wilderthan: ((Books) Open book)
[personal profile] wilderthan
I was always pretty adamant I wouldn't read Twilight, but I am in the midst of a reading challenge for which I have to read a decent number of "unexpected" books. Twilight is pretty freaking unexpected, for me. Although there is, of course, the angle that I wanted to understand what the whole phenomenon is about. I read Harry Potter, once upon a time -- the first few books, anyway. So. Twilight.

I don't really know where to begin with it. I read it in a couple of hours, altogether. I didn't get so absorbed in it that I couldn't imagine reading any other book alongside it. Nor did I exactly get bored with it. I did, however, get disgusted at it and have to laugh at it, and sometimes both at the same time.

I'll start by disregarding the sparkly vampires. I mentally edited these references out.

The laughter comes from how very... wish-fulfilment-y it all is. Mary Sue -- I mean, Bella -- shows up in a new town, a small town where everyone knows each other, and is instantly accepted. She has a good amount of autonomy from her parents, even mothers her own parents, her dad buys her a new car, etc, etc. All the boys like her (I believe the quote is, "every single human male") and she is having none of it. Except Edward Cullen, who is so perfect and beautiful he looks like an angel and an airbrushed magazine model. I have to say, I don't think angels look like that, but since I've never seen one and nor, I assume, has Stephanie Meyer, I guess it's down to subjectivity.

There were also a lot of little bits that annoyed me. For example, Meyer never being entirely sure whether Edward speaks like silk or like velvet. Feel the two, seriously. They are nothing alike. Both pleasant enough to feel, or most people think so, both soft, but not the same fabric. And, um, well. Hearts literally stopping when certain vampires kiss certain humans, etc.

There were also a lot of absolutely huge bits that annoyed me. Like, oh, Edward. He is an utterly creepy stalker. He reads people's minds and doesn't consider that he might be, you know, invading their privacy. He listens to Bella talking in her sleep. He tracks her down no matter where she goes.

I don't think the fact that he saves her life a couple of times actually negates the creep factor. I don't find it perfect and romantic. I think it's scary that lots of teenage girls are reading this book and forming this idea of romance. Add that to the way Edward is always insisting he knows better than Bella and forcing her to do what he wants to do, and the creep factor is about to shoot through the roof.

And that's ignoring the way that Bella decides that everything is her fault. He can't hold back from biting her? Her fault. Does that sound anything like the idea that guys can't control themselves when there's sex involved, so that makes rape not their fault? Yep. It does.

And yet. All that aside, there are some things I'm actually considering reading the rest of the books for. Jacob, for example. He seems like a decent kind of guy, not too judgemental of what he doesn't understand. And the vampire powers, particularly Alice's. I do actually find the vampire mythology of Twilight interesting in a vague sense, and I'd kind of like to know what happens to this 'coven' of relatively 'safe' vampires.

I am not, however, interested in Edward and Bella themselves. At all. I think the love story is icky and creepy, without even getting onto the age issues, and I don't find their characters compelling in the least.

I am confused as to how to rate this book on GR. Because the ratings are so subjective, I might have to admit that I kind of enjoyed reading it. On the other hand, I wouldn't recommend it and I wish kids weren't getting it pushed on them. Books are not harmless. In some ways it earned a 'one' ("didn't like it"), in others a 'three' ("liked it").

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-29 04:43 am (UTC)
jack_of_none: (Spoony Bard ::)
From: [personal profile] jack_of_none
And yet. All that aside, there are some things I'm actually considering reading the rest of the books for. Jacob, for example. He seems like a decent kind of guy, not too judgemental of what he doesn't understand.

I've been following your book reviews with great interest so far (added a few things to my own reading list, even!)...but, as someone who slogged through every single Twilight novel due to a bad case of trainwreck syndrome, I feel obligated to warn you that Jacob does a bizarre about-face in personality and gets terrible in Eclipse. Like, sexual assault terrible.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-29 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] muggy-mountain.livejournal.com

I am confused as to how to rate this book on GR. Because the ratings are so subjective, I might have to admit that I kind of enjoyed reading it.


Hahah, this is a great review. For possibly the wrong reason.

Aaaand, you probably don't like this question, but I have to ask. Why the HP digs? It has its definite flaws, but for a book written by a lady who started as a non-writer on a public grant (and even for beyond that!), it's plotted well, with funny and memorable characters. And I was one of those slow converts, who tried the first book three times before going forth...

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-29 04:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wilderthan.livejournal.com
Heh.

dsbgjkgb I am so tired of having to justify disliking Harry Potter, actually. I posted a review/explanation/defence here. Which you actually commented on! Admittedly quite a while back, and I don't think I actually agree with what I said then 100% now, but still.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-29 01:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ruby-shards.livejournal.com
I agree with this 100%. I would actually really like Twilight if Edward and Bella weren't in it. I like Jacob so far, and I really like all the Cullens and think they're interesting. However, I like my vampires a little more, well, deadly than that. They don't even have fangs! I also think the fact their poison is what spreads the vampire disease (?) is kind of complicated because, well, does everyone they bite turn into a vampire?

All right, I'm done over analyzing the parts of this book Meyer obviously thought were unimportant compared to Edward and Bella's twu luv.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-07-29 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wilderthan.livejournal.com
I might even like it more if the fact that it's a creepshow was properly acknowledged! Creepy stalkery vampires being acknowledged? A++. Acting like it is super perfect romance that every girl should aspire to? kgbsjbgn.

That reasoning doesn't quite work because either a) there are a lot more vampires than seems plausible given that it doesn't seem to be alternate universe, or b) vampires always kill their victims in which case there would be a lot of bodies with the blood sucked out and people would believe in vampires!

Heh. Yes.

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