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The Manila Standard | "Breaking Dawn" breaks records

Source: The Manila Standard (5 August 2008)

Breaking Dawn breaks records

By Diana Uy

The long wait is finally over.

Breaking Dawn, the most anticipated fourth book of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga, has hit bookstores and “Twilighters,” “Twi-hards” and “Fanpires” have yet to control their ear-splitting screams, starry eyes, and palpitating hearts, swooning over the newest poster boy for dreamy, sexy and hot—Edward Cullen.

Yes, girls, Breaking Dawn has landed.

And if the throngs of screaming girls at the Powerbooks Greenbelt pre-launch event, held over the weekend, were any indication, this book is well on its way to becoming a certified mega hit, claiming its rightful place as Harry Potter’s successor on the bestsellers list.

You can tell by the decibel level in the room every time the name Edward comes up that the vampire saga has developed quite a following. We need not tell you how it gets when the face of Robert Pattinson, as Edward Cullen, pops up on the huge projector screen, showing the Twilight movie trailer. Let’s just say, it was earsplitting.

Stephenie Meyer in a pre-taped interview received the same amount of ear-shattering noise, as she explains the many inspirations of her books but not revealing too much about the ending of the Twilight Saga.

Majority of those who came at the BD pre-launch were girls—from 10-year-olds to college students. Most of them were teens and single, as they have so admitted in another screaming bout.

Surprisingly, we saw a few guys hanging around and about a handful of moms enjoying the scene with their daughters.

Interestingly, one mommy, whose daughter just took the UPCAT that morning, confessed how she had to keep mum about the Breaking Down pre-launch up to the last minute.

“She’s so crazy about Twilight, I was afraid she’d lose her focus while taking the UPCAT so I had to keep it a secret,” says the mom.

Comparable, incomparable

Undeniably, Twilight has reached phenomenal status worldwide. Sales of the book continue to skyrocket as we speak. It is even said Eclipse, on its release, knocked Harry Potter off the bestsellers list. Powerbooks, for example, had to reorder the Twilight Saga 10 times as demands continue an uphill climb. Powerbooks expect to reach the five-figure mark (min. 10,000/per title) per book by the end of the year, in terms of units sold. Already for Breaking Dawn, there have been more than a thousand books that have been pre-ordered online and reserved.

A movie about the first installment is already under way and fans can’t wait for its release on December. The film showing will coincide with the Philippine filmfest that fans are proposing a petition to have the film shown on the same month.

So popular is the book, fans can’t help comparing the success of Twilight to that of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.

The Internet has actually been flooded with forums, blogs, polls and whatchamacallits debating over the issue. That is if they are not stalking Stephenie Meyer and her timeless and well-loved characters in YouTube.

Some say it’s no contest, insisting the two books are completely different and irrevocably incomparable.

Others, however, have been more vocal, going as far as construing every last detail of each series—from the characters to the plot and the writing styles of both authors.

In the Quizilla.com polls, Twilight is gaining more popularity earning 64 percent (942) of the votes as compared to 35 percent (515) of Harry Potter’s.

Crazy over Twilight

The same mixed reactions were evident at the Breaking Dawn pre-launch.

For example, 13-year-old Couline Gloria, together with her friends, prefers Twilight to Harry Potter, explaining she’s never read a single HP book. She did watch the movies though.

“The Twilight Saga appeals to me more because it combines fiction and real-life experiences as compared to the Harry Potter series which is through and through fictional,” says Gloria, who ordered a replica of Bella’s charm bracelet online. Her friends had the arm-ring copied, sporting the accessory at the pre-launch.

Gloria adds that Edward’s vampiric abilities, not to mention his sensitive, mysterious character, only add to his charm.

“He is the archetype of a hero,” swoons Gloria.

Her friend Alex, shares the same idea of Edward, promising to burn the book if Bella does not end up with Edward (thanks to a certain Twylight mom, revealing Bella might choose Jacob).

Natalie Unson, who has read the HP books, agrees with Gloria.

“Twilight is way better,” says 13-year-old Unson. “The ending of HP was horrible. And I like how Edward treats Bella, so unlike boys today.”

Natalie’s mom, Rosanna, was more objective saying both series are completely different, therefore, not comparable.

“Romance plays a huge part in the Twilight Saga while it was all about magic in the Harry Potter series,” says mom.

Natalie, however, shares her daughter’s love for Edward, explaining Jacob is lacking in the looks department made even worse by his insensitive nature.

Like Rosanna, 15-year-old Lea Villena hates comparing Twilight to HP.

Having read all HP books, as well, Villena is fiercely loyal to Harry Potter just as she is loyal to Twilight.

“Edward is different from Harry,” says Villena. “Each series offer completely different worlds. The writing style is also different.”

Let’s hear it from the boys

While girls are obviously wearing their hearts on their sleeves when it comes to the book, the Twilight boys are sharing a different perspective and are in fact, being more reasonable.

Twenty-nine-year-old Gary Mayoralgo, for example, wants Bella to end up with Jacob as it would be the more practical, logical choice.

“Theoretically, Bella should end up with Edward,” says Mayoralgo, “But realistically she should end up with Jacob because with him, Bella will have the things Edward can never give, like having kids, growing old together… I want her to have that.”

Gary admits, by reading Twilight, he is able to “pick up” some things from Edward’s point of view.

“In a way, Edward helps [especially those in relationships] like when making decisions, reacting to each other, and on how to sweep girls off their feet,” says Gary, who admits he could like Bella only after he had gotten to know her better.

His cousin, 17-year-old Aldo, loves the book for its excitement and “forbidden” factor. Plus the fact that he “can see the world in a girl’s perspective.”

“It’s the kind of thing adolescents like today—the idea of being ‘forbidden,’ of being not socially acceptable.” says Aldo, “Also, the tension between the two characters is exciting. I can relate to it.”

Aldo says he started reading the Twilight series September last year. That he had to find New Moon and Eclipse at Kinokuniya in Singapore as local bookstores were always running out of copies at that time. After 11 days, he finished reading all three books.

Twilight the series

Twilight is the love story between human Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen, a modern-day Romeo and Juliet set in rain-drenched Forks in Washington, USA. Replacing swords, sabers, shields, minstrels and horse-drawn carriages and footmen are fast cars, digital music players and the Internet.

Instead of opposing families, the two have to deal with Edward being an immortal bloodsucker (which some fans consider either his biggest flaw or greatest asset) and turning Bella into a vampire, ultimately joining Edward and the Cullens family forever.

The second book New Moon and the heart-wrenching Eclipse continue the roller-coaster ride of emotions of the star-crossed lovers. It didn’t help that Jacob Black, the lovestruck werewolf, had to enter the picture while throngs of villainous vampires try to kill Bella.

The biggest question on everyone’s mind, however, is who will Bella choose in the end: the perfect (well, almost) Edward or normal, average guy Jacob?

Fans have to read Breaking Dawn to find out. And we are not going to spoil the fun for you unlike other publications.

Thanks to Tobbie for the alert!


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