Thursday, 18 December 2008

I Need A Hero... But Not That One

Firstly, I'M BACK!*

Secondly, OH GOD TWILIGHT WHY. As you've already seen I don't deal well with General Misapprehensions (they make me very very angry and I tend to explode in an alarming way whenever the subject is mentioned), and this is sort of a mega one. It makes me want to shake all the Twilight fans until they see sense.

GUYS, IT'S REALLY BAD. Like, REALLY, spectacularly, phenomenally BAD.

The writing style is distinctly average, plotting is minimal, and the choice of first person narrator is just irritating (although that's a personal distate). The main character, Bella, is boring, annoying, and essentially one-dimensional; any description of her interests appears tacked on, and are swiftly forgotten, while any remnants of her character are subsumed in the overwhelming tide of twoo wuv which she has for Vampire Boy, Edward Cullen, probably due to his eerily similar emptiness as a character. Said love interest is mostly just DULL, and it terrifies and infuriates me in equal measures that millions of teenage girls are falling in love with him. For my part, I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone finds him at all attractive. He is arrogant, self-obsessed, apparently has no interests apart from running around with his speshul powers and possibly oiling his marble muscles; his attitude to Bella is inexplicable for much of the book, patronising, claustrophobic, stalkery and abusive, and really a bit strange. Ok, he's "gorgeous" - it's hard to miss this fact when it's emphasised with a sledgehammer - but even that was boring, not to mention clunky and unconvincing. Telling me that someone is gorgeous is not good enough. I have to be shown it, too, because my favourite characters are attractive in their entirety - their looks, yes, but also the way they move, the way they speak and interract with others, everything.

And his relationship with Bella is just blah. There's no spark between them, no inevitability, no feeling of an odd sort of gravity pulling them together. It's like someone's summarising the book - "and then they fall in love and then they get together". Not exactly erotic. The best relationships are the ones which are like a jigsaw - things click into place, and couldn't be any other way. I just felt that she rushed into the Edward/Bella stuff. I would have liked more tension, more uncertainty, more teasing - and preferably something they had in common, some evidence of shared minds and conversation.

And from the sounds of it, the next few books get worse.

The main thing that infuriates me about this series, though, except for the horrendous anti-feminist message, is that there is so much infinitely better YA stuff out there that people aren't reading - and which Twilight is giving a bad name. Books and series with actual characters, actual plots - man, I could show you some characters you can't help but fall in love with!**

IN SUMMARY: the only thing that's magical about this book is how it got published.

Also, two links that disect the Twilight thing much better than I can: Lucy Mangan's review for the Graun, and an in-depth explanation and defence of the various criticisms of the series here (you need to register for the site, but it's well worth doing so for the scholarly and reasoned quality of the discussion).

*I've actually been back for a while but there was recovering to do, and then lots of long, leg-achy shifts at work, and seeing The Boy, and so posting was Not Pre-eminently Important.
** and which I will do tomorrow!


  1. I confess, I love Twilight for just HOW bad it is. Admittedly I'm a throughly established reader of something-and-twenty, who hurtles through these books in a matter of hours, chortling at the train-wreck awfulness and yes, wondering how anyone thought it was worth publishing except in a fanfic forum on LiveJournal, and I would not in anyway want these to be the only books a teenage daughter of mine read - or indeed her favourites.

    BUT. Every so often I do enjoy something that is total candyfloss, made from one sugary ingredient, horrifically bad for you if it's the only thing you ever ate, but a guilty treat.

  2. according to the film review in today's guardian, old eddie isn't an obsessive, scary, controlling, oily-muscled spiky toothed freak, but a remarkable example of abstinence in today's oversexed world. he's a paradigm of virtue, and the story apparantly challenges the emphasis on sex in teenage relationships:

    "When anything and everything is sexualised in the media, when women and women's bodies are obsessively presented in sexual terms, then what happens if you don't fit in? To many intelligent young people, the world of the sexually active may indeed seem like an unlovely vampiric cult. Is there any romance, any fervency, any rapture at all that has nothing to do with any of this commercially determined sexiness?"

    it could be a good point. it could be an interesting spin. kinda falls down when you consider the fact that their 'romance' consists of him exerting total control over her (well, and glowery looks. lots and lots of them). the whole wonderousness of sexual restraint suddenly seems a bit meaningless.

    but, who knows, maybe the film has depths the book lacks. and better scriptwriters. and a different story. and different characterisation. and also, HE'S CEDRIC DIGGORY. though, i guess if daniel radcliffe can go from potter to naked horse sexytime, he's more than justified in the leap from hufflepuff to co-dependent moodiness.

  3. THANK YOU. After hearing all the manic hype about these books, I read the first three with puzzled frown and gaping mouth. I only sustained my commitment to reading the series until the end of Eclipse because I was positive they couldn't continue at the same level of horror throughout THREE WHOLE BOOKS. I was right, the horror actually increased. I can't even bring myself to read the blurb of Breaking Dawn.

    I would like to attend a Stephenie Meyer book signing wearing a neon sandwich board that says "Show, Don't Tell."