My sister got the first two books of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series for Christmas and read them in a day, so I proceeded to read the first book after she finished. I hadn’t really intended to read them, but I was in the mood for something light, and it was in the house, so why not? Of course, I knew about all of the hype, and my mother reports that her middle school students are all reading them. So I am here to offer my own verdict.
First off—shame on whoever tried to liken this book to Harry Potter. The Harry Potter series is about all of Harry’s life—it’s about all different kinds of relationships, and more than that, it’s about the epic struggle between the forces of good and evil. It makes references to all sorts of mythology and holds appeal across countries and social groups. Twilight, on the other hand, seems to be catering primarily to preteen girls. First quarter of the book: girl meets vampire. Second and third quarters of the book: girl and vampire make out. Last quarter of the book: there’s finally some action aside from the “action” our main characters have been getting from each other for the past however many pages. Harry Potter is practically an epic. Twilight is practically a paperback romance. There is no comparison.
Second, I have major issues with the story and the characters. Bella is supposedly unpopular and has trouble relating to people her age, and suddenly, for no apparent reason, she is the most popular girl at her new school. I have trouble buying it. It bothers me that she basically ditches her friends to spend all her time with Edward, that she’s so quick to give up her life to him. It bothers me that she’s so eager to become a vampire—whatever happened to her supposedly being smart? Has she thought through this whole immortality-and-blood-lust thing at all? Her relationship with Edward scares me. He’s supposedly the perfect man, but I find him creepy and controlling. He’s constantly physically overpowering Bella and forcing her to do things she doesn’t want to do—granted, they’re small, harmless things for the most part, but he is convinced that he is right in every situation and doesn’t really entertain her opinion. And she is utterly smitten. It’s rather disgusting.
And third, Stephenie Meyer’s writing style annoys me after a while. By the end of the book I didn’t know how many more descriptions of people’s eyes or “the note of ______ in _____’s voice” I could take. She’s not a terrible writer but she’s not amazing either, and I’ve been reading so many good writers lately that I think her style may have been grating on me a little more than it should have.
Conclusion: Is it worth reading? If you’re into vampire smut, and you’re not looking for any sort of deeper meaning in what you’re reading, then sure—I mean, it did keep me reading. I sincerely hope that no misguided preteen girl out there is taking Bella as a role model, because I think she’s pretty stupid. Oh, and the movie is fairly terrible, mostly because of whoever plays Edward Cullen—a) he’s not attractive enough (his hair just looks silly), and b) he can’t act, at all. Edward is supposed to be all suave, and the movie Edward just comes off as awkward and creepy.
On another note, I also recently read How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers and A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engel. They were both excellent and definitely worth reading. One might ask why I gave such a long review on a book I didn’t really like, and only wrote a line about two books I did enjoy… and I would answer that everyone knows that complaining is fun. :~)