Thursday, September 02, 2010


I read the Twilight Saga this summer. I wanted to know what all the fuss is about. Now I've read them, I'm still not sure what all the fuss is about.
I guess they're easy to read, which helps with the whole popularity thing. There's kissing and fighting, so maybe something for everyone?
But generally, I found the series unfulfilling, disappointing and unconvincing, mainly for the following reasons.

  1. The classic vampire mythology (coffins, stakes etc.) is dismissed as (I quote) 'all myth', allowing Meyer to set up her new 'sexy vampire' mythology. This is convenient but flawed, because now I could write a book about vampires and dismiss classic vampires and Meyer's vampires as 'mythology' and write that real vampires are actually made of jelly and smell of lavender, and actually prefer a diet of lettuce and rubber. That Meyer shows such disrespect for the fantasy/horror genre mildly insults me, and I'm not even a particularly ardent fan of that genre. Compare with (inevitably) Rowling, who takes the original mythology of ghosts, werewolves, dragons, sphinxes etc, and applies it to her stories, while maintaining the integrity of the original myths.

  2. The story centres around the relationship between Bella and Edward, which is fine – it's basically a romance story. Not particularly my thing, but that's ok. But their relationship is portrayed as so perfect! When they're together, they never seriously argue, or if they do it's written in a very light-hearted way. Also, Bella's descriptions of Edward focus on his 'perfect, godlike body' and 'flawless, angelic face'. Only once that I can remember does she describe what she likes about his character, and that is only when someone directly asks her. This is all both vomit-inducing and unrealistic, and basically emotional pornography.

  3. The story, while easy to read, is mostly slow paced. For large sections, nothing actually happens. There's no pace or excitement, which is a bit of a problem for novels that try to mix the genres of romance and fantasy. Only for a few chapters part way through book 4 was I really gripped, and that was possibly because the focus was off the two rather boring lead characters and on Jacob, who is way more interesting but gets much less page time.

  4. Several times, questions were set up and kept me pondering, and then never actually answered. For example, the question of exactly why Bella smells so good to both Edward and James is set up in book one, as though it will be revealed later and will form a vital plot point or twist. In fact, it is never revealed. This is very disappointing. Again, contrast with Rowling, who sets things up in one book and reveals their importance 4, 5, 6 books later.

  5. Most of the story is written first person from Bella's point of view. A short section is from Jacob's POV – this is a really nice change but unfortunately comes across as gimmicky because it is the only other POV used and is relatively short. If the books had had several POVs, or if Jacob's POVs had been more like 40-50% of the series, it would have worked. Written as it is, it doesn't.

  6. There are so many deus ex machinas! For example, how the two alpha's discover they can communicate, how Nessie can communicate to Bella and not get stopped by Bella's shield, and, the massive one, how Jacob imprints on Nessie (disgustingly and unconvincingly convenient) – I thought Meyer was having a laugh and was about to say 'only kidding, that would be stupid!'

  7. By the fourth book, the series had become something of an X-men ripoff. Every other vampire has some sort of superpower (the origins of which are disappointingly not explained) and all the talk is of how to combine the powers to win the battle and how to take out the enemy vampires with key powers etc, etc. All very well but painfully unoriginal.

  8. There is no payoff at the end of the story, no climax. Everything is set up nicely for a big confrontation, and then they all say sorry and go home! No-one even dies (well, only one minor character who we've never actually met before and therefore have no attachment to). An incredibly weak ending.
Overall, a big disappointment. Ok, so I wasn't expecting a masterpiece, but I also wasn't expecting to be so continually disappointed and bored. It seemed as though some author somewhere had written some really good books, and I was reading some trashy fanfiction based on them.

Reviews such as 'Move over, Harry Potter' are at best laughable and at worst blasphemous, and I side with Stephen King, who said "the real difference between J.K. Rowling and Meyer is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer, and Stephenie Meyer can't write a darn.  She's not very good."


Unknown said...

Unknown said...

Another thought - a lot of people compare Twilight to Harry Potter (as I did in this blog post) - but they're not really comparable. Twilight is a romance series with elements of fantasy, Harry Potter is a fantasy series with (very) small elements of romance.