August 15, 2009
Book Review: "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: YA Romance/Fantasy
ISBN 978-0-316-16017-9 (HC)
ISBN 978-0-316-01584-4 (PB)
I tried to like this book. I really did, you have to believe me. After hearing and reading so much hype and hate for this book (and the movie), I had put it off long enough. And, now that I have it out of my system, I can safely say this review will be one of my last public musings on the subject.
I think the main problem for me was going into this novel with preconceptions. I'm not just talking about the hysterics performed by Meyer's most ravenous fans, or the unrepentant vitriol put out by her detractors. I'm also referring to the overall aura I got of this book being an adventure into the world of contemporary vampires and werewolves. Had I gone into this thing with no idea at all of what to expect, I may not have come out of it so disappointed.
I had learned early on this wasn't a YA horror novel, as nothing horrific was noted in any of the press for the book or movie. But, I was naive enough to think this was going to be an adventure story as well as a romance. Well, it certainly had all the trappings of a romantic novel, but I felt no sense of adventure at all. Mind you, a foggy town in Washington state doesn't exactly come off as an exotic locale.
Maybe it's my male ego, my archaic expectations, or something else, but I genuinely expected some action and suspense from this novel. What I ended up reading was about three hundred pages of teen angst at high volume with absolutely nothing going on. At all. Just when I thought things were going to pick up for Bella (the incessantly brooding teen protagonist) when she was about to be accosted by some young men, Meyer pulls the rug out from under me and sends the "dazzling" and "perfect" vampire, Edward, swooping in to save the day in a most anticlimactic fashion.
I gave this book not fifty pages, not even a hundred pages to hook me. I gave it a full three hundred pages to give me something to grab onto. There was nothing there for a poor pleb like me, so I ended up skimming over the last two hundred pages. In doing so, I probably missed out on a heck of a climax, though I doubt it. A glossed-over showdown in a ballet studio didn't strike me as a scene I would regret raking past.
I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, I just did not enjoy this book. It's not terrible, and I won't begin to trash or chide Meyer's writing with the same gusto as those before me. It's simply not the book I had expected to read, and it's not a series I will be following in the future. Twilight loyalists are more than welcome to sing it's praises, as they have discovered something I have not. I can't fault them there, as there are plenty of books and movies I thoroughly love that provoke less than flattering criticisms from others.
For years now, there's been a showdown going on between Twilight's heartfelt fans and it's hate-filled defamers. In that showdown, I'll be the shopkeep who shutters his windows and waits under his counter for the gunfire to stop. Wake me when the fight's over.
To read another review, and possibly more diplomatic in nature, check out Popin's Lair.