Skip to content

Love it or Hate it? The Twilight Series

 

love-hate-baby
Have you ever noticed how some books seem to drive a wedge between people? You check the reviews and find almost no middle-of-the-road ratings. Instead people either seem to love it or hate it. Well, welcome to the Love it or Hate it post category! Each month, we’ll pick one book to review and two contributors will battle it out to convince you to pick it up or throw it out. Last month we discussed Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  This was our biggest point differential with the Love its taking over 80% of the votes. Many thanks to John (Hate it reviewer) and Book Worm (Love it Reviewer) for their wonderful reviews.

This month’s selection is not the sort of book we typically feature in this blog and I admit that I’m embarrassed by the choice. Apologies to our new followers who joined us to read reviews about quality literary fiction. I do promise that we will return to quality literary fiction picks for the remainder of the year. So bare with us as we deviate from our literary fiction reviews for one time today. We will make up for it by upcoming reviews of authors like Banville, DeLillo, Kafka, Adichie, and some promising debut works in the next coming weeks.

Without further ado…This month we be voting on the Twilight Saga by Meyer. The names of our two contributors will be revealed after voting closes. Please make sure to vote for this month’s book even if you haven’t read the book! I trust that my faithful readers will make the right decision! The poll is at the bottom of this post.

TheTwilightSagaCollectionBooks

Synopsis (from Wikipedia)Twilight is a series of four vampire-themed, fantasy romance novels by American author Stephenie Meyer. It charts a period in the life of Isabella “Bella” Swan, a teenage girl who moves to Forks, Washington and falls in love with a 104-year-old vampire named Edward Cullen. The series is told primarily from Bella’s point of view, with the epilogue of Eclipse and Part II of Breaking Dawn being told from the viewpoint of character Jacob Black, a werewolf.

Love it (reviewer A): About one thing I am absolutely positive. I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with the Twilight Saga.

Is the writing completely horrible and could benefit from a plethora of synonyms for “beautiful”? Yes.

Is Bella a weak female character who makes me want to lecture every teen girl I see on the dangers of falling for the “bad boy”? Yes.

Am I ashamed that I have read this saga three times? Yes. (But that doesn’t stop me from wanted to read it for a fourth time.)

Did I read it from cover to cover with unfiltered glee and love every cheesy, dramatic, unrealistic second of it? Abso-freaking-lutely.

Unless you live in a nuclear fall-out shelter completely cut off from all human civilization, then you know the basic premise: high school girl falls for hot vampire, manages to befriend gorgeous male werewolf, and lives her fragile mortal life while harboring dreams of being undead.

These books are addictive. They are quick reads and take very little brainpower. What Stephenie Meyer lacks in constructing anything more than a basic, thesaurus-devoid sentence, she makes up with her seeming magic at pulling you into the story. At crafting a narrative that is both blatantly obvious in where it is going and so compelling that you stay up until the wee hours of the night to read one more page, one more chapter.

There is no deep-seated message to be mined from these books. There is nothing that is mind-blowingly amazing that will make you see the world differently. These are pure fluffy amazing tween angst.

And for that glorious break from reality, I give this entire saga the full five shiny star rating. Pair them up with the horribly acted, painfully awkard, yet addictive movies that introduced us to the non-brilliance of K Stew and the broodiness of R Patts, and I don’t know if anything better has come out of popular literature. Ever.

Hate it (reviewer B): I can’t even begin to express how much I hated this series on multiple levels. I should clarify that I read these books as an adult, and the fact the I am guilty of actually having read all of them probably takes away some of my credibility. As I look back on the books today (as the mother of a young daughter), I hate them even more. I wish I could unread them and gain back the IQ points I lost from reading them. Here are top 5 reasons why I hate Twilight.

1. The writing: It’s terrible. Here are some quotes that speak for themselves:

“He was both dazzling and dazzled.”
“He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare.”
“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb… I looked away, hiding my eyes as I thrilled to the word.
‘What a stupid lamb,’ I sighed.
‘What a sick, masochistic lion.’ “

2. Sparkly vampires. I find the trend in recent literature to portray vampires as potential love interests pretty disturbing. It reminds me of the women who fall in love with serial killers through mail correspondence. Twilight takes romanticized vampires to a whole new level. The basic characteristic of vampires is the fact that they prey on humans and turn into piles of ashes in the sun. From the mid-1700s, Vampires have been characterized as demons, evil beings, and malevolent spirits. Vampires should not be dreamy beings that sparkle like diamonds in the sunlight. Bram Stoker is rolling in his grave.

3. The main character. This is my main gripe with the book. The stupidity of the plot, the sparkling vampires, and mind numbingly awful writing aside, Bella Swan is worst part of the book. Bella Swan is everything that I hate in a female protagonist. It boggles the mind that this character was written by a woman. Bella does nothing for the first 2/3 of the books. She spends a majority of the series pining away after her love interest, and when she faces the loss of his presence, she becomes semi-suicidal. Twilight lovers will cry out “but she ultimately saves the day and is powerful.” But how did she become powerful? This is the part that truly kills me. At the risk of giving away spoilers, Bella gains her strength and power through the most stereotypical feminine way imaginable. Disney princesses are like feminist icons compared to Bella Swan.

4. It led to the even worse (if possible) movie adaptations. I tried to watch the first movie with my husband. He turns to me about 20 mins into the movie and says “you have lost all movie picking privileges for the rest of your life.” We couldn’t make it through the full movie. To Kristin Stewart’s credit her blank, vapid performance says more about the protagonist of the book than about Stewart’s acting abilities.

5. It’s targeted to young adolescents/adults. This brings me back to my third point. Do we really want young women to see this book as the example of either idealized relationships or as characteristics toward which to aspire? As adults reading this book, we can see the absurdity in the relationship, but teenagers may see the relationships in the book as something toward which to strive. I know that the last message I want to send my daughter is that when a partner leaves, the best way to win them back would be to engage in self-harm or risky behavior. But don’t worry, those manipulative, self-destructive behaviors are all worth it in the end because you’ll achieve your lifelong goal of marrying and reproducing!

So if you are looking for a well-written series with complex (or even mildly complex), interesting characters and a believable plot line, run for the hills. This book series has none of these qualities. Young adult literature can be (and should be), entertaining, high quality, and contain a strong message. Stephen King captured this best when he said, “Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”

What do you think? Vote in our poll and tell is if you love it or hate it. If you haven’t read it, you can vote on whether you want to or not.

31 Comments Post a comment
  1. Isn’t there a middle ground? I didn’t love it or hate it, but I liked it…

    Like

    June 1, 2015
    • yes, but I force people to chose a side just for this post. So, I guess if you liked it, I’d vote on the positive side and clarify in the comment section. I’ve thought about adding a middle category but I think it works better to have to pick a side 🙂

      Like

      June 1, 2015
  2. Nicole D. #

    OMG LOL!!!! I loved both of your reviews. But I love K Stew more, so I had to love it. But I totally agree with both of you (except the part about the movies being bad … Breaking Dawn II? Love! )

    Liked by 1 person

    June 1, 2015
  3. I had to choose I love it as I loved it more than I hated it. I loved it for a number of different reasons.

    First of all I started reading again from this series. I know it might not be much for most, but for me it was major as I gotten back with books and ultimately it led me back to serious works like DeLilo, Kafka, Mitchell, etc. It got me onto Shelfari and into 1001 Books group. So you must see what I’m talking about 🙂 So if not for anything else, I’ll always love this series for that reason alone.

    I agree with most points from the Hate It review. The biggest one for me is ‘the sparkling vamps’. This is ridiculous and Bram Stoker is turning in his grave! Bella is weak, and she does have suicidal tendencies. BUT!.. I could relate, and I see a lot of teenage girls relate to a point to that. Because, when you think you’re in love, and the ‘love of your life’ left you, you do tend to become more than upset for a day-or-two. I do not agree with what the main character was doing to ‘see him again’, but I do see it being possible. So my point is: I don’t approve of it, but I see it happening in real life without Stephenie Meyer putting it into younger girls’ heads.

    I do like it a lot for the points from the Love It review. It is an easy, no-brain-demanding read, which I might get back to just for the fun of not thinking while reading. You know what, young adults tend to do this too… more often than I’d like to admit. I know your children, or friends might be different, but my son, for example, is reading books for the pure pleasure of reading an interesting story, and he hardly ever thinks about putting himself in place of a character in the book… And you know what? I believe, the majority of kids do the same these days… And those who don’t, I believe they’ll be smart enough to know that this book is just a book, just a story, and all you can get from it is an easy read…

    I hope I didn’t offend anyone with my opinion, and Jen, I don’t think you should apologize for featuring this type of book once in a while… I believe it lets us know that you girls are open to any book, any opinion, even if you yourselves don’t feel they deserve the spot.

    P.S. BTW, I “absolutely and utterly” hated the movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 1, 2015
    • Nothing offensive in your comments. The Hate it reviewer would like to respond to a few of your points but will wait until names are revealed 🙂

      I got a bunch of new followers after my husband wrote about the blog in his publication so I didn’t want their first impression of the blog to be a post about Twilight because it’s really not the type of book we talk about here. We do feature a range of books with a sprinkling of lighter reads although the majority of what we discuss is literary fiction.

      Like

      June 1, 2015
      • Charisma #

        WOW! I cannot wait for the month to end now. 🙂

        What a wonderful husband you have! And I absolutely LOVE your blog. I hope I’ll be able to contribute to it at some point in time 🙂 when I’m less busy, I mean.

        Like

        June 1, 2015
    • Tracy Stanford #

      Charisma, do you think that a lot of adult readers do the same? Romance novels that all have the same plot, cozy mysteries, thrillers…There are all kinds of writers who score big with the formula they have found that works, and lots of readers who get stuck in a genre because it’s comfortable.

      Like

      June 1, 2015
      • Charisma #

        I’m afraid I might have misunderstood your question but here goes: I do think that not only adult readers but YA readers as well choose similar reads for the ease of it. I might disagree with the reason behind it, but nonetheless I’m guilty of it too.

        With the busy lives we lead we need a nobrainer sometimes (some need it more often than others). Unfortunately good literature spoils us and we’re no longer able to ‘enjoy’ the easy reads. That’s what happened to me when I was re-reading the Twilight 🙂

        You will laugh at me, or maybe even think not much of me as a person, but I did for a long time read those romance novels that tend to be the same even when from diff. authors. I cannot stomach those anymore. I don’t consider Twilight series being one of them either. In any case I think it had some original ideas and things to think about that could be considered valuable, and that’s what I’m trying to find in any book I’m reading.

        I think I’m babbling here… Not even sure what I wanted to say anymore… 🙂

        Like

        June 1, 2015
      • Tracy Stanford #

        Not at all. I had those phases as well. Especially when my kids were younger, and the best I could do was a romance or cozy to put down when the inevitable booboos, homework questions, or “MOM!!!” happened. But I agree with you- there’s only so many heaving bosoms or mysteries solved by a pet/amateur sleuth, etc. you can read before the formula gets old. That said, a book does have value if someone gets something out of it.
        And I still will pick up the occasional romance novel. A nobrainer book is occasionally exactly what’s needed.
        I guess my point was that we get in reading ruts sometimes. And, after a friend who strongly prefers thrillers asked me for a recommendation, and the Steinbeck wasn’t her cup of tea, I think maybe some will themselves into that comfort zone. And just may not want to come out of it.

        Like

        June 1, 2015
      • Charisma #

        Oh, I see your point now 🙂 Thanks for the clarification. I am currently in that “inevitable booboos, homework questions, or “MOM!!!”” stage 🙂

        I don’t think I could stay here forever though. I’m eagerly waiting for the time when I can pick up a more serious book again and keep my focus long enough to remember what was happening… 🙂 Another year or two, maybe, but I’m hopeful I’ll get there eventually 🙂

        Like

        June 2, 2015
    • Charisma #

      Trying out the logged-in identity…

      Like

      June 2, 2015
  4. I voted that I hated it, but I do wish there was a middle ground for those who went through a “Twilight phase.” I read it in high school and loved it; when I got older I realized that the writing was empty and the characters were void. I was more interested in the Cullen family’s history, anyway, and that’s just glossed over in the books. I liked the saga at the time, and it served its purpose for me, but now that I’m older, I find that it’s a series best left behind in the past. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    June 1, 2015
    • Thanks! yes, we force people to pick a side just for the sake of this particular post which we do at the beginning of each month. Hopefully, people can clarify their positions in the comments section.

      I think you bring up a good point about developmental stage when it comes to reading. My reading preferences have thankfully changed over time although I also read a lot of classic and literary fiction as a teenager.

      Liked by 2 people

      June 1, 2015
      • Thank you! That makes sense! Reading tastes definitely mature alongside the reader. Books I loved a decade ago are nowhere near the level of what I read now; but I had to read those books before I could get to the books I’m reading now.

        Liked by 1 person

        June 1, 2015
  5. Tracy Stanford #

    Hated it. To be fair, I only read the first book, but that was plenty.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 1, 2015
  6. “Disney princesses are like feminist icons compared to Bella Swan.”

    This.

    Hate hate hated Twilight, and believe me, I can count on one hand books I truly have despised. Not sure how the hate it reviewer actually read all four books because after the first one, I was definitely done.

    It saddens me that with all the great literature in the world and with all the well written popular fiction out there, that this anti feminist drivel is what really speaks to our teenage girls. I swear this is the only book I’ve ever read that made me feel affronted by its total lack of merit on ANY front.

    I know. I know. It’s just entertainment. I’ll get off my high horse.

    On a less serious note, kudos to both reviewers for making me laugh!! So, so funny! Oh my gosh, the husband’s comment about the movie picking privileges. Hysterical. I think I know who the reviewer is from that comment alone. Can’t wait to see if I am right.

    Sorry Twilight lovers, but no amount of sales, glowing reviews, or well cast movies will make me like this series!

    Like

    June 2, 2015
    • Oh, and I can I vote more than once. My hatred isn’t well represented by my one paltry vote.

      Like

      June 2, 2015
    • ha ha! I guess you could cheat and vote from different devices but you probably shouldn’t.

      Like

      June 2, 2015
      • Anita #

        I won’t. But I really want to!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        June 2, 2015
    • Lynsey #

      Thanks Anita! You put my thoughts into writing perfectly. I read the first one and barely made it through. I finished but swore I would not read another and I haven’t. I understand the need for escape fiction or reads that are entertaining and not depressing or too mentally challenging but there are books that fill that need where the writing is not atrocious. I will say the love it reviewer did a good job. If I hadn’t read the first book of the series I would have read the books on her recommendation but fortunately, I know better. 🙂

      Like

      June 3, 2015
  7. I am also a liked it person lol was the writing great no but compared to 50 Shades my god yes

    I think 50 Shades would make a good love it hate it series but I don’t know anyone who loved it, anyone going to admit to that?

    Have to say I loved both reviews they both made me laugh

    Liked by 2 people

    June 2, 2015
    • Well, I guess we have to differ in our book opinions every one in a while 🙂

      Like

      June 2, 2015
    • Charisma #

      BW, I haven’t had a courage to pick that one up yet… If I ever do, I’ll try to remember and let you know in case I like it 🙂 Don’t have high hopes though 🙂

      Like

      June 2, 2015
    • Nicole R #

      50 Shades is a series I hated to love. I flew through all three of them in less than a week and felt my self-respect fall with each page I turned. But I couldn’t stop…..And (I can’t believe I am admitting this) I enjoyed them.

      Liked by 2 people

      June 3, 2015
  8. Kate T #

    I have to admit that I read all three one after the other. Looking back, I wish I could blame the bottles of wine to get me through the series but I can’t. I loved reading it at the time but as time went on and the Twilight frenzy kept growing, I tried to tell myself it was all a really bad dream and it was a different person who blew through all three books rather quickly. Out of all the women in the world over the centuries Edward picked her?!?!?!

    When the movie came out and my brother and sister-in-law invited me to see it, I went. While I felt Bella in the books was an obnoxious teenager that complained about everything, Kristen Stewart brought Bella to a whole new level of angsty teenager and very bad acting.

    It is with a heavy heart that I clicked the “I loved it” button.

    Liked by 2 people

    June 11, 2015
    • deadlikeme13 #

      I have to tell you, I LOVED your comment 🙂 I cannot even blame the wine 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      June 12, 2015
      • Kate_T #

        Thanks! 😀

        Like

        June 12, 2015

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Love it or Hate it? Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein | The Reader's Room

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: