Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Scathing Review, or Why Twilight Sucks

This is long overdue.

Ever since I started this blog, I’ve been meaning to write an entry about Twilight.  But because I fear social ostracism, this project is something I’ve put on the back burner.  (Remember, I live in the suburbs around many of Robert Pattinson’s target demographic of mid-30s women, the creepiness of which is a whole other blog post).  Additionally, I feel like a responsible book reviewer would re-read the book immediately before writing a critique…but I don’t own it, am too embarrassed to be seen with it in public, and really, I just can’t put myself through that again.  Plus, I’m less interested than convincing you than I am in ranting, so we’ll just have to make do with what I can remember, and hopefully that will get my point across.  The point being?  Twilight sucks.

A disclaimer: I read everything.  By everything, I mean lots of trash.  And yes, I read the entire Twilight train wreck.  I couldn’t put them down.  This does not imply quality, only compulsive readability.  Even cheap crank laced with rat poison is still addictive.

Another disclaimer: I’m going to try not to use too many all caps in this review, but I make no promises.  I’m feeling a bit zealous.

I could go on and on about how the book is demeaning to women, about how it reverses the feminist movement by about 200 years, or about how Meyer irresponsibly glorifies dangerous, violent, and criminal male behavior and encourages young girls to associate with such (Edward is a STALKER!  He sneaks into Bella’s room TO WATCH HER SLEEP!  And has MURDERED PEOPLE!)…but I’ll refrain from that here, in order to simply tell you why these are fundamentally bad books.

Point One: Bella
Bella is a complete void, a personality-less nothing.  Yet throughout the books, Meyer continually comments on her allure – her scent, for example, is particularly powerful to the vampires, it seems (I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M EVEN WRITING THESE WORDS), but backs up this assertion with no concrete evidence of her sex appeal, whatsoever.  She’s not particularly beautiful, she mostly wears flannel shirts and jeans in some sort of vague Pearl-Jammy way, and she doesn’t seem to speak much.  Ever.  What is the point of her?  I can’t find it.

And by the way, not to conflate the two, but it bears mentioning: Kristen Stewart can’t act.  Sighs and gasps and “meaningful gazes” do not an actress make.  Nor a character.

Point Two: Bella’s Dipshit Dad
If you’re wondering if there’s a worse character than Bella in these books, the answer is, unbelievably, YES.  Her village-idiot father.  Does he know what Bella’s up to?  That Edward sneaks into Bella’s bedroom to spoon with her every night?  Does he realize that his BFF is, actually, a werewolf?  Does he notice that Edward and his bizarre-o “family” never seem to age?  NO.  Why would he?  Uh, because he’s a police officer, perhaps?  Come on, Stephenie-with-an-e, at least make him a…a clerk, like at the water company.  Or a convenience store stocker.  Or a middle-aged paper boy.  Or something.

Point Three: Form
Twilight should have been a trilogy, in keeping with literary tradition.  Usually, especially with fantasy or sci-fi genres, the story arc functions as follows: book one is introduction, book two is conflict (and usually the “good guys” lose – remember The Empire Strikes Back?), and book three is greater conflict, concluding with some sort of overarching resolution for the entire series.  Instead, Meyer wrote four books, which wouldn’t be a problem if there was some sort of point to this – like, for example, if she managed to somehow expand the genre and provide some sort of narrative reason for her choice of four books.  Instead, the trilogy-in-story-but-tetralogy-in-fact reads like an accident.  (Probably a happy accident for Meyer and her publishers, considering how fast these books sell.)  Books two and three needed a better editor.  They should’ve been one terrible book, not two worse ones.

Point Four: The Missing Months
Those of you who have read these books know exactly what I’m talking about.  For the three people on earth who haven’t, let me elucidate.  In book two, Edward leaves Bella (SPOILER ALERT!) because he can no longer handle the fact that their romantic involvement endangers her life.  (Partially because he wants to kill her, but also because the “bad vampires” also want to kill her.  I know.)  So after the breakup, Bella collapses in the woods in abject grief and is carried back to her home, or something, where she sits and apparently stares out the window in silence for four months.  I say “apparently” because that’s how Meyer presents it.  You see, in the book, there is no actual writing other than “October,” “November,” “December,” and “January.”  After each month, there is a blank page.  Note to Meyer: In order to write a book, you have to write a book.  Blank pages don’t count.    

Point Five: Edward Needs To Grow a Pair
Like, immediately.  So Edward is in complete and utter love with Bella, upon first glance.  They are soul mates.  Both of them want to be together forever, starting yesterday, no question.  Yet there’s this constant struggle on the part of Edward to be “moral” about changing her into a vampire (this is the same Edward who is a stalker and a murderer, remember).  He laments this impossible predicament ad nauseam over the course of the series.  In a nutshell, he’s damned if he changes her (thereby consigning her to the life that he never wanted for himself or for anyone) and damned if he doesn’t (thereby continually placing Bella in mortal danger of all vamps, everywhere, not the least of which is himself).  Of course, he’s damned either way since he’s a vampire.  The indecisiveness, it is maddening, I tell you.  Edward finally gets off his Lazy-Boy (SPOILER ALERT!) and “vamps” her immediately after she gives birth to their spawn (couldn’t have done it ten minutes earlier, huh, buddy?  To ease the at-home birthing a bit?).  Of course, Bella’s “vamping” is the most interesting part of the entire series, so that’s when Meyer chooses to end it.  Huh.

Point Six: Renesmee
First of all, Renesmee’s full name (as the half-human, half-vampire child of Bella and Edward, and oh yeah: SPOILER ALERT!) is Renesmee Carlie Cullen.  The reason, you ask?  Allow me to explain, via math:

Rene (Bella’s mom) + Esme (Edward’s adoptive mom) = Renesmee
Carlisle (Edward’s adoptive dad) + Charlie (Bella’s dad) = Carlie

I’m certainly glad that Bella and Edward managed to add that final “e” at the end of the first name in order to complete the tricky wordscramble.  For baby #2 I vote for BREDAWALLED.  Why not?

Secondly, at the moment of her birth, Renesmee is “imprinted” upon Jacob’s heart as his soulmate.  Yes, you read that correctly: remember Jacob, he of the unrequited Bella-love?  Jacob, the werewolf, who is nineteen years old?  Well, now he’s super into her newborn baby.  And cue projectile barfing.

Anyway, brilliant readers – there are better love stories.  There are better supernatural thrillers.  And yes, there are even better supernatural love stories.  In closing, I would like to direct you to this, which I do own, and would recommend instead of reading Twilight.  It is excellent, and fitting.



  1. I probably shouldn't admit it, but I read this series as well. I guess my interest was initially piqued because so many people were reading them and I wanted to know what the fuss was all about. It was an excruciating read. there was just enough story there that I was compelled to finish it, but the pages and pages of Bella's brooding was just about more than I could bare. More fuel for your fire: As I read these books I kept thinking, "Man, women really over-analyze a situation and sure go out of their way to think crazy thoughts." So, the Twilight series has now provided me an important insight into the minds of women everywhere. :)

  2. love it. Now I do not feel compelled at all to read the series just to know what people are talking about. It sounds as awful as I feared - especially the 4 missing months. Seriously? Actually the entire thing sounds ridiculous.

  3. But, Sarah, Edward has such cold, marbly, skin. That makes up for him being a stalker right??? ;) Friggin HILARIOUS!!! Bredwalled. HA!

  4. TWILIGHT bothers me on a multitude of layers as with you. Undeath is not a viable LIFE style. DUH! Edward is a pedophile ( very old man in a young undead body). I could go on but my nose is about to bleed. LOL.

    I have written a YA urban fantasy, THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH. He and a ghoul do fall in love quickly -- as a result of their very thoughts, hurts, and insecurities merging : it changes them, for they see each other with no walls between them, no poses.

    But Victor is under no illusion : he knows one day Alice's hunger for his flesh will overcome her hunger for his heart. But he has risked his life for years on the street for simple food and shelter. To have just one magical night with someone who sees him for what he is and cares for him anyway ... is worth his life. Have a great day, Roland

    1. Roland, welcome! Totally agree, Edward is a pedophile. Ick. Thanks for the comment!

  5. What? Oh God.

    Your review was so funny though I almost want to read the series -- just so I can hate it, too!

    1. thanks emily! and welcome! :>) but please DON'T. you will live to regret it.

  6. Sarah, you said it perfectly, it is just like crack laced with rat poison. It was addictive but yes, god awful. The end was the most interesting. I personally found Stephanie's diarrhea-of-the-pen frustrating. I had to flip through several pages (several times!) to see when she was going to get to the point. And spot on with the lackluster Bella character, both in book and in movie. By the way, I am loving your blog. Keep the reviews and rants coming! :-)

    1. thanks for the comments & compliments, makes my day!

  7. great start, Sarah! Can't wait to read more! Bec

  8. I am CRYING (note all caps), literally, tears are pouring down my cheeks. Sarah, this is so funny, I want to sit with you and read it so we can laugh together. Although hard to pick just one, I think my very favorite lines: "This does not imply quality, only compulsive readability. Even cheap crank laced with rat poison is still addictive." oh, or "Books two and three needed a better editor. They should’ve been one terrible book, not two worse ones." I could go on and on and ON! LOVE LOVE LOVE.

    1. this is why i've been pestering you to read it all week! i knew you would relate!!! :>) thanks friend!

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  10. Hi Sarah:

    My name is Jess and I'm an independent author/artist/non-conformist.

    I wanted to send you an email but couldn't find one on your profile, so I've decided to make a quick post here re: a Twilight parody I recently completed.

    I was wondering if you would be interested in sharing an excerpt from my parody via a blog post, or if you'd like to read/review the parody (titled "Literary Heroin").

    I have more info about it on my website @

    If it's something that interests you, please contact me and I'll send an eBook copy as soon as I can.

    Thanks for your time and consideration :)!


    1. hi jess, yes! please send me an excerpt via email at thanks for reading!