Why do I do this to myself?
February 18, 2009

I really don’t want to waste any time writing a coherent review of New Moon. So, here are my thoughts, in no particular order. There might be some spoilers below, but I think most of us know all the sordid details by now anyway.

  • I don’t like obsessive love. People too often use it as an excuse to be immature, selfish, and cruel. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Bella and Edward.
  • For someone who is supposed to be markedly smarter and more mature than your average teen, Bella has to be one of the most juvenile, dim-witted characters I’ve ever encountered.
  • Bella seems so determined to be a member of the Cullen family that she completely disregards and disrespects her real family. Remember when she claimed waaay back in Twilight that Renee was her best friend? Doesn’t really act like it, does she?
  • Note to authors: Suicide is not romantic. Please stop trying to make it so.
  • The story of Romeo and Juliet is also not romantic. It’s morose and disastrous and depressing. That’s why the correct title is The TRAGEDY of Romeo and Juliet. Plus, Juliet is THIRTEEN. And the entire life span of R&J’s love is FOUR days. That’s right, met on Sunday, died on Wednesday. And this is your model for everlasting love?
  • As far as epiphanies go, Bella’s was laaame. “I hear Edward’s voice in my head. That means he really loves me!” Okaaay.
  • After 400 pages of SLOW buildup (Bella’s in pain, terrible, terrible pain, therefore she must cradle herself strangely and rebel in cliched ways and string along a friend in an attempt to soothe her hurt soul, because she’s in Pain), the final 150 pages or so seemed weirdly slap-dash and tacked on. A crazy race against the clock in sunny Italy featuring Certain Death and an eeeeevil vampire cabal? Where the hell did that come from?
  • I tried to find something positive to say about New Moon, I honestly did, but I just came away from it thinking Bella’s not a particularly nice person. And I have yet to see anything in this series that looks like true, enduring love.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I have put my name on the waiting list for Eclipse. I just have to see where this goes. I mean, how much more ridiculous can it get?

P.S. If you must use references to R&J ad nauseum, how about throwing out this bit of wisdom:

These violent delights have violent ends,
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in its own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.
Therefore love moderately: long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.

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A far cry from Bram Stoker
January 13, 2009

And now, for part two of my “What I read on Christmas vacation” report: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.

TwilightTwilight reads as if written by a precocious teenager. In fact, if it had been, I would probably have been pretty impressed. Alas, it is not. The writing is unsophisticated and transparent (that’s either good or bad depending on your point of view), and the plotline is nothing short of predictable. That being said, there is something mesmerizing and slightly addictive about Twilight. It’s almost like the literary equivalent of Tomacco. I admit to breezing through its 500+ pages in just a few days. When Buki asked me if I’d liked it, I couldn’t honestly answer yes or no. Instead, I could only say that I understand completely what the appeal of it is.

I can definitely appreciate why it is fascinating to a certain segment of the population (mainly of the young, XX variety). The strong, protective alpha male who is nonetheless completely enthralled by the heroine is a common enough plot device and shows up frequently in both YA and adult literature. He’s dangerous but not bad (a stellar little bit of hair-splitting) and is able to overcome his dark, base nature for the love of the right (and righteous) girl. So, to those readers who feel that breaking into a girl’s home to watch her sleep is creepy and stalker-ish, I have to remind you that there are those who feel it to be swoon-tastically romantic and a sign of the intensity (and therefore quality) of his love.

As to the adolescent nature of the writing, I have to say that, though sometimes extremely annoying and repetitive, it is also appropriately indicative of the age and maturity of the narrator. Let’s not forget that our steadfast heroine is only seventeen after all. So, I think we can forgive her for her sometimes angsty and overwrought prose, such as the rather trite comparison of her lover to Adonis. The plot device I have the hardest time swallowing is, well…the SPARKLING. I would possibly have had an easier time with it if the author had been more scientific about it, stressing the properties by which Edward’s skin reflects or manipulates light. But to simply say that he *sparkled* is so twee it almost hurts. Again, this is really an adjective that a love-struck teenager may use to describe the effect, but in this case that doesn’t help me much. I at least have to give Meyer credit for trying to think outside the normal vampire mythology. Still…sparkles?

So, what made me finish Twilight and, furthermore, put my name on the reserve list for New Moon? Well, a book doesn’t need to be high art to be entertaining. Heck, it need not even be very good, so long as it resonates with you in some fashion. For me, Twilight made me oddly nostalgic for my high school years. That’s saying quite a bit considering there isn’t much that I would ever miss about that time in my life, aside from a handful of spectacular friends and a complete lack of adult responsibilities.

In the end, Twilight is nothing more or less than a romance fantasy. While I wasn’t over the moon about it, I certainly wouldn’t give anybody else a hard time for loving it to little tiny pieces. After all, I know there are many who would shudder with horror at some of my reading choices (Shell Scott, you say? Oh, yeah.). Of course, I fully reserve the right to snark to my heart’s content if the next book contains one or more of the following: angsty “I love you but I shouldn’t but I do anyway” dialogue; repeated use of hackneyed phrases; numerous situations involving Certain Death; repeated references to Edward’s marble-like physique, cold (yet arousing?) lips, golden/black eyes, or speedy Volvo.