Twilight: a lesson in cheese.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 -- 3:04 pm
Mood: 14 I stand here in awe and disbelief.

So after being hounded over and over again by the world at large, I finally sucked it up and read the first novel in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer; the series that is reportedly supposed to be the next Harry Potter, so declared by millions of swooning, gibbering teen fangirls worldwide. Despite the hysterical mockery and roasts I've heard from highly literary individuals by contrast, I burrowed into the book with an optimistic and open frame of mind.

(If you are a fan of Twilight, feel free to stop reading now; because while I'm not intentionally gunning to directly offend anyone and their respective choice of reading material -- everyone has different tastes, and I suppose this novel has it's own particular...flavor -- the following will most likely not endear me to you at all.)

I am in no way a book critic by nature or by hobby. I am not an English Major or have any sort of literary degree whatsoever, and I probably wouldn't know how to even review a novel in a clear, succinct way -- but I recognize good writing when I read it, and so with that in mind I just have to come out and say it.

I have no idea how this book got published.

Twilight is a mess. I'm sorry, it just is. It reads like nothing more than a piece of novel-length fanfiction dressed in shiny soft-cover packaging. I'm not even fully convinced how it passed over the desk of a professional editor. I'm not nitpicking at a lack of grammatical proofing or spell checking -- the capital letters and commas are all where they should be; but what Twilight is missing is substance. There is no story here at all. They took the classic idea of a romance between girl and monster...and then forgot to do anything with it! I was more than half way through the book and THERE WAS NO PLOT. It had been 300 pages so far of Bella lusting after Edward's unbelievable beauty and nothing else. Bella being your average idiot teenage girl and Edward being a self-absorbed prick of a vampire is not plot, it's circumstance. For god's sake, the book is 498 pages long and any actual shape or form of a story doesn't begin until the introduction of James and Co. on page 375.

*Deep breath* Okay, that's out of the way. Now I can nitpick.

By the end of the fourth chapter, was anyone else as absolutely sick of hearing how stunningly beautiful Edward freaking Cullen is? SERIOUSLY. The reason the first 300 plus pages of the book was missing any type of plot was because it was too busy describing Edward's face, Edward's body, Edward's eyes, Edward's smooth-as-honey voice over and over and over. "Perfect perfect perfect beautiful stunning gorgeous dazzling perfect perfect BLAH BLAH BLAH." We get it. You don't have to remind us on every page and with every thought that goes through Bella's head. DEAR GOD.

Bella herself is...well, just sort of there. I don't really mind her either way, I simply don't find her very interesting. At times through out the book she suffers from being a border-line Mary Sue (so popular! so pretty! so smart! Simply being clumsy does not a good character flaw make.) For the most part she's really just your average, really stupid teenage girl in love for the first time, who dramatizes the world and overreacts to everything. She has possibly the worst name ever for a character, by the way: "Beautiful Swan". *Rolls eyes*

On the other hand, Edward was both spectacularly boring and annoying. I don't understand why the teen fangirls of the world unitedly foam at the mouth at the pure thought of this character. There is not a thing about Edward Cullen that is not the definition of the Gary Stu mold. "Ooh, aren't I so cryptic and graceful and deeply intense? Watch me be devilishly charming in a scoop-you-up-in-my-arms sort of way, oh and did I mention I have pretty handwriting, mind-reading abilities, and can fly through the trees like Superman? I can do no wrong. Ho ho." Smug bastard. He does nothing but show off.

It's as if Mrs. Meyer was trying to pull off the brooding, self-sacrificing character of Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and completely missed the mark. Edward isn't tortured. He's an angst bucket, and a bipolar angst bucket at that: "Don't be friends with me! Be friends with me! Get away, I'm too dangerous! Hey ho~ come to Seattle with me~!" WTF. You giant prat. You claim to love and care about this girl soooo much -- and yet you won't man up and do what's best for her? You voluntarily put her in danger all the time because you're too selfish to make the tough decision that she obviously can't. Edward doesn't have the excuse of being a naive teen, he's 90 freaking years old. Grow a pair of fucking balls, you goober. You disgust me.

Oh, and did I mention that Edward's skin sparkles "like thousands of tiny diamonds" when he's out in the sunshine? SPARKLES. LITERALLY.

Off the topic of wonderful Mr. Ed, another tiny reoccuring aspect of Twilight that irked me was how Bella continuously referred off and on to her parents by their first names. Now and I know that all families are different, but how often do you really come across a kid who by all accounts appears to have a healthy relationship with both her biological parents, and yet has the habit of calling them "Charlie" and "Renee"? o_O

Okay and where the hell did the author learn to use a computer? In chapter 7 when Bella is researching vampires on the mighty intraweb, Meyer must have had only a fleeting one-on-one prior experience with the world wide web when she wrote this scene, because she apparently thinks internet = pop-up advertising. An internet browser does not come with pop-up ads when you open the application; and last time I checked, there were no pop-up ads on Google either. The only theory I can come up with to explain these non-stop ads is that Bella's computer must be an all-in-one veritable porn site in itself.

Finally, the whole hysterical mess that makes up Twilight is not helped by the fact that the author can't write an ounce of dialogue or detailed description that is not cheese-stuffed -- and not even in a "hilariously funny-bad" sort of way, but in a "I have to take a break from reading this book and wipe up what's left of my brain that's begun dribbling out of my ears" sort of way.

I don't know, maybe it's just been too long since I've read a book that hasn't been written for adults. Was all the old teen trash I used to read as a kid this bad, and I just never noticed? Either way, I will not be reading the rest of the Twilight series. I wish Mrs. Meyer all the luck in raking in the money she is no doubt making off of it, and can only hope that her experience goes to imbue promising hope to all upcoming writers that anyone can somehow fluke out and get their work published.

August 19th, 2008 -- 1:00 pm

I TOLD YOU. *is triumphant*

When I have time this afternoon I will link you to the best summary of the CRACKFEST that is the rest of the Twilight saga, including the insanity of Breaking Dawn, the latest incarnation. BwahahaHA!

Brenna says:
August 19th, 2008 -- 1:08 pm

I was browsing the forums at work today and came across the Stephenie Meyer forum. I couldn't help myself and posted a copy of my blog post in there.

(I was actually surprised that the first half of the comments on it were very civil and almost agreed with me, despite their love for the book. We had a couple friendly debates. Then over night the angry flamers came out, haha.)

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