I stayed away from this because it seemed a bit too much like Twilight. but then on one dull Sunday morning, I popped over to Blockbuster and decided to rent the film out simply because Emma Thompson playing the baddie intrigued me. Once it had finished I was pleasantly surprised, it didn’t seem that much like Twilight, so perhaps it would be worth my time.
So I bought the book and began reading it. The story follows Ethan Wate who lives in Gatlin County, a town in which nothing happens and nothing changes. That is, of course, until Lena Duchannes comes to town. She and Ethan have a strange connection where they share the same dreams and start kelting with each other. All of a sudden, Gatlin has become unrecognisable.
Almost immediately I became aware how much the film had changed things, some of it didn’t even make any sense and whole characters had disappeared. It’s always a shame when Hollywood thinks it can tell a better story, but in reality it just makes a shambles of it.
I approached this book wearily, aware that at any moment it could trick me and turn into another Twilight, yet I think that in all aspects it is superior. The characters are actually a little endearing, Ethan is stubborn, but not soppily so, Lena is all ‘woe is me’, but not Bella Swan so. There’s also a lot more to each of these characters than just their relationship with each other, and the characters that surround them each add something to the tale.
There was also some humour spread throughout, which is nice to see. With the fate that loomed over Lena it was slightly intense and it was a good idea to keep the mood light. However, there were times when the writing was underwhelming, the flashbacks to the civil war being the biggest example. If it was the plan to create some tension and with these flashbacks it didn’t work. While it added a nice bit of background to the story it broke up the flow of the book.
The characters were pretty good too. Amma is loveable even if Ethan at times finds her intimidating, his three great aunts are also pretty cool. Link, although probably there mostly for comic relief, swiftly becomes a favourite just because he doesn’t really care about what anyone thinks, and Ridley is one that’s easy to dislike but you kind of ending up rooting for her anyway because of her back story with Lena.
While the relationship between Ethan and Lena played a large role, it wasn’t actually the main focus of the story and it’s actually sort of refreshing that not everything happens to Ethan. He might be the main character, but it actually seems to all happen to Lena.
Overall, it was easy reading and didn’t require too much effort on behalf of the reader. There were some good twists and quirks and best of all, it wasn’t another Twilight. The story actually has a point and develops very well, there’s enough background information for the reader to truly understand what’s happening, but there’s also enough left out so that mystery and intrigue haven’t disappeared.