It’s okay to admit it – you have an opinion about the Twilight series, just like everyone else on Earth. Whether you love it or hate it, you’ve probably spent longer than you’d like to thinking about the folks up in Forks. I resisted the pull of these horny teenage vampires for years before finally giving in to my girlfriend’s plea to watch the movies with her. It only took thirty minutes of Kristen Stewart looking bored and Robert Pattinson looking constipated to make me a little bit obsessed. Since that time, I’ve seen all four films many times and joined at least two Facebook groups dedicated to Twilight memes.
When I found myself with a two week stretch of time in my mom’s extremely small, middle American town, I knew exactly what to do with it. I was going to read the Twilight books but I certainly wasn’t paying money for them. Libby to the rescue – all four available from my local library.
Download complete, I started right in on book one – Twilight. The main character of the book, Isabella (Bella) Swan, also serves as its narrator. The books open with Bella leaving her mother and stepfather behind in Phoenix as she moves to the tiny, Pacific Northwest town of Forks, WA. Forks is widely regarded as one of the rainiest places in the country, with over 250 overcast days each year. Arriving at her father Charlie’s house, Bella is immediately introduced to Jacob Black and his father Billy as they come to drop off the truck Charlie bought for her.
Bella is enrolled at the local high school, where she is immediately the object of intense scrutiny despite her attempts to stay under the radar. Early in her tenure at school, she notices a group of students who are given a wide berth. The five of them are all the adopted children of local doctor Carlisle Cullen and associate only with each other for reasons unknown to the other students.
As her lab partner for Biology, Edward Cullen is often dismissive and frequently attempts to ignore Bella. When a fellow student’s car slides on ice and threatens to crush Bella, Edward steps in to save her. Bella is confused, as she was certain that he hated her, but she eventually learns from Jacob that the Cullens are known as “the cold ones” to his tribe. Doing research leads her to the inevitable conclusion – Edward and his family are vampires.
In spite of himself, Edward begins showing real feelings for Bella. Eventually she tells him that she knows what he is, and he confirms her suspicions. She is introduced to the rest of his family, and eventually becomes accepted by at least some of them. Spending time with the Cullen family proves to be dangerous for Bella as she encounters other vampires who are more interested in how she tastes than in her personality.
New Moon picks up a few months later, at the end of the summer. Bella’s birthday arrives and she has one request – NO gifts or fanfare of any kind. The Cullen family, led by Alice, throw her a birthday party anyway and unfortunately after a paper cut Bella is attacked by Jasper. In his haste to save her, Edward pushes her into a table where she receives further injury.
After the attack, the Cullen family decide to leave town to prevent further harm to Bella. Edward breaks up with her and the others disappear. She is utterly devastated by their departure and doesn’t leave her house for months except to attend school. Eventually, at the prodding of her father Charlie, she reaches out to her former friend Jessica for some human contact. The two girls head to the larger nearby town of Port Angeles for some shopping and a movie, where Bella comes into contact with a group of potentially dangerous men. At that time she begins to hear Edward admonishing her whenever she does something particularly reckless.
In order to continue to hear his voice, Bella picks up two broken motorcycles from a neighbor. She goes to her old friend, Jacob Black, to ask for assistance getting them back in working order. Jacob readily agrees to help Bella in her endeavor and they spend weeks together working on the bikes. During their first ride, Bella drives recklessly and is injured when she crashes the bike.
Bella and Jake continue to spend time together, and go out to the movies one evening with Bella’s classmate Mike. During the film, Mike gets sick with the same stomach virus that has been spreading throughout the school. After the movie, Jake also falls ill with what his family claims is mono. Bella continues her dangerous behavior, going deep into the woods to a location she had previously visited with Edward. There she is accosted by a vampire intent on killing her. She is saved when huge wolves come to her aid. Eventually she learns that the wolves are actually her Quileute friends, including Jacob.
Eventually, Alice returns to Forks as she sees a vision of Bella jumping off a cliff. While Alice is there, Edward calls the house and receives a message that Charlie is planning a funeral, which he assumes is Bella’s. Edward, determined to die, visits an ancient vampire clan in Italy where Bella and Alice track him down.
When we return to Forks in Eclipse, the Cullens are back in town. Bella spends all her free time with Edward, much to the chagrin of her father. Charlie is somewhat distracted, as Seattle is currently experiencing a rash of violent murders. Despite Edward’s misgivings, Bella wants to continue to spend time with Jacob and the other wolves on the La Push reservation. Eventually, while spending time there, Jacob confesses his love to Bella who tells him she does not reciprocate his feelings.
Alice, sensing impending danger from another vampire, brings Bella to the Cullen house. Bella and Edward’s relationship is taken to the next level when he proposes. He refuses to turn her into a vampire unless they are married. She accepts, with the condition that they attempt to consummate the marriage before her change.
The threat to Seattle turns out to be from a clan of newborn vampires. The Cullens must team up with their natural enemies, the wolves from La Push, to attempt to defeat them before the danger runs rampant in Forks.
The final chapter of the saga, Breaking Dawn, is told from both Bella and Jacob Black’s perspectives. The first section of the book, narrated by Bella, takes place at the close of the school year and her impending graduation. Her family and friends all gather at the Cullen house for Bella and Edward’s wedding. Afterwards, she and Edward depart from Washington to a secret location for their honeymoon.
Their destination is Isle Esme, a private island off the coast of Brazil that Carlisle purchased for Esme. While they are there, they make love while Bella is still human. Despite their belief that it was impossible, Bella becomes pregnant. They hurry back to Washington for Carlisle’s help.
Jacob’s narration takes over at this point, sharing the struggles that Bella is having during her pregnancy. The fetus is growing at an alarming rate and is clearly killing her, but she refuses to give it up. Jacob tells the other wolves, and they are determined to end the possible threat of this hybrid vampire-human child. He breaks away from the wolf pack to return to the Cullens to defend Bella. He is joined by two other members of the pack, Leah and Seth.
When Bella gives birth, it brings her to the brink of death. Edward injects his venom directly into her heart as a last ditch effort to revive her. Believing her dead, Jacob prepares to leave until he imprints on the baby, Renesmee.
The final section of the book returns to Bella’s perspective, as she wakes up a newborn vampire. Edward teaches her to hunt, and she is able to meet baby Renesmee. Despite her happiness, a new threat looms from the Volturi. Once again, the Cullens and the wolves have to team up to save themselves and their friends.
Overall, I really enjoyed the full series of books. I’m glad to have finally read them!