Friday, August 28, 2009

Twilight: One Geek Guy's Look at the Novel

Twilight. The phenomenon that's causing geeky teen girls and their moms to swoon at anything remotely vampire-ish or sparkly. As a guy and a horror fan, I've been appalled at nearly everything I've heard about this series. From what I gathered from overheard conversations and my wife's incessant recommendations, Stephanie Meyer's tale is a sappy story about a "mary jane" character who falls for the hunky perfect guy who happens to be a vampire. That, in and of itself, isn't bad. Sounds about right for a Harlequin Romance for teens. But then the horror fan in me boots up. These aren't vampires! The creatures in Twilight don't burn in sunlight (They sparkle for Stoker's sake!), you can't kill them by staking them through the heart, they have no aversion to garlic and/or holy symbols. Other than the fact that they're immortal and drink blood, they hold with absolutely NONE of the traditional vampire lore! (And don't get me started on the werewolves! But they don't show up 'til book 2 so that may never be covered on my blog.)

So far, I'd heard nothing that attracted me to this series in the least. a supportive husband who's wife is a self-confessed Twi-hard and someone who can put traditional horror ideas aside (I do like the Necroscope books after all), it was only a matter of time before I gave in and either watched the movie or read the book. Being the masochist that I am, I went the book route which took me weeks (Why so long? I'll explain later.) instead of the 2 hours that the movie would've done.

So, without I'll answer the question that all the geek guys are asking... is it worth reading?


Read this book only if you have nothing better to read or you're trying to impress the ladies or your significant other. I told my wife that the worst parts of this book were the beginning, middle and end but that's not entirely accurate. It's not a terrible book by any means and does have some good stuff but there are 3 very weak points that make it into something that I will never read again and they do appear at the beginning, middle and end of the book.

Weak Point #1 (the beginning): Bella. The central character in the novel. This is the most whiny, self-centered, complaining character I've ever come across. Yes. I realize she's a teenage girl but I don't remember the girls I hung out with in high school complaining and being all "woe is me" this much. The situation is made worse by the fact that the entire novel is first person and narrated by her. However, her demeanor really only grated on me terribly at the start of the novel when she was alone and wandering around. In fact, I put it down for days at a time while trying to get through the opening scenes and that's why it took me so long to read. Once the vampires showed up, it became tolerable and I got to reading in earnest.

Weak Point #2 (the middle): The meadow scene. You've all heard about the sparkly vampires but, in the novel, you only actually see the sparkles one time and it's the most sappy crap scene in the entire thing. Edward (the hunky vampire) takes Bella (the whiny damsel in distress) to a secluded meadow in the forest where they constantly try to kiss only to have him continually pull back due to his blood lust. Meanwhile, Bella's getting all hot and bothered and just keeps teasing him. After pages of this crud, I was hoping he'd just give in and kill her. But instead, they kiss and then Edward shows Bella why he doesn't go into the sunlight. He takes of his shirt and shows that his skin sparkles. In the book though, he doesn't look like a disco ball as I was led to believe. Instead, he looks more like a rock that has shiny sparkly bits in it. I can understand this. I get it. It's a different take on vampires. Like I said, I can put tradition aside and view them in a new light. And I am a romantic kind of guy so I get the kissy bits, but this scene seemed to go on forever and, for that reason alone, it almost lost me.

Weak Point #3 (the end): The final quarter of the book finally picks up the pace and turns into a semi-cool action/thriller when a group of rogue vampires show up. One of them, a tracker (apparently he tracks things really well) called James sets his sights on Bella for a sporting hunt. At this point, the thought crossed my mind that maybe I'd read the second book in the series. After all, the second book has werewolves and, if it continued this spirit of action, it may not "suck" as bad as the first one. However, that thought was blown away as I was treated to a brutal case of reader's blue balls when Meyer's loses her nerve and doesn't even show the final showdown between Edward and James. What we get instead (and this is yet another reason to hate that the book's narrated by the damsel) is a scene in which James rushes in to attack Bella only to have her pass out and wake up once the fight is over. James is dead and there's mention of lots of blood but where's the fight!? After all that build-up, there's...nothing.

If they'd changed the narration to third person, shortened the meadow scene and actually described the final battle, I would very likely be recommending Twilight to you right now. But, as it stands, I didn't like it. I may read book 2 eventually because my wife tells me there's more action and intrigue but not until I finish a few of the other books on my reading list. We'll see...

My overall score: 2.5 out of 5


  1. Thanks for the honest review. I've heard variations on this from others and the one movie scene I watched burned me badly. I will not be wasting my time on anymore of it.