TPG Reviews: Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
When 17 year old Isabella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father she expects that her new life will be as dull as the town.
But in spite of her awkward manner and low expectations, she finds that her new classmates are drawn to this pale, dark-haired new girl in town. But not, it seems, the Cullen family. These five adopted brothers and sisters obviously prefer their own company and will make no exception for Bella.
Bella is convinced that Edward Cullen in particular hates her, but she feels a strange attraction to him, although his hostility makes her feel almost physically ill. He seems determined to push her away – until, that is, he saves her life from an out of control car.
Bella will soon discover that there is a very good reason for Edward’s coldness. He, and his family, are vampires – and he knows how dangerous it is for others to get too close.
My rating: ?!?/10
…Nope, not going to rate this one. I went into this expecting not to like it, and I didn’t like it; as such, a rating strikes me as unfair. The only reason I (finally) did a full read-through here, in fact, was as payback for recently inflicting Meyer’s The Host on a friend. He now thinks The Host is worse, whereas I now think that Twilight is worse; go figure.
So…yeah. It is my honest opinion that Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer, is bad. Very, very bad.
Frankly, I doubt that I could ever list all my complaints about this book in concise manner. Every aspect of it has problems in my view – be it the writing, the setting, the characters, the plot, whatever – and it would likely take a blog post each to go properly go through them all. As such, I’m simply going to cut straight to my strongest complaint:
I did not feel as though Bella genuinely loved Edward.
Seriously. I didn’t. Bella’s feeling towards Edward are remarkably shallow, usually focussing on his (informed) beauty and/or physical prowess, and just about every interaction between the two ended with one or both becoming angry at the other. Not to mention that by the end of the book, Bella seemed to care more about becoming a vampire than about anyone else – hardly a strong basis for a relationship.
To be honest, it doesn’t surprise me at all to have written the above: like I said at the start, my expectations here weren’t exactly high. But something did surprise me, though:
Even after reading it through to the end, I do not understand what readers see in this book.
This has never happened before. I’ve found myself disliking popular books before, sure, but I’ve always managed to see why others like them. I didn’t like The Lives of Tao, say – but a lot of that was down to my personal tastes, in retrospect, and I can see that the book’s blend of SF and spy fiction would be of interest to some people. I didn’t like Talon…but I did get the impression that the main pair at least cared about each other – more than I can say here – and the finale was admittedly pretty darn cool.
And since I brought up it up at the start: I would happily argue at length that Stephenie Meyer’s The Host is truly terrible work of science fiction…but it does have some cool cool concepts in it, and the characters again seemed to at least care for one another. It’s the sort of book that I can see working well for readers who are new to SF – who, incidentally, are exactly the sorts of readers it was originally marketed towards.
With Twilight, though, I just…don’t see it. I’ve discussed this with people offline, and the only thing we could come up with was that it obviously speaks to a certain demographic – a demographic which, clearly, does not include myself.
Anyone got any opinions on this point? As a fan of the series or otherwise? If you do, then I’d be very interested to hear it; feel free to comment at the bottom of this post.