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!