Friday, December 12, 2008

In case you were still interested in Twilight...

I can’t decide which cliché I should start off with: a sagacious, “Less is more,” or a slightly more frustrated, “Enough is enough already!” Both apply equally well to Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series, comprised of Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. Like so many other eager readers, I was sucked into the vortex of Twilight movie promotion hype, and I found myself thinking, “Hey, it could be interesting, right?”

So, over Fall Break, I found myself at my local Borders bookstore, mocha latte at my side, plumbing the murky depths of vampire romance through the befuddled eyes of Bella, the series’ masochistic little heroine with a hidden talent for mysterious accidents, in Book One of the quartet. I cannot tell a lie: I was amused. I was engaged. I was—in retrospect, I cringe to say it—invested.

Granted, I was mostly “invested” in the dramatic, exquisitely detailed bits about Bella’s vampire beau, Edward, and his gradual deification (by both the smitten Bella and the equally smitten author). The whole book seemed to revolve around Edward. It was essentially a series of snippets of Edward’s slightly deranged personality, with some fluffy filler in between which existed simply to generate greater anticipation for the parts of the book Edward was in. Even the author seemed to be waiting for her next chance to add another glimpse of Edward’s Adonis-like body, his keen intellect, his chiseled face, his superb skills on the piano, and—God have mercy on all the tweens of the world—his perfect, bronze-highlighted hair.

To be perfectly honest, that didn’t bother me in the slightest. I went into Twilight expecting an over-the-top, sickeningly cheesy romance about a crazy girl and a hot-as-hell vampire, and that is exactly what I got. I can respect that, even appreciate it. After studying organic chemistry for most of my Fall Break, I needed that kind of fun, accessible prose to keep me sane.

The problem was the second book…and then the third book…and—the horror, the horror—the fourth book. Don’t get me wrong: I am not a snotty, highfalutin, scholarly-merit-first literature Nazi. I like my beach reads as much as the next girl. I’m the first person to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed Twilight, but I think you have to respect the fact that Meyer is not a great author. In fact, she’s not even a particularly good author. She’s a teen romance author who knows how to give her readers a few cute thrills. She’s smart. She knows how to jazz up an otherwise ordinary romance with a few supernatural elements to keep things interesting.

Unfortunately, none of that can hide the fact that the series had no plot to speak of. She took a decent idea for one book, and tried to drag the poor thing out into four, five-hundred-page, back-breaking novels. Deceptively, the books were thick, but the tension was thin and uninspiring—and non-existent in the case of the fourth book. The obvious lack of plot was forgivable in the first book: I was too distracted by the swooning, lengthy descriptions of Edward and his tormented past to realize (or care, if I had realized) that nothing was actually happening in the book.

But, as you may have heard, there is virtually no Edward in the second book, New Moon, and that’s where things start to fall apart. You start to realize that, hell, this book is all about some self-indulgent, prissy, ridiculously sexually frustrated, needy teenage girl who spends half her time bemoaning her fate and the other half messing up other people’s lives. And you start to wonder why you’re wasting your time when you should be taking the 1996 practice exam for CHM 303.

Regrettably, I assumed that Meyer was working up to some big thrill, a real shocker that was going to turn the series around and make up for hundreds of pages of sloppy angst. I assumed, kept assuming, and kept waiting, right until the end of the fourth book, which ended in the most ridiculously anticlimactic battle scene I have ever had the misfortune of reading.

Since I finished the series, a few of my friends have also picked up Twilight and I have given them all the same piece of advice: Stop there! You might be curious how things pan out in the rest of the series. You might think you need to read at least the second book since there is going to be a second movie. You might want to know if Edward and Bella really do find their happy-ever-after, but, frankly, it’s just not worth it. The first book was good. It leaves you interested, excited, and engaged. It leaves you with a little itch, that hankering to know more about your new favorite coven of compassionate vampires. Don’t scratch that itch. It’s simply not worth the disappointment.


kanika said...

I cannot say that I completely agree wid ur comments bout the sequels of twilight but I do not copletely disagee as well.... I mean u make New Moon sound like the worst book eva..!! I think New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn were good and they definitely had a story-line. Although I was a little dissapointed after readin Breaking Dawn cauz u was too much to handle with Bella gettin all pregnant n all that other stuff.. n in New Moon's case I would like to add that it was a good book u basically emphasized on how much Bella and Edward's relationship ang that thier presence in each-other's life was a necessity wothout which they both could not survive. But yeah...New Moon did get a little monotonous in the middle because of 'no-edward' but it did have an amazng ending...!! N as for Eclipse I think it was really really romatin with Edward proposing and all that... I am basically like in Love with the Twilight saga n in a lot more love with Edward Cullen...!