I want to explain my own appreciation for the Twilight series, to contrast with all those who have just recently jumped on the Screaming Phangirl bandwagon. It seems like a lot of the very loud buzz is coming from people who either picked up the book or went to the movie because they've been hearing from raving fans about how good it is. I'm very much the opposite, I tend to move away from things that someone tells me "You've GOT to read/watch/listen to this!"
I first heard about Twilight from an 11-year-old girl who is an obsessive reader, who I knew had already read many of my own favorite books. We were hanging out in a bookstore, and she wanted to pick up a copy of one of the Twilight books even though she already had the book, because the new one contained a preview chapter from the next book which wasn't out yet.
We talked a little about the story, and I began expressing my issues with all the vampire love stories that have spread through popular culture. I don't like the perspective these books show on the world, they always seem to show the worst of human nature, with people giving in to their passions at the expense of all around them, with evil winning the day, good guys being corrupted by evil and ending up as bad as the worst of them.
She protested that this book was different, but I was skeptical, because she is after all just a kid. Finally last summer she badgered me into reading the first book, Twilight, "just so you know what it's about and who the characters are."
So, I read it, and I love it. And here is why:
The characters are real people, fully developed. The writing is strong, it creates vivid pictures in my mind and makes the 'Twilight universe' real as I read it. There is definitely an emphasis on what I consider good things: successful resistance of temptation, doing better than expectations, good winning over evil, redemption.
Luckily for me, I started the series just before the fourth and final book came out, so I could read it all in one wonderful long summer. So my overall first impression is of the entire story. And this is my final assessment:
The four Twilight books are simply: fairy tales. The good kind, but set very believably in our modern world. So just like people a thousand years ago who told the original "fairy tales" that we now know of from the Grimms Brothers, we can hear these stories and imagine the charactors in the world around us. And feel good about our world, because in these stories good wins over evil, virtue triumphs, all the people you want to win do win, success is possible, and hope is justified.