NOTE: This is a book review I did for Squeaky Clean Reviews, a website that analyzes books from a Christian perspective. (You can read my review here.)
Although I did enjoy Twilight, I would have to say that Christians should read this with caution. I would also advise teens to read this with parental or adult supervision, especially the next three books.
Following the Romeo and Juliet motif, this is the story of impossible love. Bella Swan leaves sunny Phoenix, Arizona to live with her dad in rainy Forks, Washington. There she meets and gets intrigued by her mysterious Biology lab partner, Edward Cullen. The attraction between them grows, but their relationship is complicated by the fact that Edward is a vampire.
Here are some of the issues raised about the book.
1. There will always be the question of whether romanticizing traditionally evil creatures such as vampires is wrong. Similar to the debate about having good witches in Harry Potter, this series started the debate on the acceptability of good vampires as protagonists.
2. Some of the characters have supernatural gifts. One of them sees visions of the future, which could be considered occultic.
3. Bella is willing to give up her soul to be with Edward for all eternity without hesitation, even though Edward believes that vampires go to hell in the end.
4. Bella lies to her parents repeatedly. She also allows Edward to stay at her bedroom every night without her father’s knowledge.
However, there are also themes in the story that could be good talking points for teens and their parents.
1. Edward (and his family) resists the temptation to kill people despite their thirst for human blood. They go against their very nature in order to do what they believe is right.
2. Even though he loves Bella, Edward doesn’t want her to become a vampire too because he doesn’t want to endanger her soul.
There are deeper spiritual discussions in the succeeding books, but in the first book, Edward mentions the age-old question of evolution and creation and even makes reference to the Creator in this quote:
“Well, where did you come from? Evolution? Creation? Couldn’t we have evolved in the same way as other species, predator and prey? Or, if you don’t believe that all this world could have just happened on its own, which is hard for me to accept myself, is it so hard to believe that the same force that created the delicate angelfish with the shark, the baby seal and the killer whale, could create both our kinds together?”
There is some violence towards the end, although it is not described too graphically.
DRUG AND ALCOHOL CONTENT
In describing his attraction to the scent of Bella’s blood, Edward makes references to alcoholics and drug addicts. One of the most popular lines from the book and the movie is “You are exactly my brand of heroin.”
The main characters make out, and Bella sleeps in Edward’s arms nearly every night (although nothing happens, since Edward is adamant about keeping both their virginity).
CRUDE OR PROFANE LANGUAGE OR CONTENT
Some of the characters sometimes display disrespect towards their parents. Obsessive, unhealthy love seems to be encouraged.
This is an interesting read for people who are willing to overlook the negative points in the story. It’s fast-paced and quite entertaining. However, because of some of the questionable elements of the story, parents are advised to warn young teens or new believers from reading this book as it may negatively affect their relationship with God.