With all the hoopla about the new Twilight movie coming out, I was considering finally picking up a copy of the book(s). I love the colours and designs of the book covers, but for some reason or other, I never got around to actually purchasing a copy.
I was in PageOne, the local English bookstore, earlier this week to pick up some gifts and other miscellaneous items, when I noticed that there was a very prominent display of the Twilight books and merchandise near the entrance. Being curious, I took a look. The paperbacks were about US$15 each, so I wasn't too keen on getting one. However, the freebies really excited me (I'm such a cheapskate *lol*), so I picked up a free "special chapter preview" of the first book, and a free movie postcard. Who knows, maybe they'll be worth something on Ebay in a year or two.
Now, Twilight is tremendously, insanely popular among the tween/teen set (and their moms) in the US, or so the media would have us believe. It's been likened to some emo, goth, high school, watered-down version of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles (the first 3 books of which were great, but everything after that was just self-indulgent overkill) meets The Lost Boys meets Romeo+Juliet (the Baz Luhrman version, not the Shakespeare version). I don't have anything against YA fiction: there are plenty of great books for young adults out there, such as Golden Compass, Harry Potter, etc. I even like "kids' books" like Watership Down and Little Women. Damn, even the Sweet Valley High series was better than this.
Granted, I've only read the preview first 2 chapters of Twilights, but already I have some issues with the book:
- The writing style - it's like some bad Mary-Sue fanfiction written by a hormone-ridden teenager. I guess that maybe since it was narrated in the first person by the teenage protagonist, Bella, the author wanted it to sound "authentic". It reads like crap, though. For example:
- Bella starts off as a bit annoying and self-sacrificing, as she moves in with her dad so that her mom and her mom's boyfriend can enjoy themselves, and how she cooks and cleans etc for her dad. It's all very "woe is me"...
- The author disregards a fundamental storytelling rule: show, don't tell. She tells us everything, rather than let information come through naturally via the story.
- None of the events in the first 2 chapters are very subtle. Edward glares at Bella a lot and seemingly can't stand the sight or smell of her. He "glares", "stares" and "glares" again at Bella three times in the first chapter alone! OMG, I wonder why that is?! (Hmmff.) There are also five mentions of Edward's "tousled bronzed hair" in the first two preview chapters alone. This is terrible, terrible story-telling. It's almost insulting to the intelligence of the reader.
- Finally, although I don't normally subscribe too much to feminist rants, this article in the Guardian newspaper made some valid points about what's wrong with Twilight:
Just as I passed, he suddenly went rigid in his seat. He stared at me again, meeting my eyes with the strangest expression on his face - it was hostile, furious. I looked away quickly, shocked, going red again. I stumbled over a book in the walkway and had to catch myself on the edge of a table. The girl sitting there giggled.
I'd noticed that his eyes were black - coal black.
Argh! What terrible claptrap. There are many fanfic writers who write better than Meyer does.
Twilight's underlying message - that self-sacrifice makes you a worthy girlfriend, that men mustn't be excited beyond a certain point, that men with problems must be forgiven everything, that female passivity is a state to be encouraged - are no good to anyone. It should be staked through its black, black heart.
In all fairness, though, perhaps I should read the whole book before condemning it, but I don't want to spend the money to buy it..