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Review: Twilight, Stephenie Meyer [TSS]

And so the time has come for me to discuss Twilight.  I’m posting this during the Sunday Salon because I want to hear what others think.   I’ve read about this book everywhere, but I’d like one spot for you to give me your opinion.  So please, do so here, or link me to your review so I can get a more complete view of the range of opinions.  If not, well, I want to rant a little bit too.

Allow me to skip plot summary here, I’m sure we’ve all heard it before: Bella moves to rainy Forks, Bella meets perfect vampire boy Edward, love ensues.  Allow me also to state that I fully, reluctantly intended to love this book.  I like romance, I like fantasy type settings in general, I was a silly teenager that fell in love with every boy who ever smiled at me, and I really was in the mood for young adult books at the time.

So the surprise was that I didn’t  love Twilight.  I liked it.  It did bring back those silly teenage years that I normally try to shove away into the corner of my brain marked “recycle bin”.  Like I said, I was boy-crazy in the worst way.  I think I missed something essential, here, because even that bit of me still ecstatic over cute boys did not like Edward Cullen.  I don’t understand why every girl who has read this adores him – even intelligent, grown women that should probably know better.  He is a stalker.  He watches Bella while she sleeps!  He always shows up when she’s in trouble and he gets her in danger.  He doesn’t want her hanging around with the friends she made before him.  He drives too fast even when it makes Bella nervous.  He reacts violently when they kiss and makes her feel like she’s crazy.  At first, he is utterly cruel to her.  Okay, he is attractive and sparkly, but I do not see the meant-to-be going on in this book.  I don’t see why he’s perfect except when Stephenie Meyer explicitly says that he is perfect.  Maybe it’s because I never liked the dangerous guys, but I don’t get it even when I channel teenage Meghan.

I did find the book to be a fairly entertaining story, but I guess having one of the two central characters fall flat damaged it for me.  I also didn’t particularly like the writing and hope it gets better as I go on in the series.  Every detail of Bella’s life is delineated, like what she eats for breakfast and when she throws on some clothes.  I don’t like the prose, either.  I’m not a perfect writer, but I can’t stand seeing ellipses and dashes used incorrectly in professionally published work.  I do it myself here but whenever I am writing for a professional audience I take all that out and correct it when I read other people’s writing.

Before you ask, yes, I got the next two.  Like I said, I was convinced I’d like this even if I didn’t want to.  Now I’m going to read them eventually and maybe I’ll understand why people love it by the end.  I’ve got Breaking Dawn on my hold list at the library.  I’m not shelling out money for that one, unless I find it for $1 like I did with the others.

Lastly, I want to stick out my opinion on comparisons of this to Harry Potter.  Simply put, they have nothing in common except popularity and age group.  I think of Harry Potter as more of a fantastical, wholesome kids’ series that promotes good stuff like family love, sacrifice, and loyalty.  J.K. Rowling is perhaps not the best writer, but she is a terrific storyteller, and I love the HP books.  When you get relationships, they are the awkward ones when you don’t know how kisses go but you think they might be nice, and for the most part they are built on solid foundations of friendship.  This one?  Well, Bella ditches and disobeys her father pretty quickly, she ignores her mother’s emails if she doesn’t feel like answering them, and she is happy to ignore all of the friends who welcomed her in favor of the creepy vampire family.  Her relationship with Edward is similarly creepy and I think borderline abusive.  I know that if I had a kid, I’d be thrilled that she/he read Harry Potter and would be happy to discuss it, but we’d have to have a long talk about Twilight because I think there are some issues there.

Do you love Twilight?  Want to set me in my place about how wrong I am?  Please, do so!  If you’ve heard it all before, please feel free to ignore this post and read some of my other posts.

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18 comments to Review: Twilight, Stephenie Meyer [TSS]

  • I just finished reading Twilight myself (just posted my review the other day) and I totally get where you’re coming from. For me, I did become engrossed in the story, and just kept turning the pages to find out what would happen. Edward IS basically a stalker, which is why I don’t know how appropriate the books are for younger teenagers, who might not quite connect with the fact that the relationship is highly inappropriate and possessive. But at the same time, I think much of his appeal is that “bad boy” thing, which, looking back to my teen years, I can kind of sympathize with… most girls have been attracted to that type at least once in their lives. I think another thing that makes Edward so “attractive” to teens is that he loves Bella SO FREAKING MUCH. Like, adores her beyond a shadow of a doubt. And how many teens want that for themselves? Lots. Generally speaking, I found Twilight entertaining and engrossing, but by far not one of my favorite books. And don’t even try to compare it to Harry Potter – that will just upset me. :) HP is heads and tails above these books.

    P.S. I also finished New Moon, and just a heads up – if your major aversion to the series is because of Edward, you will probably enjoy New Moon a lot more than Twilight. (I did.)

  • I enjoyed the Twilight books for what they are: light YA reading. I like vampire stories in general and I liked the addition of Jacob’s story. I read the series with my niece (12 and 13 years old at the time), which added to my positive reaction.

    I thought the beginnings and endings of the first three books were good. I thought the middles dragged and could have used tighter editing.

    I was a bit taken aback at Bella’s behavior in one of the books. I can’t remember which book — I think it might be the second one– so I don’t want to type a spoiler here. Let’s just say that I didn’t think she was a good role model for young girls, and I am *not* talking about love or sex. It was her total dependency on Edward that I hated. Maybe I’m just a bit more independent than most women. But even as a teenager, I didn’t feel that I needed a male in my life to make me happy or to feel complete.

    I hated the fourth book, and it tainted my original enthusiasm for the series.

  • Hi Meghan….First let me tell you…the book is on the way. (Sorry about the …. in the sentence, and sorry for the delay in shipping. You’ll see why when you get it.
    I agree with you about the editing in Twilight, that was disturbing especially due to it’s intended audience who are already accepting IM language in place of correct English. I see this all the time as a teacher.

    I think I look at Twilight differently. I read this with nostalgia, recalling a television soap opera called Dark Shadows. Edward was then Barnabas Collins, and Bella was Angelique. My sister and I came home from school every day to watch this vampire romance where the vampire was from another century. For anyone not old enough to remember, it was a teenage phenomenon at the time, akin to the Twilight series.

    I read Twilight when the book first came out and there was no hype. I had no schema from previous reviews or television sound bytes. The book was therefore a walk into my teenage memory nothing more. Edwards did annoy me because he did treat Bella horribly, unlike his predecessor who was always the gentleman. Except of course when he was devouring his prey. I knew when I read Twilight that it was going to become a cult worship series
    and I am grateful to Meyers for creating a series that delights so many readers.

    Just my thoughts, Wisteria :)

  • I agree with your thoughts about Edward 100%. He is creepy, overbearing, and borderline abusive. Definitely not my idea of the perfect man or the guy I’d want my teenage daughter (if I had one) to be obsessing over. And the connection to Harry Potter? There is none. Meyer’s publishers just happened to be clever enough to notice that her books were picking up steam as the HP series ended, so they launched a massive campaign to declare Twilight the new Harry Potter. And it worked! Ah, the joys of marketing. Kinda makes you sick, huh?

  • I enjoyed the first Twilight book but didn’t love it. I haven’t read the remaining books yet but will eventually. I LOVED the Harry Potter books. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about them and rated each one of them 5 out of 5. They will be on my top 10 list of all-time favorites for sure!

  • I think women like Edward exactly because of the amount of attention he pays Bella…a man who even wants to watch me sleep!!!! A gorgeous man who has waited 100 years to find me? Who says, “You are my life now”?

    I think that feeds into that sort of unhealthy needy side of women. I was so uncomfortable when I read the book, just because of how unhealthy it is, and because I’ve had a little experience with that.

    I, too, have the others, but haven’t rushed to read them.

  • I thought the first book was a ton of fun, the second was good but disappointing, the third was disappointing without so much of the good, and the fourth was a near-total suckfest.

    I agree with everything you’ve said about Edward. He’s not romantic; he’s creepy, stalkerish and, (especially as the series progresses), borderline abusive. As much fun as I had with the first book, I’ve never understood the Edward love.

  • I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree, because I found myself smitten by Edward. I did, however, have the sense to feel ashamed of myself for being so smitten. I mean, I ought to know better.

  • Meghan

    I somehow never thought about Edward’s all-consuming love for Bella as being so attractive to teens – I mostly figured that it was his “bad boy” image. Can totally see that now, even though many of the ways he goes about showing that are very creepy. I guess I have never really wanted to be obsessed over; as much as I love the man I’m marrying, if I woke up to him watching me sleep I’d be freaked out and I wouldn’t want him following me around to make sure I wasn’t hurt. I see Edward as the kind of guy who sticks a GPS on Bella’s car to monitor where she is at all times. I definitely dislike being smothered and I think maybe that’s part of my own aversion to Edward. I don’t think I want to be anyone’s life. Never would have thought of that on my own. See, I knew I started this for a reason. Now I know even more why Edward isn’t my type! =) I can see how he would be someone else’s, even if that still bothers me (sorry Chayenne!).

    I do think the book was enjoyable as YA fluff, it isn’t that I disliked reading it, I just didn’t love it. And it mostly got me thinking because it’s such an influence these days. Stephenie Meyer is now the favorite author of tons of teens. I mentioned to a doctor that I was a reader and he told me his 10 year old daughter was one, too, and that she was really into Twilight. Is this what reading is now? I see many, many people reading these books on the bus and the library has an undetermined wait for the books because there are so many holds. Since we all read widely around here, seeing your responses has been fascinating! I know we all wrote reviews, but just comparing what you think to what I think has definitely given me a perspective I’ll bring into the rest of the series. Thank you!

  • Eva

    I didn’t like Edward either-their relationship felt abusive. I’m like you: I liked it but didn’t love it. And I have no interest in reading the rest of the series. So you’re not the only one! :)

  • Kay

    I love Twilight :D Nevertheless I think each is entitled to his/her own opinion so I am definitely not trying to show you that you are wrong or anything.

    Here are my reviews of all the five books in the series (where I mainly state again and again how perfect Edward is :P ):
    http://www.kaysbookshelf.com/search?q=stephenie+meyer

  • Hi Megs :)

    Oh my all consuming dislike for the Twilight series knows no bounds. I first read twilight, new moon, and eclipse two summers ago while I worked at NASA. I was working my way through YA section at Borders after work and at the time the Twilight series was only tiny blip on my radar. I read it, found it passably entertaining with no re-readability, rather badly written and lacking decent characterization. But it was by no means the worst thing I had read so far, and only stuck out for the ridiculousness of Sparkley Vampires!

    It was only when Twilight fever began to overrun all my livejournal communities later that year that I began to take notice of it again and it just disgusted me. To start off, Bella is completely ridiculous main character. She tells us she’s so boring and plain, and yet none of the boys can keep their eyes off her. And I can’t help but feel this character is a complete Mary Sue for the author (in the same way Anita Blake is for LKHamilton). And I feel a lot of the authors personal beliefs about “true love” come through in the Bella/Edward relationship which just seemed completely unhealthy and disgusting to me (you’ll see how unhealthy it is in the 2nd book).

    My biggest problem with the series is the overall theme. “Girls, if you want boys to like you, you have to make a complete and irrevocable change to who you are.” Because that is what vampirism is: giving up everything that makes you who you are. I was really hoping that Bella wouldn’t become a vampire, that she’d live out her days as a human, find a nice human guy, and retain a platonic relationship with Edward till she died. But of course that wasn’t gonna happen :( Or if she chose to become a vampire because some aspect of the unlife appealed to her. but no, she changed for a guy and that was it.

    And Breaking Dawn *shudder* I have never been so violently nauseated by a scene in a book. Which isn’t to give Meyer’s props for her writing, but for the sick and demented way her mind works. The fact that she attempted to Romanticize the scenes she did in Breaking Dawn is just…ugh.

    Anyways, yeah. I’m sorry, I’m totally ranting on your journal :) I’ll stop now.

  • I think you are spot on about Twilight – I completely agree!

  • I loved Twilight myself, but I can see where you are coming from. My biggest problem with the book was that I didn’t understand why or how they fell in love with each other, as I have wrote in my blog post for Twilight. However, I still love Edward. True, he is creepy, true he is a stalker to a degree, but I guess it’s just his unconditional love towards Bella that made me love him so much. :D Although, it’s not great writing by Stephenie Meyer, but she got me finishing the whole series in 5 days (I had 5 days off in a row), and that’s pretty amazing for me, whereas compared to Harry Potter, I couldn’t even finish the first book, or motivated to go see any of its movies past the first one. I’m not saying it’s bad, but it’s just not something I like… So I guess for me, it’s “yay” for Twilight and “nay” for Harry Potter. :D

    Kooritsuki’s last blog post..Dark Desire by Christine Feehan

  • d24

    Twilight is the shittest excuse for a ‘novel’.

  • People often ask me for Stephenie Meyer’s favorite books of all time, now I’ve included her favorite books on my blog. Feel free to visit

    Garner @ http://famouspick.blogspot.com

  • I too hated Twilight. I did end up reading the rest of the series but that was purely for “completeness” sake. Somehow, the whole thing was just too mushy for me.

    My review is up at:

    http://nishitak.wordpress.com/2008/11/08/twilight-book-review/