Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review of The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Lost Hopes
Name of Book: The Red Tent




Author: Anita Diamant


ISBN: 0-312-19551-6


Publisher: St Martin's Press


Type of book: Adult, "biblical", women,


Year it was published: 1997


Summary:
Her name is Dinah. In the bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons in the Book of Genesis.
Told in Dinah’s voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoil of ancient womanhood-the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers-Leah, Rachel, Zilpah and Bilhah-the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that are to sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah’s story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate, immediate connection.
Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich story-telling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women’s society.



Characters: This is an interesting twist to the infamous story of Dinah, as well as the stories of her mothers and some other family members. Personally speaking, I thought that the character of Rachel was portrayed the way I always imagined her; a bit selfish and angry. Dinah is a bit hard to describe as a character. However, I wasn't happy with the way male patriarchs were portrayed towards the end, and didn't enjoy having them portrayed in such negativity. Basically this is the story of Dinah and her life and goes up until Dinah's death. This novel also mentions how she became a midwife and goes when Jacob dies goes back only to find out that her father doesn't remember her but this knowledge doesn't bother her. Unfortunately there is very little interesting there and very little to talk about when it comes to characters.


Theme: The theme of the novel details the womanhood and tends to place a great focus on the woman bonding, such as Dinah and the four mothers, later in the story Dinah and another midwife and so on. However, what bothered me more than anything else as well is the polytheism that Jacob's wives as well as Dinah and Rebeca practiced. If this was not a bible themed story then it wouldn't have been objectionable, but the fact that this story does come from the bible which talks about monotheism, this is disturbing and shouldn't even be there. (Maybe in beginning the wives might practice polytheism, but then I always thought they would turn to monotheism.) What are possible themes for the story? Its okay to practice polytheism for women, Judaism doesn't seem to do anything for women.


Plot: As mentioned previously, this novel discusses the life of Dinah, but unfortunately the plot isn't handled well in my view. There seems to be a lack of conflict, (if the author is going to go with polytheism vs monotheism theme, she could've made that a conflict,) and time isn't used at all. In history, in one way or another time is used and mentioned. Maybe not in years but something like seasons or whatnot. It would help to know how old she was when the prince had died and whatnot. Unfortunately also, almost all of the book is boring because there is no clear conflict. The beginning and dehumanizing the biblical characters was interesting in my view. I kind of liked the Jacob in beginning of the novel, and the reason for Rachel's fruitlessness, but these are not enough to save the novel. To an extent the author followed chronology, although I don't think she ever read the Jewish commentary, especially in Chumash where there is a mention that Dinah inherited the personality from Leah who also liked to go out.


Author Information: Anita Diamant also wrote other books such as The New Jewish Wedding and Choosing a Jewish Life: A Guidebook for People Converting to Judaism and for their families and Friends. She lives with her husband and daughter. This is the caption from 1997. She also wrote a few other novels that have Jewish themes such as Good Harbor: A novelDay after Night: A novel, and so on.






Opinion: When I started to read this book, I had high hopes that I found a book that I felt free and safe with. I hoped to have more details and more about the life of Dinah, but alas this novel isn't it. I disliked the polytheism that the women practiced, disliked the way that for the most part the patriarchs were portrayed negatively within the novel. This book doesn't feel spiritual at all and although the closest thing to ancient history I ever studied was Roman Empire, I don't feel that this novel was well researched and thought out. Also, Anita Diamant gets the sons wrong. (Gad and Asher are not twins, Issachar comes after Judah, and Bilhah had Naphtali, not Leah. By the time Dinah gets kidnapped, Rachel should have been dead and should have had Benjamin.) Jacob's story is my favorite part in the Hebrew Testament by the way, so I really felt offended that she defiled it in such a way. In my view, please do not get this book at all. Trust me when I'll say that you won't enjoy it.
1 out 5 stars


(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Review of #2 Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas

Name of Book: Twenty Years After

Author: Alexandre Dumas

ISBN: 0-7607-9112-0 or 978-0-7607-9112-7

Publisher: Barnes and Noble

Type of Book: Young adult-adult, France, historical, 17th century, one of French classics?

Year it was published: (Original in 1845 in French, this version 2008)

Part of a series: D'Artagnan Romances

Summary:
Twenty Years After (1845) resumes the adventures of Alexandre Dumas’ fabulous four begun in The Three Musketeers. “The Inseparables”-Athos, Porthos, Aramis and the irrepressible Gascon d’Artagnan-are once again called upon to save France from itself. This time, the paragons of honor, chivalry, and justice find themselves embroiled not only in court intrigue and royal affairs (including the Queen’s illicit liaison with her first minister, Cardinal Mazarin) but also popular revolution. The novel is set during the minority of King Louis XIV; the English Revolution is about to reach its climax in the execution of Charles I-and the revolt against the French crown known as the first Fronde is coming to a head. If the politics are more complex, the personalities are as well. Twenty years have wrought their changes on the impetuous young musketeers. They are older, grayer, and wiser, and each has more to lose.


Characters: Again this focuses on D'Artagnan and although it has other points of view for a brief time, (Rochefort is one example I believe,) this is much more in depth. D'Artagnan, who is a soldier, is unhappy with the way his life is going, and also detests the new Cardinal, Mazarin. The France is going through their very first Fronde, and people get easily imprisoned. This edition, unlike Oxford ones, doesn't go into details which would have helped in figuring out who what and why. Again D'Artagnan and other musketeers are described as crafty, resourceful and brave. We also find out that Athos is a father, although the son doesn't know that, and the son, called Vicomte De Bragelonne makes his first appearance. 

Theme: If there is a theme in this book, I don't think I understood it. Because it seemed to be dense, I couldn't understand it. 

Plot: The conflict was introduced within the first three chapters, although, as mentioned, a book chronology would have been nice for those who aren't familiar with French history and its intricacies. I also felt that Dumas kept dragging the plot beyond its natural ending and wish he could have ended it sooner than he did. The climax, in my opinion, felt weak and lacked tension. This book also felt very long and could've used a good editor to work on it. 

Author Information:Alexandre Dumas is a French author born in 1802 and wrote other novels such as The Count of Monte Cristo, The Man in the Iron Mask and The Three Musketeers. He died in 1870 and also wrote The Reign of Margot.

Opinion: This is more of an interesting page turner than The Three Musketeers due to the fact that the characters have much more in depth personalities and motives. Surprisingly it took me a short time to finish it. If I could rate it in halves, I would rate it as 3.5 stars because just like in The Three Musketeers it does get confusing from time to time, but the plot is straightforward, although I do wish that a book chronology would be provided. 
3 out 5 stars


(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Book Review of #1 Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Fast Paced Novel
Name of Book: The Three Musketeers

Author: Alexandre Dumas

ISBN: 1-885326-040-1

Publisher: Wordsworth Classics

Type of Book: Young adult-adult, French classic, 16th century, Louis XIII

Year it was published: (Original in 1844 in French, this version 1993)

Part of a series: D'Artagnan Romances

Summary:
The Three Musketeers is one of the most celebrated historical romances ever written. It tells of the adventures of the hot-headed young Gascon, d’Artagnan, and his three companions Athos, Porthos and Aramis.
In their gallant defence of the Queen of France, Anne of Austria, they pit their wits and their swords against the machinations and men of that archetypal eminence grise, Cardinal Richlieu, as he schemes to hold on to his political influence over King Louis XIII.
Their swashbuckling adventures take them from the high fashion of the French Court to the murkier aspects of espionage on either side of the Channel in a thrilling story of seventeenth century international intrigue.


Characters: This novel was written from limited omniscient third point of view. The main character in the novel is D'Artagnan who is portrayed as resourceful, intelligent, unconquerable, and above all a gentleman. He descends from poor aristorcratic birth and joins the Musketeers of Louis XIII in 1625. In the novel he meets the infamous characters of Athos, Porthos and last but not least Aramis. He befriends Athos and begins to see him as someone to emulate. He also makes enemies of Cardinal Richilieu and Milady. Through it all, D'Artagnan's genius saves him time and time again and very soon the other three Musketeers begin to rely on him as well. While the characters had interesting personalities, one feels that we are seeing them on the surface rather than deep inside, their thoughts and insights on different situations. 

Theme: One theme I can think of is that a person may find unexpected friends in different places, but this is more of a re-imagining than anything else. Something else is that you never know who you wrong or how you wrong them. 

Plot: I feel that the novel was a tad bit too long and if a person will pick it up, it should be with plenty of time. I tried reading it three times I believe. One time I got very busy with school so I wasn't able to continue. When I tried to read it from when I stopped, I was unable to recall a lot of the story so I had to wait until I got free time. I really feel that this novel could have benefited with some parts being cut off. I feel that the beginning scene of the novel wasn't explained when it happened. 

Author Information: Alexandre Dumas is a French author born in 1802 and wrote other novels such as The Count of Monte Cristo, The Man in the Iron Mask and The Three Musketeers. He died in 1870 and also wrote The Reign of Margot.


Opinion: Before reading The Three Musketeers I came across the abridged edition of The Count of Monte Cristo and managed to read it in two days. I fell in love with Count of Monte Cristo and became determined to read The Three Musketeers. Maybe because this is not abridged and there are too many details, I didn't enjoy to be honest. I also would have liked with this edition to have some sort of culture explanatory notes because the handkerchief part really confused me. I cannot admit to liking it as much as Count of Monte Cristo but this novel did surprise me a lot of times although I also felt that it was kind of dense and some parts struck me as kind of cartoon and childish. I would recommend it but again I didn't like it all that much as I hoped I would. 

3 out 5 stars


(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Book Review of #1 Cloud of Sparrows by Takashi Matsuoka

A different Japan
Name of book:  Cloud of Sparrows



Author name:  Takashi Matsuoka



ISBN: 0-440-24085-9



Publisher:  Bantam Dell



Type of book:  Adult, Japan, 19th century, beginnings of white female/asian male relationship?



Year it was published in: 2002 

Summary:

Debut novelist Takashi Matsuoka burst onto the secen with CLOUD OF SPARROWS, a magnificent historical novel that takes us beyond the epic tradition of James Clavell’s Shogun. Set in 1861 Japan, CLOUD OF SPARROWS weaves a tale of passion and adventure, as a small group of American missionaries arrives on the shores of Edo Bay-and enters the strange, exotic world of Genji, Lord of Akaoka. What happens next, between the handsome young nobleman and the two Americans, sets the stage for a remarkable adventure. For as this unlikely band embarks on a journey through a landscape bristling with danger, East and West, flesh and spirit, past and future, collide in an ovel of astounding power and grace…




Characters: In beginning there might be difficulty in following the characters, especially with the names and which one is which along with some qualities or interesting pieces of history, the characters are drawn out very well and tend be unique and distinguishable in terms of their personalities. (That is the reader will remember that Genji is the lord who likes to pretend that he is frivolous when in fact he is very sharp and often makes calculated risks.) What is also good is that the characters retain their unique personalities and I didn't see an instance of when they acted out of character. They also have realistic if harsh views on the outsiders and vice versa and in a lot of instances don't see eye to eye. 



Theme: Personally speaking, I think the author wrote this novel to kind of rebuke or give a different light to Clavell's Asian saga. Maybe because it dealt with Japan and roughly the same time period, perhaps that causes me to think this way. Its kind of hard for me at the moment to think up of a theme, but if comparing it to Clavell, I would say that one theme would be is that the Japanese culture is different than what is believed. I also would say that another theme perhaps will be that Japanese women are ordinary and are not like Clavell's women. As mentioned, while reading this novel, in my head I was comparing it to bits and pieces about James Clavell so I apologize that I cannot come up with more feasible themes. 



Plot: At first the plot was a tad bit boring, but then it quickly gets to the heart of the matter and its hard to let it go. Unfortunately, though, there are some loose holes and luckily, the author wrote a sequel/prequel to the novel called Autumn Bridge (Hadn't read it in its entirety yet, but it does answer some interesting questions about Genji's uncle and grandfather.) I thought the plot was handled well, although I hadn't majored in Japanese history nor culture so I cannot say with surety what is accurate and not accurate, and because of this, a lot of Japanese history flew over my head. 



Author Information: This is from wikipedia: Takashi Matsuoka (born January 10, 1947) is a first-generation Japanese American writer. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States, and worked at a Zen Buddhist temple before becoming a full-time writer. His books about American missionaries' visits to Japan are often compared to Shōgun and other books by British historical novelist James Clavell. Matsuoka also worked as a writer for the 1990 film Pale Blood.







Opinion: Long time ago, in hopes of learning about Asian culture, I fell upon James Clavell's Asian Saga. I've read about three books I believe, (tried to read Noble House but couldn't because it was too long and boring. I read Tai-pan, Gai-jin and Shogun and felt disgusted by those books, especially of their portrayal of East Asian men, and the fact that he didn't use any relationships of that sort while he freely portrayed Asian women and Caucasian men, using the stereotype of China dolls for the women.  The men basically were losers at the start but then outshone the natives and managed to control them. Contrary to some amazon reviews saying that he was sympathetic to Asian culture I didn't feel that way at all about his books.) But anyways, while I was reading this novel, although I did have difficulty with the character names, I really really enjoyed the novel. The characters have different personalities and there is change to some of them, they were also unpredictable and there are a lot of interesting facts about Japan. I also liked the portrayal of American missionaries on the Japanese soil and the fact that they didn't know anything about the culture. The Asian female characters were also unique and unexpected, for they were clever and loyal, and I also liked how main Japanese character bonded with the American female. Personally speaking, instead of going to Clavell's Asian Saga, give this author a try. This book is not over a thousand pages long and for the most part characters are easy to remember. 



4 out 5

(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Book review of #8 Dance of Death by R.L Stine

Interesting Ideas
Title of Book: Dance of Death

Author name: R.L Stine (Cameron Dokey)

ISBN: 0-671-00295-3

Publisher: Archway Paperback Original

Type of book: Young adult/children, horror, attempt at being historical

Year it was published: August 1997

Part of the series: Fear Street Sagas #8 
Summary: 
After the bizarre deaths of her parents, Madeline never expects to feel happy again. Then she falls in love with Justin FIer, a handsome young doctor.
She is warned away from Justin by a young man no one else sees, and an old woman everyone thinks is crazy. They tell her Justin is a man driven by an evil quest that destroys any woman who dares to love him.
Is it too late? Can Madeline escape the curse of the Fears?


Characters: The main character in this novel is Madeline Simms who lost her family recently and goes on to live with some cousins. Madeline can be described as brave and fearless to do what is needed to be done. She also has a great intuition, although she also lets others easily talk her into doing things she doesn't want to do. Other characters, unfortunately, did not get enough limelight for us to see their personalities. 

Theme: Since I think of this novel as well factory produced it's hard to think of the message it sends, unless the message is things are not always what they appear, (I think that theme is very very common in R.L Stine's novels.) 

Plot: The plot was handled okay in my view. The point of view switches constantly between Madeline and Tobias (another character), sometimes without warning, but once its time for it to switch back it's handled swiftly and the action begins where it left off. The ending, in my view, should satisfy the readers. 

Author Information: R.L Stine was born on October 8th 1943 and is most famous for other Fear Street series along with Goosebumps series and Nightmare Room. Goosebumps and Nightmare Room were made into TV series ages ago. 



Opinion: As a teenager I was in love with Stine's novels and collected Fear Street Saga(s), along with first three Cheerleader novels, Cataluna Chronicles, Silent Night and I cannot remember what else. But reading this book now, I cannot help but wonder what I liked about it? The magic that was there seems have gone and this read as predictable and trite, sort of a book for the sake of money rather than story. The idea is an interesting one though. This book isn't something that should be recommended, it struck me as completely mindless with no lessons to learn. 
2 out 5

(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Book Review of The Lost Mind by Christopher Pike

Composition of a Soul
The title: The Lost Mind


Author: Christopher Pike



ISBN: 0-671-87269-9



Publisher: Archway Paperback original



Type of book: Young adult novel


Year it was published: August 1995

Summary: 

She awoke in the woods beside a dead body. There was a knife in her hand, blood on her clothes. Had she killed the young woman who lay beside her? She couldn’t remember.
She couldn’t remember anything.
Not even her own name.
It was as if someone had stolen her mind.
Stolen her soul.


Characters: This novel is written in a first point of view from Jennifer. I enjoyed the characters a lot, everyone had interesting personality traits and were likable. Everyone also plays a part in one way or another. Jennifer can best be described as resourceful and brave, as in all of Pike's female protagonists, and isn't afraid to do what she can so evil can be stopped. 



Theme: Pike, in my opinion, seems to be kind of obsessed with the idea of mystery of the soul, what the soul possesses and what secrets it hides. The question that he seems to ask in this novel, if a person was to wakeup without memories or knowledge of who they are and how they have been, then will their personalities change or stay the same? He seems to answer that they will change.


  PLot: Again the plot is handled well and no loose ends towards the end of the novel even to the tiny details. The novel starts with Jennifer waking up in the forest and then continues with the discovery of herself and the people around her and how things aren't always as they look. 


Author Information: Christopher Pike wrote 30+ novels mainly for young adults, the most famous or well known one is The Last Vampire Saga, Final Friends and Remember Me, and his real name is Kevin McFadden. One of his books, Fall Into Darkness was created into a movie. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a website, but there is a fan club that is devoted to him. (http://www.christopherpikefanclub.com/ ) 

Opinion: Despite the 3 star rating this is a pretty good book and starts out in an intriguing way with a mysterious girl waking up and not knowing who she is or about the body next to her. I really enjoyed the discoveries she went through, including the supernatural element that is very classic of Christopher Pike. Personally I'd recommend this book to whoever is a Pike fan to enjoy and to ponder about. I thought it was amazing how all details end up being used in the story, such as the knife and whatnot. 



3 out 5

(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)


Book Review of The Immortal by Christopher Pike

Becoming mature through Immortality
Title: The Immortal

Author: Christopher Pike

ISBN: 0-671-74510-7

Publisher: Archway Paperback

Type of Book: Young adult although anyone can enjoy it, historical, modern, Greece, Greek myths, fantasy

Year it was published: July 1993

Summary: 
Josie is on vacation in Greece with her father, his new girlfriend, and her best friend. While visiting the sacred island of Delos, she accidentally stumbles upon an artifact-a tiny statue of a Goddess. Immediately Josie is enchanted by the statue and she takes it with her when she leaves the island.
Then the trouble starts. A guy takes her for a boat ride and she is almost killed. Then the image of the Goddess begins to haunt her dream. The goddess wants something from Josie that she doesn’t want to give.
The immortal wants to be mortal.
The Goddess wants Josie’s life.

Characters: The characters within this book are round, in particular the main character Josie Goodwin. She is best described as adventurous and fearless. In beginning, despite the instance of having a bad heart, she still goes out snorkeling. "We had been snorkeling for close to an hour when I suddenly felt a pain in my chest...Ten months earlier, at the end of the previous summer, I'd had a bout with pericarditis." (24-25) She also has an even temper and happens to be resourceful. In the same instance, this is how she tries to take care of the problem by considering her options and then deciding  by continuing to swim towards the shore despite the heart trouble. She is also protective of her boyfriend Tom. Her negative traits is that she cares too much about her pleasure at times and seems to enjoy getting her friend's crushes to become her boyfriends.

Theme: The themes of the book are a bit on the profound side and should be interesting to ponder and think about. One theme is if its possible to mature and grow up while being immortal. Or is the only possible way to grow up is to become mortal? Oftentimes when my friend and I discuss such subjects, and he tells me about happiness on heaven I cannot help but ponder whether the fickle human nature will make it possible for human beings to be happy. The quote towards the end of the book is very profound in my view: "He answered my question with a question. 'What is wrong with paradise, Sryope?' I thought of the gods of Mt. Olympus and many wrongs came to my mind: the sloth, the jealousy, the pettiness. But one problem was at the root of them all. 'No one grows there,' I said." (212) One other theme that was used is how the soul is deathless and remembers. I will not give the main example but instead will use the one where Pascal discusses this boy he looked after: "'His name is Samuel,'...'Paralyzed-waist down. Car accident, very sad. But Samuel can use hands. He start to paint when he got to the school after hospital...He get better and better, every day...The man comes. He is old...The man sits, he watches. We showed Samuel's other pictures, but teacher not believe Samuel paint them. He says, boy is too little to be so good...He says Samuel is a master...But Samuel's mother comes. She says to the teacher, my son never painted before the accident.'... 'Something did change in Samuel when he was in his accident,' Tom said quickly, almost as if in explanation. 'I don't think medical science can explain it. It's almost as if, with the death of portions of his spinal cord, certain parts of his brain woke up.'" (83-85)

Plot: The plot was handled in an interesting way, and like in other novels, Christopher Pike makes sure to tie all the loose ends before finishing the novel. It starts out with the family vacationing to Greece and then quickly moves in to the meat of the story, along with using flashbacks and whatnot. It ends in a satisfying way, (although there is hunger for a sequel of sorts as with all his novels,) but still an average reader should find it interesting. 

Author Information: Christopher Pike wrote 30+ novels mainly for young adults, the most famous or well known one is The Last Vampire Saga, Final Friends and Remember Me, and his real name is Kevin McFadden. One of his books, Fall Into Darkness was created into a movie. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a website, but there is a fan club that is devoted to him. (http://www.christopherpikefanclub.com/ )


Opinion: The summary doesn't match what is inside the book to be honest. To be honest I enjoyed the book but it is not Pike's best. For one reason or another though, it still holds place in my heart and from time to time I go back and read it again. Perhaps again there is a similar atmosphere of Whisper of Death within, probably that might draw me closer or cause me to like it, or maybe its the use of Greek Mythology that causes me to like it somewhat. But still it is an average Christopher Pike book that should appeal to Pike fans.




3 out 5

(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Book Review for #1 Twilight By Stephenie Meyer

The Landscape of Twilight

Twilight is written by Stephenie Meyer, and seems to have become a mania obsessive novel for women (and men) about an ordinary boring girl named Mary Sue*...oops, I meant Bella Swan, and how she meets and falls in love with a guy named Gary Stu (there I go again, I meant Edward Cullen). Umm, does this have a plot? The length suggests yes, but reading the novel, nope. This was published in 2005 by Little, Brown located in New York. ISBN: 0-316-01584-9 This novel is marketed towards everyone and appeals to almost everyone. The people who will dislike this novel are ones who read all sorts different books and possibly ones who have very very high degrees. (This novel should also appeal to women who love purple prose about nothing but men's bodies.)

My first encounter with this novel happened few years back when I transfered from a two year college to a four year university, by a friend who loved it and read it, (and a former who hated the novel). Back then I started to hear slips of this book, and it wasn't until now that I decided to see how bad it was.

My credentials for reviewing this blackhole?Well I have read dozens of books, (including the ones that the author herself has read, yes Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Romeo and Juliet, another Shakespeare Play, Midsummer's night was it?) I also have dabbled in vampire fiction such as Bram Stoker's Dracula, Anne Rice's Vampire Series, as well as The Silver Kiss, well one gets the idea, and at the time I was trying to create my own vampires (moved on from vampire to a different name...) So yes, I am well read and am qualified to give the book review of Twilight.

Okay, let's move on from that to an actual review. Ready? Let's start. Isabella Swan (Beautiful Swan as many have said,) is a girl from Arizona who moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father while trying to give her mother time to get used to her new husband. Despite the obvious popularity that she gained from going to a new high school, she hates her new friends and finds them annoying. She even gains the love from several different guys which means nothing to her. (I'm sure that majority of girls would have loved being in Bella's shoes and wouldn't have hated the "unwanted" attention.) Still though, one day she meets Edward Cullen and his mysterious family and falls in love with him at first sight, (and spends at least 374 out of 498 pages if not more, of discussing his physical beauty.) I've read somewhere that this novel is compared to Pride and Prejudice. This book is NOT Pride and Prejudice.

To be brief, (unlike the physical beauty of Edward Cullen in Twilight,) Pride and Prejudice is a novel published in early 1800s and is written by Jane Austen. It's about a family that has five daughters and focuses on how they find and marry the men they love. The main protagonists are Jane and Elizabeth Bennet. What others are discussing though, is a comparison between Mr. Darcy and Edward Cullen, and Elizabeth and Bella. Mr. Darcy, when he first saw Elizabeth made a bad remark about her, but then subsequently fell in love with her and helped her out and married her. Throughout their courtship, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy exchanged various witticisms between one another, and unlike Twilight, Pride and Prejudice did have other subplots, such as focusing on Jane and her attempt to get married, or when the whole family was scandalized by another sister's conduct.

Twilight, on the other hand, completely focused on the empty body named Bella. (Why an empty body? Characters typically have souls inside, something that makes them unique or just them. Bella doesn't have that though.) Unfortunately, the author decided not to gift her with a personality. (She talks about the questions that Edward asked her, but doesn't give at least one example of what she answered.) And for someone who has read books, why doesn't she ever talk about them in the novel? Or instead of discussing how Edward become this sparkling being, she could for example compare her situation to a book she read. (Perhaps use an example from The Silver Kiss about how Zoe falls for Simon or something of the kind, or better use the seduction of Louis by Lestat in Interview with the Vampire...)

Edward Cullen, the sparkling, handsome, vapid, mercurial, pre-menopausal (sorry to be rude to the ladies, but that's how I feel he is.) vampire, is somewhat more interesting than Bella who wanted to kill her the day he met her and went through complicated paths to avoid seeing her. (Why not simply drop out or ask his "father" to call the school that he's in a coma until Bella leaves? Oh wait, if that happens, Bella would come running to him in the hospital.) But finally gives up and falls in "love" with her and tells her to stay away, while she tells him that she can't.

Okay, fine, teenage romance, I get it, I'm too harsh aren't I? I was a teenager once, and reading this book was reminiscent of that time of rollercoaster and extremes, so props to her on that for bringing it back. However, why not give her common sense as well, instead of making her completely stupid. (I don't think any girl at any age would walk off by herself in a town she's never been at, and why the heck didn't any characters have cell phones?! Its 2005, not 1995!)

I didn't buy the "true" love between Bella and Edward, this love wasn't what I'd picture or want. For me personally, true or "tragic love" would be in novels that I doubt readers have touched or read. (Katherine and Chuck from The Foreign Student by Susan Choi, or Stephanie and Yong from 'Till Morning Comes by Han Suyin, or Sarah and Ben from Coyote Dream by Jessica Davis Stein) Their love doesn't ring true. Why, besides the fetish smell did Edward fall for her? What is it about the clumsy Bella did he find attractive? The way she moved, the way she got in trouble, the way she was rude to him? He never tells Bella of qualities that he likes about her. Bella also doesn't discuss Edward's thoughts or what she likes him about. Their "true love" becomes the love in Romeo and Juliet. (Love at first sight without reason, teenage hormones, bad combination. Just to let people know, I read Romeo and Juliet for school when I was a sophomore in high school and even then thought that it wasn't good.)

The plot appears in the last 100 pages, and only then it becomes exciting. What would have been better if hints appeared from the time she moves in to Washington. She has bad dreams about James and his coven, or else she finds strange letters or something like that from them. Instead of discussing Edward's body, she could discuss how frightened she feels, or how she knows its a supernatural force after her. My point, THIS BOOK COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER!

For those who were lucky enough to live far away from Earth, or else had very strong will power, Stephenie Meyer also wrote sequels to Twilight such as New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn, as well as The Host. She is a mother of three sons and is a Mormon author with a Bachelor's in Literature (Shock, shock, how is this possible?!) I will not be reading and reviewing the sequels. Just the thought of putting myself and my brain through such torture again, well, not good. (After I finished reading Twilight, I literally felt empty headed because this book sucked in all my brain cells. Hmm, getting an idea. This book like a black hole, sucks everything in and destroys it in its path.)

In conclusion, its best if people don't read the novel but if they are looking for vampire books to read, try Anne Rice's first three Vampire novels, or The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause (Zoe and Simon are much better and believable than Bella and Edward!) or Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire series (Has a very strong female vampire protagonist who doesn't let anyone mess with her, but she still falls in love, and this vampire is also unique, although she doesn't sparkle, sorry.) I've also heard of Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith which might be good (Haven't fully read them.) Anyways, the world is large and choices are varied so stay away from Twilight and have a good day.

*(Mary Sue is a character in fanfiction that is way too perfect and not real, just like Gary Stu)

1 out 5 stars
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Books that will be reviewed eventually

Okay, here is the list of books that I am planning on writing comprehensive reviews:

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

The Immortal by Christopher Pike

The Lost Mind by Christopher Pike

Dance of Death by R.L Stine

Cloud of Sparrows by Takashi Matsuoka

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas



Books I am reading at the moment:

Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell

'Till Morning Comes by Han Suyin

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The Foreign Student by Susan Choi

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