Sparkly Vampires … Bleechh

The Twilight Series, I’m sure everyone is completely sick of reading review of these books by now. So, I’m going to keep this quick and short. I just finished reading the last book today. The feeling of relief is immense. But also a feeling of uncomfortable foreboding. The main reason for this is that I’m completely depressed at the world-wide Twilight madness that has taken hold of the younger generation – yes, I know that many adults are in love with the series too, but as adults they are responsible for their own decisions of what they read. Here are some of my main complaints about the series:

  • Bella is a very poor heroine for young girls to look up to.
  • The idea of Bella being so obsessively in love at such a young age.
  • Edward as the ideal boyfriend is beyond thought without Bella having any comparison.
  • The way that Bella so easily leaves family/friends and isolates herself.
  • The idea of using marriage as a way to solve problems.
  • Bella’s lack of parental supervision.
  • Little to no character development, with the exception of Jacob.
  • Certain descriptions being repeated over and over again (OK Edward is beautiful, I get it)
  • The introduction of so many secondary characters with no real background/follow-up.
  • A monotonous ending that seemed to go on forever, with not a trace of tension or action.
  • Sparkly vampires – umm no.

Anyways, those are just things that irk me about the series. My main complaint is that kids (teen girls especially) are going so incredibly crazy about the Twilight series. I didn’t enjoy Bella’s being created as such an obsessive character, but seeing the obsession of fans is tens times worse. If fans were just really excited about the books that would be fine, but when you see kids screaming and fighting over a book or T-shirt, then there is something wrong. Hopefully, these fans have the sense to seperate the fictional characters from the actors portraying them, because these stars aren’t setting too wonderful of an example either.


Anyways, these are just my thoughts. I didn’t care for these books, but if you do that’s fine too. The world would be a very dull place if we all agreed on everything. Oh and I have to share this totally awesome artist that I stumbled across – Jae Waller – her website is called Mill City Fiasco and she has lots of fun stuff there. Here is one of her comix that I thought was hilarious and is appropriate for this post:

Other Reviews
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Kiss My Book

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Let me know and I’ll add your link to the list :)

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


Nymeth said...

I have not read these books. Yet I have spent the past hour and a half reading these and laughing hysterically. What that says about me I don't know :P

Anyway, not having read them I really shouldn't speak. But I kind of suspect I'd agree with you :P

Serena said...

you make some valid points, though I consider these my guilty pleasures.

Jaxon said...

I do have to admit, I did get a little obsessed over the novels, simple because I wanted to see what happened next.

However, ending the series at Eclipse wouldn't have bothered me. The main plot twist in Breaking Dawn was really weird.

At the same time, I may have seen the movie 3 times, but I thought the movie was really well done. Afterall, I saw Pirates of the Caribbean 7 times. :)

However, I could care less about the rest of the Twilight craze. I do have to agree with you though, it is insane the way everyone has been crazy obsessive with it.

One thing I have to ask - I do not get the idea of looking up to book characters. They are fictional and should not be set up as a role model. That's the one part of all the critiques I don't understand. This is fiction, so why are people so bent out of shape over some of the sexual tendencies with the novel? The behavior was written like that on purpose, it didn't evolve that way.

Marquetta said...

I've read all 4 books in the Twilight series. I loved the first book and couldn't wait to read the second. As the series progressed, the writing and the books got worse. I agree that Bella is not a great character for girls to look up to. She is too obsessed with this "beautiful" boy. I loved Jacob's character. It's probably due to his character being the only one that was fully developed. By the time I read Breaking Dawn (I figured I'd come this far, might as well read the final book) I was thoroughly disgusted with Stephenie Meyer. It seemed like she wrote the book in a week. The plot was ridiculous, the whole pregnancy thing even more ridiculous. I skimmed through the majority of the book because I was so disgusted by it. Stephenie Meyer needs to use the money she earned from the Twilight books and movies and take some writing classes.

Zibilee said...

My daughter read and loved these books, has read them several times in fact. She reads a lot, and I try not to hamper her curiosity, but some of the points you make in your post are worth considering. Is Bella really being taken for a role model by teenage readers? I don't know, but there must be something about her that speaks to kids this age, something in her that they can relate to. I do know that I probably will end up reading these books, just to see what the hype is all about and to better form my own opinions on the books.

Anonymous said...

So I guess I shouldn't get you that Edward action figure for your birthday?

Anonymous said...

So I guess I shouldn't get you that Edward action figure for your birthday?

Glenda said...

I'm an adult who read the series -- I enjoyed parts of it but wish other parts had been handled differently. Even tho I didn't much care for the character of Bella and didn't like certain aspects of the series, when I was in the big middle of reading the first three books, I was totally wrapped up in them; much less so during the fourth book.

Have you asked any teen girls who love this series what draws them to it? I know from listening to the Harry Potter audio books with my son and watching the movies with him that what he takes away from each book and movie is, at times, very different from what I take away from it. This is true of all books and movies that both of us read / watch.

If this series had been released when I was a teen, I probably would've gone crazy over it. (Young adult books in the late 70's & early 80's . . . pitiful, flat out pitiful.) That said, I would've found Bella as annoying back then as I have as an adult and I would not have at all considered her a heroine.

Some of the other things you mentioned would not have even registered as a blip on my radar back then, much as they did not as an adult. Perhaps that is true of some of the teen girls who are going so crazy about this series. You don't know until you start asking them what they think!!

When I read your comment about seeing the obsession of fans is ten times worse, the first images that popped into my head were the footage of young women (teens & 20's) watching Elvis and The Beatles and CRYING . . . followed by images of Trekkies and Star Wars fans (can't forget the dudes!) . . . followed by memories of me attending various concerts over the years and watching fans of varying ages shove and push and sometimes fight over a drum stick or guitar pick thrown into the audience by a band member. Yep, obsession has definitely spanned the generations, and the genres of entertainment ;-).

cj said...

I am completely in your corner on this one. I've only read Twilight and have thought about picking the second book up but so far, I can't talk myself into it.

It's good to find someone who had the same problems with Meyer's writing as I did. Thanks for the review.


Kailana said...

When I read the first book in this series, it was not a popular series. I thought the first book was good, but the series went downhill from there! Bella just drives me totally crazy, and that is just one of the problems!

Chris said...

LOL! I love the title of this post! Cracks me up! I thought it was so ridiculous in Twilight when Edward "sparkled"...geez, get a grip. Needless to say, I'm still going to read the rest of the damn series, lol.

Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog said...

You know I wholeheartedly second your emotion on this one.

Just wait until the angry teenage comments written with poor grammar and text language (Steph Meyer is so GR8. U R a big dumme) start pouring in :)

Mo from Unmainstream Mom Reads said...

I didn't hate the books, but never became a Twi-hard. I agree that sparkly vampires is guy asked me what the books were about and when I mentioned the sparkly part, he stared laughing.

I wish Bella would have chosen Jacob. When stories have a heroine choosing between a werewolf and a vampire, I always seem to go for the werewolf.

I've heard from many people that they think Bella & Edward's relationship is unhealthy because he is so controlling. I think that's probably true.

In terms of Breaking Dawn's ending, I guess Meyer grew attached to the characters and could not bear to have any of them die. I don't know why she couldn't have killed off some minor characters on each would have been much more exciting.

Kimberly said...

I felt precisely the same way. Bella as heroine does a great disservice to young girls everywhere. That being said, I loved the first book and managed to get through the rest. All in all, I think if there had only been one book (Twilight) it would have been just fine. The rest was just fairly ridiculous, poorly thought out escapism, not really fit for adolescent consumption.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! I totally agree with you. Those books sucked arse! I love the picture of Kristen Stewart toking up. She needs to get together with Michael Phelps. Har!

Maree said...

I'm quarter of the way through New Moon and I'm determined to finish the damn things,even though Bella is driving me nuts right now. But for some reason, I need to know what happens next.
Sparkly Vampire-crack...

Jaxon said...

I have to say, that I am amazed at how many people are taking the characterizations of Bella and Edward so personally. I guess I read this series as a work of fictional creativity; I wasn't aware that people were SUPPOSE to look up to these characters. I know there are teenagers everyone who are doing this, but we're talking about the same phenomenon that made the New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys famous.

As a work of storytelling, I thought Meyer did an exceptional job and I've always heard positive feedback from people who have read these stories in this manner. Granted, this is the genre I read on a regular basis - paranormal fiction - so nothing here seemed all that odd to me. I actually found Meyer's portrayal of vampires unique and refreshing from the standard fare that is out there. However, if one is more into reading novels about emotions and feelings and everyday life, I can see how they might feel negative towards it.

Honestly, I didn't pick this novel up because I thought it was going to be beautifully or classically written or have characters that one could look up to. It's about VAMPIRES after all. However, I did pick it up because I heard it was a great love story - a story about star crossed lovers who end up making it work.

Joanne said...

You guys are awesome! I love all the opinions here - they've given me so much to think about :)

Nymeth – Thanks for the link, that is possibly the most enjoyable time-waster ever. Hilarious!

Serena – I’m glad you enjoyed the Twilight series, my guilty pleasure is Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita series :D

Jaxon – Wow 7 times! I think I’m the only person who hasn’t seen POTC yet - not cause I don’t want to, I’m just way behind on the times movie-wise :)
I think that my issue with the characters being seen as role models is because of the marketing that becomes attached to anything even slightly popular with kids – so with Twilight being shoved at them from every direction it’s hard for kids to ignore or view them as fictional when they see them represented as people – which is why I discuss what my kids read with them so that I know they understand fiction vs reality.
I picked up Twilight for possibly the same reason as you, paranormal-romance and urban fantasy are my comfort reads. And I was especially pleased to see it becoming so popular in the YA category. I thought there was great premise in the first, but the others not so much, and I don’t consider that it added any new perspectives on the genre – except perhaps for Renesmee’s heritage.

Marquetta – Haha, yes some writing classes or maybe a new thesaurus to learn more ways to express “beautiful” :P

Zibilee – I would never suggest that any kids shouldn’t read the books. I give my boys the choice to read whatever they like, but we’ve always talked alot about what they read – they like to throw ideas around with me about their reading and I find it is an awesome way to connect with them and make sure they are understanding the content.

softdrink – hahaha ... you better watch it carbonated chickie or you’ll open your mailbox one day and a million copies of Twilight will come tumbling out :P

Glenda – I’m so nosy when it comes to what draws people to certain books so I’ve asked a lot of people why they read the Twilight series. Working in a bookshop and being a library volunteer for grades 4-6 some of the answers are the main reasons I am distressed at the series. Hearing 9 and 10 year old girls telling me that they adore Bella; having tweens and teens telling me she is cool because the guys both love her and she has the perfect life; and having grown women saying that they enjoy the idea of true love that the series represents are some of the main thoughts I’ve heard. But a great majority of answers fall into the “I want to know what the hype is” type of reply.

cj – When I was thinking about what to say I almost felt bad about saying the writing is not that great, but honestly I found it read like a story a child would write – so much repetition and the build-ups went on so long that the apex were anti-climatic just because of the drawn out wait.

Kailana – In the first book I really thought that Bella would be a strong female lead, but then her development came to a stop, which is sad because there was such a possibility there.

Chris – Haha, you’ve got to read the entire series. I haven’t heard many opinions from the guy’s point of view and your reviews are great. Yeah “sparkle” wasn’t the best choice of adjective LOL

Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog – OMG I cnot w8 2C w@ d groupies hav2 sA.... O w8 thyre all 2 bZ photoshoppn Team Edward n Team Jacob msngr avatars. ROTFLMAO!!!

Mo from Unmainstream Mom Reads – Lol, your guy sounds funny! Jacob would have been my choice too, he seemed so much more down to earth. Anything at the ending, not necessarily someone dying but just something, would have been more exciting.

Kimberly – Poorly thought out is exactly how I would put it. I have no talent whatsoever as a writer, but I thought that Twilight was a great idea that just fizzled plot-wise in the follow-up.

chartroose – Lmao somehow I knew you’d rip at that picture of Kristen :D

Maree – Best phrase of the week - Sparkly Vampire-crack!

The mention of Elvis, The Beatles, NKOTB and Backstreet Boys and the obsession they inspired is, in my opinion, on another level altogether. Mainly because they are real people as opposed to fictional creations. And also because of the huge impacts they had on society as a whole. Elvis introduced an entirely new style of music, The Beatles brought the UK into the music scene, they were all involved with causes that they supported, and they taught kids that it was okay to be different. As for NKOTB and BB’s I’ve no idea how that came about, or why :/ I’ve never understood boybands.

Anonymous said...

Before I read all the comments I was only going to say 'rock on'. Now that I have read all of this so far, I will volunteer to send softdrink a copy of Twilight. too funny!

naida said...

great post, I totally agree.
Bella is a poor heroine for girls to look up to.
I liked the first three books in this series, but I never liked Bellas character. She is very childish and obsessive. And I felt that the last book was a poor attempt to wrap the story up nice and neatly...happily ever after. I didnt like it at all.
It seemed preachy at times too.

lol about the artwork!

I read The Host and really enjoyed it. Have you read that one? I was pleasantly surprised.

Jena said...

I love that: The feeling of relief is immense. I didn't read them with the idea of looking for a role model for teens (although a lot about Bella bugged me), because I don't think the books need to be taken that seriously, but just the overall (lack of) quality of plot & characters continues to bug the heck out of me, especially into the 3rd & 4th books.

You should now proceed to this page and enjoy not only the two-sentence summaries of the books, but also the comments that follow. (I really want to know what the Trickster commenter was on when he read R&J.)

Anonymous said...

I totally get what you are saying. I loved the series, but didn't let Nona read them. Although Nona is sheltered and boyfriends just aren't her thing right now, I agree with what you are saying.

That said, I am not sure she'd want to read them. She feels that I can read the love story books and let her read the rest. If one gets past her, she thinks the love part is ridiculous. I told her that in time, she'll feel differently. She doesn't believe!

Trish said...

Only being one book into the series, I only have a little taste of what you're talking about. But, I do agree that Bella is a poor choice of a heroine. The comic strip is hilarious, though!

E. L. Fay said...

I was just going through your review master list and I found this. Thank you so much! You articulated much better than I did what is wrong with this series. Here's my review. I strongly recommend Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian instead.

(I was inspired to do this by your recent Weekly Geeks Link Love post. . . but I still feel really intrusive self-linking twice in one comment!)

P.S. - Love the cartoon!

kasumi99 said...

I read Twilight before it became this big thing, because I loved the whole contemporary fantasy/science fiction genre. Like most people said, I like the first book, but as the series got on, I got more and more disgusted with Bella and how obsessed she was with edward. She had no dreams, no aspirations. Her only personality is loving edward, and she ignored everyone when she was with him.

Bella was a horrible character. And then the whole thing with Renesmee was very twisted, It was awful.

Some people say, who cares about the characters right? As long as its a good story. . . but the thing is no matter how great the story might be, I will still hate the book if the characters are just badly built and dislikeable. What's the point of reading if you dont care if the characters end ok in the end?But that's just me.

However, I dont think that people should get all bent out of shape with Twilight specifically. Seriously, I can count on my fingers the amount of admirable, strong heroines there are. (Well, not literally, lets just say strong female characters arent real common) In the world of fiction and movies, girls are often shown as shallow, weak, or naive. Twilight is no different.

There are so many few YA supernatural romance novels, and pretty much all of them are the same. Its meant to be escapist and unreal, and kinda silly if you think about it too much. It isnt meant to be taken seriously.

I suppose the only way we can have the ideal book with the strong female characters is if we create that book ourselves.

I admit I like the genre. Theres some good authors who dont get enough credit. Tithe by Holly Black may not be perfect but it is well written and the characters seem well made and believable. I wish those books had become as popular as Twilight. Or even Pullman's The Dark Materials or Asimov's I, Robot. But I suppose that's delving into another issue all together.

I hope nothing in my comment offended anyone for it wasn't my intention.

Sarah said...

Excuse me but I am a teenager and I do not appreciate how some of you think that us teenagers will write in stupid comments with incorrect spelling and grammar. I am very intelligent, and because all of you are discussing what we see in the series, I will tell you straight out. We love to escape our lives full of drama and stress and like to go into the world of a beautiful romance. And Bella is not a negative influence. She is a strong, independant girl who is mesmerized by this very handsome, polite boy, just like every 17 year old girl would, including all of you when you were 17. I love the series, and these books really are not for older people to read. The plot's in all four of them are situations that a 17 year old is handling, not someone who is the age that most of you are. Obviously you wouldn't understand it the way us teenagers would, and that's how it is meant to be. There, no you can all stop wondering what teenagers find so addicting in these books.

Anonymous said...

When I was 17 I read The Death of Ivan Illych and Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. Those two books affected me to my core and resonated with the love, suffering and incredible angst I felt as a teen-ager. It makes me cry that the generation behind me have only the sub par escapism literature of Twilight. I've read three of the four books (don't think I'll read the fourth) and they are good reads. But they are empty reads. I found it laughable that there were actually discussion questions in the back of the copy of Twilight I bought. The book is so predictable and shallow what would there be to discuss? Twilight is a literary version of The OC, De Grassi High, 90210 and a host of other bad television series aimed at a dumbed-down generation of teens. The plot lines are just interesting enough to keep you reading but not to get you thinking. I've met brilliant teenagers who are writing their own stories, making their own movies and telling their own stories in their own ways and I want them to be recognized. Teens are not dumb. They deserve literature that befits their intelligence.
I agree Bella is a one-dimensional love sick puppy. For the life of me I couldn't see why anyone would fall so helplessly in love with someone who is so unremarkable. But hey I can understand many women feel unremarkable and long for a guy who clings to them.
I hope these books and all their mediocrity will inspire teen-agers to lash out and write better stuff.