Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hey Dracula, you busy tonight?

I'm sure most everyone at this point is familiar with the latest young adult book series, known as Twilight. It's theme is young love, well, young vampire/human love. I resisted reading it for months, despite the fact that all of my friends were giving the books great reviews. I think after reading all of Anne Rice's novels I couldn't envision another vampire tale told as well, nor did I feel like any young adult book could compete with the likes of Interview with a Vampire. I will now sheepishly admit that I'm on book three, of the series of four, and it is a compelling set of stories. In these books there is a certain erotic undertone that is utterly adult, though the way it's told the characters are kept totally PG-13. Vampires have a large amount of contradiction to their character. They are a combination of beauty, desire and danger. Just as in Lestat's story, the vampires in Twilight are beautiful beings, stone cold, hard muscled bodies and essentially blood thirsty. However, there is a twist on this theme in Twilight, because the vampire family that is featured feeds only on wildlife and this is a moral decision made by the entire family. The story is based on the unabashed, unavoidable, overwhelming love felt by a human girl and a young male vampire. Though the dialogue is sometimes a little bland between these two characters, the electricity that is described between them virtually zaps you from the page. The author has nailed their feelings of deepest desire and she describes it with such subtly that it leaves you a little breathless. These are not just lusty, teen novels meant for girls in the throes of a crush on the quarterback of the high school football team. The writing is more sophisticated than the average Harlequin romance and the vampire's involvement lends itself to a much deeper sense of romance than any mere mortal love affair could possess. I am not a pushover when it comes to reading. I'm picky and stubborn about the books that I choose. You will never find a Danielle Steele, or a Nora Roberts book in my house. I loathe those plebeian stories of love affairs and their predictable story lines. I don't care for fantasy or sci-fi, either. I'm not into books about mummy's, or zombies, or werewolves. So what is the deal with the vampires? I believe that the thanks goes to Anne Rice whose initial description of vampires was deliciously romanticized, not in a sexual manner, but in a preternatural, irresistibly sensual way. The seamless story telling of the Twilight series and the strength of passion shared by the main characters make them truly enjoyable to read. I congratulate Stephenie Meyer for bringing up a whole new generation of vampire lovers by sharing her artful tale with the world. Now I must get back to Eclipse...

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