Friday, 15 January 2010

My response to a question about Twilight, which you probably shouldn't read if you enjoyed the books...

I was on the internets, insulting mainstream pop culture as usual, when the question arose: Why did I think twilight was so bad?

So here is my answer so far, in full. Bear in mind that this is the full text of my replies to two one-line questions. I feel kind of cruel and rubbish for jumping on the Twilight-sucks bandwagon, but I also feel smart for not resorting to caps lock and trolling.

Why did you think the books were so bad?

Like I say, I only read the first one.

It wasn't written very well- Stephenie Meyer isn't exactly adventurous in her phrasing or the words she uses. I've read a lot of young adult/teenage fantasy and it just isn't up to the standard set by things like Harry Potter or Discworld. I know it's not quite the same as Twilight is 'real world' not magical world, but it's still about things that are not real in this universe.

It doesn't really fit in with other vampire books- I understand it's a new take on vampires and everything, but there's a proper mythology that most vampire stuff sticks to (Interview with the Vampire, the Sookie Stackhouse books, Buffy etc) and it's kind of bizarre that someone effectively ignores all the things people imagine when they hear 'vampire' and still writes a story about it.

Bella is a Mary Sue, a character who is so generic and vague that literally every reader identifies with her- it's one thing having empathy, but a good character will be fleshed out enough that they become a separate entity to yourself in your imagination rather than you being able to project your own life onto them.

So there you go. Not a standard everyone should go by, by any means, but I was expecting something different from a vampire novel.

But is it not a good thing that it's so different? Do you not think its a fantastic love story?

Well, no actually. It could have been lovely, but it turned out as something I wouldn't want any daughter of mine to read.

Edward is possessive, jealous and manipulative. If I saw a friend of mine with someone like that, I would be worried that there was potential for domestic violence. Anyone who wants to control you or freaks you out with things they do (like his insanely fast driving) is not a good person to be in a relationship with. I know these are meant to be 'vampire' personality traits but they're really not something for young girls to look for in a relationship. You and I both know it's just a story, but it seems (from looking around on the internet in general) that a lot of people really do want their Edward. That scares me. Women have been fighting for so long to make sure girls don't grow up thinking it's okay to be treated like shit, and now this comes along and tells them the opposite- and they listen to that instead.

It is a good thing that it's not the same as other vampire novels, I can admit that. However, I would say that's because young people will be exposed to a wider range of reading material through picking up a teenage romance like Twilight rather than because of the content. A few of those kids might end up being into science fiction, historical fiction, horror... or reading anything they can. Getting more people reading is always a good thing really.

So there we go. Crazy feminist bookworm (who, incidentally, also disliked Twilight for the total lack of sexyness) reviews a book series based on about three-quarters of the first book. I should probably read the rest before I comment really, but OH WELL. The thing is, a lot of kids go apeshit crazy over this stuff, and it's basically Dan Brown with domestic violence. To be fair, I would have read it at fourteen and loved it, but at fourteen I also liked Rollin by Limp Bizkit and Orlando Bloom. Teenagers have shitty taste in everything. It's not fair to expose them to stuff that tells them abusive relationships are something to aspire to while you're feeding them trashy novels, they're already fucked up enough without that sort of thing.

I blame the Mormons.

Comments welcome as always, I most definitely welcome opposing views on the series or the views of people who managed to make their way through all the books. You can insult my goth-lite reading/fapping material if you like, I don't mind. You know I love a good argument. Then again, I already know that my own collection of vampire novels is nothing more than porn for girls like me who tread the line between nerdy and spooky (you know, like most of the vagina-owners reading this. Admit it. You LOVE Lestat).

Conclusion: I am worryingly proud of some words I posted elsewhere on the internet, where I was mean about something somebody else loves. Now I want you to tell me how cool I am for dissing Twilight just like all the fashionable people do.


  1. I actually read all three of them, before their following got rabid, because my cousin gave them to me for Christmas. I basically read all of them for the sake of completeness and Because They Were There. And yeah, Edward is massively creepy stalker what the fuck he watches her sleep. (My (other) cousin is obsessed with Twilight. However, as she has the name of one of her ex-boyfriends CARVED INTO HER ARM WITH A RAZOR, I do not give much credit to her opinion on the matter. Also she's sixteen, so.)

    And the SPARKLE!vampire thing is just silly. And annoying, because I'm the kind of person who gets mad at you if you fuck with established mythos. I got very irritated at a book I read the other day because the author had the protagonist brought into the Hill by the Fae. And he feasted with them. AND THEN HE LEFT AND IT WAS ONLY A DAY LATER. And I was very annoyed because it's pretty well established that eating fae food gets you stuck there for a while.

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  3. Oh thank god, I'm not the only one. People always go mental at me for getting annoyed when an author messes with mythology. I'm like NO THAT IS ACTUAL MYTHOLOGY FROM THE REAL WORLD THAT PEOPLE INCORPORATE INTO FICTION, IT SHOWS THEY ARE SMART >:( and then horrible fights break out. Thank you for knowing exactly what I'm talking about.

  4. Also you may see a big ZOMG DELETED post, I made crazy amounts of typos and didn't check so *shrug*

  5. I am a massive mythology geek and I read huge amounts of fantasy, so it drives me up the fucking wall when people fuck it up. I mean, if something is being intentionally played with - like making Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother a werewolf - that's cool, stuff riffing off well-known stories is my favourite genre of anything. But if you pick up something well-known and just ignore half the traditional aspects because you can, you are on my shitlist :P

  6. Exactly. It's like, I love True Blood because it takes the vampire myth and turns it into a civil rights movement. Twisting the myth like that is great because it's creative and interesting. Twilight just seems like Meyer didn't bother to do any research- I read somewhere that she's never seen a horror movie- and like she just made up shit according to her Mormon wet dreams.

  7. Yeah, I think the key difference is between knowing about the myth you're messing with and doing interesting new things with it, and just ignoring it in such a way that for all anyone else knows you're completely ignorant of it.

    Also, I saw some interview thing with her a while ago about how she wrote it and apparently she DID dream it. Which is like, um, this would be why it's so STAGGERINGLY OBVIOUS that Bella is actually you, then. Which would make Edward *actually* her wet dream, which, EW.

    (I don't think I've ever seen a horror movie. But this is because I have a ridiculously overactive imagination and am already afraid of the dark. CREEPYPASTA (and Moffat episodes of Dr Who) give me nightmares, I don't need more ammunition :P)

  8. The few 'horror movies' as opposed to 'sad vampires pout and flick their hair' I've seen have been terrible. The whole genre is pretty much not worth bothering with unless you're watching a film with Christopher Lee in. That guy is amazing.