Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Twilight and New Moon
The titles: Twilight and New Moon
The author: Stephanie Meyer
Publication: Little, Brown and Company, 2005 and 2006
Got it from: LC
It was inevitable that as soon as I swore I would never read this series, somebody would loan it to me with the exclamation that I would just love it. So over the past ten days I have been busy working my way through the 1,061 pages that compromise Twilight and New Moon. I plead uncle.
By now you've probably heard the basic plot of these novels, so I won't go into too much detail. Basically it's your typical sexy vampire dude falls for beautiful mortal woman, albeit they're both teenagers (technically Edward is over 100 years old, but we won't argue the finer points). As I was reading these books, a number of things kept popping up in my mind, and this being my here blog, you can bet I'll share them with you.
First of all, my general opinion. No, these books weren't awful. I'll give them that. They weren't terrible, wretched or badly written. Nor were they the stuff dreams are made of, either. I'll be the first to admit that vampires don't really do it for me. Given the right material, I'd be happy to be proven wrong. I'm sure somewhere out there is a vampire romance that has my name on it. Twilight, however, did not exactly make me want to run out into the woods, desperately searching for my own vampire studmuffin of love.
Yet I can see the appeal. My friend swore that they made her feel like a teenager again, bringing back all the emotions of first love. I get that. One of the reasons I love a good YA book is because it does bring me back to that stage. You know the one - where you can't eat or sleep or do anything but think about him 24/7. When everything is new and you swear eternal devotion after a week of dating. I read Meg Cabot books like they're my own personal crack stash because they evoke that feeling of first love so well. My inner 16-year-old sighed with happiness when Edward declared his feelings ever so poignantly to Bella.
Problem is, my inner 16-year-old has been subsumed by my inner 26-year-old. The person I am now, who is happily married, who understands that love is about a lot more than looking passionately into someone's eyes and spending every waking moment with them. And that person couldn't help rolling her eyes at the ridiculous love story of Bella and Edward. If I ever had a stage where I was drawn to the rebellious loner, it's long gone and replaced with my love for sensible men who are emotionally stable and mature enough to give me my space.
It's been mentioned on other reviews, and I have to agree that despite the all-consuming nature of typical teenage love, there's something particularly squicky about Bella's relationship with Edward. Neither one of them seems mature enough to handle anything. Take Edward. The guy is 100+ years old with superhuman strength and abilities, and how does he choose to spend his life? In high school. I feel it's only fair to mention his life outside of high school is exceptionally boring as well. Besides vampire stuff, his world consists of a bitchin' music collection (unlike, say, every teenage boy who's ever lived) and the occasional playing of piano. I'm sorry - what? If I had all that time and strength and ability, I wouldn't be within 1000 miles of a high school, except maybe accidentally burning one down while I was fighting my evil vampire nemesis. If I were a good vampire, I'd be some sort of bounty hunter or Nobel Peace prize winner or saving baby seals from global warming. If I were a bad vampire I'd be cooking up elaborate schemes in my ridiculously huge lair and plotting to take over the world.
Our Edward isn't interested in that. All he's interested in is charting cell mitosis and watching Bella while she sleeps and zzzz....
Excuse me, I just fell asleep thinking about how boring his life is. No wonder Bella consumes his every thought. I'd be stalkerish and possessive too if I had nothing else going on in my life.
Then there's Bella. You know, "beautiful" in Italian? That's right, she's the ultimate Mary Sue. She's me, she's you, she's every one of us, girls! She doesn't think she's beautiful, but every single boy in school wants to ask her out! I nearly choked with laughter when she got asked by three different boys to the dance on the same day. Careful now, you don't want to overdo the she's-so-desirable th...oh wait, too late. She's way too cool to call her parents "mom" and "dad" and refers to them by their first names. She barely has any parental supervision at all, in fact. She's such a saint, she babies her mom and practically spoon-feeds her dad, too. She's so special, she has all these abilities that no human has ever had before and confounds all the vampires. Even her "faults" are carefully constructed to make her appear like a beautiful damsel in distress. She's klutzy, and it's so cute. Now all the boys can save her. She was swooped into so many manly arms in these two books, I lost count. Oh look! Now Edward's saving her again, and he's constantly trying to protect her from danger. Ditto Jacob.
To be frank (next time I'll be Joe), neither character is very appealing. Edward is possessive and controlling to the point where it borders on physical and emotional abuse. He appeals to the sort of girl who will go bananas over Heathcliff once they reach college. They're the girls who, I'm sorry, don't have the ovaries to stand up for themselves and develop the self-esteem to appreciate someone who's actually stable. Bella, besides being a laughably bad Mary Sue, is incredibly boring. She has absolutely no life, no interests, no passions outside of Edward. She's rude to everyone who wants to be nice to her. I wouldn't know what to say to someone like that, because I would never be friends with her.
As for the stories themselves, they would have been far better served by being cut in half. New Moon, in particular, dragged like a carcass being hauled across the desert. Once Edward leaves, Bella spends approximately 50,000 pages living like a zombie, gasping for air because she can't live without him, crying, moping and having nightmares. I know love can be all-consuming at that age, but give me a break! You see what happens when you don't develop a personality before you plunge headlong into a bad relationship? By the end of page 1,061 I couldn't decide which was worse: Bella's moaning when Edward wasn't around or their gag-inducing vows of eternal love when he was.
By far the worst thing about these books was their complete and utter lack of humour. There was nothing fun, nothing tongue-in-cheek, nothing to even remotely lighten the deathly atmosphere once in these pages. I never even cracked so much as a hint of a smile. I can think of approximately 1,061 things that are potentially hilarious about teenage vampire romance and Stephanie Meyer didn't put any of those in. Want to know what a fate worse than death would be to me? No, I'm not talking about being turned into a vampire. I'm talking about being in a relationship where I can't just laugh and have some fun.
So go ahead, read these books on your Wuthering Heights, angsty, emo days. You'll relate. But I don't know why you wouldn't choose something more edifying with, er, more bite. Call me a cynical wench who's read too many novels in her life, but I just don't get the appeal. Twilight reads like a run-of-the mill romance for someone like me who's been around the romance novel block so many times they named a beverage after me in their cafe. At the risk of being trite, I have to say it: Twilight sucks.