The Landscape of Twilight
My first encounter with this novel happened few years back when I transfered from a two year college to a four year university, by a friend who loved it and read it, (and a former who hated the novel). Back then I started to hear slips of this book, and it wasn't until now that I decided to see how bad it was.
My credentials for reviewing this blackhole?Well I have read dozens of books, (including the ones that the author herself has read, yes Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Romeo and Juliet, another Shakespeare Play, Midsummer's night was it?) I also have dabbled in vampire fiction such as Bram Stoker's Dracula, Anne Rice's Vampire Series, as well as The Silver Kiss, well one gets the idea, and at the time I was trying to create my own vampires (moved on from vampire to a different name...) So yes, I am well read and am qualified to give the book review of Twilight.
Okay, let's move on from that to an actual review. Ready? Let's start. Isabella Swan (Beautiful Swan as many have said,) is a girl from Arizona who moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father while trying to give her mother time to get used to her new husband. Despite the obvious popularity that she gained from going to a new high school, she hates her new friends and finds them annoying. She even gains the love from several different guys which means nothing to her. (I'm sure that majority of girls would have loved being in Bella's shoes and wouldn't have hated the "unwanted" attention.) Still though, one day she meets Edward Cullen and his mysterious family and falls in love with him at first sight, (and spends at least 374 out of 498 pages if not more, of discussing his physical beauty.) I've read somewhere that this novel is compared to Pride and Prejudice. This book is NOT Pride and Prejudice.
To be brief, (unlike the physical beauty of Edward Cullen in Twilight,) Pride and Prejudice is a novel published in early 1800s and is written by Jane Austen. It's about a family that has five daughters and focuses on how they find and marry the men they love. The main protagonists are Jane and Elizabeth Bennet. What others are discussing though, is a comparison between Mr. Darcy and Edward Cullen, and Elizabeth and Bella. Mr. Darcy, when he first saw Elizabeth made a bad remark about her, but then subsequently fell in love with her and helped her out and married her. Throughout their courtship, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy exchanged various witticisms between one another, and unlike Twilight, Pride and Prejudice did have other subplots, such as focusing on Jane and her attempt to get married, or when the whole family was scandalized by another sister's conduct.
Twilight, on the other hand, completely focused on the empty body named Bella. (Why an empty body? Characters typically have souls inside, something that makes them unique or just them. Bella doesn't have that though.) Unfortunately, the author decided not to gift her with a personality. (She talks about the questions that Edward asked her, but doesn't give at least one example of what she answered.) And for someone who has read books, why doesn't she ever talk about them in the novel? Or instead of discussing how Edward become this sparkling being, she could for example compare her situation to a book she read. (Perhaps use an example from The Silver Kiss about how Zoe falls for Simon or something of the kind, or better use the seduction of Louis by Lestat in Interview with the Vampire...)
Edward Cullen, the sparkling, handsome, vapid, mercurial, pre-menopausal (sorry to be rude to the ladies, but that's how I feel he is.) vampire, is somewhat more interesting than Bella who wanted to kill her the day he met her and went through complicated paths to avoid seeing her. (Why not simply drop out or ask his "father" to call the school that he's in a coma until Bella leaves? Oh wait, if that happens, Bella would come running to him in the hospital.) But finally gives up and falls in "love" with her and tells her to stay away, while she tells him that she can't.
Okay, fine, teenage romance, I get it, I'm too harsh aren't I? I was a teenager once, and reading this book was reminiscent of that time of rollercoaster and extremes, so props to her on that for bringing it back. However, why not give her common sense as well, instead of making her completely stupid. (I don't think any girl at any age would walk off by herself in a town she's never been at, and why the heck didn't any characters have cell phones?! Its 2005, not 1995!)
I didn't buy the "true" love between Bella and Edward, this love wasn't what I'd picture or want. For me personally, true or "tragic love" would be in novels that I doubt readers have touched or read. (Katherine and Chuck from The Foreign Student by Susan Choi, or Stephanie and Yong from 'Till Morning Comes by Han Suyin, or Sarah and Ben from Coyote Dream by Jessica Davis Stein) Their love doesn't ring true. Why, besides the fetish smell did Edward fall for her? What is it about the clumsy Bella did he find attractive? The way she moved, the way she got in trouble, the way she was rude to him? He never tells Bella of qualities that he likes about her. Bella also doesn't discuss Edward's thoughts or what she likes him about. Their "true love" becomes the love in Romeo and Juliet. (Love at first sight without reason, teenage hormones, bad combination. Just to let people know, I read Romeo and Juliet for school when I was a sophomore in high school and even then thought that it wasn't good.)
The plot appears in the last 100 pages, and only then it becomes exciting. What would have been better if hints appeared from the time she moves in to Washington. She has bad dreams about James and his coven, or else she finds strange letters or something like that from them. Instead of discussing Edward's body, she could discuss how frightened she feels, or how she knows its a supernatural force after her. My point, THIS BOOK COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER!
For those who were lucky enough to live far away from Earth, or else had very strong will power, Stephenie Meyer also wrote sequels to Twilight such as New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn, as well as The Host. She is a mother of three sons and is a Mormon author with a Bachelor's in Literature (Shock, shock, how is this possible?!) I will not be reading and reviewing the sequels. Just the thought of putting myself and my brain through such torture again, well, not good. (After I finished reading Twilight, I literally felt empty headed because this book sucked in all my brain cells. Hmm, getting an idea. This book like a black hole, sucks everything in and destroys it in its path.)
In conclusion, its best if people don't read the novel but if they are looking for vampire books to read, try Anne Rice's first three Vampire novels, or The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause (Zoe and Simon are much better and believable than Bella and Edward!) or Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire series (Has a very strong female vampire protagonist who doesn't let anyone mess with her, but she still falls in love, and this vampire is also unique, although she doesn't sparkle, sorry.) I've also heard of Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith which might be good (Haven't fully read them.) Anyways, the world is large and choices are varied so stay away from Twilight and have a good day.
*(Mary Sue is a character in fanfiction that is way too perfect and not real, just like Gary Stu)
1 out 5 stars
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)