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Twilight – What The Hell?

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I have a confession to make, dear reader: I finished reading the first book of the Twilight series last night. As in, I didn’t put it down until gone four in the morning. I was persuaded (read: bugged incessantly) by one of my exes that I couldn’t understand the films properly and criticize them without reading the books. Which is fair enough, so I obtained them from a mate (for free — I sure as hell wasn’t paying for them) and got cracking on the first book.

Twilight is the story of a girl who falls in love with a 100 or so year old virgin vampire. With issues…

I thought that the writer did a good job of capturing the whole “first love” thing, but that some criticisms are valid. For instance, it is not romantic to sneak into a girl’s house and watch her sleep. And Bella (the books’ protagonist) is remarkably critical of herself for someone who has stated that most of the school is after her romantically. 

It also doesn’t help that the book is told in first person so that it smacks of wish fulfilment (the film’s version of Edward, Robert Pattinson, has said that he believes it to be this). One wonders if her husband read the book and was annoyed at his wife writing herself falling in love with a vampire.

Both the fandoms and hatedoms blow this book out of proportion. Were this book not to involve vampires in the slightest, it wouldn’t look out of place on the shelf with the Mills & Boon romance novels. Most of the criticisms can be boiled down to:

a) That vampires were much cooler until she came along and made them “emo.” (Emo vampires are nothing new, just look at Van Helsing) and

b) That sparkling in the sunlight is a stupid ability for a vampire to have. I agree with this one, as it assumes that humans are basically magpies going “LOOK AT THE SHINY HUMAN, LET’S WALK CLOSER TO IT!” (The rationale is that being shiny will attract prey.)

Having said that, the book is not actually that bad. I didn’t read any passages that made me want to chuck the book across the room in disgust. I’d say she’s like the Dan Brown of romance novels; hardly the writer of the great American novel, but she can create an interesting tale nonetheless. And she kept me reading until the end, which is more than Bram Stoker’s Dracula managed to do. 

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About Scott Varnham

  • Anriëtte

    Well, I can see your point, but on the second argument for criticisms, you are not quite correct.

    They sparkle not to lure prey, but because they are frozen in time, like granite, that’s why they sparkle. Their beauty and smell, that’s the attraction. If you were to read the books till Breaking Dawn, you would understand the scent part better.

    And thank you for actually taking the time to read these books, they truly are great if you can appreciate them for what they are, teen romance.

  • Jack

    “but because they are frozen in time, like granite, that’s why they sparkle”

    Granite is frozen in time? Or have I misunderstood what you meant?

  • Scotty2

    To be honest, in a way the ‘sparkle to catch prey’ would make slightly more sense than the actual explanation to me.
    And I would read them until Breaking Dawn but I got the first three from a friend and I’m not paying for Breaking Dawn. There are so many better books that I need to buy first. 🙂

  • I think Stoker’s Dracula is an acquired taste. Like Melville’s Moby Dick, it is a 19th century novel filled with some tough sections, but when reading it carefully you do (and I’ve read both multiple times) come to appreciate the whole for what the author’s intentions were.

    Have not read Twilight nor do I intend to. My last vampire books were by Anne Rice and I’ve had enough of the revision of the genre.

  • Scotty2

    I might need to give Bram Stoker’s Dracula another go, but I just have so many other books in my ‘to read’ list.