Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Vampire Attraction

This may sound a bit out of character but I love vampire stories. Not the gory, slasher movie type stories but the dark, gothic, romantic philosophical type vampire stories.

It started in high school when I read Bram Stoker's Dracula. I had always loved the old Hollywood, Bela Lugosi/Christopher Lee movies but decided I wanted to really see where it came from. It was quite shocking to read the book and realize that there was very little similarity to Christopher Lee's glamourous portrayal.

When I was 16 I read Interview with The Vampire for the first time. I became completely enraptured with Louis and Lestat and Anne Rice's portrayal of these "children of the night", invoking commentary on sexual, philosophical, moral and historical issues. I am an avid fan of the early books of Rice's Vampire Chronicals and have read The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned numerous times. Interview is still my favourite. In fact, I had forgotten how much I loved the book until my recent flight to Hong Kong when I watched the movie again (of which I was never a big fan. Brad Pitt is gorgeous but not strong and Tom Cruise will never be Lestat in my eyes.)

On the recommendation of Ethan, the 14 year old son of our friends Pat and Annette, I decided to read Twilight, Stephenie Meyer's foray into vampire lit. Ethan has very good taste in books so I had very little doubt that I would enjoy it. I just could never have predicted how much! The premise, teenage girl falls in love with teenage boy only to find out that he is a vampire and then hangs out with his vampire family, sounds a bit camp, I know. I'll tell you though, I was completely hooked and ploughed through the four books in the series in a matter of weeks.

Meyer is a good writer. She has a very visual and easy to read style that keeps you engaged throughout all of the books. She captures the angst of the teenage girl (I'm not pretty enough, I'm not smart enough, I'm not good enough, How could he possibly like/love/be attracted to me) and does a marvelous job depicting the fantastical element of vampires existing in every day life. There is definitely some Anne Rice influence but the Twilight series is also very original and Meyer puts her own stamp on vampire lore. I've been recommending these books to just about all of my friends who are interested in something light and fun and completely addictive.

She put a hold on another book in the series and I confess I am disappointed. However, I am so excited about the Twilight movie coming out this weekend and I plan to stand in line with the teenage girls and hopefully enjoy the story on screen as much as I did in print.

Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn
Stephenie Meyer
Little, Brown & Company