Ok – I know that by 2020 you likely already have a pretty set opinion on the Twilight series. Trust me, I read them when they first came out over ten years ago and have a pretty strong opinion on them, but I recently saw them in the library and decided to give them a go again. Why? Because I read them at the height of their popularity, when it was also cool to hate them. So – was Twilight any better than I remember it being? Unfortunately, not.
About three things I was absolutely positive.
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.
Holy, I had forgotten how basic and poor the writing style is in this book. The vocabulary is very limited and the writing starts to feel repetitive pretty quickly. The plotting is all over the place – this is a very long book for no apparent reason. Seriously, the book could have been edited in half and still have the same number of events. Some plot points were stretched, sometimes the plot disappeared, and sometimes the it rushed through key events – the inconsistency was off the charts. Why does the book spend so much time on explaining Bella’s move to Forks, and then rush through her discovery that Edward is a vampire? Also, I wasn’t a big fan of the constant Christianity allusions, they felt forced and tone deaf.
Good god, Bella is insufferable. She’s whiny and, even worse, she’s a massive pushover. She lacks a backbone in nearly every situation – she just allows herself to be walked all over. More damningly – she is a jerk to Charlie (who is the purest soul and deserves better in life). Honestly, there is very little redeeming about her. She’s a massively judgmental narrator, which only further alienates me from her. For example, she begins school worried about fitting in and then proceeds to mercilessly judge and write off her peers.
Edward is seriously problematic and creepy. He admits early on to sneaking into Bella’s room while she was asleep (gross). He also freely talks about wanting to kill her pretty regularly. I get it, she’s tempting to you, but that can’t be the only thing you talk about. Further, he abuses his talent for mind reading to manipulate situations and stalk Bella – I would have liked to see a more interesting, original use of his gifts. Otherwise, Edward is surprisingly poorly defined: he doesn’t get a backstory until fairly late in the book, and is completely defined by being an aloof jerk and a vampire.
Bella and Edward’s relationship is nonsensical – for a large portion of the book, Edward evidently hates Bella. He ignores her, avoids her, and is outright rude to her. Then, a switch all of a sudden flips and he’s obsessed with her? The explanations provided were weak at best and basically passed over. The reader was expected to just accept that Edward was infatuated with Bella without any history, chemistry, or reason, and to just be OK with it. That’s just lazy writing that Stephenie Meyer should not have been able to get away with
There’s no way to beat around the bush – Twilight is objectively a poorly written, lazily plotted book. However, what I really can appreciate about it is the fact it acted as a gateway to reading for a lot of young people – its simplicity makes it accessible and for a period it was cool to read it and have your own definite opinion on it. That’s this books redeeming factor: the fact that it encouraged people to read who may not have otherwise. 2/5