Friday, January 9, 2009

The Review You've All Been Waiting For aka English Major attempts objectivity about Vampire Love Series. Ahem.

Lets start by saying - I won't be objective. :) That was to sucker you IN! No - this is purely my op-in-ion on a little series you may have heard being "squee'ed" and "sighed" over in dark corners of Middle School girl locker rooms or at "married-far-too-young-dissatisfied-and-groping-for-some-romance-and-adventure-in-their-lives-middle-aged-wives" club; Twilight. Yes I am aware of my stereotyping just now. I am FULLY aware there are more folks out there than enamored teenage girls and high strung sexually frustrated middle-aged women that read this obsessive over. I have many a wonderful friend who LOVES them. LOVES! But lets be honest - those wonderful people are the exception to the rule...and much nicer than I am.

First, I'd like all the Twilight lovers to know that I feel strongly about experiencing something before you vomit all over it. I mocked Twilight mercilessly and hadn't read a single page. I felt it was a dark moldy patch on the words "literary series", "novels", or even more seriously and personally offensive "Harry Potter." Dammit! It is NOT like Harry Potter. Okay? There's a difference between "fad" and "classic." So lets get that out there right now. I get very defensive about my Harry JK Rowling...her genius...the genius of the entire series! It's. Nothing. Like. Harry. However, I also get angry when people vomit on Harry Potter when they've never read it. And NOOOOOOO "I saw the first few movies" does NOT count. How many times do we have to beat the "oh wow the book is so much better than the movie" horse? Are we all really still surprised by that outcome - over and over again? Most especially since Hollywood has run out of their own ideas and now have to pay authors gobs of cash to their ideas. The books are always better. Try not to expect something different. Well, except in the case of Princess Bride. Any of ya'll ever read that book? Not that great.

Anyway, we're not here to discuss Harry Potter. No. We are here to discuss what one snobby English Major thinks about the Twilight series. And this snobby English Major read the Twilight series so she could informatively and ceremoniously barf all over it. What this English Major found, however, was a conflict - dare we say a paradox? This English Major perhaps, PER-HAPS, might've even LIKED parts of this painful, poorly written though impressively popular series about vampire love, wolf imprinting, over the top mushy puke fest love scenes, dim-witted antagonists, melo-drama to the utmost "Days of Our Lives" extreme, the blatant mockery of foreshadowing, and some surprisingly entertaining creative moments and, dare I EVEN say it, "against my better judgement" likability. Oh the internal conflict! Alas - let us begin...

Book 1 - Twilight

This one I actually read. Don't get your panties in a twisty. I read Twilight and listened to the rest of them on my journeys down to St. George for work. Honestly - not having to read the typos (did they even hire an editor? They fired an editor for sure) which I don't fault Stephenie Meyer for (you noticed she doesn't even spell her name "right"). It's not her fault the publishers didn't do their job. At any rate - I read Twilight. I read it in...oh...3 days. It's lengthy, but an incredibly easy read, and, well, somewhat enjoyable. I'll be honest - the first 3 pages in, I hurt inside at the run-on sentences - but again - not her fault. I kept going. Intriguing. Predictable. It began with a relocation of a backwards teenager who doesn't know how beautiful she is, yet everyone in the school insists on telling her so (eye roll). Ya know, cause misplaced and misunderstood teenage plots aren't overdone. I kept going. How could I not when I read 30 pages in about 10 minutes?

I met Edward.

Ohhhh Edward. Edward is melodramatic. Edward is a pansy. Edward is the cause of those Middle School sighs and squee's. Edward is a Vampire. Kinda cool. Being one who likes such things as X-Files and Star Trek, I liked the vampire idea. Vampire love? Well...I'll get to that. But the Cullens I liked. I liked the creativity in forming what a vampire is, what they do, how they're created, and how many of the myths surrounding our traditional vampire ideas were cleverly circumvented. Meyer created a realistic vampire - something believable - and I enjoyed that aspect of the series. I mean, who can take an age old monster myth and transform it into something modernly believable? I'm going to say not many. Not that I've seen. So Edward and Bella. The first book is about their love, being together, and it's so sickeningly pathetically gooey I rolled my eyes and scoffed out loud many times at their declarations of 17 year old true and undying love for each other. Puh-lease. Not to mention the pages and pages of repeated dialogue that drags through dregs and dregs of annoying relationship blather as only 17-year-old hormone driven teenagers (vampire or no) can do. Yeah right!! Like teenagers stop to discuss their of them being a 17 year old dude. Clearly, a woman wrote this. But the story was entertaining, and I found myself skipping over Edward and Bella to find more enjoyment in Alice and Carlisle. You'll hear it said by many followers "are you on team Edward or team Jacob?" Well - I'm on team Carlisle. Ya know - if I pick a team.

Verdict on Book Uno: 3 of 5 stars. Not bad. But not enough for me to keep neglecting Dickens for Meyer. Just didn't seem right...

Book 2 - New Moon (4 months later)

I didn't get to New Moon for awhile. Meh. I thought I might get to it eventually when I was extremely bored - but after going to California, coming back, having to job search and house search and clothes search - it wasn't on my priority list. My first work trip to St. George approaches and Ms. Michele - a co-worker- lends me the series for the drive. Alright. This seems reasonable enough. I'm not wasting perfectly good leisure reading time on the series, but I still get to see what the fuss is about. Alright cool. I can do that.

It began with a "velvet voice" and "granite hands." Apparently - when it comes to describing bits of Edward - Meyer felt these two points really needed to be driven home...and driven home...and driven home. Well, first vomitus chapter discussing their pukey love (of which I seriously considered turning it off and driving 5 hours in silence than endure such torture) morphed into a second chapter where Edward broke up with Bella and left. I wish I could say I was surprised - buuuuuuuut, ahem. It was clear it was coming - because if there's one thing I'd learned from the first book - it's that Meyer missed the class on foreshadowing. It means hinting that something is to come - not completely spelling it out over and over and over before it FINALLY, FIN-ALLY, happens. Sheesh! I hate knowing something hundreds of pages before it happens. I just want to get to it so we can carry on with the story. Also, I'm beginning to discover that Bella is a complete idiot. Serious. She literally needs the sun pointed out to her, "Hmm, my skin feels warm. I can see better now than I did at night. I'm squinting against some incredible light reflecting off that water...I don't understand. Edward? What is this?" He smiles his winning smile, and points at a big fiery ball glowing in the sky with his granite hand and explains with a voice of velvet, velvet, velvet "It's the Sun, Bella." ... ... ... 100 pages... ... "Ohhhh..."

We meet Jacob. Like, not as a tack-on side character this time.

I like Jacob...for awhile. Nice kid. Good guy. Not a pansy waste of a melodramatic vampire like SOME characters we know (hint: granite hands and velvet voice). But then, Jacob becomes a werewolf, ya know, to protect the good people of his tribe and the town of Forks from vampires. Oh geez!!! Wait! The vampires? The Cullens are Vampires? Protect the city against the CULLENS!?!?!? I just put two and two together!! Bella moment! The entire book is far far far....faaaaar two long. Pages and pages of her wallowing inside a hole in her chest where her "Eddy" used to be. She really thinks he doesn't love her and that's why he left her. Puh-lease. We ALL know he's Mister "I must save her from me" hero. The ultimate quality that solidifes the middle-aged woman following forever. Scoff. Hero. Well Bella jumps off a cliff because she's become reckless and stupid - and Edward thinks she's died. Ya know - cause Alice can see that - but inconveniently can't see the futures of werewolves - and thus missed Jacob saving her from the churnning water. What a pain in the arse. So what does Edward do? Well he goes to Italy to find the Volturi (enters power hungry possibly gay Aro - head of the vampire royalty) to end his life. He can not live without Bella. Over dramatic boy is going to commit suicide. I mean he can't very well go on living without her? (thus clenching teenage fantasty following). Are you freaking kidding me?!?! Well, Bella saves him. She presents herself as alive...and you'd think the story would end. Noooope. We have to sit through this whole Volturi situation and then go back to Forks and then have a confrontation with Edward and Jacob while the entire time Bella is sure Edward is going to leave her again because he really doesn't love her. The sun Bella. That warm, light, squinty thing is coming from the Sun. Look! LOOK! IT's RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE!

Verdict on Book 2 - 2 of 5 stars. And only because I did like Jacob...still on team Carlisle though.

Book 3 - Eclipse

I really don't remember what this one was about. I think it was an entire 400 pages of nothing. Hm. Let me think. Oh no - it's an entire 400 pages of Bella trying to make Edward who loves her and Jacob who loves her friends although they are mortal enemies...who love her. Borrrrrrring. I think my mind phased in and out during most of this book. It was incredibly anti-climatic. I think Meyer forgot where she was going with the actual PLOT of the story and made sure the frustrating and redundant dialogue kept on trucking...and trucking...and trucking...velvet, granite. Oh, and Jacob is "so tall with such big hands." Hand fetish anyone? So really, Eclipse, not much to say. Oh, Bella really wants to have sex with Edward and he's scared that he will break her in the process so he says if she will marry him then they can "try." She says no. HA HA HA HA! Of course she does! Oh! And she and Carlisle have a pact that he'll make her a vampy right after graduation. Which of course, Edward doesn't want. HA HA HA HA! Of course he doesn't. This is teenage true love after all. How will it all conveniently fall into place without either side having to suffer? Stay tuned. The foreshadowing will blatently tell us!

Book 3 - ? out of 5 stars. Cause really, I can't remember most of it...

Book 4 - Breaking Dawn

My hand was on the "stop it now for the love of all that is good!" button most of the way through this one. Yup. Bella and Eddy get married. I did like that portion actually. By this time I've learned to ignore Bella's dim wits and ridiculous "oh please don't try and make my wedding beautiful, Alice" attitude. Yep. Done with it. They go on their Honeymoon - which honestly - was weird. I don't want to discuss it. Let me just say twice. And then Bella gets sick. When that happened I thought "Oh no Meyer. No. You. Didn't." 200 pages of "foreshadowing" and "Bella searches for the bright warm maker" later - we find that Bella is pregnant with a half-monster baby that's beating her up from the inside. Flash to Jacob.

Because Jacob gets an entire 200 pages of this book in his own head. We get to follow Jacob's thoughts. Cut out this section and it's no big loss what so ever. Seriously ya'll! Think about it! It's rather pointless and utterly ridiculous. Sorry. Nothing redeeming...oh wait...nope, nothin.

SO! Pregnancy - being beat up from the inside - barfing blood and being ripped open by Edwards teeth to get little monster out. Freakish. I was disturbed. It was the first time I was hoping for the gooey love fests back. I almost turned it off right then. I couldn't handle how grotesque and plain stupid this whole plot was. And of course, Bella would be conveniently practically dead after all that, that Edward would have no choice but to turn her into a vampire. Luckily he had prepared a syringe full of his vampire venom to inject directly into her heart. Phew. Milked his fangs in advance. Good thinkin!

2 days later.

Bella is a vampire. And now the story picks up. After suffering through 3.5 books of melodramatic teenage love sonnets, made up words (really Meyer - only Milton and Shakespeare are allowed to make up words because...well...they're Milton and Shakespeare), predictable plot lines, no plot lines, anti-climatic plot lines, mocked foreshadowing, and grotesque spine snapping and blood barfing, the story picks up. The last half of book 4 was enjoyable. Bella was FINALLY a vampire, meaning she see's the sun a little more clearly, they're altogether, everything that's been coming and been discussed and beat to a bloody pulp since book 1 FINALLY comes to pass, and Meyer throws a plot in there that I can't see the ending of. I guess it only takes about 2,000 pages to finally start improving your writing. Maybe she signed up for a creative writing night class? Hired a better editor? Hired a better writer? Whatever it was, the last bit of book 4 redeemed, well, at least all of book 4. This one I kept going not because I have an OCD "I must finish because I started" mentality - but because I wanted to know what would happen. Because, shock of all shocks, I had no idea WHAT was going to happen or how it was going to come together. How refreshing! I also actually read the last .5 of this book. I was used to the typos - but it didn't detract from the story. "The story." I'm even going to go ahead and say, there was some really poetic sentences in that last half. It was pretty good. And I use the term
"good" loosely - but really - you can't ask for too much more. She finally came into her own with the last bit of this book. Finally. Finally...

Book 4 - 3 of 5 stars...because the first bit of the book was STILL that bad.

And there you have it. My review on the Twilight series. I would give it an overall rating of 3 of 5 stars and of course, never read them again. But hey, at LEAST I read/experienced them all before saying "I told you so." I would recommend it to those whose "other good reads" include Cosmo and Seventeen...and sexually frustrated middle-aged women. It helps with the sexual frustration. Meyer writes a pretty love scene. I was sucked in a FEW times. It was the granite hands. Mmm.

For more snide remarks


Mike & Emily West said...

You know I do love reading your opinions on these types of issues AND, as with most of your opinions,I am in full agreement! Especially about Book #4--last part GOOD, first part BAD! Anyway I am curious though, Andrea, what is your favorite book and/or genre? Also, you have mentioned before you are trying to write the next great American novel. Curious what you chose to write about. The only reason I am asking is because if I get such a kick out of reading your blog, I bet I would feel the same sentiments towards your book(s). :-)

Andrea Jolene said...

Ooo - let me think on that. Favorite book or genre? Yikes! I'm an English Major! I can name SOME favorites and as a genre I tend to love the any nerdy Eng Maj would. Oh - and the great American Novel - I'll never tell. ;) Not YET! Probably something to do with 20 something single girls who aren't rich, beautiful, and have a Utah. ;)

Adam & MiKail said...

Yay! I was so excited to see your review! Well said! Although I do enjoy the books, I have to agree that I got a little sick of the lovey was SO Romeo & Juliet in a lot of ways, and I hate Romeo & Juliet...such a stupid waste. Anyway, I digress. I always love a good vampire story, and I love the Cullens - I think therein lies my love of the series. Anyway, loved your comments! You had me laughing out loud several times!

Marisa Jean said...

I agree with you: Poorly written, lack of editing and painfully long chapters about the same thing over and over. And yet, I own the books. I'm lame, I know. I even hated the 3rd book so much that I hid it for 6+ months until I knew that I just had to finsih the series. I suppose I'm just a sucker for a good non-smutty romance.

Marisa Jean said...

Clarification: by "good" romance, I refer to the idea of love--not good as in her book is good. Just wanted to make myself perfectly clear.

heidikins said...

Thank you for the review. I now feel justified in not reading these books.


Kimber's Blog said...

I love your review, it was so on to what was feeling. It was also very funny. Thanks for providing the laughs.

SpAz said...