Initially rejected by 14 agents, Twilight, written by Stephenie Meyer, was published in 2005 and within a month was #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List. That same year, it was named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Children's Books. However, it wasn't until 2008 that Twilight-mania really took over. The book was the biggest novel of 2008, with the film following that same year. The book has sold over 17 million copies to date, while the film grossed $35.7 million on its opening day.
opens with Isabella "Bella" Swan (Kristen Stewart) who moves from Phoenix, Arizona, to Forks, Washington, to live with her father. Bella finds herself falling in love with a vampire, Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Their budding romance is thrown into chaos when another vampire coven passes through Forks. James, one of the passing vampires, decides to challenge the Cullens and track Bella for sport. Edward and his family scramble to protect Bella's life. Once safe, Bella expresses her desire to become a vampire, which Edward refuses. The romance and drama continues in New Moon
So far, the young-adult vampire-romance series consists of four books: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.
Although Meyer admits that titling the first book was a struggle, her choice seems appropriate. Twilight is the time right before the sun sets and the moon rises — the time vampires feel the safest.
The second book, New Moon, is about losing love. The title refers to the darkest stage of the lunar cycle, which represents the darkest time in Bella's life.
The title Eclipse focuses on Bella comprehending the price she will pay for becoming a vampire, which she had not given any prior serious thought. Many aspects and relationships that revolve around Bella are uprooted once she makes her decision.
Breaking Dawn refers to the beginning of Bella's life as a vampire. The cover represents Bella's progress from the weakest character in the saga (human) to the most powerful (the queen).
Supernatural Myths: Busted!
Avoiding the common stereotypical associations with vampires, such as garlic, silver, and coffins, Stephenie Meyer puts her own twist on vampire and werewolf myths. Here are a few:
Sunlight: Twilight's vampires can roam during daylight hours. Instead of bursting into flames from exposure to direct sunlight, their skin shimmers like diamonds. Forks, Washington seems like an ideal place for vampires to live, since it is mostly overcast year-round.
Blood: The Cullens call themselves "vegetarians," because they hunt and feed from animals instead of humans. Not all vampires in Twilight are "vegetarians," since it takes a lot of self control, practice, and discipline to live only off of animal blood.
Reproduction: Who would have thought a vampire and human could give birth to a hybrid baby? Meyer thought it possible and gives a rather detailed explanation of her theory on her website.
Sleep: Most people imagine vampires as creatures who sleep in light-proof coffins during the day. Twilight vampires are unique in that they never sleep.
Werewolves: In Twilight, when in wolf form, each werewolf in the pack is mentally and emotionally connected to one another. They communicate without speaking and know each other's deepest thoughts, feelings, and emotions, creating a deeply-rooted bond between pack members.
The Leading Man
Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson, finds himself fighting his attraction to Bella Swan, the new girl in school. Edward retains the traditional mindset and speech patterns of the early-20th century, when he became a vampire. He is described as inhumanly beautiful and, like other vampires, he possesses superhuman strength, speed, and agility. Edward has several unique talents: he's the fastest in his vampire coven, he can read minds (except for Bella's), and he plays the piano beautifully. Edward finds Bella's scent overwhelmingly sweet and addictive; he even considers her his "own personal heroin."
The Leading Lady
Bella Swan, played by Kristen Stewart, is an ordinary and average-looking teenager from Phoenix, Arizona, who gains the interest of many boys in Forks, including Edward Cullen. Bella is awkward, clumsy, and stubborn, which leads her into trouble more often than not. She has a private mind but is a terrible liar, which helps Edward distinguish the truth, since he can't read her mind. Despite becoming faint at the smell of blood, Bella continuously expresses her desire to become a vampire, against Edward's wishes.
The Other Man
Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner, is a Native American of the Quileute tribe in La Push, near Forks, Washington. He is a passionate and happy 15-year-old with a muscular build, a long black ponytail, and russet skin. Jacob's character develops more in New Moon, when he undergoes the transformation into a werewolf: he grows in height to 6 feet, 7 inches, his body temperature increases to 108.9 °F, and gains the ability to heal quickly. He also cuts off his long hair. Jacob competes with Edward for Bella's love, but ends up "imprinting" — a method of finding one's soul-mate — on Edward and Bella's daughter in Breaking Dawn.
It seems like manufacturers are willing to slap Twilight on just about everything. Of course there are the books, posters, DVDs, and the motion picture soundtrack — but then we get into the collectable "fanpire" area. The merchandise doesn't stop at various T-shirt and sweatshirt designs — it spreads out to trading cards, puzzles, buttons, mugs, magnets, stickers, lunch boxes, life-sized cardboard cut-outs, collectible figurines, jewelry, scarf and glove sets, fleece blankets, throw pillows, and more! There is even a website dedicated solely to Twilight tattoos.
The main controversy is whether Bella is a decent role model for teen girls, specifically in the fourth book Breaking Dawn. Although the lovebirds remain abstinent before marriage, the fourth book is about their wedding and pregnancy. Some parents seem concerned that the outcome of Bella's decisions may promote teen sex to young readers. Do you think the books send a message that it's better to wait, or are they too descriptive and encouraging of teen sex?
Sure, there have always been vampire-fantasy shows, movies, and books. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a popular show in the '90s, along with the hit movie, Interview with the Vampire, but neither seemed to cause as big a frenzy as Twilight. This time around, vampires are our friends! There are vampire books, movies, and television series for every age group. Vampire-related books from the recent past, such as The Vampire Diaries, are making a popular comeback, and many are adapted into shows and movies. Whether you are a teen reading about romance, or an adult who's into the blood-lusting creatures, there is a vampire tale for everyone.