Twilight (Meyer novel)
Cover of Twilight
|Cover artist||Gail Doobinin (design)|
Roger Hagadone (photograph)
|Genre||Young adult, fantasy, romance, vampire|
|Publisher||Little, Brown and Company|
|October 5, 2005|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover, Paperback) |
Audio Book (CD)
|Pages||498 (Hardcover) |
|Followed by||New Moon|
Twilight (stylized as twilight) is a 2005 young adult vampire-romance novel by author Stephenie Meyer. It is the first book in the Twilight series, and introduces seventeen-year-old Isabella "Bella" Swan, who moves from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington. She is endangered after falling in love with Edward Cullen, a vampire. Additional novels in the series are New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.
Twilight received lukewarm reviews. Some praised the novel's tone and its portrayal of common teenage emotions such as alienation and rebellion. Others criticized Meyer's prose and argued the story was lacking in character development. It reached number five on the New York Times bestseller list within a month of its release and eventually reached first place. The novel was named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Children's Books of 2005.
The film adaptation, released in 2008, was a commercial success, grossing more than $392 million worldwide and making an additional $157 million in North American DVD sales as of July 2009. The book was the biggest-selling of 2008; in 2009, it was the second-biggest selling, losing only to its sequel New Moon.
As of 2008, Twilight has been translated into 37 different languages.
In October 2015, Stephenie Meyer announced a new gender-swapped version of the novel, entitled Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, with characters Beau and Edythe, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Twilight saga.
Bella Swan is a seventeen-year-old who moves from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula to live with her father, Charlie. Her mother, Renée, is traveling with her new husband, Phil Dwyer, a minor league baseball player. Bella is admitted to Forks High School, where she befriends many of the students. A somewhat inexperienced and shy girl, Bella is dismayed by several boys competing for her attention.
As Bella walks into the class, a fan blows her scent towards a mysterious boy named Edward Cullen. Bella sits next to Edward in biology class on her first day of school, but he seems repulsed by her, which offends her. He disappears for a few days but warms up to Bella upon his return. Their newfound relationship is interrupted after Bella is nearly struck by a van in the school parking lot. Edward saves Bella, stopping the van with only his hands.
Bella questions Edward about how he saved her life until she hears that Edward and his family are actually vampires who only drink animal blood. She is told legends of the local Quileute people by a friend named Jacob Black, who she met during a campout. Disturbed and riddled by recurring nightmares, Bella researches about vampires. Much to her dismay, she then realizes that Edward hadn't come to school on the blood typing day, because he is a vampire. She compares the characteristics of the vampires in mythology to the Cullens and finds many similarities. Convinced that he is a vampire, she finds herself in a state of bewilderment. Bella is saved by Edward again in Port Angeles when she is almost attacked. Driving a silver Volvo, Edward takes Bella to dinner and then back home. As they drive, she tells him of the stories that he is a vampire. Edward says he tried to stay away, finding her scent too desirable. Over time, Edward and Bella fall in love.
Their relationship is affected when a nomad vampire coven arrives in Forks. James, a tracker vampire who is intrigued by Cullen's relationship with a human, wants to hunt Bella for sport. The Cullen family try to separate Bella and Edward, and they send Bella to Phoenix to hide in a hotel. James calls and claims to be holding her mother hostage. When Bella surrenders, James attacks her. Before he can finish her, Edward and other Cullens rescue her and kill James. He still attacks the girl. Edward prevents her from becoming a vampire, and she is treated at a hospital. After they return to Forks, they go to the school prom together. Bella says that she wants to become a vampire, but Edward will not help at the time.
Bella's desire to become a vampire increases throughout the series. Edward continues to refuse as he hates being immortal, and does not want Bella to suffer the same fate.
- Isabella Swan - Isabella, who prefers to be called Bella, is a 17-year-old girl. She moves from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington to live with her father. Her mother moves to Florida with her second husband. Bella has a kind and awkward personality that is more mature than most girls her age. She is intelligent and observant, noticing and formulating theories about the Cullens' strange behaviors, physical features, and unusual abilities. As the novel progresses, Bella unconsciously learns how to make difficult choices and accept their consequences.
- Edward Cullen - Edward is a 109-year-old vampire who was transformed by Carlisle Cullen when he was near death with Spanish Influenza in 1918. He has a supernatural gift for reading people's minds. Since Edward's transformation into a vampire, he had never fallen in love nor believed that he needed to. He later realizes that his existence was completely pointless and without an aim. In Bella he finds compassion, love, acceptance and care. In Twilight, Edward has a pessimistic personality influenced by Meyer's naturally pessimistic character. His character was also influenced by Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre.
- James - James is a vampire with an unusual ability to track people. When the Cullens try to protect Bella, James figures she will be the biggest hunt of his life.
- Jacob Black - Young Jacob Black may be Bella's favorite non-vampire friend. He is a Quileute Indian and lives on La Push reservation, not far from Forks. Upon first meeting, Bella is charmed and impressed by Jacob in many ways. Jacob learns that he is similar to Bella in many ways. Her father Charlie sees that Jacob is safe boyfriend material, the kind of guy he would approve her dating.
- Carlisle Cullen - Carlisle is a handsome, conscientious doctor. As patriarch of the Cullen clan, Carlisle started the practice of a 'vegetarian' (no human) diet. As a human in the 17th century, Carlisle was the son of an anti-'evil-being' pastor.
Meyer claims that the idea for Twilight came to her in a dream on June 2, 2003. She dreamed of a human girl and a vampire who loved her but still wanted her blood. Inspired by her dream, Meyer wrote the draft of what is now Chapter 13 of the book. The first drafts were titled Forks instead of Twilight; the publisher requested the title change. At first, Meyer didn't name her two main characters. She chose Edward, influenced by Edward Rochester from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and Edward Ferrars from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. She named the female lead Isabella, thinking she would have chosen that for a daughter. Rosalie and Jasper were originally named Carol and Ronald.
Meyer continued writing to the end chronologically, not worrying about the backstory. She lettered the chapters instead of numbering them, Chapter 13 being E. The last chapter of the first draft kept getting longer and longer, so she wrote epilogue after epilogue. However, she realized that she wanted to explore many of the events in the backstory and the reasons behind the events in the chapters, so she planned to write a 5-6 chapter backstory. Instead, these turned into twelve chapters by the time she was finished. In a matter of three months she had completed a novel. She has said she was writing for her own enjoyment, never thinking of publishing the work. She finished the manuscript on August 29, 2003.
Her sister liked the book and encouraged Meyer to send the manuscript to literary agencies. Of the 15 letters she wrote, five went unanswered, nine brought rejections, and the last was a positive response from Jodi Reamer of Writers House. Meyer had merely sent out letters to literary agents inquiring if they would be interested in a 130,000-word manuscript about teenage vampires. Luck helped. An inexperienced assistant at Writers House responded to her inquiry, not knowing that young adult books are expected to be about 40,000 to 60,000 words in length. Due to that error, Reamer eventually read Meyer's manuscript and signed her up as a client. During the editing process, a chapter that used to be Chapter 20 was cut out of the manuscript along with Emmett's account of his bear attack and some parts of the epilogue.
Stephenie Meyer has said the apple on the cover represents the forbidden fruit from the Book of Genesis and Bella and Edward's forbidden love. She uses a quote from Genesis 2:17 at the beginning of the book. It also represents Bella's knowledge of good and evil, and the choices she makes. Meyer says, "It asks if you are going to bite in and discover the frightening possibilities around you or refuse and stay safe in the comfortable world you know." An alternative cover features Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, the actors who play the lead characters in the film adaptation.
Awards and honors
- Among Publishers Weekly's "Best Children's Books of 2005"
- Among School Library Journal's "Best Books of 2005"
Meyer's inquiry letter was initially rejected by 14 agents. Eight publishers competed for the rights to publish Twilight in the 2003 auction. Little, Brown and Company originally bid for $300,000, but Meyer's agent asked for $1 million; the publishers finally settled on $750,000 for three books. Twilight was published in 2005 with a print run of 75,000 copies. It debuted at #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list within a month of its release, and later peaked at #1. Foreign rights to the novel were sold to over 26 countries.
In October 2008, Twilight was ranked #26 in USA Today's list of "Bestselling Books of Last 15 Years". Later, the book went on to become the best-selling book of 2008. and the second biggest selling of 2009, only behind its sequel New Moon.
For the tenth anniversary release Meyer released Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined alongside the original Twilight. Life and Death is a reimagining of the story with Beau (a male human) and Edythe (a female vampire) as the leads.
Initial reviews for Twilight were generally positive, with Publishers Weekly called Meyer one of the most "promising new authors of 2005". The Times praised the book for capturing "perfectly the teenage feeling of sexual tension and alienation", and Amazon.com hailed the book as "deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful". Hillias J. Martin of School Library Journal addresses the appeal of the novel to be due to its clear and understandable nature, allowing readers to become fully engaged Norah Piehl of TeenReads also wrote, "Twilight is a gripping blend of romance and horror". Publishers Weekly's starred review described Bella's "infatuation with outsider Edward", their risky relationship, and "Edward's inner struggle" as a metaphor for sexual frustration accompanying adolescence. Booklist wrote, "There are some flaws here–a plot that could have been tightened, an over reliance on adjectives and adverbs to bolster dialogue–but this dark romance seeps into the soul." Christopher Middleton of The Daily Telegraph called the book a "high school drama with a bloody twist ... no secret, of course, at whom this book is aimed, and no doubt, either, that it has hit its mark. Jennifer Hawes of The Post and Courier said, "Twilight, the first book in Stephenie Meyer's series, gripped me so fiercely that I called the nearest teenager I know and begged for her copy after I misplaced my own." Roberta Goli of Suite101.com gave the novel a positive review, saying that while "the first half of the novel lacks action", the writing is "fluid" and the story "interesting". She also praised the depth of emotion shown between the main characters for pinpointing "the angst of teenage love." Jana Reiss noted the presence of Mormon themes in the Twilight series, seeing Edward Cullen's struggle against carnal desires as an example of Mormonism's "natural man."
Kirkus gave a more mixed review, noting that, "[Twilight] is far from perfect: Edward's portrayal as monstrous tragic hero is overly Byronic, and Bella's appeal is based on magic rather than character. Nonetheless, the portrayal of dangerous lovers hits the spot; fans of dark romance will find it hard to resist." The New York Times review stated, "The premise of Twilight is attractive and compelling — who hasn't fantasized about unearthly love with a beautiful stranger? — but the book suffers at times from overearnest, amateurish writing. A little more "showing" and a lot less "telling" might have been a good thing, especially some pruning to eliminate the constant references to Edward's shattering beauty and Bella's undying love."  Although the Daily Telegraph later listed Twilight at number 32 on its list of "100 books that defined the noughties", it said that the novel was "Astonishing, mainly for the ineptitude of [Meyer's] prose". Elizabeth Hand said in a review for the Washington Post, "Meyer's prose seldom rises above the serviceable, and the plotting is leaden".
Twilight was on the American Library Association Top Ten List of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2010, for containing a "religious viewpoint" and "violence". The Twilight series was on the same list in 2009 for being "sexually explicit", "unsuited to age group", and having a "religious viewpoint". A New York City Psychologist addressed issues in the Twilight series and how it relates to women and expectations of healthy relationships versus illusion based relationships with her short film "Into The Twilight Haze". The Marshall University Libraries also pinpoints areas wherein several schools have removed the novel off their shelves since its release. These Libraries mention the hyper-sexual nature of the novel, as well as the religious controversy within the plot. Acclaimed author and critic, Doctor Alyson Miller explains the skeptical nature of the church in regards to all controversial literature due to the inherent "impressionable" feature of the young demographic.
Twilight was adapted as a film by Summit Entertainment. The film was directed by Catherine Hardwicke and stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson as protagonists Bella and Edward. The screenplay was adapted by Melissa Rosenberg. The movie was released in theaters in the United States on November 21, 2008, and on DVD on March 21, 2009. The DVD was released in Australia on April 22, 2009.
On July 15, 2009, Entertainment Weekly confirmed rumors that a graphic novel adaptation of Twilight was in the works. The book was drawn by Korean artist Young Kim and published by Yen Press. Stephenie Meyer reviewed every panel herself. According to EW, "it doesn't look simply like an artist's rendering of Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson. In fact, the characters seem to be an amalgam of Meyer's literary imagination and the actors' actual looks." EW magazine published finished illustrations of Edward, Bella, and Jacob in their July 17, 2009 issue. The first part of the graphic novel was released on March 16, 2010.
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SM:"He's such a pessimist—oh my gosh, Edward‘s a pessimist."
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SH:"...there's something a little Rochestery about Edward for me." SM:"Yeah."
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SM:...And I finished it around my brother‘s wedding, which was—he just had his anniversary—I think it was the twenty-ninth of August?
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It asks if you are going to bite in and discover the frightening possibilities around you or refuse and stay safe in the comfortable world you know.
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