Twilight and New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer

Don’t you hate it when you’re trying to explain something to a friend and they don’t “get it”? Or when you really hate something, but your friend inexplicably likes it? Why don’t they “get it”??? Or you snigger at some weirdo walking by and tell your friend to look at how odd that person is and they don’t laugh and don’t GET IT.

This is when I make these noises: sigh, double sigh, arrgghhh, harumph. You have to give up, “getting it” can be beyond words sometimes and its SO frustrating when others don’t pick up on what you consider to be too obvious to explain.

So why have I described this awful feeling? Because you are about to feel it…

twilightI didn’t really like the Twilight books. newmoon

They were ok I guess, average young adult fiction, pretty entertaining and somewhat original. But my expectations were Harry Potter high and they didn’t even come close. The first person narrative from Bella’s point of view made me think she was stupid, reeeeeeeally whiney, annoying, and undeserving of all the “speshul attention” she was getting. I graded Twilight and New Moon with a C- after finishing them, telling hubby there was no way I was going to read the last two.

I decided I just didn’t get it. Their “love” didn’t seem real or that exciting, their drama too petty, I didn’t get why their romance was such a big deal.

But then I took to the interwebs to do a bit of research beyond the usual “OMG SQUEEEE Edward Cullen is HOTT and sparkly” and take a gander at some of the more serious analyses and reviews. My first stop was Stephenie Meyer’s webpage so I could get a bit of the backstory on her and there I found **trumpets blare, angels sing helleluja** her rough draft of Midnight Sun.

I opened the 264 page PDF written from Edward’s point of view and saw the sparkly light. I GOT IT.

I spent almost 3 hours reading it at my desk, hey we’re in a hiring freeze, as the lone recruiter for my office I have NOTHING to do. And I CRIED at my desk. Just some little sniffles. But this excerpt hugely contributed to my about-face:

Page 217 of Midnight Sun

For one moment, the hag-faced fate I’d imagined, the one who sought Bella’s destruction, was replaced by the most foolish and reckless of angels. A guardian angel – something Carlisle’s version of me might have had. With a heedless smile on her lips, her sky-colored eyes full of mischeif, the angel formed Bella in such a fashion that there was no way I could possibly overlook her. A ridiculously potent scent to demand my attention, a slient mind to enflame my curiosity, a quiet beauty to hold my eyes, a selfless soul to earn my awe. Leave out the natural sense of self-preservation- so that Bella could bare to be near me-and finally, add a wide streak of appallingly bad luck.

With a careless laugh, the irresponsible angel propelled her fragile creation directly into my path, trusting blithley in my flawed morality to keep Bella alive.

In this vision I was not Bella’s sentence; she was my reward.

I fell in love with Bella right along side Edward. I finally saw her kindness, bravery, selflessness, maturity, intelligence, sensitivity, and warmth. All these qualities were not as obvious from Bella’s point of view because she was HUMBLE and let’s be honest, super niave. Reading from inside Edward’s head explained so much that I had overlooked in Twilight, so many nuances and depths to his character that I hadn’t picked up on or imagined.

This insight earned the books a B for me, still not an A and here is why:

Bella still annoyed me, how STUPID could she be not figuring out the werewolf thing for 3oo pages in New Moon???!!!!1! After I saw all her fabulous qualities through Edward’s eyes I liked her exponentially better, but then found her to be too much of a Mary Sue. I’m picky, I know, sorry!

I thought the books were too long, huge amounts of repetition describing characters’ outward appearance without spending time developing their personalities or character growth, the suspense plot in Twilight started way too late, so the conflict with James seemed forced, and lastly I recognize I’m not really the target audience. The drama about prom, who sits where in the cafeteria, meeting between classes, lying to her dad about who she’s hanging out with…I could see how that would all be immensely relate-able for middle and high schoolers reading the series, but the setting just didn’t do it for me. Related to that…I thought the writing seemed “dumbed down.”

I also didn’t think the myths and realities about vampires and werewolves were as creative as they could be. Here’s my Personal Paranormal Rating Scale for creativity, originality, and world building description:

Perfect 10 Harry Potter and Ann Rice

9 Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse 

8 Black Dagger Brotherhood and Anita Blake

The world of Forks, Washington would be a 3/10 in my book. In fact, I just decided it’s insulting to JK Rowling to compare Twilight to Harry Potter.

Wow I have read a lot of vampire books I just realized.

I loved loved loved Ms. Meyer’s writing about Bella’s desolation, depression, and “zombie” like response to Edward leaving her in New Moon. Her descriptions and actions she had Bella take transcended any age group, ANY reader could relate to that and it gave so more depth to no only Bella, but to her relationship with Edward. Her pain was real, my chest ached for her, my heart clenched as I read her anguish. The writing of those chapters was the most real and powerful to me. As I said, the rest seemed a bit dumbed down.

With all that said I am going over to Hill Gal’s house tonight to watch the movie and borrow the two remaining books from her, all of which I initially told her I had NO INTEREST in doing (picture me with my nose in the air while saying this.) The title of my email to her today was “I Lied,” and I was appropriately contrite.

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11 Responses

  1. After I read the books, I also went to her Web site and stumbled across Midnight Sun. This was a few months ago, and at that point I think she only had about 15-20 pages, but I tore through it and had a new appreciation for the book! Now I’ll have to read the other 200 pages :)

  2. That’s a great way to put it, Bookworm: “a new appreciation.” She was really onto something when she was inspired to write it. I only hope she finishes it. The next 200 pages will definitely get you hooked! Enjoy!

  3. Now that’s I’ve seen the movie (SWOON re: Edward), I think I’m gonna have to read the books. I want more vampirey teenage angst.

  4. i can’t wait to see the movie tonight! i’ll prolly swoon too ;)

  5. I haven’t read the books, but I loved the movie so much (I just watched it today) that I almost don’t want to read them in case it’s going to taint the way I feel about them.

  6. Hi Maxie! The books and the movie are pretty similar, but since over half the 600 pages of the book are inner turmoil I think it would only add to the Twilight experience as opposed to change your mind.

    The movie is BRILLIANT visually, but even with all the long stares and angsty, puckered forehead, brows drawn looks its hard to guess what they are thinking. The book just tells you!

  7. I just happened across your page due to our both having reviews of this book on our blogs (I saw in my stats that somebbody did a Google search; I clicked to see what they were searching for and – voila! – I found your blog). Aside from the fact that I felt the need to read all four books prior to this one, my assesment is much the same as yours. I enjoyed the story told in this series, but the flaws in Meyer’s writing caused me grave consternation throughout. I really hope Meyer decides to finish Midnight Sun, as it is really the best out of the bunch. I, too, liked Bella MUCH more as seen thru Edward’s eyes.

    I like your site and will be back. What a nice little, accidental discovery. :)

  8. Hi Karen! So glad you randomly found me. Those Search Stats can be funny. My two favorites that led people here are “lusty grandmother” and “the very strongest type of liquor.” Pretty sure I never blogged about either of those things, haha!

  9. […] finishing Twilight and New Moon I blogged extensively on my dislike of them, but then revised my opinion after reading Ms. Meyer’s draft from […]

  10. I felt EXACTLY the same way. In fact, when discussing the Twilight books with others, I think I may have even used some of your exact wording. Please get out of my head!!! Or maybe I should get out of yours??? Hmmm. Not real sure how that works. But I do know this…J.K. Rowling is a god. Goddess. Whichever you prefer. There’s something just not quite human about her talent.

  11. I tried Twilight in print and audio and just couldn’t get through it. I think I left off at the part where Edward was going to go with Bella shopping in another city instead of the school dance (it was very early in the bk). I felt like the odd one out because both Mistress and Reader, the other 2/3rds of our blog, read the series and liked all but book 4. Now my sister and nieces are into it although my sister did say Bella is whiny most of the time. But…that didn’t stop her from getting to book 3 already :) Guess I’ll always be a part of the “I don’t get it” crew when it comes to Twilight.

    However, I did read all Harry Potter books and enjoyed those :)

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