Repost: Twilight Sucks
This is an old post (2008) from my now-defunct blog, A Life Edited. I’m reposting it here so my boss can read it. Yeah, I know. My job’s awesome.
Here’s the deal: I am too old to read bad books. There are a lot of killer books out there, waiting for me to find them. I can’t waste my time with bad ones.
Twilight is a bad book.
At first, I thought I was being impatient. Then I thought I was being too critical, that I couldn't take off my Editor’s Hat. But 300 pages in I had decided.
Twilight isn’t just poorly written--rife with repetitive, unnecessary adjectives and bland adverbs that add nothing to the action, with a bizarre mix of teenage sentimentality and Ivy League vocabulary--because if it was just poorly written, I would probably wade through it, and then write a review that talked about how editing a story to its best possible form, is a lost art and blah blah blah.
No, Twilight is boring.
300 pages in, this is what I have learned:
Bella Swan moves to Fork, WA to live with her father. She learns her high school has a coven of vampires. They're not human blood drinkers, and so it is safe for Bella to fall in love with one of them. There are also werewolves, but the youngest of this tribe likes Bella too so she's got all the not-so-bad boys under control. Bella should be frightened, and she should be in danger, but she isn't and her biggest concern seems to be what to make for dinner and how to get all her homework done.
Wha-? Oh right, I was giving a book review. Sorry, I nodded off.
No doubt some of you are going to jump up and tell me that in the next 150 pages Bella is attacked by werewolves, or Edward can't control his blood thirst for her and attacks her, or other vampires come in and they kidnap her to feast on her blood on the eve of the Red Eclipse, but Edward saves her etc., etc.*
*Remember, I wrote this review in 2008, before the movies came out, without finishing the book. I came pretty damn close to getting it right.
Truth is, I don't care what happens on page 335. Or 301. If I give a book 300 pages and it fails to hold my interest, I don't owe the author another minute of my time.
In fact, the author owes me. We made a deal, the author and I. I would buy the book, she would entertain me. A bad book is a Breach of Contract between author and reader. You hear that, Ms. Meyer, you owe me!
So, why is the story not interesting? Glad you asked:
Bella is an unbelievable narrator. She's too beautiful to not know it. The boys of Fork literally throw themselves at her feet. They're like a pack of snapping wolves around her. But she's never had a boyfriend?
She’s an annoying goody-two-shoes Pollyana. She does her homework, does the dishes, cooks the meals, never says nasty words about anyone, never-ever seems to swear, and is always kind and considerate of her friends' feelings.
Ps. Yes, I know. The cake is suggestive. Bella would never have posed for this picture.
She also happens to be a genius, which is odd since she acts like a moron so often in the book. Her only flaw—you know, the part that would make her human—is being clumsy. Perhaps she'll have to flash-dance to save Edward's life. Curse you, left feet!
Forget what I said, she’s an idiot. Bella is in love. With a Vampire. This poses certain risks, not to mention certain existential questions about the value of life versus the experience of immortality. Does Bella think about any of these? Nope, she just marvels at Edward's pectoral muscles and golden eyes. She doesn't want to be a vampire but has no real concern over whether Edward might convert her. She has no fear. This doesn't make her fearless in my book, it makes her emotionless. I don't believe her gushing sentiments of love, because I don't believe her. As a character. As a human. Maybe that’s what Edward sees in her: a living dead girl.
(Enough about Bella) These vampires are BORING! They eat bears and lions (and tigers, oh my!) and go to high school. If you were immortal and had supernatural powers, why on God’s green earth would you go to high school?!
They also have no weaknesses, none of the creepy mythology that makes a monster fascinating. They can stand in the sunshine—it fact it makes them sparkle like little emo ballerinas, they can enter homes without having to request permission, they have crosses in their home. No coffins, no sleep at all. And the best they can come up with to pass the time is…baseball?
The conflict between the werewolves and the vampires has been done before, and apparently it isn't going to happen here. When Jacob Black told Bella the myth of the wolves and vampires, I geared myself up for some fun, by-the-moonlight fighting action.
300 pages in and I've got nothing. Stalemate. Boring.
Besides, Werewolves versus Vampires was already done, in a movie called Underworld.
I know something must happen in the book, eventually. Because there are 3* more books, and I just refuse to believe that millions of teenage girls are reading all this mindless stuff just because the covers are cool and it's about sexy boy vampires.
Here's what I think happens: New vampires come to Forks. Bad vampires. There is a fight between them, but Bella never worries that her charming Edward will save the day. And he does. Jacob Black really is a werewolf and he tries to save Bella from the vampire, but she doesn't want that. She lets Edward turn her into a vampire and they spend the rest of eternity together, cuddling, and dancing, and playing piano, and singing, baking cakes and having Beautiful Vampire parties.
An eternity of bland, featureless monotony.
And you can't commit suicide by walking out into the sunlight.