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  1. This book has taken off among our 5th yr pupils as a word of mouth hit. Now lots of them want to do it for their personal study, and we're not sure if it has sufficient literary merit. Amazon lists it as a children's book and there's a quote from a review on the jacket calling it "the new Harry Potter". Any thoughts? Hazel, you've read it and you've tutored Higher English - would you recommend it? ETA: this post, and those which follow, are referring to a different book called Twilight - by Stephenie Meyer.
  2. Officially this is an adult book, but I thought it was much more likely to be read by teens, and personally I couldn't see why it would be classified as an adult book. The Host is set in a dystopian American world, which has been taken over by these small creatures which are implanted into the necks of humans. The host body and mind is then controlled by these friendly altruistic creatures, who are trying to rescue our world from our violence and destruction. Wanda is implanted into Melanie, but Melanie (unlike most humans) fights back, she battles to gain control of her body and fights to stop the others from seeking out her family and implanting them. As the novel progresses Wanda and Melanie travel to find Melanie's family, with many unexpected outcomes. The book is cheesey in places, but its 600 pages most of which I read in one day, so it obviously has its good points. The characters battle against what it means to be human and humane. Worth checking out if you liked Meyer's previous books (of which I have 3 more to read).
  3. Picked this up at the weekend and read it in half a day - a must for Twilight fans, but don't bother if you haven't read Eclipse! Because I enjoyed it so much as a Twilight fan, I can't tell if it was actually a good book or not - my feeling about the whole Twilight series is that Meyer's writing improves hugely as we get to book 4, and I loved the Host. I have a feeling this is not her best work, but as I say, still loved it for the links to Eclipse and extra insights it gave.
  4. The last in the Twilight Saga finds Bella and Edward getting married. We are treated to their extended honeymoon where Bella finally gets her wish. Well, one of them - the obvious one, the make-me-a-vampire wish still hangs in the balance. However, as a result of her honeymoon wish being fulfilled, Edward and Bella have to deal with an unexpected result. Oh yes, the blue line appears. It is clear that this is no normal event and Bella's life hangs precariously in the balance (when does it not?), and the only way to save her is...yes, you guessed it...to fulfill her second greatest wish. All plot lines get tied up in this book: Jacob finally 'imprints' on the one he is meant to be with (soulmate or otherwise), Edward and Bella settle into the life that will be theirs forever, Charlie isn't left alone, and the Volturi finally meet their match and the end to their dominance. After the frankly dull Eclipse where readers are left continually in search of plot or action, this book moves along at a fair old pace and the Cullens and Bella are flung from one deadly scenario to the next. Bella's conversion is a little too predictable and you will roll your eyes on more than one occasion. Now, having read all 4 books, I would say that the Saga definitely trails off as the books progress, though this book provides a little lift. It is not a crossover series at all - adults won't get much from this series, the first book, maybe, but the rest? No. The series is firmly in the realms of early teen girl, and let's be honest, is fairly comfortable there. Whether or not the 3 sequels will stay on my shelves remains to be seen, but the first book* will stay there, head held high with the rest of my CYA collection. *ETA - and maybe the second which was quite gripping when Edward left Bella...
  5. Book 2 in the so-called Twilight Saga. New Moon, follows on from where Twilight left of. It's Bella's 18th birthday and she really does not want to celebrate. For one, she is getting older, which Edward will never do, but more importantly she is now officially older than Edward, and that's not going to change. The Cullens, who stopped celebrating birthdays in 1935, throw a spectacularly intimate party for Bella. Clumsy as usual she gets a paper cut opening her gifts. Something you don't want to do around a group (clutch, swagger, coven...yes, coven is better), coven of vampires. To say things get heated is an understatement and by page 70, Edward tells Bella he and his family are leaving, never to return. Yes, as pedestrian as the prose is, I admit to having a welling of tears. Edward is then largely absent for...the majority of the book - which is disappointing to fans of the star-crossed lovers. Bella, discovers then that if she breaks her promise to Edward that she will keep herself safe, she hallucinates hearing his voice and that at least provides her with some comfort during her desolation. So she embarks on a series of dangerous pursuits, each bringing back a little of her Edward to her. To assist her in this, she becomes close to Jacob, Billy's son, up on the Indian reservation La Push. Gradually, as Bella and Jacob become increasingly closer, she discovers Jacob's secret. A secret which makes the triangle of Bella, Edward and Jacob more destructive beyond the bounds of a simple love triangle. Once again, I enjoyed my foray back into teen/vamp/romance/trash very much. It is very much the exemplar of a guilty pleasure. The writing isn't fantastic but it just doesn't seem to matter too much. You fly through the book quickly devouring the relationship and fantasy twists'n'turns. At 594 pages for this book - it is a bit of a clunker for the teen market, but since when has size really mattered? If teens are devouring novels of this length, enjoyable nonsense though it may be, then who am I to moan? Plus, I romped through it in about 3 hours. I did have another think about Minxminnie's concern about academic study of these books - and there is plenty of literary allusions to other, more canonical works which can be eked out in a class. Meyer herself, is an English Lit grad - and that is evident in her explicit and implicit references to works that have gone before. Bella, obviously, see the parallels between her and Edward in Romeo and Juliet, and she contemplates the arrival of Jacob in her heart as Paris. This leads her further to consider what would have happened if Juliet had grieved for Romeo then simply grew closer to Paris in the aftermath and saw him as viable husband material who indeed would make her happy. It's interesting - and I can see a few essays borne out of this. And let's not forget the whole vampire genre which can provide some meat for an essay. But the writing of these books itself...hmmmm. Still, bloody good read.
  6. The third book in the 'Saga'. Again, it's too long. We get a 3 sentence description about magnets. Yes, really. This book is where the grosser aspects start to come in. We get characters forcing themselves on other characters and Bella becomes incredibly annoying. It does have more of a plot- a spattering of killings- though it's forgettable. Best from a laughable/repulsive point of view but doesn't have the romanticism of New Moon which saves the book from the darkest abyss of drossiness. And the censor doesn't let me write a word because it contains a racist term in it, even though it has nothing to do with racism!
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