New Twilight book: ‘Fans grew up with criticism of the originals’

Cast of Twilight and author Stephenie MeyerImage copyright
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It’s probably been quite some time since you heard anyone arguing over “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob”.

But the debate could be back on because the Twilight Series is getting a fourth book, 12 years after the last instalment.

Author Stephenie Meyer announced on her website this week that Midnight Sun will be released in August.

It was originally abandoned after early chapters were leaked online, but it’s now getting a proper release.

“I wasn’t sure it was the right time to put this book out, but some of you have been waiting for just so long it didn’t seem right to make you wait any more,” she told Good Morning America.

‘Fans grew up with criticism of the books’

The vampire-themed books were a huge hit around the world, mostly with teenagers, and gained even more of a following after they were adapted into films starring Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen and Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black.

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The movies helped launch the careers of Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner

But for fans of the original series there are mixed feelings about whether the book will live up to the legacy of the originals that shaped their younger years.

“I’ve always loved the books, but I re-read the first book last year and it reignited something for me,” says 21-year-old student and YouTuber, Ashley.

“The series reminds me of a time when things were better and simpler – especially now with coronavirus we all need a little bit of escapism and Twilight is definitely that for me.”

She says “there isn’t a word for how excited I am” about the new release – but is worried about how it will be received.

“I think as fans we have grown up with the criticism of the original series and it’s something we all take seriously.

“I think Stephenie Meyer must have grown in that time too and I hope the new release reflects that but still with the original story.”

‘Coercive and controlling behaviour’

The Twilight Series has been criticised for normalising domestic abuse through Bella and Edward’s relationship, as he is portrayed as having control over her and taking advantage of her low self-esteem.

The original books were told from Bella’s perspective and the new one revisits the same events from Edward’s point of view.

Charity Women’s Aid says it is worried about the books being packaged as romance stories for a teenage audience.

“Coercive and controlling behaviour can be mistaken for romantic behaviour at early points in relationships, and our culture all too frequently reinforces this confusion”, says a spokesperson.

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Parts of Stephenie Meyer’s new book were leaked online, but now she’s decided the time is right to release it

The criticism is something 22-year-old student Eva has thought about since hearing about the book being released.

She became a big fan of the books when she was 11.

“I’m interested to see whether she has adapted her writing of Edward in any way – following this more self-aware culture we’re in about men preying on vulnerable women and respecting boundaries,” she says.

She says she’s interested to see how the new book is written in the wake of the #MeToo movement as there’s “a lot more scrutiny now on how these things are portrayed in fiction”.

‘Utterly in love with a series’

Dani, a 28-year-old technical consultant, read the books as a teenager and got involved with the Twilight fandom – buying merchandise, following blogs and reading fan fiction.

She says hearing a new book is being released is “surreal”.

“That was a whole other stage of my life – the news immediately brought back flashes of that excitement, the intense feeling I had for the books,” she tells Newsbeat.

“I’d forgotten what it used to feel like to be so utterly in love with a series and its characters.

“So I guess I’m feeling quite nostalgic about my teenage self, who was decidedly more naïve and less cynical about the world,” she says.

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