Book Review: The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer.

Alrighty... I originally had a review for all 4 books up separately, but I feel my opinions on the series would work better as one (especially since my opinions of the books in the old reviews didn't come out even close to how I truly felt about them). So I'm going to do a re-review, mish-mashing thoughts from the four reviews into one uber-review for the quadrilogy. So, needless to say, spoilers are abound.


The Twilight Saga is 4 books and around 2000 pages of absolutely nothing. It's pure angst written horribly through the eyes of who has to be one of the worst main characters ever conceived (with the exception of one epilogue and one section of the last book, which is through another character's POV... and, in my opinion, one of the few good parts of the series).

Let's set it all up. The first book, Twilight, is full of high school romance and seduction that focuses on the smaller, more insignificant characters of the series. Isabella Swan (Bella) has just moved from the big city of Phoenix, Arizona to a small town where everybody knows everybody called Forks, Washington to live with her dad, Charlie. Forks is a town of constant rain and other dreary weather, and Bella absolutely loathes it there. But she decided to stay there for a while so her mom, Renée, could travel with her step-dad, Phil.

Bella is the type of girl who could trip over her own feet walking down a perfectly paved road, so the constantly slick pathways of Forks don’t much help her situation. She starts up school at the local high school and immediately catches the attention of the local boys, much to her chagrin. She also begins the long road of romantic complexities: Mike has a crush on Bella, but Bella’s new friend Jessica has a crush on Mike; however, Tyler has a crush on Bella, almost in a literal fashion as his van nearly impales her body in an accident and he’ll do anything to repay her. Unfortunately, Lauren now hates Bella because she likes Tyler and would prefer the attention from him. Bella, on the other hand, would much prefer everybody leave her alone… except for Edward Cullen, that is.

Edward and his family, including Alice, Emmett, Rosalie, and Jasper, are all quite mysterious outcasts at the school, but they are also incredibly graceful and almost godly beautiful. And after Edward saves Bella from Tyler’s near-collision in a most unnatural way, Bella both realizes she’s become infatuated with the very breathtaking boy, as well as curious. But Edward is very curious, indeed, as his very first day around Bella, before he even speaks to her, he acts as if she has infuriated him and he wants to do nothing but attack her. And then at a beach party, Bella learns some very important information from a Native American boy, Jacob Black, that is friends of the family. And after having this information confirmed, there are “about three things [Bella] was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him—and [she] didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for [her] blood. And third, [she] was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.” And the love is returned, quite ironically, as Edward explains that she is basically his favorite “brand of heroine.” So, in essence, “the lion fell in love with the lamb.”

But the Cullen’s aren’t your typical vampires. They, along with their adoptive parents Carlisle and Esme, refuse to feed on humans and simply prey on animals instead. But that doesn’t make it any less difficult for them, especially Edward toward Bella. Unfortunately, when a Tracker (a vampire who hunts humans for sport as well as food) shows up to town and narrows his sights on Bella, the Cullen family must do everything in their power to keep Bella safe.

This is the basic setup for the whole series. Everything rather snowballs from this event (which doesn't even happen until the last 100 or so pages of the book, kinda like Stephenie Meyer was like "I guess this book needs some suspense or a climax or something... oh, I'll throw in some bad vampires."). Edward gets nervous for Bella's safety after her near-death and, with only one more small occurrence within his own family, decides to leave for good. This causes Bella to turn to friend Jacob, who she uses and abuses like the selfish bitch she is. But Jacob is a werewolf and becomes a jerk himself, so it's all good. And then Edward tries to kill himself, which gets the attention of the Volturi, who keep an eye on Bella, who shouldn't know of vampires. Then the lover of the bad vamp in book 1 comes back and goes to kill Bella (though really just used by the Volturi as an excuse to get rid of Bella)... which spirals into this huge thing where Bella ends up pregnant and the Volturi come to massacre everybody but don't. There. I saved you 2000 pages.

Seriously, though, the best thing about the first book (and movie, really) was the relationship between Bella and her father (which I think Meyer really screws up later in the series). But let's get into the specifics of the series as a whole.

First... the vampires. Let's just get this out of the way first. They sparkle in the sun, are godly in every way imaginable (including breath), and (at least the main ones) don't drink human blood. Yeah... I know. Kinda takes away the cool or 'menacing' factor, huh?

But my biggest issues with the series, besides the horrible writing, really began with Book 2, New Moon. And they spawned from my realization that Bella is a horrible, horrible person. Just starting in Book 2, all of these things continue (and even strengthen) as the series goes on:

Because Edward leaves her early on (within the first few chapters), Bella becomes an inconsolable mess. To look at the first half of the book first (because there is a strong difference between the first and second halves), the following are traits of Bella:

1) She's selfish (which even she admits).

2) She has strong, obviously romantic feelings for Jacob, but stubbornly refuses to go with them.

3) She's just using Jacob and continues to string him along (which she's done since the first book).

4) After all this time (over 6 months), she still mopes around whining about Edward... which is highly annoying (and unrealistic), especially considering she obviously has feelings for Jacob.

5) She's superficial. She's constantly (both in this book and the last) going on about how gorgeous Edward is, and also about Jacob's looks (and sometimes how they don't compare to Edward's).

6) She's dependent to the point that she's, for all intents and purposes, a multiple-drug addict.

Now, I will expand a bit on this last point. Bella didn't just purely love Edward... it was more of an obsession... an addiction. Even the way the book(s) describe(s) is more like a drug addiction than love. Then Edward leaves cold turkey... and Bella curls up in the fetal position, shaking in the forest (withdrawal)... then only becomes a shell of her former self for months afterward, much more over-the-top and melodramatic than it would be in reality (especially for a relationship that only lasted a few months).

Then she rediscovers Jacob, who is like a less potent version of Edward-drug. It gets her by enough so she doesn't have to think about Edward-drug. And she just uses him, trying to tell herself it's because they're good friends but knows that it's really because he's a good 'replacement drug'. Then she discovers a way to experience Edward-drug again without him actually being there (adrenaline), so she scrambles like a crack addict in rehab who just got a recent taste. She'll do anything in order to experience even the littlest part of Edward-drug again, even if that means dying in the process (which, inevitably, is what she has to almost do in order to experience it). Not only is this a person that is highly unlikeable, but it's not a very good role model and/or lesson for the young girls reading this series (Become incredibly clingy and superficial. If and when you lose your first boyfriend, become a blithering idiot and use your best friend. When that doesn't work, kill yourself). Oh, and it's apparently better to love a stone-hard, cold-as-ice, pseudo-jerk, than a warm, soft, loving, compassionate, sensitive guy (though by the time the werewolf thing kicks in, Edward and Jacob are basically, for all intents and purposes, the same person... Edward just 'looks better').

And thus the second half of the book kicks in. First, I must say that I was a much bigger fan of Jacob/Bella than Edward/Bella (because Jacob feels real, and treats Bella realistically, and their interactions feel natural. The relationship with Edward feels forced and makes me continually wonder, along with Bella and Edward themselves, why one loves the other. It's just never explained, and given as pure, straight-up fact. It's also never shown realistically, either, like it is with Jacob). Jake just seemed like an all-around good guy, caring and loving and friendly. But then, out of nowhere, it begins to read like Stephenie Meyer realized she couldn’t have purely nice-guy love interests, so she changes his personality to an extreme so it’s almost like he’s
exactly like Edward (minus the godlike beauty). He’s secretive to the point he can be a jerk, he has anger issues, and he’s way overprotective of Bella. But then, once that begins, it seems as if Stephenie Meyer then realizes she can’t just change a character’s personality halfway through a book, so she starts to flip-flop back and forth between Edward-like personality and Jacob-like personality, and it just feels awkward.

And all of this just continues for the rest of the series. Jacob and Edward are assholes, and Bella is a selfish, superficial, anti-feminist bitch. Jacob continues to fall as a character, and Edward gets a bit more tolerable, but for the most part, both are insufferable. Even Charlie (Bella's dad) turns into a dick in Book 3. The only real constantly likeable characters are Alice and Emmett, two of Edward's "siblings."

And then there's the whole "marriage" issue. This made me want to slam my head repeatedly into something solid and painful. Bella will willingly turn herself into a vampire for all eternity (even though she's afraid of blood) to be with Edward, even if it means losing all of her friends and family forever. However, Edward suggests that he wants to get married first. Bella has a massive fit and thinks marriage is the stupidest idea ever and is too much of a commitment. Um... WHAT? Just even trying to complain about it again makes me want to hurt myself. So I'll just leave it there.But then comes the book that makes the (about) 1500 words we'd read thus far completely and utterly pointless. Let's start off by getting out of the way the whole "I'll show an incredibly descriptive and bloody birthing scene, but I'll constantly fade to black and refuse to show the sex scenes." Well... I think that about sums that up. Like I said earlier, if there's one thing that came from this, it was PART TWO of this book, wherein we get to see things from Jacob's point of view. It's kind of random and out of nowhere this late in the series, but I thought it was interesting. However, it then switches back to Bella... and everything falls apart even more than it already had.

Because then it drags. And drags. And drags. I mean, it was interesting. I wasn’t totally bored reading it. But it didn’t captivate me utterly and completely, either. All the major characters that aren’t Edward, Bella, and Renesme (worst. name. ever.) seem to take a back seat, including Jacob. Jacob’s just kind of… always around, but not overly important. Seth, Leah, and pretty much every Quileute character disappears from the story. Rosalie, who had such a large role in part two, is barely mentioned. I could keep going, but you get the picture. It just reads like everything is happening and nothing is happening all at the same time. And there were a couple moments that tossed in some conflict, but not much. And then the big conflict starts up, and everything starts to get set up for roughly 200 pages for this final ultimate showdown of awesomeness. And some of it continues to drag, but some of it is interesting (and a lot of it is repetitious), but it’s easy to get through knowing it’s all building up for this super awesome showdown as has never been seen before between vampire ancience and other vampires and werewolves and superpowers and a wonder baby.

And then the moment comes. And then it goes. No fighting. Again. Just like the last three books, Stephenie
Meyer has found a way to exclude an incredibly awesome battle sequences in the climax of her books, not allowing the reader the benefit of relief. I mean, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Twilight: Bella passes out and the reader doesn’t see the big fight.

New Moon: There IS no big fight (or much of any action whatsoever).

Eclipse: The major fight is happening elsewhere, and the action that Bella is around can’t be seen by her human eyes.

Breaking Dawn: “Oh, how about I build up the book for 200 pages in talks of fighting and training Bella to fight and how fighting is inevitable and how they’ll round up a bunch of vampires and such to be there as witnesses, but will be there in case of a war, too…. AND THEN HAVE THE BAD GUYS RUN AWAY BEFORE ANYTHING HAPPENS.” They stand around for 50+ pages, talking with their minds (so there can't even be the action of moving their lips), before they shrug and go home.

So… yeah, that bothered me. It was VERY anti-climactic and really seemed as if it made the entire last third of the book pointless and just filler to make for a longer book. Imagine, if you will, if everybody prepped for battle at the end of Harry Potter to fight Voldemort and all his Death Eaters… and after books of waiting and hundreds of pages of build-up and excitement and preparation for this major confrontation… Ginny or, say, Arthur Weasley walks out on the battlefield (before anything starts), talks with Voldemort for about 50 pages, and then Voldemort decides “What the hell, I got nothin'. Come on guys, let’s go home.”It's utterly ridiculous, and just makes reading the series pointless. And it's not as if reading everything that came before it was an easy task, either. Stephenie Meyer desperately needed a new editor, because these books had to have the single worst editing jobs I've ever seen. There were typos and grammatical errors galore. Not to mention just the horribly poor writing in general. There wasn't really enough story to warrant a 4-book saga. Hell, if she removed every time Bella worshipped Edward's godly breath, you'd probably remove at least 1000 pages (I'm not kidding. She was addicted to the dead boy's godly breath).

I'm probably missing quite a bit in this, but you get the picture. As a whole, the series is awful. There's no point to it, and it's terribly written. Stephenie Meyer doesn't deserve her popularity, and it literally makes me nauseated at all the preteen girls that worship these books (and especially those who say they're even good enough to at least rival Harry Potter). Don't get me wrong, there are some moments of suspense, as well as some moments of comedy. As such, there are the rare moments of entertainment value that the books do possess. But outside of a few side characters (such as Alice), all of the characters are awful. Bella is the single worst main character and/or role model to ever grace the pages of young adult literature. And although I've read all four, I wouldn't recommend them to anybody. In fact, I try to talk people out of reading them if they show any interest. So... there.

That's my opinion on The Twilight Saga, and I'd be happy to go over with you in any further detail in the comments if you so wish.

1 comment:

  1. Once again, awesome. Seriously, truly awesome. I read the first book before it ever became popular and thought it was okay; you know, the sort of thing you read when nothing else is around? When my sister read it/fell in love with it, she immediately bought the second book. Of course there came the time when there was nothing around to read again, so I picked it up and flipped through it. For one night. When the other books came, I did the same. Finally I decided I should probably read them through, so I did. Edward's character made me want to bang my head against the wall, and Bella's character made me want to bang my head THROUGH the wall. Mike and Jess and all the other people Bella's age were just stupid filler. I found Jacob's character really interesting up until the point where he started to double Edward. Grr. I did like it when we got to see through his eyes; it felt a little out of place, but it was interesting. And I TOTALLY agree with your HP references. Voldemort walking out - that made me laugh, but you're right.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.