Not only have I managed to start and finish a book in the midst of a huge reading slump, I managed to read a 550 page book in a weekend. Take that reading slump!
So this probably shouldn't have been the book I chose to binge read considering the fact that some of my most anticipated releases came out this month, but at least it got me reading.
Now, I'm going to start off by saying that the reader in me mostly enjoyed this, but the writer and critic in me did not. There is a difference between rich detail and excessive detail. The former providing clever imagery without droning, while the latter just seems to give you details that don't add anything to the story. I felt like this book had so much excessive detail to a point where Stephanie Meyer was mentioning every single meal Bella ate, and exactly what she ate. This does not add anything to the story, and honestly just frustrates a reader, especially when they have little time to read.
I also felt as though the characters were rather flat. Although there was a TON of description, especially towards the character's actions, they didn't seem to have much personality. They felt very two-dimensional, and not as though they could be real people you meet. I'll get into this a bit more in my spoiler section.
This book is 3 stars on my scale, because it was an entertaining story, but was lacking in the writing. I feel like a lot of the hype surrounding it is about the storyline, which is somewhat amusing to me. When people let themselves become too attatched to the actual book, what I've found is they start to overlook the technical aspects of the story. As a reviewer, it is my job to point out the technical aspects as well as the entertainment level, and find a proper balance. I feel like some of the effort gone into imagining Bella's countless meals could've instead been spent trying to add more dimension to the characters.
Now, if you haven't read this book, go read it and come back so we can discuss it. Bye non-spoiler people!
Ok, so into the character dissection we go:
- Bella: Bella was...annoying to say the least. I feel for her clumsiness factor, I'm one of the clumsiest people I know, but no one is THAT uncoordinated. And this is coming from someone who fell off her bike whilst biking on FLAT GROUND and skinned half of her face. Her character needed more depth than what we got in the book. She was such a perfectly made character, always doing her homework and making dinner, but adding the flaw of her clumsiness didn't make her any more real. If anything, it made her look even more fake, like "Look! Here's a character that's almost perfect, but wait, she's the clumsiest person to ever have stumbled upon the earth, so she can't be criticized as perfect!" Characters need to have more than one or two flaws to be a good character, and their words and actions should help characterize them. The fact that we were inside her head and still could not feel much towards her meant that Stephanie Meyer really needs to work on more realistic characters. Bella was also annoyingly stupid, wanting to become a vampire right away so she could "be with Edward forever." Did anyone else find it absolutely ridiculous that by page 300 they said they loved each other? I am by no means an expert in the love department (or even qualified in that matter), but even I know that it takes more than 300 pages since meeting to declare it love. I felt like adding this just seemed to belittle their relationship, making it seem rushed rather than genuine. I didn't like Bella's character most of the time, but I'm hoping I'll get to like her better as the series goes on.
- Edward: I don't know what to say about Edward. I thought he was one of the better developed characters. Even though he had all of his powers and his way over Bella's heart, he was somewhat of a showoff and was always on the verge of losing control. I felt like the scene where he's sucking the poison out of her blood added a lot to his character because it showed that he really wasn't sure of his strength to fight his vampire instinct. On the other side, he seemed too protective towards Bella too fast. He'd barely talked to her, yet had the impulse to save her life from the car because he 'loved' her. I just felt like the romance went too fast on both sides of the relationship, which just cheapened the whole thing. Also, was anyone really freaked out by the fact that he WATCHES HER SLEEP AT NIGHT. I think what bothered me more was how quickly she got over it. I probably would've slapped him or something because that is an invasion of privacy, and is in NO WAY cute. To any men out there, don't watch your crush sleep at night. It's just disturbing.
- The Cullens: I feel like there isn't enough to say about each Cullen to make them separate bullet points, so I'm just going to lump them all together. I loved Carlisle, he was a way better father figure than Charlie. As a character, he was one of the most developed just because we learned of his battle against his nature. Esme was also a great mother figure, but not a whole lot to her. I'm hoping we get to explore her character a bit more because she seems like she would have a very interesting backstory. On to the children, I had mixed feelings. I loved Alice, she was a very strong character, and opposed the side Bella showed of being a girl. Instead of being a weak damsel in distress, Alice was a strong (inside and out) figure who still had a feminine side. I loved that Bella didn't mention her beauty every time she saw Alice, because it allowed Alice to be seen as more than just beautiful. Rosalie, on the other hand, was only described for her beauty, and I'm hoping that we can learn more about her. I think she has her reasons from staying away from Bella (not that I blame her) and I'd like to know more about her character. Jasper really intrigued me with his ability to read emotions, but we didn't get to know him much just because he kept his distance from Bella. Something similar with Emmett, too. He was a nice person, but didn't have much to define him as a character.
- Charlie: Honestly, Charlie just seemed like a nuisance to me. His only real role right now is to just be an incentive for Bella to stay human. He doesn't really do anything for himself or Bella, and seems to have no interest in her. I wish his character had a bit more life to him, and I hope we see that in the later books.
So those are my thoughts on Twilight. I've already started New Moon and I'm hoping to get a review up for that. At this point, I think I'm going to get rid of series reviews just because they take too long to write, and the memories of the first book become quite fuzzy by the time I finish the last book.
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