Isabella Marie Swan moves from her mother in Phoenix to stay with her father, Charlie, in Forks, Washington. She is incredibly upset about this, seeing as Forks is dreary and rainy and horrible, but she wants her mother Renée and her new husband Phil to be happy together. Charlie has bought Bella a truck from an old family friend, Billy Black, and she loves it more than she imagined. Sulkily, she starts school the next day, which seems relatively normal until she meets Edward Cullen, who is more beautiful than just about any guy she has seen in her life, and he seems to hate her on sight. Bella does not understand this, and before she knows what is going on, Edward has stopped coming to school, and his family seems so removed from the other students that no one seems to know what is going on.
Bella is battling with all the boys in school asking her out, and she is not interested in any of them but Edward. Before long, Edward returns to school looking very different, and he actually starts talking to her civilly. Bella’s obsession deepens, though Edward does not seem interested in her, a plain Jane next to him. Her obsession does not change when Edward saves her from being killed one day by a speeding truck, which he seems to bodily stop, appearing beside her before it could possibly happen. Going to the beach at the Quileute Reservation with some friends at school, she reacquaints herself with childhood friend Jacob Black, who tells her a tribal tale of werewolves and vampires, naming the Cullens as the vampires the werewolves are to protect the tribe from. Bella starts making assumptions, and decides that Edward must be a vampire. He is too pale, his eyes change, he never comes to school on sunny days, not to mention the incident in which he saved her with superhuman strength and speed.
Again Edward saves her in the city one night, and they get to talking. Eventually he has to admit to her that he is not human, as she has ascertained this and does not seem afraid. The Cullens are not like normal vampires, and do not feed off of people. They hunt animals for sustenance. He desperately wants her to stay away from him to be safe, though it seems he is immensely interested in her. The two start seeing each other, much to the shock of the school. Bella meets the Cullen family, whom Charlie has a lot of respect for. On a family outing, after she knows that Edward is deadly and glitters in the sun, she joins the family for a baseball game which they can only play when there is a storm due to the racket they make when playing. A small coven consisting of James, Victoria and Laurent appear at the baseball game, and James becomes obsessed with Bella. He is a tracker, and he is going to make a meal of her. The Cullens rally to protect Bella, running her off to Phoenix, while Alice fields visions on what James is planning. James has an elaborate plan to draw Bella away from Jasper and Alice, and it might just work.
Will Bella take the bait and go to James? Will the Cullens be able to save her from him? Will Edward and Bella ever just have a simple and normal, happy relationship? Will Charlie be safe with the Cullens divided up between looking after her and him? Can they stop James and his plans?
Alright, so just to set the record straight, it was not my desire or choice to read these. I got bullied into it (I don’t think this is a fair trade – I recommend a few decent books to a friend, she insists that this is what I must read after she read three good ones). Anyway, getting down to what I thought of the novel, the biggest glaring issue for me is that Stephenie Meyer cannot write. She has no understanding of pacing. I mean there are plenty scenes that are squeezed in here and come across as unnatural and forced. It is like she knows what she wants to say, but has no idea what vehicle to use to convey it to the reader. Before reading these books, I thought Katniss Everdeen was the most annoying and selfish heroine I had ever read about. Boy, oh boy, was I mistaken. Then I met Bella Swan and I damn near chewed through my own wrists. She is more selfish than I ever realised. It freaks me out that it is teenage girls reading this and looking up to such a useless lump. Also, something that bothered me immensely, you would think that Edward would be more mature, considering he is like a century old. His character is incredibly inconsistent, and that annoyed me endlessly. When I read and think vampires, I think Count Dracula and Anne Rice type things. This is just awfully embarrassing to end up in the same lot. The relationship between Edward and Bella is bizarre, and lacks emotion and passion. They are obsessed, but not even in a passionate way, and they are all about suicide if they cannot be together. Stephenie Meyer keeps quoting Romeo and Juliet like she is giving us a modernised version, which is extremely annoying because this will never be on the same level. Bella and Edward are like petulant children together. The story offers nothing more than a girl completely obsessed over a boy and willing to throw her whole life away for it. Then… what is this bullshit that “normal” people can’t smell blood? It smells like freaking iron last I checked! Also, Bella has no character development aside from getting more and more obsessed with Edward, and then next thing you know she is adept at using people (Jacob Black). I rapidly got over reading about Edward, always in connection with the words perfect, beautiful and flawless. Seriously, is there nothing more to say about him than that? Bella’s blind acceptance about Edward is ridiculous, and really makes it even more difficult to identify with anyone, as if it wasn’t hard enough as is. Edward is really like a sulky, angry, churlish child. Meh. I couldn’t understand his insistence of someone knowing where she was or her insistence of lying about it to everyone. All she had to say was “hey, going out with Edward”, not “hey, going out with Edward the sparkly vampire and if I am not home and safe by six, get the stakes ready and come and get me”. Seriously Meyer, wtf?! Edward glittering in the sun in the book is the same as in the movie – throw in the towel and be done with this crap. Wow. Anyway, the “action” that comes by the end of the book again feels out of place and forced. I cannot say that it was a joy to read this book at all, and I cannot, for the life of me, understand how this became such a huge phenomenon. Alright, I will stop now, otherwise this will never end.