I finished reading the Twilight books. Why do I do these things to myself? Impressions after the fold.
Ok…so in New Moon Edward decides to take off for reals and most of the book is about Bella and her friend Jacob being inappropriately friendly considering her crippling emotional problems and total lack of romantic interest. Pretty much nothing happens.
In Eclipse, the most disturbing book of them all, Bella and her boys (Edward and Jacob) are in this weird emotionally-unhealthy love triangle. Some vampire tries to kill Bella — aaaand that’s pretty much the book. The reason I say this one was the most disturbing was because of how frustratingly stupid it was regarding Bella’s relationships. Everyone would say “this sucks/is wrong/etc” and then would do it anyway. There’s a part in the book where within a page and a half, Bella goes from “I should kiss Jacob” to “I’m having an epiphany, I have to let him go” (the word epiphany is actually used) to kissing Jacob anyway. That was some epiphany…if you completely change the definition of the word.
Finally, in Breaking Dawn there’s a huge vampire stand-off. The whole book sets it up. Dozens of vampires show up to a final show down. There are entire scenes where Bella sets up a passport etc for certain characters to escape. And then NOTHING FRAKKING HAPPENS. I’m not even kidding. There they are, in a field, getting ready for battle, a bunch of battle-y things getting set up and then NOTHING FRAKKING HAPPENS. They walk away. Everyone. And the end line is, seriously: “And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever. the end.”
Are you frakking kidding me? I read 4 books for that?! I’m not exaggerating. I want you to know that I’m being completely serious, so I’ll spell it out one more time: The ultimate climax of the entire series of books is that a ginormous group of vampires with special powers gathers for a confrontation and NOTHING FRAKKING HAPPENS.
The books are peppered with good points (the Quileute legends, the character’s back stories, the gnarly powers) but all of those points are lost in that they go absolutely nowhere. They are just stuck in the books disjointedly with no connecting theme. And to have that all set up for 4 books and then use none of it is a crime upon literature.
Were I younger with a less academic eye, I may have liked these books…until I got to the end and realized that the author couldn’t come up with an ending so she essentially didn’t write one. But the question on most people’s minds isn’t about how good or bad the books are, it’s about how “appropriate” they are for 12 year-olds. I would say that they are, to a point. I would advise parents to read anything their kids are reading (same goes for TV really) so they can talk about it rather than censor their virgin eyes/ears from anything “offensive”. My biggest objections come with Book 3 where we learn that if a girl isn’t interested, you just have to force yourself on her hard enough until she caves, because secretly she’s totally into it. Other than that, the book mostly suffers from sucking so hard their brains may vacuum out of their eyes.
So should our kids read it? Sure, why not. But IMO, we should encourage them to read much better books too so they can gain an appreciation for a decent story, and literature in general, rather than reading and re-reading the same 4 crappy books. The whole point of reading is imagination, of which these books are sorely lacking.