The Obligitory "Twilight" Post: Part 2

As promised, here is the rest of my opinion of the wildly popular (and somewhat notorious) Twilight series.  You can read Part 1 here.

I'm doing this review a little different than the first two.  I'll still point out good and bad, but I'm leaving out the ugly.  Partly because there's less of it as you go along, and partly because I read them during the move and wasn't paying attention to that stuff.

(Whatever else you may say about this series, it is decent escapist fiction.)

Lets get started!

Eclipse (Twilight, #3) by Stephenie Meyer
Eclipse (Twilight, #3)
Meyer, Stephenie

THE GOOD:  Finally, Finally, FINALLY, Bella starts standing up to Edward and not letting him dictate her every little move.  This was my main beef with this series: Bella's lack of self-esteem/spine. 

Also, conflict.  Lots of it.  Life or death situations, conflict between Edward and Bella, Edward and Jacob, Bella and Jacob, evil vampires, etc. The story moves very well, and all the characters develop and change over the course of the book.

THE BAD:  Bella may get a spine (sort of) but she goes about it all weird.  Edward forbids her to do something, even to the extent of telling his family to keep her from going anywhere and Bella's reaction is to SNEAK OFF, without telling anyone, to do what she wants to do in the first place.  She does this repeatedly until Edward gives up.

I'm not a relationship expert, but passive-aggressive behavior doesn't usually work out that well.  And to be honest with you, I still find Edward a bit creepy.

All in all though, Eclipse was my favorite of the series. 3 stars

Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4) by Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)
Meyer, Stephenie

THE GOOD:  Worldbuilding!  Vampire backgrounds, more info on the werewolves, some history thrown in.  It was actually quite awesome.  I kept coming across this really neat stuff and thinking: "Why didn't she put some of this in the earlier books?"

This was the first one of the series that actually FELT like a fantasy to me, with depth and mythos.  Not just two people sighing at each other because their love is deathless and forbidden.

THE BAD:  The plot was clunky.  I felt like I was reading three separate books.

Book 1: Bella and Edward get married and figure out that stuff.  Everybody's happy.

Book 2: Bella gets pregnant, which makes her sick and touches off a potential war with the werewolves.  Conflict resolves itself very conveniently with the baby's birth and Bella's (messy) transformation into a vampire.  Everybody's happy.

Book 3: The vampire high muckety-mucks learn about the baby and decide to use it as an excuse to wipe out the Cullen family.  Lots of gathering of allies, lots of battle plans, a tense confrontation, surprise resolution, and everybody's happy.

It was frustrating because I wanted so badly to get into the book, but the tension kept fading away on me.  Oh well...  3 stars

CONCLUSION:  After reading all four books and evaluating the good and bad, I've decided I'm not excited about the series as a whole.  And believe it or not, it wasn't the writing or the Bella-Edward relationship that tipped the scales.  Meyer tells a good story and tells it (for the most part) very well.

I walked away from the last book, and here's the thing that really bugged me:

 Bella pays absolutely no serious price for her decisions.

This was the totally unbelievable thing to me.  Ordinary girl falls in love with dark brooding hero, gets transformed into a beautiful being with godlike powers, and doesn't have to give up anything to do it.

Everybody in Edward's family loves her.  Jacob isn't mad at her anymore, her father gets to come over and her bloodlust turns out to be controllable so she gets to stay in Forks.

I call "No way".

Ask anyone who's made a cross-cultural or interracial marriage, and they will tell you:  It's not easy.  Ask anyone who's converted to a different religion, and they will tell you the same thing.

It is almost impossible to make those kinds of major decisions without offending (or at least causing conflict with) someone.  And it doesn't all go away after the decision is made either.  There are adjustments, compromises, work.

 But Bella can marry the living dead, become a vampire with a lust for human blood,and not only fit in seamlessly, but end up making everyone she loves happy?  Really?

I  couldn't swallow it.

That's just my opinion though.  What's yours?


  1. So totally agree! This was exactly my beef with the ending. Bella didn't have ANY unhappy consequences to her dramatic, enormous choice to become a vampire. HUH?

    It's just too much. Even the baby (who's name I shall not utter) ends up being able to live for a super long time, happily in happy vampire land. And her being able to hang with Charlie, who basically accepts it all with a very convenient "Don;t want to know about it" attitude. Oh brother.

    Here's the thing, I'm no Twilight hater. Definitely not. In fact, Twilight haters usually bug me. I enjoyed the first three books quite a bit. But that last book, the way she tied things up. Nope. Not a fan. So maybe I'm a Breaking Dawn hater. (And it doesn't help that it has the lamest of all three covers.)

    *end rant*

  2. I haven't read the series, so can't offer anything in that light, but agree about the consequences. Maybe if there'd been some, it would have brought more reality to a fantasy, effectively making it a little more real? Just a thought ...

  3. Renee- *giggles at Renee's ranting* I know what you mean though, the dad thing got to me too. That and the werewolf/vampire war going foosh.

    Joanne- More real or more resonant, sure. It's kind of sad, because they are good books in a lot of ways. Should be interesting to see what their shelf life is... :)

  4. I'm laughing! I haven't brought myself to reading BREAKING DAWN yet. I'm not sure I ever will. But of the first three, the first is my favorite by far.

  5. In some ways, though, the lack of consequences makes sense. Her dad is so terrified about doing anything that would drive Bella away that it's consistent for him to take that attitude. And Bella always isolated herself, so she has no real friends to speak of who could even get upset or freak out. There were other consequences too, like Rose essentially hating her for a while and the angst with Jacob, but all of those consequences were resolved.

    So I guess I'd say that perhaps the problem is not lack of consequences but lack of consequences that remain unresolved by the end of the book. Even the war dissolving makes sense if you assume that Meyers feels the need to tie everything up by the end of the last book.

    Although, I have to admit, Bella being able to not go blood crazy from the start does kinda annoy me, because it's never explained. It's a little weak as plot points go, but there isn't even a hand-wave explanation for it. This probably annoys me the most because it would have been a great place to insinuate that maybe it's nurture, not nature that forms the evil. She mentions that as a potential explanation maybe once or twice, but never elaborates. A missed opportunity to bring in themes that would make the books more lasting, I think.

    One other observation: I kinda felt like the series changed genre somewhere in the second book. The first was a romance (the issue keeping the two main characters apart just happened to be fantasy related), which bled into the second, but at some point the series became a straight up fantasy book with the main focus being "preternatural politics" as I've seen another series term it. I thought it was... an odd shift.

  6. Yes, totally agree with your reviews. My theory is that Meyer was so attached to her characters that she couldn't stand making any of them miserable, which is understandable. Sometimes though, you have to make the hard choices for your characters for the sake of your story.

  7. PJ- See, great example of different tastes. I wasn't fond of the first one. But it hooked me enough to keep me reading and get me to the next book, and that was all it really had to do.

    Vanessa- You're right, most of the plot resolutions were believable. With the exception of the no-blood-crazyness. I still don't understand how that works.

    I like the way you put it, "lack of consequences that remain unresolved by the end of the book" I wanted some sense that there was still growing that could be done, still challenges for Bella and Edward to overcome.

    It felt a lot like the end to the Harry Potter series, like someone waving their hand and saying "Happy ending complete, nothing to see here, move along." Only with HP I was okay with it because Harry went through seven books and lost a lot of people that he loved. Ultimately, Bella lost nothing.

    (I also noticed the shift, but more with relief. I prefer preternatural politics to deathless, angst-y love.)

    Jade- I hadn't thought of it that way, but you could be right. And I'm sure this series would have appealed more when I was younger and much more into unqualified happily-ever-after. :)

  8. This is very interesting and (for me) timely. I am planning to write a Fantasy novel for NaNoWriMo this year. These comments should be helpful in planning my story. I'm thinking more along the lines of a straight-up Good v. Evil Fantasy as opposed to a paranormal romance, but even so the comments are helpful.

    P. S. - I haven't read the Twilight books yet, but my daughter read them all and loved them. Any author who can make a teenager read actual books these days is okay by me!

  9. Meredith- I completely agree with you. Getting teenagers to read is an awesome feat in and of itself. :)

    As I said in part 1, Meyer is an excellent example of the supremacy of story and pacing. Despite the things I didn't like about the book, she drew me in and kept me reading for the entire series. In my opinion,she deserves her success.

    Good luck with your novel!


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