Thursday, July 9, 2009

I've Read Them

I went back and forth on whether to read the Twilight series (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer). I'd heard they were a good read, but they were about vampires. I occasionally read fantasy, but wasn't sure I wanted to get drawn into a story of darkness and blood.
I found out I could borrow the whole series from my friend Carrie, and that was the deciding factor. I borrowed them.
Warning: I may spoil it for you if you haven't read them yourself. So if you're thinking about it, I'd stop reading this right now.
After all the hype, I was..... underwhelmed.
I guess it was one of those things about setting my expectations too high. I'd heard so many people say they were SO GOOD. Granted, they are classified as "juvenile fiction." Had I not been used to a "higher quality" of book, they may have affected me differently.
First off, the vampires aren't the dark and creepy kind.... The vampire "family" central to the story chose to only live on animal blood. This makes them the good guys, I guess. Apparently all vampires are stunningly beautiful, as well. (Some variations from typical vampire lore.)
The main character, Bella, kind of annoyed me. She threw her entire existence into getting the love and attention of the main vampire, Edward. Then when he left her, she used another boy, Jacob, as her lifeline to keep her out of the pits of dispair. But when Edward comes back, she leaves Jacob hanging. (I realize it's not quite so cruel as that in the books, but I'm thinking from his perspective.) Maybe the reason that this annoyed me is that I've been there. I've been so desperately in love with someone (or thought I was at least) that each little thing they did or didn't do could send me into an elated high or a dreary funk. That is not a healthy way to live, nor is it the way God intended for us - He wants us to get our fulfullment from Him, not from any male on earth.
Now I know these aren't Christian books in any way. But I am a Christian reading them, so I interject the Truth where I see it. It just made me wonder if all women who don't know Christ are so emotionally vulnerable. That would be a sad, sad way to live - pinning my hopes on a male who would inevitably let me down.
I also found the story lines predictable.... The first book, because I'd seen the movie, and knew how it ended. The second, I totally saw that Jacob was going to be a werewolf. The third, there was a build-up (with the Italians and the red-headed vampire), but no climax. But it wasn't really a cliff-hanger either. It just kind of ended. Granted, it finished the stories in the fourth book, but not in the way I thought it would. I figured being the final book, there could be a huge battle and some non-essential characters could be killed off. But, no - the author went for the "and they all lived happily ever after forever as best friends" ending. Blech. Give me a little action! Okay, so there was a battle early in the book, but all the good guys escape unscathed (save Jacob, who heals in a matter of days), while the bad "army" is obliterated.
Also another thing that bothered me was the incessant admiration of how "beautiful" Edward is. Don't get me wrong - I spend a lot of time gazing at my husband. I like watching him sleep (don't tell), and touching him, kissing him, and staring into his eyes (which, ironically, are a golden shade of brown). But there's so much more to a relationship than physical attraction, and the books don't seem to focus on this fact. Lust won't make a relationship work. Even being willing to give up your life for a beautiful person won't make it work in the long run. You've got to have something deeper. I did, however, admire the fact that they (Edward) chose to wait until they were married to give into their lustful desires.
And then add to that, after Bella is married to Edward, she still clings to Jacob. It's one or the other - you can't have both. When I married Paul, I made the choice to give up relationships with some of my guy friends - and these weren't/hadn't been romantic relationships. But to honor my husband (and make no appearance of things being other than they were), I chose to not keep up the same level of friendship with these guys. It's something you do when you truly love someone.
And finally - the bizzare pregnancy. Maybe it bothered me more because I myself am pregnant, but this whole bit of the story was WAAAAY out there. It's like they needed to bring an essential character into the story, but didn't want to just bring a stranger in off the street. And then add to that how they effectively slid Jacob's infatuation with Bella off onto the daughter... Just weird. And way too convenient.
Anyhow. That's my review - not school-book-report quality, but my rambling thoughts. I do apologize if I'm not exactly right on all the details... One book kind of blurred into the next since I read them so quickly.
I don't feel like they were a waste of time to read them; I did enjoy the story. (Obviously - I read the whole series in about 10 days - and that's with a couple days break in between each until I saw Carrie to get the next one.) But I expected so much more, and am still a little baffled as to how many girls and even women think this is the perfect love story. I think it's lacking.
Sorry if you disagree.


Tiffany said...

I pretty much decided awhile back that I was not going to read the series and I think I will be sticking to that decision.

JC said...

Those books - and the films - are an abomination to all things vampire. 'True Blood' may be pretty dirrty and "WAAAAY out there" but it's till 100x better than those juvenile atrocities.
And if you want to look for little gems in the story, there's notne to be found as there are in normal vampire novels. Vampires are thought to be demons incarnate, not just pretty people that sparkle. I should disown you for having done this.

The Other Rachel said...

I'm going to start reading them this weekend. I'm not entirely looking forward to it, but I run a blog for a high school ministry, and I thought it would be a good idea to write about it for the high schoolers. Wish me luck...

Amy Jo said...

I pretty much agree with everything you said. :) I loved them, just because they kept me wanting to keep reading, and I haven't found many books lately with that kind of draw. But yes, definitely not the perfect love story.

The Other Rachel said...

Also, they're not very well written. I mean, better than I could do, but a lot of the "romantic" passages had me laughing out loud.

I'm through book two, and if I have to read about his "eternal eyes" one more time... GET A THESAURUS ALREADY! :)