08 July 2008

Would You Like Some Whine With That Cheese?

I finally bit the bullet and started reading Twilight. Why? Because my firend, Stephanie, (Dora Cake Stephanie, not Twilight Stephenie, just to clarify) had a gun to my head. She's a jerk like that.

Anyway, here are my impressions 400-odd pages in. It's a good, quick read and entertains as promised. Oh, and for all those who have yet to read it and don't appreciate spoilers, I would stop reading at this point. For those who gave up because it was cheesy, not scary enough, just not their style, or who found themselves not reading it and not reading anything else because they wanted to finish it first, by all means continue to read here because I'll make all of your wildest wishes of spoilers come true.

Back to my impressions. Going into this I knew it would be cheesy on some level. I've heard nothing but about this book. That's cool, I'm fine with that as long as I'm forewarned. I was not disappointed in either regard. I really didn't mind terribly as it didn't seem too over the top and what was there was to be expected in a book with teenaged girls as its primary audience. I'd heard that one of readers' biggest complaints is Meyer's over indulgence in adjectives, particularly with regard to Edward's appearance. I found that to be right on the mark. First, how many times can you say a guy is perfectly gorgeous? Second, how many times is it really necessary to point that out in one book? In every other sentence seems a tad superfluous in my mind. He's a vampire, he hasn't suddenly turned fugly between the last time he was gorgeous to ten minutes after that. If he's suddenly ugly, by all means let us know, but until then we'll just assume that nothing has changed in that category. And third (you're welcome, you nerds), "gorgeous" and "perfect" and "inexplicably godlike" are all very subjective. Is it just possible that Edward is only perfectly beautiful and Adonis-like to everyone who's seen him SO FAR? Yeah, that's what I thought.

I appreciated that the romance was fairly slow in building. Romances that take off like a rocket are unreasonable and unrealistic. Plus, it builds the sexual tension needed in a good romance plot. By the time it really got over the top, I merely smiled and chuckled rather than puked on the book. So again, good on her for delivering the goods as well as could be expected.

What I did not appreciate, which is the point in the story I am in the middle of reading, is the sudden and painful onset of stupidity of our heroine, Bella. James, the tracker, has just kidnapped her mother, threatened to devour her if Bella doesn't ditch the protection of the Cullen Clan and come to him alone so he can kill her too, and she agrees to do it. She agreed to leave the safety and assistance of five good vampires who would risk undeath (ha! I kill me) and limb to protect her and her relatives from any harm to be a martyr. This is like a plot straight out of a bad 80s horror film. Does she not think James will still murder her mother even after she willingly gives herself over to him? Why didn't she immediately turn around and tell the two jerks who were there protecting her, and the three more who were on their way at top speed to be there with her, that James had her mom and possibly wasn't there anything they, with their combined centuries of experience, knowledge, and superhuman intelligence and abilities, could do to rectify the situation? That is what a normal, thinking person would do. But not this brain surgeon! No sir. Gotta get herself AND her mother killed, but not before writing a tearful letter of regret to her one and only love, begging him to forgive her for suddenly becoming retarded. Yeah. That's gonna happen. I hope they all take turns slapping the crap out of her (which might crush her skull, if Edward is to be believed, and she would totally have that coming).

By the by, I don't trust Rosalie for obvious reasons, which are not aided by the fact that this is a terribly predictable book. She either dimes Bella out or they wind up totally BFF! by the end of the novel. But more than her, I don't trust Alice. Wasn't it Alice who said it would be perfectly safe for Bella to join the game and practically insisted she come? Didn't she also insist on babysitting Bella once The Drama started? And isn't she just a little too anxious to be buddies with Bella? And is she not also the mystery woman with no memory of her past or who made her? Yeah, that's what I thought. If she doesn't turn in this book, mark my words she'll be the villian by book #15.

Final note. I cannot fathom dating something you simply cannot resist eating. I can only equate his predicament to my falling in love with a Duncan Donuts-brand Boston Kream donut. Even if my true love could actually carry on a meaningful conversation with me, which would be creepy at best, I don't think I could love him more outside my stomach than in. His chocolatey scent would overwhelm me and I would have to end his pitiful life. So Huge Props to Edward for keeping his true love in tact! That is, long enough for her to get herself et up by some other fool. We'll see how that turns out for her.


Anonymous said...

Her mom isn't really there, it was a trick...you need to read more

paws said...

My post on this subject? "This books sucks!" Horribly written if you ask me.

Abby said...

Uh, thanks for the reassurance, anon. No more spoilers, eh?

Yeah Peggy, but you didn't say if you liked it or not. ;)

And that reminds me. I'm tired of people "grinning" at each other. Besides that and looking angry, do they have any other emotions? But otherwise, despite all of these things, I still find it entertaining. Honest.

heidi said...

All of the adult women in my family have read the whole series so far now and enjoyed it hugely, if only so we can remember exactly what kind of idiots we were as teenagers. (I recently re-read my diary from my junior year, and though I wanted to gag, I often sounded like Bella about my boyfriend. Yuck!!! He wasn't even that good looking!) Plus I get huge satisfaction out of ticking off my sisters by being a Jacob Black fan. (Sorry, pefectly gorgeous or not, "undead" is not my thing.) Plus, I clearly like my men darker-skinned, not pasty white.

Abby said...

Geez Heidi, you are so prejudiced against us crackers. :)

I'm not such a fan of Edward myself, "gorgeous" or not. Now, Carlisle is a bit more my brand. Not that I'm into walking corpses or anything. But I'd prefer that to hairy werewolves--so uncivilized.

Benteti5 said...

You need to hustle. The fourth book is coming out Aug. 2nd. I loved the books and am a total Jake fan. He's only hairy sometimes and they can have a real relationship for the most part. Edward should just be a lovely photo in a frame or something. And teenagers do say the same things over and over and do stupid things so Bella is perfectly written as a teenager.

Abby said...

I'll try. I'm about 150 pages into the second one.

And just to be thorough, here are the rest of my thoughts on Twilight that I posted on someone else's blog:

Honestly, I found the book entertaining. Not very well written, and terribly frustrating, but still entertaining. It helped knowing that I would have problems with it beforehand; it seemed that what I already knew would suck I forgave the book for before even cracking it open, leaving a lot less irritation once I finally started to read it. The contrived romance was still sickeningly cheesy, but I tried to see it through the eyes of a girl Bella's age, and honestly, that's just how stupid we were at that age. I'm not proud of that, but if I'm honest with myself, I was just that stupid (but not with the same kind of boys). I also was pretty clumsy as a teenager myself (not falling down two flights of stairs and out of a window clumsy, but clumsy), and I was horrible at any sport imaginable. In college I only took three PE classes and I was at the bottom of every class, skillwise, by far. I only wish my teammates had prevented me from making a fool of myself, but alas, no. So on that level I can relate to Bella as a teenager. On any other level, no.

Now Edward on the other hand I don't get at all. He's been around for a century and she's the best he's come up with so far? I find that a bit...unlikely, to say the least. He obviously enjoys being in a relationship where he gets to be as condescending as possible, and honestly, she deserves it given her intellectual aptitude. So I guess whatever floats his boat.

The stalking I found perfectly normal. Vampires do that. No big deal. I'm reminded of a Chris Rock routine where he talked about the Clarence Thomas debacle with what's-her-face. He said that if Thomas had been Denzel Washington, none of this would have ever come up. Instead of screaming sexual harrassment, she would have been, "Oh Denzel! You get out of here with your fine self!" Something like that. He defines sexual harrassment as ugly men just trying to get some. When you're in the throws of new love, stalking seems cute. At any other time? Creepy. So I don't see a problem with that.

All in all, the romance is not surprising to me that much given the players, but it is terribly superficial and in that I can't see how it can possibly be defined as true love or anything beyond simply temporary. She essentially only "loves" him because he's breathtaking and she loves the attention, right? And he "loves" her because he can't read her mind (presenting a challenge for him) and she tastes good. Solid basis for eternal marriage there.
The book should have ended when the second started--when he left her for good and told her to get on with her life already. Now THAT was believable. Just turn her into a vampire and get it over with, or move on already.

Oh, and I HATED the James/tracker plot. I agree with the other comment that it was just thrown in there randomly to spice things up. It showed just how completely stupid Bella had become/was all along (I complained about that very thing on my own blog).

I forgot one point. I've noticed something with books with romantic plots like these. If the author is female, the girl in the book will be flawed while her object of desire will be as perfect as possible. Same with a male author: flawed male lead with the perfect woman. One of my favorite authors, Ken Follett, is an excellent writer and story teller. Pillars of the Earth is one of the best novels I've ever read. However, he has the fantasy woman thing going on in every novel. His leading ladies are always strong, intelligent, insightful, caring, and can kick any guy's ass if needed. Their only "flaw" is their self-consciousness over their huge boobs. Yeah. His leading men are always ordinary Joes with either a wooden leg, missing ear, partially deaf, amnesia, or some other malady. The same thing is what Meyer has done. She is living out her teenaged fantasies of being the idiot who not only has a boy madly in love with her, but the best looking boy in the school/county, and he is physically perfect in every way (if you don't mind the lack of a heartbeat), intelligent, doting, and sensual. Personally I don't like to be in a relationship that feels so lopsided, but I guess some people are into that.

Speaking of looks, if Robert Pattinson is supposed to be the embodiment of the most gorgeous man west of the Mississippi, then I have severly overestimated the definition of "gorgeous." Same goes for Peter Facinelli. Meh.

Also, the second response to this question kills me: http://theboard.byu.edu/?area=viewall&id=44374