So I finally broke down and downloaded the sampler of the first Twilight book, just to see what all the fuss is about.
So far, I'm not terribly impressed by the writing, though I have been enjoying that the book is set in the PacNW, and that the character has spent the first 10 pages or so complaining about all of the things I love about my distant but still beloved home. I imagine, though, that if I bought the whole book and read it cover-to-cover, I'd discover that Stephenie Meyer is a hell of a storyteller. That's got to be true on some level, or the book wouldn't have grown into such a huge phenomenon.
The truth is, in the first several pages, the writing isn't impressing me, but it's not turning me off, either. It's not perfect, but it doesn't have to be. It's possible to be a great storyteller and an average writer. Actually, that's the point I'm trying to make: work hard on telling great stories first. Beautifully crafted, sparkling writing without a good story is constructed decoration.
In other book news, I've read all five books from the Temeraire series twice in the last month and a half, and I enjoyed them as much the second time as I did the first. Naomi Novik is both a great storyteller and an exemplary writer. It's kind of a weird mix of fantasy and historical (revisionist) fiction. A bit geeked out, for sure (which is definitely a plus, from my perspective) but absolutely delightful.
The first book is called His Majesty's Dragon, and as an added bonus, you can download free copies of it for the Kindle (iPhone app or device) or for any other e-reader you use. You can also get your hands on a free PDF of the whole book, but that's a bit more difficult to wrangle.
Be warned, however, that this is incredibly shrewd marketing, akin to a drug dealer giving you the first hit for free. You'll likely end up buying the other four books in rapid succession.