(Perhaps before continuing you’d like to read my thoughts on how Twilight could’ve been better, found here.)
While reading the Twilight series I took 22 pages of written notes. Most of those notes were ridiculous quotes and excerpts. On each of those pages is a running tally of how many times Edward is described as attractive. There are also a lot of sarcastic, rhetorical questions. So I’ve decided to condense those pages to manageable book reviews to be posted on Goodreads and also posted here (obviously). Enjoy!
New Moon (Twilight #2)
“Edward’s hot” count: 20 (He was absent for much of the book)
The horrible portrayal of a loving relationship continues. The contradictory assessment of Edward continues – he is flawless, but Bella hates when he picks on her truck; he is perfect, but he forces her to do things she doesn’t want to do. Everyone continues to be muscular and attractive, except for Bella I suppose, and the dads. Everyone continues to carry Bella around as if she were a child.
Bella continues to put herself down, so I might as well join in. She always needs to be taken care of. She doesn’t even try. She gives up and lets everyone else save her. She makes herself the damsel in distress. She re-convinces herself she does not deserve love, at least not love from someone as beautiful as Edward. We continue to hear about her bad luck, her clumsiness, and yet see hardly any of that trait in action. She falls every know and again, but who doesn’t?
Everything in Bella’s world continues to revolve around a boy, only this time her unhealthy dependence is on Jacob and not Edward, which actually made this my favorite book in the series. Where Edward was moody and distant, Jacob is warm and friendly. I appreciated the Native American characters (and was bummed to learn there weren’t many – if any – Native Americans cast in the films). I appreciated seeing Bella in a somewhat healthy relationship – hanging out with Jacob, having regular conversations, teasing, etc. Until of course, she starts using him to hear Edward in hallucinations.
By the end of New Moon, I was firmly in the Team Jacob camp. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t go anywhere near the Team Bella camp. Perhaps Meyer would’ve done better to write another female character for Jacob (I know there’s one coming but don’t get me started on that weirdness) and let us see the werewolves and the vampires separately until their final alliance. I suppose the alliance wouldn’t have been quite so desirable to each side without Bella, although why everyone is so determined to keep her dreary butt around is beyond me.
I will say there are some good descriptions, but they should’ve been used more sparingly. Less is more, Meyer. There are only so many times Edward’s voice can be described as velvet before the words starts to lose all meaning. Also, the break-up totally took me off guard. I did not see that coming. I was not sad to see Edward go. I was impressed by Carlisle. He’s legit. And my romantic heart swooned at the marriage proposal. And then my romantic heart was super confused by Bella’s reaction. She is the moon that orbits around his being. She would rather die than live without him. She hyperventilates at the thought of him being angry with her. You’d think she’d jump at the opportunity to marry him! I don’t buy her excuses. Since when has she cared what people think? I see what Meyer was doing – setting up marriage as another bargaining tool (among college, sex, and immortality) for Edward and Bella to each get what they want, but I still don’t buy it.
Eclipse (Twilight #3)
“Edward’s hot” count: 11 (Meyer must assume we’re getting it by now)
Right off the bat, the dumb prelude tells us Bella is still a vampire, which is one of the unanswered questions keeping me going. If I were a less thorough reader, finding that information out in the prelude might have had me skipping straight to the epilogue.
Now that I see where Meyer’s going, I see we could’ve saved a lot of time if she had just sprinkled in Jacob time while Bella was getting to know Edward rather than dedicating a novel to each of them. That model could’ve also provided a healthier picture of relationships. You know, you can still have friends and a boyfriend, too, and it would’ve saved Bella a little face as she wouldn’t have had to put the weight of all her sanity and joy on one boy at a time (first Edward in Twilight, then Jacob in New Moon). She could’ve spread it out a bit. We also could’ve skipped a lot of repetitive conversation (“I’m dangerous!” “I don’t care, you’re so hot!”) in favor for the action that finally comes along in this, the third installment.
As I mentioned in my review of New Moon, I’m still super confused by why Bella doesn’t want to marry Edward. When she is apart from him for even a few hours, she feels horrible. She wants to commit herself to him forever by becoming a vampire. She loves his crooked smile and his velvet voice (really, Meyer, we get it). Why wouldn’t she want to marry him?
I know why I wouldn’t want to marry someone who filled out college applications for me and forbid me from spending time with friends, disabled my car so I wouldn’t go places he didn’t approve of, lied about his feelings for me, repeatedly kept things from me, often stole cars, physically restrained me, and paid his sister to kidnap me, but it’s clear Bella and I are very different gals.
For example, I would never use sex and marriage as bargaining tools.
As the book continues I get more and more concerned about the kind of men Stephanie Meyer must have in her life. Edward is super controlling and at times abusive and then Jacob, who starts out as a solid, dependable friend, starts treating Bella the same way. He uses her fear to make her kiss him. He becomes manipulative just in time for Edward to become noble.
Edward, the same Edward who would growl every time Bella even mentioned Jacob and who forbade her from seeing him, is now inviting Jacob into their tent to snuggle her. It’s like Edward is hostile, angry, and selfish when we need to fall in love with Jacob and then once Edward comes back Jacob becomes the jerk, so we follow Bella to Edward’s stone cold arms again. It is very unrealistic character growth.
Despite his uncharacteristic moments of awfulness, Jacob continues to impress me through to the end. Especially when we remember he is but a mere junior in high school. He continuously tells it like it is in refreshing clarity. This is among my favorite speeches of his: “He’s like a drug for you, Bella. I see that you can’t live without him now. It’s too late. But I would have been healthier for you. NOT a drug; I would have been the air, the sun.”
I bet you would’ve Jacob, but what would Bella have been for you?
Breaking Dawn (Twilight #4)
“Edward’s hot” count: 28
Number of times Edward called Bella “love”: 22
Well, I made it to the end so the Twilight series can’t have been ALL bad, right? The Twilight series can, apparently, be comprised of books that all begin with a life threatening situation right there in the preface, though. Kind of a SPOILER ALERT if you ask me but maybe even Stephanie Meyer wasn’t sure readers would want to plow through the repetitive conversations and various descriptions of Edward’s perfection to get to the end so she provided a little extra motivation in the form of extreme foreshadowing in each preface.
After the preface we jump right back into Bella bashing. But don’t worry, she’s going to just shove on down any negative feelings she has. She doesn’t want to ruin her wedding taking time to “flagellate [herself].” That’s honeymoon stuff.
Let’s talk about the honeymoon. It was weird. And unnecessarily long. We’re just having the same conversations from Twilight about Edward being dangerous and Bella not caring. Then of course, she gets pregnant and we get to talk about that for 100 years. I wrote in my notes, “We’re really dragging this out. Just have the baby already!” and then once she had the baby I lost all interest. I did realize why so many people peg the Twilight series as a fun read – everything is so spelled out and over-explained that you can read the books without exerting yourself AT ALL mentally. Meyer’s not leaving anything to chance here. Which is why by the time we finally got to Part 3 I was skimming, man. Just getting to the end, rooting for Leah and Jacob, which obviously would’ve made too much sense and wouldn’t have been ALL ABOUT BELLA. Bummer for Leah.
-Edward all of a sudden started calling Bella “love” in this one. 22 times, to be exact. “Bella, love.” We get it, he loves her.
-I totally thought Renesmee was a joke and then they actually named their baby that.
-In my opinion, Bella having Jacob’s baby is not only a ridiculous suggested solution to an admittedly tricky problem, but it is also just clearly another stretch of Meyer’s to include Jacob in every aspect of Bella’s life and Edward’s inexplicable compliance.
In short, this one was weird.
It’s all over now. I finally have the facts to back up my dislike for the Twilight series. It’s a good idea of course – a world where vampires and werewolves exist – but, in my mind, not well executed. There are much better books featuring vampires (I read one in particular that I just cannot remember the name of) and I’m sure much better books featuring werewolves. I know there are much better books featuring love triangles (Hunger Games!). I wouldn’t recommend these books to anybody, but I don’t regret having read them. It’s all educational, right? Now whenever I’m working on my book I’ll keep an eye on those descriptions (don’t over do it!).