Before I start my review of Twilight I would like to say a few words. I know the fandom for this book happens to be quite large. I also know that those who hate this book, and the members of the fandom both can be quite harsh when it comes to reviews or opinions of Twilight. I would like to say here and now, read the entire review before you start submitting asks to me (or reblogging) that either praises me for this review or condemns me for it. Read it with an open mind. I will try to be as fair as I possibly can.
With that said, here is a quick summary from Wikipedia:
Isabella “Bella” Swan moves from sunny Phoenix, Arizona to rainy Forks, Washington to live with her father, Charlie, while her mother, Renée, travels with her new husband, Phil Dwyer, a minor league baseball player. Bella attracts much attention at her new school and is quickly befriended by several students. Much to her dismay, several boys compete for shy Bella’s attention.
When Bella is seated next to Edward Cullen in class on her first day of school, Edward seems utterly repulsed by her. He disappears for a few days, but warms up to Bella upon his return; their newfound relationship reaches a climax when Bella is nearly run over by a fellow classmate’s van in the school parking lot. Edward saves her life when he instantaneously appears next to her and stops the van with his bare hands.
Bella becomes determined to find out how Edward saved her life, and constantly pesters him with questions. After a family friend, Jacob Black, tells her the local tribal legends, Bella concludes that Edward and his family are vampires who drink animal blood rather than human. Edward confesses that he initially avoided Bella because the scent of her blood was too desirable to him. Over time, Edward and Bella fall in love.
Their relationship is disturbed when another vampire coven arrives in Forks. James, a tracker vampire who is intrigued by the Cullens’ relationship with a human, wants to hunt Bella for sport. The Cullens attempt to distract the tracker by splitting up Bella and Edward, and Bella is sent to hide in a hotel in Phoenix. There, Bella receives a phone call from James, who claims to be holding her mother captive. When Bella surrenders herself, James attacks her. Before James can kill her, Edward, along with the other Cullens, rescues her and defeats James. Once they realize that James has bitten Bella’s hand, Edward successfully sucks the poison from her bloodstream and prevents her from becoming a vampire, after which she is brought to a hospital. Upon returning to Forks, Bella and Edward attend their school prom and Bella expresses her desire to become a vampire, but Edward refuses.
First and foremost, I would like to say that Meyer is not the best author, by a long shot. In this, her debut novel, one can obviously tell that she is new to this. One, she is very wordy. She abuses adjectives. While the use of adjectives can be an asset to any writing, it is possible to overuse them (For examples check out the Chapter 1 synopsis I wrote earlier). Her writing style is awkward to say the least. Growing up, I was always a well read child. In fifth grade I read my first Stephen King novel (Salem’s Lot to be exact). I have read many classics and a whole lot of what I consider to be crap. No, I am not an English major, but I do know a good writer when I see one, I know a bad writer when I see one, and I know a writer that is in severe need of help when I see one. Meyer happens to be the latter. I think she does have potential as a writer, but judging by Twilight, she has a long way to go. She picks and chooses what she wants to describe in detail and leaves other things barely described at all. It can be very frustrating to the reader. Not to mention that it seems that while writing the book, Meyer realized about halfway through that she needed a conflict, and hastily put one together. There was almost no build up to the conflict. At one minute everything is going smooth, and then “BAM” conflict, and the book is over. It reminded me of watching a really bad movie that has a really slow start, a fifteen minute climax scene and then its over. I found it rather disappointing.
Meyer had potential with Twilight, but she kind of squandered it. Only a highly talented author can rewrite an entire mythology. Meyer attempted to do so with Edward and the other vampires, and in my opinion it was a huge flop. I understand why she did so, but I don’t think she went about it the right way. For centuries upon centuries, vampires have been the same (unless you count those awful vampire books by Lynsay Sands. I mean come on, vampires from Atlantis where the disease is actually nanobytes that repair everything including making you young again if you are elderly? Puh-lease!). Yes there are people who have altered they mythology and succeeded, but completely rewriting the mythology is really hard to do. And of all things, why on earth would you make one of the most feared creatures in the history of mythology sparkle? The only creature in mythology that is supposed to sparkle is a fairy (or pixie). The whole “venom” thing as well is rather troubling. In almost all vampire mythologies to turn another human into a vampire the vampire and human must consume each others blood, then the human must die to become a vampire. I have never heard of “venom” turning a person with just one bite, unless we are talking about zombies or werewolves. I think that Meyer’s vampires are an insult to the entire mythology of vampires. A vampire is supposed to be a blood thirsty predator with hardly any morals. I give Meyer an A for effort, but an F for follow through.
Now let’s get down to the two main characters. Bella. Bella is a hollow character. Meyer wrote her so any girl reading could become Bella. I don’t know about you, but when I read a book I want to relate to the characters, but I don’t want to become them. Bella is supposed to be this awkward, clumsy girl that over questions herself and others motives. In my opinion, she is a weak character. I find it really hard to like Bella, let alone relate to her in anyway. Then you have Edward. The list of things wrong with Edward’s character is so long that I don’t even know where to start. First and foremost, he is really controlling. He constantly tells Bella what is good for her, what she can and can’t do, and makes her think (although going against what he says) that she can’t live without him. He constantly tells her that she should leave him alone, but then he tells her he doesn’t want to be without her. Not to mention he stalks her and breaks into her home to watch her sleep. In real life, Edward would be in jail quicker than you can say “Twilight”. Bella starts off constantly thinking about Edward and worrying about his reactions like he is the neatest thing since sliced bread. She takes everything he does personally, then she is constantly putting herself down and telling herself she is not good enough for him. Seriously, I wanted to go into the book, shake her and tell her that she does not need anyone’s approval! Not to mention, Bella is rather daft when it comes to Edward. I mean it takes her almost half the book to find out he is a vampire. She should have figured it out after the “accident”.
Speaking of the “accident”, someone please tell me in what state is there still school when the roads are to icy to drive on properly? Honestly. If roads are icy they at least postpone school until the salt/sand trucks can treat the roads. That entire scenario just seemed way off to me. No one sees Edward? I highly doubt that. And after promising to tell Bella what is up, he completely disregards her while simultaneously implying that she is crazy. *Eyeroll*
The climax. The first we hear of the other vampires is an obscure reference Alice makes about halfway through the book. Then all of a sudden we are dealing with James hunting Bella. Bella lies to and intentionally hurts her father. Then instead of talking to the people that are protecting her and telling them that James has her mother (falling for the oldest trick in the book by the way) she runs straight to him. I mean she is petrified of doing anything physical (i.e. gym class, dancing) but she is going to run straight into the arms of a man that is going to kill her and not be quick about it? That is logic for you. The entire scenario was rather disappointing. Meyer could have put more into it. She could have made it a great, suspenseful scenario, but she chose to rush through it and basically glance over the entire thing. It is like she realized she needed a climax and hastily tacked on the first thing that came into her head without actually thinking it through.
I find it very hard to like Twilight. It is a poorly written book, and gives young people a horrible example of “love”. There is no doubt in my mind that Meyer could potentially write a good book, but I think she needs to think things through a little bit instead of relying solely on a dream (Twilight came to Meyer in a dream.) to write your book for you. Dreams can be great inspiration, but they can’t be your entire book. Use them as a stepping stone.
All in all I give Twilight 1 1/2 stars. It had great potential, but Meyer squandered that potential. I still don’t get all the hubub about it. It is nowhere near the best book ever written, and the story (despite the changes to the vampire mythology) is far from original. Personally, if you have a choice between Twilight and just about any other vampire book out there (other than anything by Lynsay Sands) I would choose the other book.