Twilight – Book Review

Twilight book

Long time friend of the site/reader Jes the DraggonLaady decided to pick up Twilight and give it a read. In the name of literary science, she’s jotted down notes about the experience and, apparently, survived. And she wanted to share the results. So here we go.

My totally spoiler-ific trip through Twilight. I’ve been worn down by the recommendations of several friends, so I finally took the chance. I realize spoilers are of the purest evil, but since this book has been out long enough that three follow up books have been published, I think purgatory is the worst I risk by letting a few things slip. If you want to be totally spoiler-free, then this isn’t for you. Consider yourself warned.

The basic plot is that unpopular, timid, city-girl Bella moves to the sticks, somehow becomes instantly popular, meets Edward, a boy of “god-like beauty,” and they enter into what’s either (depending on who you ask) a sweepingly romantic or creepily obsessive relationship.

I enjoyed 10 pages out of this 500 page book, and all of them centered around the “evil” vampire. It was mediocre chick-lit, focused on an unhealthy obsessive/co-dependent relationship. I do not understand either the love or hate that this book has inspired in other reviewers. It is fairly shallow, fluffy writing, but that in itself doesn’t prevent a book from being enjoyable. It is fine, I guess, for the Harlequin Romance reader, but utterly inappropriate for the apparent target audience, i.e. young girls. This is about as far from an example of a healthy relationship as you can portray without having outright beatings, and not something I would use as an example for a young girl of anything but what to run away from. It can all be wrapped up in some words of wisdom from 4-chan. (Frightening concept, I know.)…

Seriously, Twilight has conditioned a legion of prepubescent girls into believing that obsessive/possessive behavior and objectification of women is not only acceptable, but also romantic as fuck. Stephanie Meyers [sic] has done the sexual deviants the world over a huge favor.

For your amusement, my thoughts as recorded while reading this weighty tome:

  • Bella is a whiny-ass. The whole moving up to Forks thing is somehow her idea; hasn’t been explained yet, but you’d think she was being made a martyr.
  • (about page 30 here) Why is she obsessing over the boy who was a rude prick and trying to come up with ways to brush off the guy who’s being nice and helpful, all the while whinging about how she’ll never fit in anywhere and nobody will like her? Self-fulfilling much?
  • She’s lived with her father every summer of her life, and she just NOW discovers that he can’t cook? What did she eat every summer before this one?
  • Also, she’s still a whiny-ass.
  • 150 pages in (yes all in one go; when I’m on a mission, I’m on on a mission) and she’s still a whiny-ass, but less annoyingly so…I guess. I have very little sympathy for the character-type in general, but can see where it’d be appealing to some; you know, basically anybody that likes rom-coms. Edward has mostly been your typical teen-age idiot boy, jerking between “stay away from me, I’m SOOOO bad for you” and asking her to go out and do things. She did finally figure out what he is, but decided (with all the wisdom of a whiny seventeen year old) that he couldn’t possibly be actually, you know, evil. And really, up to now he’s done nothing to make her think otherwise.
  • General feeling at this point? I could put the book down and never wonder what happens to any of the characters. Not a compelling read for me. On the other hand, far from the worst thing I’ve ever read. Basic, bland, middle-of-the-road fluff.
  • 250 pages in, and it’s awful sappy with the fluttery heart and agonized thoughts of having to live away from the object of her obsession. Definitely not the sort of thing I’d normally read, much too chick-flick/harlequin. Also, not much of a vampire story…other than one incident of moving fast and being strong, and several “mind readings” there’s been nothing to indicate the boy’s not just a big talker, so it’s hard to call Miss Whiny-ass really any more stupid than your typical teenage emo girl.
  • And with that, I’m done for the night…the dreaded sparkly in the sunlight scene should be just coming up though.

So now we get into the WTF sections.

The sparkly scene was actually mostly brain-shredding not because of the sparkly (which was just silly) but because of the constant comments about how stunning his “god-like beautiful perfection” was, and how she couldn’t believe this “Adonis” was talking to her. The $3 words were way overused; I have a hard time believing that it’s a seventeen year old talking, when there are obvious, more-common word choices. I mean really…”besotted”? The author tries to justify it by saying that Pride and Prejudice is the girl’s favorite book, but it just comes off as an excuse for the author to use her favorite thesaurus.

AAAAAND…the creepy. I was mistaken on how creepy the boy would turn. He didn’t sneak into her room once; he finally ‘fesses up to having snuck into her house EVERY NIGHT for six weeks. And to eavesdropping on conversations with practically everyone she’s talked to in the last two months. AND to following her everywhere she goes. First damn vampish thing the vampixie’s done, which is totally fine, right? Vamps are supposed to be dark and creepy, so yay. He’s finally being something resembling a vampire instead of, you know, a fairy.

What I absolutely cannot stand, though, is her reaction. She’s not at ALL creeped out, or angry, to find that he’s been jealously stalking her every moment, waking AND sleeping, for weeks. No, no, that’s not creepy, it’s not stalking–it’s Fucking-A-Romantic-As-All-Hell in her dumb little brain. I just want to smack the hell out of the girl. Guess since she’s already decided that it doesn’t matter that he claims to be a murdering monster, it doesn’t matter that he’s a stalker too.

370 pages in, and suddenly, there are actual vampires! 370 pages into a “vampire story” just under 500 pages long before it actually starts showing signs of becoming a vampire story!

On the other hand, whiny-ass girl suddenly and inexplicably got considerably more competent (while crying incessantly, nonetheless) when her life was actually threatened.

The whole prom thing was just … meh. Back to the meh as soon as the real vampire was no longer involved. And what, by the way, is with denying me the fight scene? THE only fight in the entire damn book, (and what is a vampire story without some violence?!?) and it’s not even described AT ALL? “Oh, yeah, well, they took care of it.” She sets up this epic battle with a hunter several hundred years old who’s supposed to be such big hoodoo that the other vampires are all scared of him, and “oh, yeah, well, they took care of it?”

My conclusion: As stated above, I enjoyed 10 pages out of this 500 page book, which all had to do with the “evil” vampire, for a total of 2% of the book being worth reading. This woman does NOT know how to write a vampire story.

By | 2017-09-24T22:55:01+00:00 January 24th, 2010|Reviews|3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Al Wiltfong January 24, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Haha, awesome! I’m working on one of these myself. It really is an insipid book. Unfortunately, I’ve decided to tackle all FOUR of them. Crap, I’m doomed…

  2. Lois Holub January 24, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Thanks Jes. As well as the creepy boy, whiney girl, obsessive, chastity-insisting doodah, I wonder how Stephanie Meyer can continue in good conscience not to acknowledge her debt to Anne Rice, especially for the pregnancy/birth scheme (in Breaking Dawn) from Rice’s Taltos…and to Robin McKinley for much of Sunshine. And what’s up with her appropriation of the Quileute nation as believers in a fabricated mythology of werewolves? I know Meyer’s books are fiction. But I thought there were, you know, at least ethical rules against stealing plot lines and portraying an entire (actual) peoples’ culture (rather than several individuals within that culture) as something entirely untrue?

  3. jes January 25, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Al–I’m sorry, hon! I flatly refuse to put myself through the rest of the series. I have better things to do with my time… but I’ll happily read your reviews of them if you send them in here :)

    Lois–there are many similarities in many stories, by many authors, and the “borrowing” of ideas between authors doesn’t bother me so much here as the romanticism of stupidity. It’s not often I find myself in utter agreement with something said on 4-chan, after all! I’m not familiar with the pregnancy/birth scheme, as I have not (and won’t) read the rest of the series, so I really can’t comment on it.

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