Friday, September 5, 2008

Twilight Series Rant

Oh, hold on to your hats, because you're going to be subjected to some ranting the likes of which you haven't seen since I read that piece of trash My Annoying Sister's Annoying Keeper.

Okay, fine, that helped me get some perspective. I'm nowhere near as annoyed at the Twilight series as I was at My Boring Sister's Whiny Keeper. In fact, I found the Twilight series to be entirely engaging and surprisingly readable. I mean, there was never any risk it would make my "best books ever" list, but I was enjoying them quite a bit.

But I'm going to complain anyway. Because the further it got into this series, the more disappointed I became, until I was completely disgusted with how worthless Breaking Dawn was.

Before I go any further, let me say right now that I know Stephenie Meyer is a Mormon. I have no problem with that. In fact, anyone who knows me knows that one of my favorite authors is Orson Scott Card, who happens to be a Mormon. Many of his books make my "best books ever list". Heck, I even like his Memory of Earth series, which is based on The Book of Mormon. So I'm not going to give her a pass for the problems I have with this book simply because of her religion. Nor am I giving her a pass because she writes for a YA audience, since you all know I'm in love with YA fiction and it *can* be done well.

This just wasn't.

Anyone who hasn't read the series, go ahead and stop reading this post now. First, this is going to be filled with spoilers galore, and I don't want to ruin it for anyone who might read the series in the future. The author does a fine job of that all by herself.

Besides, this will probably be phenomenally boring if you haven't read the series. Okay, fine. It might be boring even if you HAVE read the series.

So last warning: Here be spoilers. Read on only if you want to be spoiled. Like a rotten tomato. Or my sweet boys. As an aside, I had a tomato sitting on my counter from last week's CSA, and it looked fine. Until I gently touched it. And it exploded. Seriously. It was disgusting and amazing all at once. I love science. Luckily, my boys have not yet exploded when I let them play one more game of Bingo or eat some ice cream. Yes, I spoil them. Okay, back to the annoying book. No way are my cute kids distracting me from my rant!

So, here's my main problem with the book: everyone sucks. Hee, get it? They're vampires? Okay, seriously, there is no one likable.

Bella: whiny, co-dependant, ignores her friends, treats people badly.

Edward: controlling, abusive, whiny, annoying.

Jacob: Okay, I kind of like Jacob. So of course SM totally emasculates him by having him be completely obsessed with Bella. And don't even start me on Nessie. What a cop out. "Oh, nothing makes me happier than to be tied to all the people I hate forever. That's awesome, and I'm not even being sarcastic. Thank goodness I had this lobotomy."

Alice: Ugh. She sees the future so uses that power to plan parties Bella will hate? And, she spends money obsessively. Great, you're going to live forever so you mess up the world by buying endless amounts of expensive clothes and only wearing them once? And, she became more of a means to progress the plot rather than an actual character.

Charlie: Completely helpless, and so detached from his daughter. And could he be at all effective as a police chief when he's completely clueless?

Renee: Not a very good mom, and doesn't really do anything for the story. Is she supposed to make Bella look mature? It doesn't. It's just odd, and a useless character.

The werewolves: "We hate the vampires. But I guess we're okay with *these* vampires. And I guess it's okay if they can kill people, as long as they go a few miles away. Because even though our entire purpose, passed down through generations, is to protect people, it really wasn't *that* important to us. Oh, and we're totally ninnys."

The "bad" vampires: "We're super powerful. No really. We are. Shut up! I mean it. We're the most powerful. Yes we are. Yes we are times one million. We're not? Okay, we'll go away now." Um, yeah, are we supposed to believe they just walk away? They don't plan to pick the Cullens off one at a time, even if it takes a hundred years?

Bella's school "friends": Just placeholders. Was Mike just there to prove how beautiful and desirable Bella was? Was Jessica nice or not nice? Was Lauren the "mean" girl? Or was Bella? The school friend stories were never fully developed, and just dropped at a whim. All they did for me was prove that Bella was a terrible friend.

Problem number two: I'd joked a few posts ago that what Twilight needed a little more of was some sex. Yuck, who thought getting my wish would leave me disgusted? First, the sex was pretty much all behind the scenes, which is fine (and even preferable) to me. But it was just...gross. I mean, the first sex scenes were pretty much abuse. But Bella *liked* it? That's messed up. And of course it immediately results in pregnancy. And later, it's just jokes about wrecking beds and houses. That's just disturbing. This wasn't at all entertaining. And, authors always give away a little about themselves when they write, but I hate for it to be obvious and have it pull you right out of the story. But there was plenty of it in this story. I have to give one example about sex, that was actually kind of disturbing to me. It's about Bella being nervous after her and Edward get married, about the first time they're going to have sex. Okay, that's a completely understandable emotion, and certainly could have been done well. But instead we get this:
How did people do this--swallow all their fears and trust someone so implicitly with every imperfection and fear they had--with less than the absolute commitment Edward had given me? If it weren't Edward out there, if I didn't know in every cell of my body that he loved me as much as I loved him--unconditionally and irrevocably and, to be honest, irrationally--I'd never be able to get up off this floor.

Really? That's your best argument against premarital sex? That all girls should be ridiculously insecure? That they should have so little confidence in their own worth that they should require a commitment of MARRIAGE before they are willing to expose their imperfections to the person they supposedly love? I mean, I'm certainly not one who is ever going to convincingly argue against premarital sex, but at least I can understand some of the arguments (i.e., risk of pregnancy, risk of disease, lack of maturity, etc). But not to have sex because a person is too embarrassed of themselves? That's not right. Geez, reading this makes me want to go out and tell some high schoolers to start having sex. Just kidding. I would never tell a high schooler to start having sex. I trust they can think of it all on their own. But seriously, if I had a daughter I would hope she would be a strong enough young woman to wait until the right time because it was the right time, not because she was embarrassed of her body, or even worse, embarrassed of who she was.

The ending of this series was just a mess, a "neatly" tied up "and they all lived happily ever after". And by "neatly" I of course mean, "cheatly". Because it was all a cheat. The Bella-Edward-Jacob triangle was interesting, but the Nessie solution was a big cheat. You can't solve the problem of Bella and Jacob being in love by introducing a magical creature who negates it with absolutely no ill-feelings. Cheat!

And all of the Cullens and their allies having the superest super powers? Cheat. Especially given that Bella was magicially the most powerful of the powerful immediately. I'm willing to suspend disbelief, but that was going a bit too far.

And the "bad" vampires just being so easily defeated? I read hundreds of pages gearing up for a fight. And no fight? Yes, a let down. And unbelievable, as I stated earlier that those vampires so committed to fighting Cullens at any cost would walk away so easily, presumably for all time.

Okay, I'm stopping now as this is getting long. I wish I'd picked these books for my book group choice, although I think they would have all shot me if I chose a 4 book series :)

Have you read the series? Please share your opinion. Love it, hate it...just tell me why! I'm just feeling incredibly let down by the end of this series. While I enjoyed the earlier books so much, I feel like I'll never be able to enjoy them again knowing how badly it all ends.

Wait, I forgot. I'm stopping now. Really.


Mary Ellen said...

I think you should start writing YA fiction. Are you?? You should!!

Anonymous said...

not so much kill you. that's extreme. but we would have taken away your right to ever vote for a book again!
i wish you'd write about our book club books like this.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that not only haven't I read these books, I had no idea this series even existed until I saw the photos of folks lining up at midnight to buy the new one. (Shows you how out of touch with reality I am.)

My question is, why do all the guys look terribly effeminate in the photos from the upcoming movie? If you get bitten by a vampire in this universe, does it turn you into a girl, too? :)

By the way, What A Card, I no longer have any desire to read the books -- they can't be as entertaining as your post!

leezee52 said...

Thanks so much for visiting me on my special day when I was the featured blogger at SITS…I could hardly sleep the night before I was so excited!

Lee :)

LauraC said...

I think I am the only person on the face of the planet who hated Twilight. I thought the writing was horrible and she tried way too hard to get it across that Bella is clumsy. Yeah, I get it!

I decided to give it another shot with New Moon. Obviously she got a much better editor the second time around bc the writing is so much better.

I just realized you have book reviews on your sidebar. I think I might be in luv with your blog this week!

Heather said...

i do agree with many of your points...but i guess i also have a hard time getting "mad" at an author for their work. i read stephenie meyer's comments about why she ended BD the way she did, and i understood her pov...she would have had to kill several of her main characters, and it was more about emotional strength rather then physical strength... but you are was bothersome to have so many pages dedicated to to a fight that never happened. and kind of a cop-out to have us believe that they would never come after the cullens again, since it seemed as if the volturi were so obsessed with having vampires with their powers join them... i personally feel that stephenie meyer was too attached to her characters to let any harm come to them...even though that would be the most realistic.

what i liked about the series was the ability to escape to another world. when an author is able to create another world for a reader, one you feel a part of and look forward to staying in...that means something was a success. of course this means we also want to everything end right, the way we want it to, and it doesn't always (i was kind of disappointed with the last HP book was SO different from the first 6...).

what i didn't like...i think that meyer's writing was still basic and new...we didn't have to be reminded continuously of bella's clumsiness, we got it already (and seriously, even if you are clumsy, you don't have that many accidents). i think meyer's idea of edward was that he was protective...but yes, he did seem somewhat controlling instead. i was mostly disappointed with the parents. i did not like that the message seemed to be that it was ok to give up everything to be with the person you love. too often in society today, young adults think they are in love, and will give up EVERYTHING for this first love. i have seen it happen many times, and even within my own family. but these young adults will alienate their family if they don't support the relationship, etc. and almost every time, the family was right... but it is almost too true anymore that a lot of parents are so detached from the things their children are doing...and have a blind spot for their kids (they can't do anything wrong!).

i guess i have a hard time looking at a book's message, when they are always just fantasy worlds to me. not reality, and because of that i've never thought that because a character acted a certain way, that i should too...but i guess that isn't the truth of everyone.

all in all, it wasn't awful. but it was't stellar. and i don't think the twilight series will go down in history as books you must read. but i guess i could be wrong!

What A Card said...

Wow, Wolf, thanks for your comments! You're right, it really was a world that sucked me in, so on that count I certainly can't complain.

Also, in my own writing, I know how difficult it is to have something bad happen to characters you've built up. That was a major problem with the first novel I wrote; it was boring because I couldn't bear to have anything bad happen to my characters--it was all too easy. For my second novel, I was far "crueler" to my characters, and it was emotionally draining to write those sections, but I think it's a more interesting story.

Thanks for your comment...very interesting!

As an aside, I loved HP 7.

Heather said...

i loved HP 7 too. there were just aspects i didn't like...i missed hogwarts, and thought it was interesting that they spent the whole book looking for the horcruxes and then were able to find them all very quickly in the end. but, there wasn't a single HP book i didn't like. i've read them about 80 times and could keep reading them. :) i've continued to buy the new books she's written just to give me a bit of a fix...i miss that world! :)