When I found out that a graphic novel was going to come out for Twilight, I was cautiously optimistic. Like many fans, I longed for either a graphic novel or an anime (or both!) to be made for Twilight. As good as I thought the first film was, I still found it a little lacking — there were so many scenes that I loved in the first book that I didn’t get to see onscreen, such as the blood-typing chapter. Now, I know that it’s pretty much impossible for a book to be translated 100% faithfully into a film, but still… I really liked the blood-typing chapter, what can I say! So I hoped that the graphic novel would be true to the book, hopefully even truer than the film.
I am happy to report that the graphic novel does contain the blood-typing scene. In fact, it is so faithful to the novel, that this is just the first volume out of two. (No word yet on when Volume 2 comes out — stay tuned!) All I can say is that after I finished this volume, I was immediately eager to read the second.
Before I go on to discuss the high points and low points of the graphic novel, I’ll take a minute to discuss the synopsis, in case you are the one human being left on earth who has no idea what Twilight is about.
Synopsis. Stephanie Meyer’s debut novel, Twilight, is narrated from the first-person point-of-view of Isabella (Bella) Marie Swan, a seventeen year old girl from Arizona who willingly exiles herself to rainy Forks, Washington in order to give her newly wed mom (and her new stepfather) some space. Bella prepares herself to be lonely and miserable in Forks and is taken by surprise when she becomes enamored with the mysterious Edward Cullen, a vampire who is really an immortal 108 year-old in the body of an eternally seventeen year old boy. Their love is threatened by the fact that Edward is irresistibly drawn to Bella’s scent and must constantly thwart the desire to feed on her, but the second threat is even more dangerous — when a coven of nomadic vampires comes to town, one of them is drawn to Bella for the same reason as Edward, only he sees no reason to resist his hunger.
High Points. What I liked best about the graphic novel is the lush illustration by Young Kim. The setting of Forks, Washington is portrayed very realistically, the verdant foliage and deep forests of this state nicely translated on the page. All her characters have these expressive faces that appear ready to come to life, and I especially like how she designed Bella and Edward — they are pretty close to how I pictured them in my head while I was reading the series. Bella’s hair in particular is beautifully rendered here — I wish my hair was long and flowing like that! Her hair as drawn by Kim has this almost magical quality to it, like it’s its own living thing that pulses and beats in tune with Bella’s heart.
The other characters are also pretty close to their physical descriptions in the novel — Alice, for example, has that perfect pixie haircut Stephenie Meyer describes in the book, something I’m not really sure they captured well in the films — and while other characters, such as Charlie and Jacob (more on them later) may seem a bit jarring, overall I think Kim did a great job illustrating the world of Twilight.
While Young Kim uses color sparingly in this book, sticking to mostly black and white, this just means that when color does appear, it has more of an impact, so I found this to be a high point as well. This is apparent in such scenes as Bella’s first prophetic dream of Jacob and Edward, and Bella and Edward’s heartfelt conversation in the meadow.
It is easy for graphic novels to become overwhelmed by the visual component, the genre being what it is, but Young Kim maintains a perfect balance between text and graphic — no small feat. Not all of Stephenie Meyer’s words could be included within the adaptation, but Kim keeps enough of them here to keep loyal readers happy. In fact, unless you are doing a side-by-side comparison with the novel and this adaptation, you probably won’t even notice what’s missing.
Overall, the graphic novel is so well done that it can be picked up by someone who’s never read Twilight (gasp) and still be fully enjoyed.
Low Points. It’s hard for me to come up with low points for this book, since I really enjoyed reading it, but if I can think of any, it’s that maybe Kim’s artistic interpretation of the characters might rub some readers the wrong way. For example, while I love how Kim illustrated Bella and Edward, I feel she may have missed the mark with Charlie and Jacob. Charlie to me felt like he looked far too young to be Bella’s middle-aged dad — his face was too “babyish,” as if he could’ve been a classmate of Bella’s instead of her father. And Jacob’s face felt a little too feminine to me, containing none of the masculinity apparent in Edward’s face, but perhaps this was intentional on Kim’s part, since Jacob is supposed to be younger than both Bella and Edward (Edward’s physical age, that is).
However, these low points do not detract from the graphic novel’s overall merit, and so I am giving this book:
If you are a fan of Twilight, you need to add this book to your collection. Reading it is like reliving your first time reading the novel, when the story was still brand new and you couldn’t help but share in Bella’s burgeoning attraction for Edward. And if this review isn’t reason enough to go pick up the novel today, here’s a recommendation from the person without whom we wouldn’t have Twilight in the first place:
“I’ve enjoyed working on this new interpretation of Twilight. Young has done an incredible job transforming the words that I have written into beautiful images. The characters and settings are very close to what I was imagining while writing the series.”–Stephenie Meyer