthralment for her and her unique, byzantine mind). Then there's Alice Hale, Edward's adoptive sister and also a vampire, who can see the future. So you can imagine what it's like when Edward and Alice engage each other in a calculated game of chess: Edward reads her mind to see her next move and Alice peers into the future to see his next move (this happens in the book). Here, ladies and gentlemen, is an example of an unremitting chess game.
Jasper Hale, Edward's adoptive brother and Alice's lover (no, it's not incest), has a degree of empathy far above normal – he can feel/share your emotions and manipulate them. To be exact, if you're really pissed off, he can you make you the happiest person on earth. Likewise, if you're happy, he can make you angry, sad, lonely, depressed, and that.
Secondly, Edward and co have very low body temperature and rock-hard bodies. And I mean rock-hard. They're like living, breathing, indissoluble statues, which means bullets, knives and nuclear weapons can't destroy them. By now you must have understood why I said earlier that Angel and Buffy's vampire villains are clowns, and Anne Rice's vampires are school girls. But I'm not done yet.
Thirdly, Edward and co can run faster than Clark Kent/Superman and Flash put together.
Fourthly, Edward and co do not sleep in coffins, or transform into bats or fear wooden crosses and holy water or do any of that ludicrous stuff you heard of or read in those vampire novels you own.
Fifthly, Edward and co do not have fangs.
Talk about revitalising and giving new meaning to the vampire genre. What Stephenie Meyer has done is introduce her own unique brand of vampires, and they are the coolest that ever existed in literature, hands down.
Other vampires related to Edward are Carlisle Cullen (his adoptive father), Esme Cullen (his adoptive mother), Rosalie Hale (his adoptive sister), and Emmett Cullen (his adoptive brother and my favourite of the bunch). These ones don't have any powers, but don't worry, they're not boring.
Another interesting fact about Edward and his family is that they don't feed on human blood (they can still daydream about it). They hunt animals instead, earning them the moniker: vegetarian vampires. Need I say more?
Despite its palpable setbacks (namely Bella's implausible imperfection, Edward's too perfect character, his nipples ... YIKES) Twilight is a good read for boys and a must read for girls. Nevertheless, it has got nothing on Harry Potter, so I would appreciate it if people stopped talking about both books as though they equal in magnificence, brilliance and glory.
New Moon comes after Twilight. I'm not going to discuss this one extensively. Suffice to say, it shares the same over-descriptiveness and other drawbacks as Twilight (although less Edward), and in addition it's the most depressing book I have ever read. Look at it this way: have you ever been inside the head of a broken-hearted girl? Get the picture? Good.
Perhaps New Moon's redeeming factor is the introduction of the Volturi, an organised coven of vampires who see themselves as the royal family and rule enforcers of the vampire world, and rightly so; if you thought Edward, Alice and Jasper were cool, wait till you read about the zany (and super-cool) abilities the Volturi vampires are packing. Every good series needs a fantastic and grotesque set of villains: Harry Potter had Voldemort and his death eaters; the Bartimaeus Trilogy had – well – every magician; and so Twilight has the Volturi.
Eclipse follows, and with it, more talk of Edward's nipples and his nine-pack. Indeed, I think since Edward scarcely made an appearance in New Moon, Stephenie thought it best to push him into my face and subsequently stuff him into my mouth for good measure (by that I mean she told me over and over and over again that Edward was the sexiest being ever to walk the earth). If you read Twilight and New Moon and could stand Meyer's prose, which can be heavy and tedious in places, you won't have a problem with Eclipse. In my honest opinion the previous books in the saga don't stack up to it; it's the best in the series in terms of everything – action, romance, intrigue, and fun. But that's just my opinion.
Twilight: ¤¤¤¤ (4 Stars) [8/10]. Great!
New Moon: ¤¤¤ (3 Stars) [6.5/10]. Good.
Eclipse: ¤¤¤¤ (4 Stars) [8.5/10]. Great!