So I woke up from a nap today feeling as though I was surfacing from a fever. And maybe I was, despite evidence to the contrary — I confess that a copy of Twilight was splayed across my chest.

Yes, I’ve proceeded past the gateway drug that is the movie, and fallen in with the four full loaves in the series, not to mention the burnt toast that is Midnight Sun (immense pity, that — let Edward Cullen speak for himself!). Maybe so much so that I finished a book a day, two of them during the work week (ooh, the shame). But hey — as I said, I feel as though I surfaced from a fever today, bursting through a numbing film of self-something that’s cloaked me for the better part of the century … or whatever.

As suspected, the vocabulary was certainly … limited (many many many instances of someone staring, looking smug, rolling their eyes, etc.). The plot definitely sped along nicely, making hefty books taste as light and glorious as Canele’s strawberry shortcake — not too demanding on the palate, you know. I admit to rolling my eyes — many times with Twilight (always when I saw the noun “model”), not so much with New Moon (which wasn’t as depressing as I’d feared) and Eclipse (battle royale!), and only at the finale of Breaking Dawn.

But here’s what surprised me — how much vitality the main characters exude (what did EM Forster say about round and flat characters?). It’s easy to think fondly of them continuing to sing and scrape and float and showboat their way through the eternity of their storyline. Though I had the cast in my head when I started reading, the characters easily morphed beyond such limitations and shaped my imagination in their own image. Cool. Or weird, maybe. Books can be dangerous. I had to listen to hymns to dry myself out in the morning.

The last book of Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy is still the only last-book-of-a-series that’s left me awestruck and fully satisfied (wow! can’t believe he managed that! etc.). Breaking Dawn veered a bit too close to zombie horror land, and got me frowning at the UN-style gathering and Braveheart-like speech (not delivered by one of the regulars, thank goodness), but after re-reading (and re-re-reading) the choice bits, I realise the book just wants to make sure the torturous path of true love runs to a paradisal end.

Is it what the reader needs, as opposed to what the reader wants? Well, this is obviously not a Joss Whedon production. Author says she was basing the resolution on The Merchant of Venice, where things are solved through chatter, not carnage. But something just feels too easy. It’s the author’s prerogative to dispense (or dispense with) the happy endings, though, so I wouldn’t begrudge her that.

(I wonder though … if you would allow that characters can take on a life of their own, then couldn’t a story? When does an author become too … interfering? Strange as it sounds.)

So anyway: if you’d like a trip through a thoroughly enjoyable fictional world that does some heavy-duty slaking of that danged thirst for romance (not necessarily the lovey-dovey kind), you can do much, much worse than the Twilight series.

Love the book covers, by the way.

Fever out.


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