(This post contains major spoilers!)
Twilight, the great divider in YA! Whether you love it or hate, it’s almost impossible for you not to have heard of it. I’m going to confess right now that I love it…however, I also have MAJOR grievances with the series! I had thought about doing book reviews for every book in the saga, but I decided instead I would just consolidate all my love and hate into one post.
When I first read Twilight I had never heard of it before, I jumped on the train just before it was leaving the station. It was instant love. I can’t deny it. I’m not going to lie. I fell in love with the romance, with Edward, with Alice. The whole damn thing captured my heart. So there, that’s the truth.
But hang on, there’s more to the story…
While I waited for the final instalment to be released, I reread the series…a lot. It was during these rereads that I realised how blind I had been. The writing really is mediocre, the characterisation is stereotypical and lazy, and the story has been told so many times before. I still loved it, I could just about forgive these problems because I enjoyed it so much.
And then Breaking Dawn came out…And the love affair fell apart.
This story was pointless. Annoying. Dragged out. And there wasn’t even a kick arse fight to revel in! Bella fell in love with a vampire. This premise is intriguing because there are so many obstacles, to be with him she would have to sacrifice so much. But it’s OKAY Meyer swept the obstacles aside like they were nothing, completely ruining the point. Bella didn’t have to give up anything, NOTHING! Life just all fell together for her perfectly. She even managed to have a miracle baby. What luck!
One of the things that really got me in Breaking Dawn was the cowardice at the end. Most of the book is taken up with the Cullens building a vampire and werewolf army to stand against the evil Vulturi…and then they didn’t even fight! No one got hurt, no one died, she completely chickened out on what could have been a half decent ending to the books. Now, I’m not going to go into detail about my dislike of the films, but I will give the last one props for at least trying to inject some fighting into it! Some excitement. I mean, they’re vampires, VAMPIRES, are you really not even going to try to fight…just a little bit?
And there lies another of my problems with the saga, which I can just about overcome with one simple trick. I pretend they’re not vampires. Yep, I completely ignore the fact that they are vampires because it adds just about nothing to the books. Just a pointless hook. To me they are just immortals with varying degrees of magical ability. Because let’s be honest, that’s all they are.
I grew up with Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which I love!), a series that knew how to do vampires. They’re supposed to be scary, blood sucking, creatures of the night. Not people whose skin sparkles in the sun…it actually sparkles…like diamonds. Buffy is also everything I could want in a female protagonist. She is the flawed, emotional heroine, a girl who is sometimes ruled by her heart but doesn’t forget about her head. I could go on and on about her role model status, I could do nothing of the sort with Bella.
I hate Bella Swan. I actually have no idea how I spent so much time in her head. She is just about everything I hate in a protagonist (you can read more about my thoughts on female protagonists here!). She’s just a-a dick! I won’t bother listing the ways in which she infuriates me because we would be here forever, just know that she does and I’ll leave it there.
Of course, I can’t mention Bella without mentioning Edward. Seemingly the perfect boyfriend, at least at first. It actually turns out that he is a pretty creepy, stalkerish character and together they have a truly dysfunctional relationship. But I’ll save that rant for another time.
So this post is getting a little long! I could still comment on the brutality of her first sexual experience, the fact that this teenager got married just to have sex. The fact that she got pregnant the first time she had sex and after having done the deed she was nearly killed by her miracle baby and forced to sacrifice her humanity. The blatant sexism and stereotypes that do nothing to help feminism. But I won’t, I’ll just leave those thoughts lingering there for you to ponder over.
I think one of my biggest problems is with the fact that there didn’t need to be another book. I could almost feel the money falling from the pages of Breaking Dawn, this half arsed, pathetic sequel to a series I had enjoyed. All Meyer did in this book was wrap everything up in a neat little bow. And I mean everything, she even solved the problem called Jacob. This story was far too convenient for my liking.
So enough with the ranting! Here’s some positives for you instead…
Twilight did an awful lot for the YA genre as a whole. Of course there have been YA books for decades, but Twilight really threw the genre out into the open. It was a big crossover novel, I was a teenager at the time…just, but I noticed the shift as more and more adults confessed to reading it. It seemed to make it okay for you to say you were reading a young adult book, even when you weren’t a young adult. It also did a lot for reading in general. Not quite on the scale of Harry Potter of course, but as it gained popularity it also gained a plethora of new readers. And I can only ever be thankful for that.
Now, I realise that this post has far more hate in it than love, but let’s be honest, it’s is far easier to talk about things you dislike! I really did fall in love with this series though…at least most of it. I think some books come along at just the right time. I can’t guarantee that I would get the same warm fuzzy feelings if I was reading it for the first time now. In fact, I think it is entirely possible that I would never have fallen in love it in the first place!