12 December 2008

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

After hearing Twilight raved about by three young women of varying age (20-something, high school senior, and a 14 year old), I decided it was time to give it a try. I'm all for books that get the non-reading into reading and all three of these ladies were non-readers now hooked on reading these books.

What I found was a YA romance, well-written, but with just not enough paranormal "omph" to hook me and make me forget that I was reading a YA romance.

I'm not a romance reader--my personal feeling is that romances (book, TV or movie) tend to give susceptible females false expectations for relationships. Our typical YA readers most certainly fall into that category and this book most certainly paints a unrealistic relationship picture. Of course, as a published romance-writer friend of mine points out, that's why a lot of people read romances. As long as they are able to understand the difference between "romance" and real life. . . but it has been my personal experience that this is not usually so. Hence, my unkeen-ness on reading such a silly romance story. But, if a story line and fantasy world can grab me enough (J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood, for instance), I'll read your most R-rated sappy romances and happily.

Twilight just didn't grab me. Meyer, while she writes smoothly and well-enough, did not present a fantasy world that was believable to me. If you are going to break with fantasy-world tradition, give some good reasons and make it work (again, thinking of J.R. Ward's adult paranormal romances). I was not convinced; yes, vampires are perfect and beautiful because they are designed to be the most perfect predator. But, there is no explanation for that breaking of fantasy rules--other than the obvious fact that they NEED to be perfect and beautiful because they are the good guys and the heroes. This may seem like a picky point to some, but to a serious fantasy reader, it's a serious problem. One just one of many.

Why is it, other than she needed a teenage hero, that a hundred year old vampire has not mentally, emotionally and otherwise developed over the age he was when he turned? I simply can not imagine a hundred year old vampire falling for a teen, except to think "yuck". It just seems wrong to me, sorry.

And then there is the plot-turning action toward the end. . . I won't spoil it for those that haven't read it yet, but I wasn't convinced at all. None of it felt believable. It felt like simply another plot point but in to throw hero and heroine together.

When all is said and done, it was nothing more than a YA romance with some paranormal thrown in. No matter how smoothly it flowed, and it did, and how well she writes in general (paranormal lines, excluded), it was not an out-of-the-ordinary experience for me.

Now, I'm not downing the fans or this series. I don't like romance and it takes special books to make me look over the romance element and get involved (*thinks J.R. Ward, again*). This just was not one of them. I am thrilled that she is reaching a non-reading audience and I hope that audience branches out and reads more and hopefully even other genres. It just wasn't for me.


Anonymous caroline said...

maybe she wasn't trying to write a fantasy story, but a storyline that looks like present day with some fantasy thrown in it - just enough to have a YA reader enjoy questioning reality.....

8:20 PM  
Blogger Medbie said...

Good point Caroline, about questioning reality and you know that I dig that and feel that it is important for us all--though to my mind, any element of fantasy is still "fantasy" and should be treated as such. But then I'm a purist to a fault.

Now, like I said, even though I didn't like it myself, I'm glad that pre-teens and teens (like your girls) are reading and enjoying the series. Like with the Harry Potter series, readers of this may branch out, try more (and to my mind better) fantasy authors (Diana Wynne Jones, CS Lewis, Robin McKinley, Jenny Nimmo) or other genres and become voracious readers as time progresses. I'm all for that!

8:52 PM  

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