Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

I listen to books on my i-pod while I work so I can't in all honesty say I read this series but I have listened to it twice now and have an opinion I feel the need to share. There are 4 books in the series; Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.

I decided to check these out on a whim as they were being billed as the next Harry Potter and they're about Vampires which, well lets just say that's very me.

I get the Potter comparison they're both in the fantasy genre, aimed at the same market, the first book starts with a relatively simple premise but by the end of the series the story has grown and and matured as (hopefully) the readers have. On the other hand these are no ware near as well written. The series is more serialized than one story from start to finish. The dialogue (although it improved in the later books) was frequently contrived.

There were a couple things that really bugged me and distracted from the story. First I think the author used the phrase "a little smug" at least once ever chapter for all four books, she occasionally mixed it up and said "smugly" instead. These characters also seem to "chuckle" a lot. Personally I don't want to spend that much time in a world of smug chucklers. Please someone buy this poor woman a thesaurus, while you're at it buy the Costco pack of em because it seems the editors may need one too. You'd thing someone would have pointed out the repetition (of coarse maybe it was worse before and this is toned down). There were also one or two times that the wrong word was used or wasn't even an actual word but those may have been the narators fault.

Another peeve of mine was that occasionally the characters behaved in completely unrealistic ways and I don't mean the supernatural stuff. Here's an example (spoiler alert skip this part if you plan to read them latter although this is not integral to the plot) if you are the father of a teenage daughter I don't care how much you like a particular boy if said boy kisses your daughter against her wishes and she's clearly livid about this (the anger was written very true to life) your reaction isn't to laugh and say to the boy "Way to go kid". Nope nu uh. The Dad gene means your first reaction when someone forces unwanted physical contact on your daughter is to kick his ass, the second reaction once logic has steeped in is to possibly press assault charges (particularly if you happen to be a police chief, hello), the final result is most likely warning the boy that if her ever touches your daughter again he will regret it for the rest of his life and possibly contacting the boys parents to let them know they need to give him a refresher course on "no means no". Sorry the author is a parent, she should know that one.

All those complaints aside I really liked the series and here's why. The story is awesome and well told (if not well written). The characters are likable and compelling, you want to know what happens to them and you want them to have a happy ending. I will also give the author full credit that she balanced the potential cheesiness of the supernatural with the mundane lives of the human characters in a way that made everyone seem interesting. The story embraces it's fantasy elements without veering in to melodrama.

I also have to give her props that this is the best explanation I've ever heard for why a victim becomes a vampire.

To summarize I recommend the books to anyone who likes horror or fantasy, you just have to ignore the English 1A errors. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie of Twilight that comes out next month as it will be missing the smug chuckler factor and I'm hoping it does well enough that they will complete the series on film. I think it will translate beautifully.


Michelle said...

Have you read Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake books? Much(MUCH) more of an adult theme (I havn't read the twilight series but I wouldn't let my teen read Anita Blake)

Biggest complaint I hear about her books is that it started out good and then, around book 5, things get very steamy and it's nothing but sex. I still like them. :)

Dani said...

I'll have to check those out.