Thursday, March 11, 2010

Twilight

Ok. I did it. I finally read Twilight. Not my usual type of series, but it was so wildly popular that I had to give it a go. Brad got me the books for Christmas and they’ve been on the shelf for awhile. To be blunt… I disliked the first book. It was painful enough that it took me a long time to want to pick up the second book. I disliked most of the second. It seemed to me that the whole purpose of these first two novels was to define the characters, characters that I was not too impressed with. Bella was a self-hating, pitiable fool… someone needed to smack that girl, or put her in therapy, or perhaps both. I am against teeny-angsty stuff for the sake of being teeny-angsty (I know, I know… this book was MEANT to be that way… I accept that, but it didn’t make it easier on me.) I prefer a stronger lead, especially when the lead is female. The third and fourth books were better. Finally, a story happened. Started in the 3rd book, finished in the 4th. I will not post spoilers, but I will admit that I enjoyed the story, the good vs bad, the ‘world’ it was set in… even though I do not understand why it took four full novels to tell the tale. It was a chore to get through, but I’m glad I did it, and I will give the series a positive recommendation. It is worth reading. (Once was enough though… for me…. )

Or if you’re not interested in reading it, here’s a recap (I’ll try to not give anything away, so much has been in the press and I’ll try not to go beyond that… if you are concerned though, leave now please.)

Book 1

Teen girl is miserable. Meets cute boy/man who happens to be a vampire. Life is confusing.

Bella: “I’m so useless and ordinary. Everybody is staring. Nobody likes me, not even me. Did I mention how useless I am?”

Vampire: “I’m a much older, strong, and educated male, with supernatural powers, and yet I am totally and instantly smitten by a clumsy vapid teenage girl with no self-esteem…. I realize this is unrealistic, but this is the magical romance part, so I must go along with it.” (Struggle.)

Father figures, including one who is nearly Christ-like in his effort to redeem: (Guidance, protection, love, unquestioning acceptance – queue angelic choir.)

Mother figures: (Flutter! Worry. Fade to background until it is time to flutter or worry some more.) “Have a cookie dear?”

Other friends and relatives: (Despite their constant, open, and always honest efforts to support and love her, in Bella’s mind they seem to exist merely for the purpose of providing miscellaneous ways for her to prove her clumsiness, social ineptitude, and overall unworthiness.)

Bad guy: (Makes brief, not too noticeable, appearance.)

Vampire and friends: (Save the day.)

Bella: (Finds way to blame herself for everything, of course... )

Werewolf, although he doesn’t know he’s a werewolf yet: (Falls in love with Bella… somebody had to be the third corner of the triangle)

Vampire: “You should hate me Bella, I’m a monster! I should leave and protect you from me! I love you!”

Bella: “Don’t go! Although you should, because I’m so ugly and weak. You can’t possibly love me! I’m useless and pathetic! You’re so perfect. Impossible. Nobody likes me. I love you!”

Vampire: “Well yes, I am perfect, and you are totally weak in so many ways, but for some very strange reason I still find you, your weaknesses and pathetic self-loathing, irresistible and appealing. Run away! Don’t go. I love you!”

Bella: (Cries. Is deliriously happy. Cries some more, falls down some, is rescued, followed by more delirium…. er… I mean giddy delight. etc.)

Werewolf: “Look at me! Look at me!”

Book two:

Vampire: (Leaves.)

Bella: (Mopes. Goes catatonic. Hangs on Werewolf, who discovers he is a werewolf.)

Vampire: (Gets depressed. Mopes.)

Vampire and Bella: (Get back together.)

Werewolf: (Mopes.)

Book three and four:

Bella: “I am so useless! Impossible that one, much less two, wonderful and strong males should be fighting over poor little ol’ me, just so they might save me from myself. I am so helpless and undeserving! I won’t let them do this!”  (…has no willpower whatsoever and let’s them fight over her anyway…)

Vampire and werewolf: (Strut, stagger, swagger, struggle, eye each other warily, threaten… remain all gooey and worried over Bella… oh! drama…)

Bad stuff happens. Some good stuff too. Mostly bad stuff. (This is that ‘story’ thing I told you about finally finding in the last two books).

Bella:(Manages to save the day.)

Bella: (Still bewildered how someone so utterly useless and pathetic as herself, even though she has done much to become strong and improved, was capable of doing anything right and succeeding.)

The end.

I still say she needs therapy… 

This is not the most glowing of reviews, I know. Sorry. But, as you recall, I did say I’d still recommend the series. It really is worth a read. On one hand, it’s an obvious, simple, love triangle romance story, with all the depth, or lack thereof(!), of a typical teen romance novel, hastily wrapped in a thin layer of sanitized modern age vampires and werewolves. (Vampires and werewolves being very fashionable lately. No zombies though. For zombies, I’d recommend “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” for a fresh, but not so modern, take on those critters.)  On the other hand though, in a way I haven’t quite nailed down, there’s something about the Twilight series that makes me feel like I’m reading a classic fairy tale, with a twist, and it’s always interesting to find a classic, that manages to be ‘new’.

14 comments:

bettyl said...

Thanks for the honest review. I have no desire to read or see the series.
I just think kids would be better off seeing and learning about characters in the real world--life is hard enough as it is.

Mama Seoul said...

What an entertaining review! I haven't read it either. It is not something I'd usually be into, but as you said so many people love it.

Connie said...

Bettyl - I usually love sci-fi and horror stories. I also like the occasional romance. (Truthfully, I read just about anything when I can.) I'm ok with a character meeting a vampire and falling in love, if it's done right, but, I prefer that my make-believe characters be a little bit more believeable! (does that even make sense :D !?)

Mama Seoul - I'd say read if you get the chance, just don't stress about making it happen. You're not missing all that much. :)

Expat Mom said...

I have to say that I liked the Twilight series, silly as they were. Then I found Anita Blake and prefer that. And The Vampire Academy, which is pretty cool, too!

Connie said...

I liked it for the difference... Twilight was a fairy tale. Poor little Cinderella, rescued by a Prince Charming .. who just happens to bite! :D The characters were unreal to me. I've read and liked some Anita Blake. I am going to be reading the Kim Hamilton stories (Hollows), I loved the Southern Vampire Mysteries I've known a couple real girls like Sookie, minus the telepathy and vampires!, the author did an awesome job. Sookie felt real to me, not make-believe. Now I have to go look up The Vampire Academy. Thanks for feeding my reading needs! :)

Forgetfulone said...

I could have written some of this! It took me so long (years, because my 17 y o step daughter read Twilight when she was 13 or 14, before it was popular) and so much begging to finally get me to read it, and frankly, I don't get it! You know someone for 2 days, they hate you, then all of a sudden, they love you and you can't live without them! Ugh! Too much romance, and muushy gushy stuff. Besides, Meyer says in 3 pages what should be said in one paragraph. I haven't picked up the 2nd one, and I probably never will. I read her "adult" novel, The Host, and I just don't like her writing style. Beisdes. Vampires that sparkle? Give me a break!

Nicole said...

I really did like them all, except for the second one.

I just got done reading a really good book. It is called Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah. Best book I have read in awhile! I couldnt put it down, finished it in 4 days :)

Also I have been reading the series by Phillipa Gregory. They are fiction based on fact. All about the age of King henry. Her first one in the series is The Other Boleyn Girl. They are awesome books!

Connie said...

I think if you skipped the first two books and just read the second two, you'd get the better story. I had less problem with the sparkling vampires, than with the personalities - vampires are supposed to be make believe!

Connie said...

Nicole - I have heard of The Other Boleyn Girl... I am so behind on reading. Kids and work kept me busy for so long that I put away a lot of 'my' stuff, like books, and crafts, etc. The kiddos are becoming more independent now and that me-time is starting to reappear a little bit. I'm going to have to make a 'to read' list!

A Daring Adventure said...

It's Friday, and that means that the Fourth Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up - and you're on it!

Here is the link:

http://bit.ly/9J6NBQ

(If I quoted your text and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)

Thanks!

Bryn said...

I personally loved the books!! I'm excited to read Pride and Pred. and Zombies...sounds really interesting!

Connie said...

Bryn, I was just reading - random junk online - that there's another history/monster mash-up book called "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter". Actually, it looks like there are a number of books like this. At least Amazon readers give the Lincoln book good reviews. So many books, so little time.

Karen said...

Ha! I enjoyed your review. I, like you, wanted to read just to know what the hoopla was about the series. It is fun to know what the kids are talking about. I even watched the first two movies! I could live without the story but the third book helped me get through a long flight home yesterday. Guess it was good for something. LOL

On another note: I wonder what message it sends to teens. Abstinence? I can only hope.

Connie said...

Karen - It was definitely the 3rd book that finally caught my interest, that's where the story started, imo. I could hope that teens could get some good out of this series. Abstinence, falling in love with someone who loves you forever etc. I would also hope it would teach girls how very silly it is to be so permanently down on themselves!

Nobody likes me,
Everybody hates me,
Guess I'll go eat worms,
Long, thin, slimy ones,
Short, fat, juicy ones,
Itsy, bitsy, fuzzy wuzzy worms...