I read this book to see what all the hype was about and found it only satisfactory. I don't think it's the worst book out there but I don't see why it has so many die hard fans. I think that this is the best book in the series and it starts go downhill with New Moon.
I did like Stephenie Meyer's new take on vampires, in some ways they are cooler than traditional vampires. Traditional vampires can be killed with garlic, sunlight, and stake through the heart which makes them loose a lot of their scariness, however Meyer's vampires are mostly invincible which makes them cooler and scarier... until she made them sparkle in the sunlight which ruins everything dangerous about them.
Bella is what I consider to be the main problem with the story. She is the main character and also my least favorite. She comes off as whiny, childish, dull, and helpless. Unfortunately the story is told from her point of view which ruined some of the story for me. Despite being unpopular at her old school Bella is almost automatically absorbed into the 'in-crowd' when she moves to Forks. She also has a parade of boys trying to ask her out, even though she's only average looking. I've switched schools four times and I can tell you that being 'something new to look at' doesn't guarantee you instant popularity. Bella's only flaw, besides being insufferably irritating, is her clumsiness which is borderline ridiculous. If your falling down that much you probably have some sort of brain damage. After she hooks up with Edward she becomes the clingy sort of girlfriend that guys hate. Overall I think Meyer should've put some more work into Bella or told the story from the third person point of view.
Edward is the other main character I like him much better than Bella. Edward has the coolest vampire ability in my opinion, who wouldn't want to read minds? Most of his appeal for me is that he's not the pathetic, and whiny like Bella. Still most Edward's appeal to Bella is his appearance. Most of the time Bella describes him she spends a good three sentences on his rock hard muscles and ochre eyes. What color is ochre anyways? I always imagine it as pussy dark yellow. Edward also has some stalkerish tendancies such as watching Bella sleep. Personally I'd be creeped out if the boy I liked was watching me sleep. It is sweet for him to be protective of Bella but he takes it a little too far.
The plot was interesting but kind of slow. All the real action happened in the last few chapters of the book and the main villian didn't appear until more than halfway through. But overall I liked the book. I don't think I'll ever be a super fan but it wasn't as terrible as some people have described it and it's definately worth a read.