December 18, 2010

I've read Twilight. [review time]

Good cover design. Bad writing.
That's right. I went to a bookstore, stood in line, paid close to $13, and spent a couple precious hours of my life turning the pages of the first book in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Series. And I was not disappointed. It was exactly what I expected it to be. A page turner that creates an ideal soap-opera love interest, often described as perfect and god-like, who falls desperately in love with a normal, nothing special whiney teenage girl. And of course he’s so enraptured by this pathetic nobody that he can barely keep himself from eating her. She just smells so good.

As a Fantasy reader I really have to comment of the gimmicky-ness of the use of the Vampire in this story. Sure, Meyer is using the tradition of the sex predator consuming an innocent young woman, but she’s also destroying the legend for no reason other than to tell a sappy love story. He’s a vegetarian. Please give me one good reason why a soulless being that thrives off sucking human blood would just decide that it’s ‘wrong’.

Here’s a reason: Meyer couldn’t think of a more creative, thought-provoking idea that would actually make sense for a vampire to fall in love with a girl and not just kill her. Or make her a vampire. There have been great vampire stories where a vampire is so intrigued by a woman that he turns her to have her for his eternal companion. How romantic!

Now for my straight out qualms with the book. First, the writing is terrible. I kept a pen with me at all times to cross out some of the most offending lines. Also, the dialogue is terrible. Most notably, Edward is described as speaking with the words and “cadence” of the Victorian era in which he was born, but his speech in the book does not even come close to holding up to this description. His dialogue is colloquial and modern. The plot is terrible. It makes every mistake a bad story can make. Ever watch a movie and think, “of course the good guy would just show up out of nowhere and save the day at the opportune moment”? It shocks me that something with as much of a following as Twilight, regardless of the naivety of its audience, would really have Edward show up and save Bella. Is there a single person who would pick up this book and not predict that ending?

Bella is the worst-written character I have ever encountered. The story is in the first person, so we really get access to her personal thoughts. Plenty of time to hear her whine about how unworthy of Edward she is. She is also really dumb, for lack of a better word. A vampire has her mother. He wants Bella herself for ransom. Wants to eat her. She finds this an acceptable ransom. Instead of telling her vampire pals to help her out of a jam, she decides to fill the kidnapper’s demands and let him eat her. She even considers the likelihood that the vampire will just kill her mother anyways, but still decides that her only option is to hand herself over. That makes a lot of sense.

How does it end? Edward saves her. Oops! Sorry for the spoiler!

My final verdict is not much different from my initial one. Twilight features the vampire unnecessarily and contributes nothing of value to the legend. Edward is a gimmick. Also, the book has far more flaws than I had previously imagined. It is grotesquely unimaginative, and commits every plot device know to literature. Not even worth reading for a laugh at its failings.


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