Twilight is the first of four books by Stephanie Meyer telling the story of Isabelle (Bella) Swan, who encounters vampires and werewolves in Washington State. The book is very much targeted at Young Adults; the similarities to Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series are numerous, with the main difference being the lack of sex scenes (which are numerous in Ms. Hamilton’s series, and overbearing in later books) and limited violence.
But there is lots and lots of teenage lust!
Bella Swan moves from living with her mom in Phoenix back to living with her dad Charlie (who is also the police chief) in Forks, Washington State, moving from sunshine to constant clouds. The difficulty of a teenager moving while in high school (Bella is 17) is well described, as Bella tries to fit in. She believes she has angered the most attractive though standoffish boy in school, Edward Cullen, as he will not talk with her and is tense around her.
Bella rapidly determines that Edward and his “family” the Cullens are vampires, and that Edward has taken a special interest in her. Bella is immune to Edward’s mind reading talent (which other vampires do not have), and she also has a particular “smell” (her blood apparently smells sweet). The Cullens do not prey on humans, but have chosen to control their blood hunger through hunting animals…though, when hungry, they can lose control. Edward and Bella are attracted to each other, in spite of the obvious dangers (this is where the teen lust part comes in), and Edward works to control his hunger so that they can be together.
Much of the vampire lore is different here: no crosses and garlic, they do not need to eat or sleep, they aren’t hurt by sunlight but they do glisten (which is why they hide), they are super strong and fast. Turning a human into a vampire is not well understood, and as Bella becomes more obsessed/lustful/in love, she begins to want to join her new beau and family.
Of course, there are vampires in the world that do prey on humans, and, without giving away spoilers, their appearance is what pushes the story from a teenage romance novel to a vampire adventure.
Though the story is over 400 pages, it was a quick read, and well paced. Though obviously written with a female teenage audience in mind, it was an enjoyable change from the typical blood, violence and sex vampire novels that appear to crop up everywhere.