Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Twilight Series

I finally finished reading The Twilight series, and I wish I would have started this blog BEFORE I started reading them so I could jot down my thoughts on each of them individually.  However, I still feel like I should be reviewing the entire series instead of just the final book, and I know I am late to this game, so ... bear with me.

A review of Twilight, New MoonEclipse, and Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

In my opinion, here is what Stephenie Meyer did RIGHT:
  1. The Characters.  I think most literary people will agree with me when I say that creating characters that readers really feel like they "know" is crucial.  Meyer created multiple fully developed characters that readers found themselves invested in, and that is key in a series.  When I saw a few people who were cast in the film, I even got a little upset because they didn't look like the characters did in my mind, which is always a good sign.  Not only were the characters very richly developed, but you couldn't help but fall in love with many of them.  Edward, the beautiful creature, inside and out; Jacob, the passionate best friend; Alice, the girl who dances instead of walks; Carlisle, the ultimate loving father figure; Esme, the archetype of a loving nurturer; and a few others who would be spoilers! 
  2. The Swoon Factor.  My husband was constantly laughing at me because I would, literally, audibly swoon while reading these books.  I mean, come on: a girl moves to a new city and a gorgeous, mysterious stranger falls in love with her.  Later, another wonderful boy falls in love with her.  They fight over her constantly.  Edward says Bella is his WHOLE life and only reason for being, he saves her life over and over again, and even lays awake watching her sleep every night.  What tween or teen (or adult, for that matter) would not be wrapped up in imagining this?  And the possibility of spending ETERNITY with the one you love?  Pardon me, but I am swooning over here ...
  3. Leaving Readers Wanting More.  The combination of the characters and the swoon factor certainly helped keep readers on the edge of their seats when Meyer left them with a cliff hanger.  What with all the "will they/won't they?" and "will they live/will they die?" and all the people, vampires, and werewolves who wanted characters you loved dead, Meyer certainly keeps you turning pages and running out to buy the next book. 
Now, what I think Stephenie Meyer could have done differently:
  1. While there were some real shockers and twists in these series, there was also loads of predictability.  I mean, the conclusion of the series?  BOR-ing.  Who didn't see that ending coming.  Very children's fairy tale.  It was satisfying, and I'm sure readers would have been up in arms if it ended a la Hamlet, but it really diminished any sense of tension, which had been one of the strong suits of the stories for the most part (Will Bella become a vampire?  Will Bella choose Edward or Jacob?) and everything gets tied up into a tiny, neat package, which is pretty boring.
  2. And speaking of Bella ... BELLA is something Meyer could have done better.  To quote Saturday Night Live* Bella was quite the whiny do-nothing who didn't seem to deserve either Edward or Jacob.  Feminists have been bashing her character left and right, and I totally get it.  I think you could re-write the books and just insert "waa, waa, waa" for all her lines, and the books would read exactly the same.
  3. The Vampires.  Really?  Meyer seems like a creative lady, so why so not-at-all-creative or consistent with the vampires?  They sparkle in the day light ... but only if it is REALLY bright out?  Does anyone else think this is a cop out?  Also, (warning: kind of a spoiler, but not really) why do all these millions of vampires all of a sudden show up in the last book but are non-existent during the first three?  Not to bash Meyer, but it almost seems like she had a lot of pages to fill in the last book, so she spent a third of it introducing us to new characters.
All in all, I really enjoyed these books.  They were fast, exciting reads, and if you are looking to get lost in a book, I recommend all of these!

FINAL V RATING:  4 out of 5 stars. 


Monday, December 7, 2009

Before the Books

I have thought again and again that I truly regret not recording my thoughts after reading each book I have read over the years.  It might seem excessive to some, but I often see the books on my shelf and wonder back to the last time I read them, wishing I could remember SPECIFICALLY what I liked or didn't like about them. 

From this point on, I will be reviewing the books that pass through my hands.