Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mary Sue me, I didn't like Twilight

Sue me, I didn't like Twilight. Apparently, this teen sensation of a novel has met with many mixed reviews, primarily of the love it/hate it category.

Were I a lonely 14 year old girl, I can see the allure. Since the main characters are quite one dimensional, it would be easy to insert oneself into the leading role as the object of many affections, and finally catching the cutest guy at school.

But I'm not. 

The first five or more chapters of this book are complete backstory, lists of facts about imaginary people that I was never compelled to care about.

Ella, the leading lady, was too annoying for words. She's completely boring and flat. We know her physical description, that she's just the smartest, prettiest, etc, that ever lived - and that's about it. Oh, and a play by play of every day, including her class schedule and what she eats. Without a clue as to her feelings, unless she flat out says 'I felt -'. It is mentioned ad nauseum that she's clumsy, but it feels like a last ditch attempt to insert a flaw, as this clumsiness never actually seems to manifest itself.

Then we have Edward. The angst ridden, perfect, 200 year old virgin, torn by his own nobility. Zzzzzzzzzz. Aside from tiresome 'he's so perfect' vomited all over the page, he has no personality. At all. His origins are mentioned, and I don't care.

The biggest issue for me, was that for over half the book (I checked while somewhere past the mid point) nothing happens. I don't care about any of the characters, situations, etc.

As much as I don't care for Dan Brown's childish prose, the man weaves a rollicking action - even as I yelled at each page: 'he's an assassin! I get it! Who doesn't know what a Moebius strip is, you pretentious wad!' I had to know what was going to happen next.

The reason I compare the two, is that I think they're both lousy writers who had rocketing success. But Brown can craft an adventure. While I didn't give a damn about his 'brilliant' scientists who were dumb as mud, I did want to see where they ended up, and the end of each chapter was a cliffhanger.

With Twilight, I finished it just because it was an easy read, and I was looking for the hook. Three hours later, I couldn't find it. At no point did I ever care what was going to happen next. And for most of the book, nothing happened.

Conclusion: If you can deal with an author talking to you like you have brains of cabbage, Brown is worth the ride - once. Twilight isn't worth bothering with, unless you happen to be a young teenage girl with a vampire fetish(don't they all)?

I did have an interesting conversation with two peers regarding the book.  One loves them. One hadn't read them all.

The reader had some VERY strange defensive arguments: 'Well, you can say Shakespeare is bad writing."

Ummm, no.  You can say that you don't care for the Bard, but it would be nigh impossible through any accepted writing standard to say that his work is bad.  That would be akin to claiming that Chaucer had no intention to write sexual exploits in The Canterbury Tales, and they just sort of turned out that way.

That was the strongest point she had - the others were less logical - and I finally realized she was personally offended by my distaste.

Reading trash doesn't mean you're stupid.  Enjoying bodice rippers doesn't make you a sex fiend.  Unless you're whispering sweet nothings to a copy of Mein Kampf, it doesn't matter to me.  Really.

And liking a book will never make the words inside good or bad.  That's what the writer does.


  1. I absolutely could not continue more on both points. Yesterday I was trying to explain to my patient other-half the exact thrust of your argument, including that whilst Dan Brown was a pulp-fictiony writer (I wanted to cry when I realised the first chapter of the Da Vinci Code read along the lines of 'he knew it was going to be a long night'), at least his story had substance. Meyer is the biggest hack there is in wishfulfilment fanfiction. It's such a shame it's proven so popular. Which is depressing.

  2. I don't know why I worte 'continue more' when I meant 'agree more' *blush*

  3. No worries, Gabby :)

    I did try to read this thing from the viewpoint of a 14 year old girl, and I saw the same allure as Christine/Arik from Phantom of the Opera, in terms of forbidden romance and being the 'it' girl.

    But the total lack of plot and painful writing just couldn't make it worth reading.