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Book review: <i>Twilight</i> by Stephanie Meyer

the cover of the book

What if Joss Whedon wrote like an 8 yr old, Buffy was a petulant, crying moron and Angel was her self flagellating bitch? Stephanie Meyer would be $70 million poorer, that’s what.

Story (or: Vampire love is the best kind of love, but not the safest)

So essentially every love story is the same- Person A meets Person B, stuff happens, they are meant to be, live happily ever after, yada yada yada. Add in some vampires and that’s pretty much the general gist of this “novel”.

Bella Swan moves herself to the tiny town of Forks to live with her father, despite the fact that she hates everything about the town. Although she seems to instantly fit in at her new high school, she seems to draw the immediate hatred of local outcast Edward Cullen. And there our romance begins. Let the swooning commence.

The good (or: I’m overrun with hormones so you can probably skip this part)

All forthcoming bitchiness aside, there are actually some good points to this book. Maybe the correct word would be “few”, but they’re there. My hands just cramped up, ooh, maybe they can tell I’m reaching.

For starters, and for all you romantics out there, the love story is almost quite lovely. Almost. I’m biased completely as Edward is my dream man put down on paper. Very basically put down on paper. In crayon.

Ak, I can’t do it, lets move on.

The bad (or: I have to write this before I see the film and my loin burning lust for Robert Pattinson clouds my judgment)

Oh lordy, this could be long. This section could be its own book. They could sell it alongside “Twilight” in the bookstores. They could have a deal, “Twilight” and “101 Reasons To Avoid This Book Like the Freakin’ Plague” for $19.95. But I’ll cut to the chase.

Meyer may have created some interesting characters, she may have even created a beautiful romance, but she’s managed to do it with what seems like a very limited ability to actually write. Much like if you were to ask child to draw a picture of a house, you know what they’d draw- square, triangle roof, square windows, rectangle door. It sure looks like a house, you can’t fault them that, but put it next to an experienced painters idea of a house and it becomes glaringly obvious that the child has a heck of a lot to learn. Not that I’m blaming the child for their lack of drawing ability, they’re only a child, but Meyer went and got this thing published, and wrote more; she obviously refuses to learn.

There are brief hints that maybe she may have some grasp on the English language however, and you think this would make the book more readable. It doesn’t. Instead her insertions of fluffy, florid prose here and there are just jarring to the story. It’s like the child has suddenly picked up a paintbrush and started oil panting over their previous drawing. Or that the editor has read the paragraph and insisted that some actual writing be used.

The writing may almost be excusable had the characters (some obvious exceptions, sigh) been in any way shape or form likeable. Bella comes across as petulant, difficult, controlling and thick as not just two, but several short planks held together with some more planks. Seriously, the girl must have some form of deficiency. I have a feeling that if Edward had walked up to her on day one with a big sign saying “VAMPIRE” and an arrow pointing straight at him, leaned over and said “Hi, I’m a vampire. I live off the blood of living things”, and had his siblings pop up and say “Yep, it’s true, we’re vampires too” it would still take another 14 weeks for it to occur to her that he may possibly be a vampire.

There’s so much more that I could write about, like how we’ve heard this story a million times before, or how the main characters only ever seem to scowl or throw “unreadable looks” at each other almost rendering the idea that they’re meant for each other pointless, there’s not enough of the romance that makes it barely readable, characters aren’t fleshed out enough and that all of the motivation behind anything that happens is implied and left hanging (and wont really be understood until Meyer releases her version of Twilight from Edward’s perspective- yes, it’s happening people). But I think there’s a bandwidth limit I have to keep in mind, so this will have to do for now.

What I learnt (or: A monkey holding a pencil doth not a writer make)

Hmm. Maybe I learnt that true love can overcome all odds, even the never ceasing desire to rip your “one’s” throat out and feast away. But, you know, I have a feeling that any of Bella’s lovers would have the same desire, well, the throat ripping part anyway. Completely understandable.

Let’s face the fact. This book isn’t going to teach you a goddamn solitary thing. Patience, maybe, if you manage to get through to the end (and to be honest, I’ve read the rest and I’d just leave it at this one- the torture really isn’t worth it- this is as good as it gets), but that’s it. It isn’t an earth shattering, mind altering book. It’s frustrating. It’s clumsy. It’s, well, read the above section.

At least it leaves hope for everyone out there short of cash that they can scratch out a somewhat legible story and make crap loads of money.

Rating (or: Ok, I’ll admit it, I would have Edward 17 ways from Sunday, but I’m weak and hormonal and would probably have your babies too if you batted your eyelids enough)

Ok, I’m going to have to give this two separate rating. I’d personally take the first with a smaller grain of salt than I’d take the second. Unless your body is being slowly over-run with hormones like a 14 girl as mine are, then I’d go with the second.

Rating for those who actually enjoy reading and have a slight grasp on the English Language: 1.5/10

Rating for the hopelessly romantical person who doesn’t really care about losing brain cells whilst reading: 6/10

In short

Title: Twilight
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers; Standard edition
ISBN: 0316015849
Year published: 2006
Pages: 544
Genre(s): Fantasy
Review Type: 


I liked your review Phoebe, well done. You made me laugh with your witty rants. They're all spot on. The books read worse than a Dan Brown novel, and that's saying a lot.

It seems you've hit on some sensitive areas with the rabid Twilight fans! They're like a bunch of snarling dogs...'Don't touch my Edward and Bella, grrrrr!'

So what if it got teenagers reading? Whoopdy bloody doo. If your teenager isn't reading by now then you've got a real problem on your hands and no amount of Twilight is going to dress the issue up. Good lord, you must be a proud parent indeed, 'Look my Tiffany can read! She read the whole entire series of Stephenie's Twilight Saga!' Ooooh you must be so proud!

If you were a proper parent and instilled in them a love of real literature (and I'm not just talking about Shakespeare, broaden your horizons just a little bit please girls) from a young age maybe they would be reading, enjoying and appreciating well written novels.

So what if it topped the Australian best seller list, that means absolutely nothing! All it means is that it sold quickly, not a lifetime of sales. If a book sells five thousand copies in a week, for instance, it's more likely to make some list in some capacity when that week's sales numbers are calculated. So Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice would win hands down every time as a bestseller. Oh and Mr Darcy (sigh) would run circles around silly little Edward in terms of character depth and moodiness!

If it's vampires that make you women play crazy eights with yourselves then read Bram Stoker's Dracula, that's an exquisitely written vampire romance right there.

It sucked and it's cliche to the highest point. I regretted reading it, and I understand what you meant by her writing like a child. I totally thought so too, but I couldn't vice my opinions since everyone seemed crazed about her books. And seeing from the comments you've gotten, I'm pretty sure you have some haters right now. But one thing is true, Meyers can't write at all. I think my stories are way better than her, yet I get so many bad comments on it :( sad world ain't it? The bad writers gets the 70M and I'm stuck without a praise about my work...
Ah, the joy of life

Phoebe, you almost took the words right out of my mouth. The one thing I slightly disagree upon is Meyer's writing ability. I wouldn't exactly call Meyer a monkey with a pencil; in fact, I believe she just needs a bit (no, make that a lot) of polishing. Kind of like a diamond in the rough, no? Actually, she's more like cubic zirconium or fool's gold than a diamond. Maybe if she read some classics and perhaps some Stephen King, her writing would fare better. As it is now, her writing has put me to sleep countless times. Ten paragraphs over a description of Edward's fairy sparkles can get a tad bit dull. She focuses on all the wrong things.

As for characterization, I couldn't agree with you more. Meyer's characters are shallow, whiny, childish, and/or creepy control freaks. Bella is a complete whiny baby. No one in her family has died, she's not constantly ridiculed at school, and she's not ugly as hell, yet she constantly bemoans her suckish life. It makes me gag in revulsion. She's a senior, for God's sake, but she still acts like she's ten and lacking in candy. Edward is like Bella's father- not allowing her to do anything dangerous. Don't touch that light bulb, Bella, it might electrocute you. Don't eat that PB&J sandwich, Bella, the peanut butter might get stuck in your throat and cause cardiac infarction. Don't talk to strangers, Bella, they might tell you to stop whining and thus hurt you fragile feelings. Why don't you just stay inside all day while I dress you up in this nice straitjacket to keep you safe? And Jacob- God, Jacob. What a baby. Just when it seems like he's going to be a badass again, he goes off and runs away over Bella's rejection. And as for his bonding with Bella's daughter? Hella creepy. This book is full of pedophiles. Find someone more worthy, Jacob. (Like me. :P)

Argh, seriously. The characters aren't well-rounded. They're shallow and very flat. Meyer needs to take some lessons before she releases any more mind-numbing books.

Now, you haters, go screw yourselves over. If you don't like my opinion, don't talk to me. Haters gonna hate, but if you do hate, I'll just laugh and ignore your angry little yammerings. Cheers.

this girl, no thats not right, the IT that wrote this review has some serious problems. this book id very good and the only reason i think you wrote this horendous review is because shephenie meyer wrote this fabulus book and you didnt. jelousy isnt very attractive.if it wasnt a good book then why would it have sold millions of copies all over the world? i think you just want some attention and that is very sad. i think you should get over yourself and get some therapy couse honey you need it. im sorry you have serious brain issues. i truly am

I salute you for this review.

I salute you for this review.