Book Review: The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyers

Posted: 23 February 2013 in Book reviews
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I’ll warn you right from the start that this is not going to make very many twihards happy. It’ll likely infuriate the majority of them. Not that I’m going to have all bad things to say about them, just mostly. As there is no real substance to these books, I am just going to describe them as quickly as I can and then get to my opinions. And just a side note, I read these a year ago and am now just getting to the review. Anyway, here we go.

Book 1 in the series is ‘Twilight.’ The story begins in the rural town of Forks, Washington. Bella Swan has moved up there from Phoenix, Arizona to live with her dad after her mother remarries a minor league baseball player. It is more for stability than anything else. Bella is an awkward girl who enjoys reading books like ‘Wuthering Heights.’ She first meets the greek godesque Edward Cullen in the cafeteria at Forks High School while eating with her new friends. She is drawn to him but he appears to be repulsed by her. In typical teen girl angst fashion, she frets about what it is about her that repels him. She has also become friends with a local native american boy named Jacob Black. He is the son of a friend of her father’s. The further she delves into the lives of both boys, the more confused and intrigued she becomes. At last she confronts Edward and learns that he is a vampire and that the reason they can’t go in sunlight is because they sparkle. Unlike a normal person, she isn’t afraid. It takes the family, the Cullens, a while to come to terms with Bella knowing their secret, but they soon come around. They don’t drink human blood like other vampires. They are ‘vegetarian’, drinking only animal blood. While playing a game of baseball during a thunder storm (to mask the sound of hitting the balls), a threat shows up in the form of three more vampires. James is a tracker and becomes fixated on Bella. The Cullens have to protect her from him so they take her far away from Forks back to Phoenix. She falls for a trick and is nearly killed by James at her old dancing studio. The Cullens arrive just in time to kill him and Edward sucks the venom from her blood. She reconciles with her father and returns to Forks. Edward takes her to her prom and she confides in him that she wants him to turn her into a vampire.

Book 2 is ‘New Moon.’ After Bella is nearly being attacked by Jasper after getting a paper cut at their home, Edward decides to leave Forks as he feels this is the only way to protect her. What he doesn’t take into account is that he  cannot protect her from herself. Bella doesn’t take his leaving very well. In a dangerous situation, she hears Edward warning her to be careful. She discovers that when the adrenaline gets high enough he will somehow appear so she begins to attempt more and more dangerous feats. She also further develops her relationship with Jacob. She learns he is part of a pack of shapeshifter that turn into wolves. When Victoria, James’ mate, shows up, the pack protects her. Despite this, Edwards believes that she is dead after Alice relates on of her visions. He resolves to expose himself as a vampire in Volterra, Italy, which is certain suicide as it is the home of a powerful coven, the Volturi. In order to stop him, Alice and Rosalie return to Forks to get Bella. They make it just in time. The are forced to meet with the heads of the Volturi who are intrigued with Bella’s immunity to their powers. They release them on the condition that she is to be turned in the near future or else they will find them and destroy her. When they return to Forks, Bella and Edward are confronted by Jacob who reminds them that by turning her into a vampire breaks the pact between them kind and the wolves will attack.

Book 3 is ‘Eclipse.’ As graduation looms ever nearer, Edward and Bella attempt to move forward with their lives. Edward wants Bella to go to college and have as normal a life as she can before she gets changed (which he is still reluctant to do) and she just wants to be changed. While they are dealing with all this, murders are happening in Seattle. As the body count rises, they learn that an army of newborn vampires is being made by Victoria. She still craves revenge for the death of her mate. This isn’t all that Bella has to deal with. She is now coming to terms with her feelings for Jacob as well, which is especially difficult after having accepted a marriage proposal from Edward. She struggles with her battling feelings while the vampires and wolves join forces to prepare for the upcoming battle with the newborns. They hide Bella up in the mountains, but it isn’t enough. While the others battle with the newborns, Victoria finds Bella. She fights with Edward and is defeated. Bella then hurts Jacob by telling him she loves Edward more.

Book 4, the final one, is ‘Breaking Dawn.’ Edward and Bella are now married. They spend their honeymoon on an island off the coast of Brazil. While there, it is discovered that Bella is pregnant. The baby is growing at an unnatural rate so they are forced to return to Forks. Bella will not abort the fetus and almost dies because of it. Both Jacob and Edward can only sit on the sidelines and watch as the unborn child ravages the body of the woman they love. Life has become bad for Jacob as he abandoned his old pack for wanting to kill Bella and the child as they do not know what kind of threat it could pose. When the child is born, Jacob believes her to be dead (considering all the bones that were broken in her body it was not a bad call) despite Edward injecting her with his venom. Jacob goes to kill the child, but instead imprints (something that happens to the wolves when they find their soul mate) on her. Bella wakes up to find herself a vampire is elated. She takes to it easier than any of the others which surprises the clan. But the joy is turned upside down when they learn that a member of a clan they are friendly with informs the Volturi of their child, believing it to be an immortal child (a child that is turned into a vampire. They are very dangerous), which is against the vampire law. In order to protect themselves and the child, they go around the world finding other vampires that can help them and vouch for their integrity. They Volturi arrive and after in intense standoff and discussion, they learn that the information was incorrect (although not maliciously) and execute the girl. All goes back to normal and they all live happily ever after.

My intent when I read these books was so I could be informed when I hated on them. After reading them, my opinion has not changed much. I am better informed true, but more information doesn’t make the books better. We will start with the main characters.

Bella Swan is a unilateral character with no personality. She is bland and pathetic and is exhausting to read about. You don’t even know what she looks like until like the third or fourth books. You get some hints, but nothing definite. Who wants to read about a character they can’t physically picture in their head? In four books, nothing about her personality changes. Only in the fourth book does she change, and that is physically. She is a terrible friend (she makes friends and then abandons them to fulfil her lust for Edward), she is manipulative, and she is weak. I guess that gives her some colour, but overall she is a terrible character.

Edward Cullen is described in the same way as a greek god. Ever facet of him is described in complete, idolised description. He is beyond beautiful to the point of nausea. For being such a fine specimen of a man, he severely lacks a personality. I guess that’s why he and Bella make such a fine match. He is also bland. He is always moping and sulking. Then he gets overprotective to the point of obnoxious. And Bella seems to like it. His over the top protection and sulkiness make him just as terrible a character as Bella.

Jacob Black is much better than both of them, including the rest of the characters, combined. He doesn’t appear quite as often, but despite that you can’t help but like him. He seems very genuine and while he is also protective of Bella, it definitely is nowhere near as psychotic as Edward. Yes he can quite frustrating with his constant attempts to woo her, but he is an endearing character that you wish she would just realise how stupid she is and get with him.

So here is my overall view of the books. Simply put, they were terrible. The characters were mostly one dimensional and the stories had the same plot: Girl likes boy(s), girl gets into trouble, boy(s) saves girl, life is great for another day. There is no complexity or depth. No one can relate to the characters because of how over the top they are. The relationships are extreme and I’m pretty sure most people don’t treat others like they did. Also, these books do not have vampires in them. I am a bit of purist when it comes to my supernatural creatures, and while every person has their artistic license, making vampires that sparkle, are vegetarian, and enter houses uninvited (such as when Edward creepily watches Bella sleep) destroy the very essence of what a vampire is. It is a disgraceful abomination.

The writing is also quite abysmal. Although, her portrayal of teenage girl angst was done quite well. There were also moments in the books where I forgot how truly terrible the books were and got drawn in. Those were the parts when Edward wasn’t around and it was Bella and Jacob. I also found that despite the writing, the story was written in a way that did draw the reader in. I kept thinking how much I hated the books, but found myself continuing to find out what happened next. I did love the many abilities of the different vampires, but felt that they were wasted on a shit ending. And no, sparkling is not a superpower. With so much build up, she pansied out and ruined the end of the series. There was potential for some redemption, but it was destroyed. I did also like the developed background stories to the characters (vampire and wolves), but felt that they were poorly exposed. It is better to gradually learn about a character and their past rather than receiving it all in one go. I guess in the case of this series, better late than never.

If I were ever asked if I would recommend this book, I would say no. There are so many better written books that the Twilight series would be the last on my list to recommend (notice I said last). In truth, it is not as bad as originally perceived, but it isn’t much better. This series could never be or have been the next Harry Potter. It lacks the relatableness, the morality, a rational love story, and the list goes on and on. If you are looking for a truly beautiful love story, watch the opening sequence of the film ‘Up.’ 😉

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