Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tackling Twilight

Hello, my lovely readers! The long-awaited day is here. It is finally time to share the somewhat snarky opinions and completely unobjective reviews of the Twilight Sage from a former Twilight Hater. Let's do this.



Okay, so, we start off with this book that is proclaimed by one side of the literary community as the worst thing to happen to human intelligence since television and the other side as the greatest love story -- not of the decade, or the century, or even the millenium, but of all time ever.


Either way, that's a lot for a book to live up to.

Full disclosure: I kinda hated this book.
I loved reading it, don't get me wrong, but mostly because I read this series as audiobooks while I was home alone and it was so freaking entertaining yelling at everyone who was being (a) idiotic, (b) redundant, (c) totally creepy, or (d) all of the above. (Generally all of the above.) (This was basically all of the first book.)

life-threatening idiocy: exhibit a
Now, I wouldn't say this is the worst book ever written, mostly because I did manage to read the whole thing without my brains exploding and I still wanted to move on to the rest of the series afterward. And yes, it's pretty badly written, but I don't think that's actually the writer's fault. I mean, 1. Stephenie Meyer wrote The Host, so I already know she's fantastic and brilliant. 2. This is Meyer's first book ever written at all ever, so if you know anything about writing you should be expecting it to kinda halfway suck compared to anything else she writes for the rest of her life. 3. When you have a character who starts out so thoughtless and reckless and "prone to life-threatening idiocy" and totally lacking in this thing we call healthy fear and more than a little redundant in her mental depictions of everyone around her... well, I don't think the annoying bits in narration are so much the writer's fault as they are the narrator's. The funky, sometimes messy plot I chalk up to this being Stephenie Meyer's first, but the annoying repetition of how perfect and totally-not-scary Edward is I put entirely in Bella's hands.

I haven't mentioned Charlie, mostly because I'm not sure what to make of him. This bit from the movie's great, though. "Isn't he a bit old for you?" You have no idea.
I don't always hate Bella, but really, I don't get how anyone above the age of fourteen could like her from the start. Who insists on not only hanging out with but proclaiming their love for the most dangerous predator on the face of the earth -- who already told you the thing he wants most in life is to eat you?!

Let's not get started on Edward, the 100+ year old hot dude who breaks into the house of a girl he's barely met and watches her sleep, the 100+ mind reader who secretly follows the girl he's barely met to a town over an hour away "just in case" she gets in trouble, the 100+ single dude who insists he and said girl shouldn't be friends ('cause, you know, he might accidentally-on-purpose literally suck her life away) and yet keeps showing up next to her with his mysterious and cryptic lines that are clearly doing the opposite of driving her away. For a guy who's been around so long, you'd think he'd figure out the difference between romantic-pursuit and serial-killer-creepy levels of interaction. Or at least how to carry a decent, normal conversation with a human being.

the epic creepy staring contest of lust at first sight
I'm fairly certain the only reason people with half a brain really love this first book is the Cullen family. They redeem the thing. I mean, most of book one I'm thinking, why don't we just have books about this family of awesome ancient complex creatures with intriguing histories and undying love for each other? I mean, all these individuals with great stories both pre- and post-death, and adorable, healthy relationships with their mates and the rest of the family, and they're one of only two vampire groups in the whole world who don't run entirely on instinct and just assume humans are totally ethical food choices now... but instead of all that fabulous material, we get a so-called love story between the creepy, reclusive single man in the house and a random human too stupid to realize what's good for her and skip town.


Okay, well, moving on.

The movie is, honesty, better than the book. Bella isn't really more likeable, but she's less annoying when you're not in her head the whole time. (I know I'm knocking on her a lot, but there's actually this thing called character development in this series, so it's not always this bad.)

Yeah, they already met before, but this is the moment that really started it all.
Edward, surprisingly, is less creepy. I mean, he still commits the freakiest of crimes: breaking into the chief of police's house to watch his teenage daughter in her sleep. (Are we still supposed to find this romantic? Are you kidding me?!) And I don't think there's any way to completely smooth over the fact that he's so "protective" of this random chick from biology that he follows her on her Port Angeles girls' day shopping. (Oh, his eyes. That scene, when he admits he followed her... *shudder* the creepy stalker eyes! Wait... that's supposed to be sexy? Grr.) Yes, he still insists they shouldn't be around each other and then seeks her out to talk to every other scene. (Even at 108, he occasionally has the mental maturity of a teenage boy.) But at least the other super weird, creepy, and/or stalker-y bits from the book are smoothed out in the movie, or just cut altogether.

I still can't decide if this is romantic or obsessive and unhealthy. I mean, can you really expect the undead to act in a way considered "healthy"? Objectively, I call creepy, but in the moment when I'm watching this, I'm a little more conflicted. Movie magic, I guess.
The plot is, mostly, better paced and more coherent in the movie, especially because you get to see stuff as it happens instead of later on when Bella finds out about it. Really, there are just so many benefits to a movie not being limited to one character's point of view.

So, next time: Tackling Twilight, New Moon edition!

4 comments:

  1. I've never read the book, nor seen the movie. I don't really plan on doing either. I had considered it, then I found out about his sleep watching habit. And it weirded me out. Because, I'm with you, at one point is that romantic and not stalkery? Obviously some of us have a different view on romance in general...

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    1. Honestly, I think the series as a whole is pretty great, but the first book is the black sheep of the family. Their story is a fantastic, beautiful love story once it's set in motion... the first book that sets everything up is just all screwy.

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  2. Cool review! I liked Twilight when I originally read it (I was about twelve, I think) but looking back, I don't think I'd like it much now. Honestly, I always found Edward just plain weird, and now, also creepy. And these days, I think Bella would annoy me a lot.
    I totally agree on the Cullens! They actually had the potential to be really, really cool, but they were never really explored enough, in my opinion.


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbositybookreviews.wordpress.com

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    1. I probably would have totally missed a lot of the issues if I'd read this when I was younger (not a writer myself yet, still in the target audience) but I'm glad I didn't. It would've taken a lot to unlearn some of the messed-up "romance" qualities and the weaknesses in the writing.

      I'm only so incredibly hard on this book because I know how great Stephenie Meyer and Twilight *can* get, and the other books as well as The Host are sooo superior to this.

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