Nicola's Reviews > Twilight

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
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Dec 03, 13

bookshelves: teen, fiction
Recommended for: morons
Read in June, 2007

I really enjoy lively details. There's nothing better than knowing an author has really thought about her characters and situations, and come up with some surprising and delightful detail that makes the whole reading experience fuller. Lively details, you understand -- pointless details are a nightmare to read. I don't need to know that Bella ate a granola bar for breakfast. I REALLY DON'T. (Notice that I remembered the granola bar. I think this is partly because I was fervently hoping it would have significance. Like, she would spectacularly choke on her oatmeal the next day and think, "AH, I should have had a granola bar like yesterday!")

"Show, don't tell" is not the be-all-and-end-all of writing. There's a little thing called summary narrative. It's beautiful; it facilitates plot progression without having to follow your narrator through 24-fucking-hours of a day... and "watch" as she eats a fucking granola bar for breakfast.

I've seen this novel accused of Mary Sue-ism and um, yeah, any character named Isabella Swan seems destined to be a Mary Sue. But honestly, I wouldn't begrudge a semi-autobiographical story if it actually had any of the realism of autobiography. All the high school/teenage stuff honestly made me boggle. Because... that's not what high school is like! That's not what being seventeen is like! Twilight reads like... well, it reads like a thirtysomething who has no recollection of being 17. Bella has all the emotional maturity of a 32-year-old and that's just not remotely believable.

Meyer is not a bad writer. She has the ability to string words together. Unfortunately, she lacks any kind of flair. There was no original description; no truly evocative language. Twilight reads like Meyer has read a lot of mediocre novels and regurgitated the same kind of language onto the page. There is just nothing exciting to the language. The dialogue is awful: not only uninspiring and lacking in wit, but... it's all the same! There's no difference in speech patterns to the characters; no awareness of personal tics. The characterization is wafer-thin (see above, re: Mary Sue). The plotting is terrible: the novel trundles along at a slow pace for 250 pages and then Meyer seems to suddenly realize she needs a climax and the gears shift abruptly and the reader is caught up in a series of ridiculous contrivances that set up Meyer's final set-piece (which, by the way, I saw coming a mile away).

This is such a profoundly antifeminist novel. And it's funny, because I think Meyer has no idea that it's antifeminist. I mean, she has a female heroine! A heroine who reads Austen and writes essays about misogyny in Shakespeare! Surely she's kicking butt for all womankind. Um... no. She cooks, she cleans, she looks after the man in her life! She needs male characters to protect her from the big, bad, scary world! She falls headfirst into a disturbingly dysfunctional relationship with a man 90 years her senior without the slightest amount of worry!

Seriously. Bella/Edward. What's that all about? I don't get the attraction. He has her in his thrall. She is, let me quote, "unconditionally and irrevocably" in love with him -- and after, like, a week. o__O She's consumed by him; she's willing to sacrifice her life for him, and that's... romantic? I just think it's a bit sick, really. You know what I find romantic? Human warmth. Not sweeping, dramatic statements of everlasting and overarching love. Little, sweet moments of connection that ring true. That's something Twilight's apparently epic love story is sorely lacking in. (Did I say Bella has the emotional maturity of a 32-year-old? Well, except when it comes to Edward. There she has the emotional maturity of a dumb dog.)
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 356) (356 new)


message 1: by Bex (last edited Feb 25, 2009 02:33AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Bex I've read Twilight and I'm currently reading it's sequel, New Moon, and I have to say that I do agree with you on Meyers writing. I really find it so hard to WANT to pick up this book and finish it. Well, I want to finish it so I can move onto something else (I hate stopping mid-book) but I just find it so hard to care about what happens to Bella and Edward. I really do. Check out my actual review of New Moon, I go into even more scathing detail :P hehe. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49...


Nicola Regardless of the content, the emotion needs to be believable. Meyer's was not. End of.


Cricket All I can say is, FINALLY! Someone who agrees with me that the plot becomes a dead-ringer halfway through the book. It was driving me nuts that all of my friend thought this book was actually good. I'm glad someone agrees with me.

Same goes for the creepy infatuation thing. You don't just fall in love in a week. That's just plain crap.


laaaaames Word up to ALL of this. You put your finger on allllllll the stuff driving me nertz about this book. Nice work.


Chick_Flick Great review. This book was terribly written. I only finished it because I also hate stopping mid-book.


Cricket (I'm sorry, I have to respond to that)
I think that your argument is that pointless details win Pultzer Prizes, am I right? Have you ever read a book that's won the Pultzer Prize, because generally, there's a plot to back the details up, whereas in Twilight, there are MANY details that don't contribute to the plot. At all.


laaaaames A book worthy of a Pulitzer surely will be packed with details letting us know the characters better. The "pointless" details in Twilight were just that: pointless.

However, I don't expect Pulitzer quality from every book I read. What DO I expect? A fully-developed plot, fully-drawn characters, and emotions that ring true. I found none of these things in Twilight. I also found it quite troubling that a book written by a woman, primarily FOR young women, that so many misogynistic points of view were put across.

Sure, books are supposed to be for pleasure, but not at the expense of intelligence.


Heidi Well, it seems to me your versions of "pointless details" are any details that you yourselves decide are unneccesary, not even just details that have nothing to do directly with a character. & no Cricket. My point was that "Pointless details", as described by some of you, are a large part of the reason that many books have won the Pulitzer.
Cricket, did you actually want me to count all the books I've read that have won the Pulitzer Prize? I could just count up all the well worn copies of Pulizer Prize winners on my shelves at home, but that wouldn't include half of the number I have read, or that I've read two or three or four times. Have you ever even cracked a peak in more than one or two? Anyway, like I said before, I read for pleasure, not so I can compare how many more books I've read than you, so I don't really care how many you have read. I think I am done with this conversation. I could point you onto pages and pages and pages of details within Pulitzer Prize winning books devoted exclusively to describing the look of a room, the details of a dress, the dirt in the crack of a floor board! Details that, by the way, have nothing to do with one of the characters directly! I honestly don't feel that any of you have a leg to stand on when it comes to your argument on the importance of these kinds of "pointless details" as you all are calling them. I'm not going to dissect Twilight and tell you what I think could have been left out and what truly added to it. My point is that I disagree with you on what are and what are not "pointless details", however well or badly it was written. I also stand by everything I said in my original comment.


Camille The details didn't seem pointless to me; they helped me feel like I was there in Bella's world. Most writers fight hard to add the details that let the readers feel as if they are there, watching at the least. I know authors can go overboard, but I didn't feel it was done excessively. I'm rather tired of books where you can guess the ending because every little detail has to be clueing you in. However, there isn't a book written that completely pleases everyone. That's fine too. It just means that you have to be able to take the insults along with the compliments when you're a writer.


Cricket Pointless details tend to come from inconsistencies, so, while we know that she ate a granola bar for breakfast, do we know even what color shirt she wore that day? Or how about what her kitchen looks like? Heidi, if you can answer those questions for me than I will admit I was wrong about how I feel about pointless details.


Cricket Way to blow-off my question, Nikki, I applaud you.


Heidi Cricket, so are you purposely trying to prove my point for me? One of my points at least. This is hilarious! You have selected several specific details that you want me to prove that Meyer included in a specific part of the book. Otherwise, all other details she shared, at the very least in that scene, are pointless!? Thank you for proving me right in my comment above, when I said "Well, it seems to me your versions of "pointless details" are any details that you yourselves decide are unneccesary". Obviously, you feel this goes either way. Any random details, like "what color shirt she wore that day", that you feel should have been there and were not, can also mean that the book is pointless, or a lot of it! I really appreciated your comment though, Cricket. Some of my guesses about you, and the others on here who share your opinion, were right. Your comment was enlightening! Thank you!


Jessicaleigh Great review. Though I adore the book, I think you've made some valid points.
This book is what I'd call a guilty pleasure. :)
To me it read like a lengthy WIP fanfic. Buuut, occasionally, that's just what I'm in the mood for.


message 14: by Shannon (Giraffe Days) (last edited Nov 08, 2007 06:02AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Shannon (Giraffe Days) [Response to Cricket]

Maybe I shouldn't say this, but "falling in love in a week" does happen. Happened to me. Still happy, still in love. :)


message 15: by Yvette (last edited Nov 14, 2007 09:39AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Yvette OMG Heidi, I love your comment! LOL!

I agree that details make up the book. In details the readers are able to picture the scene so much better.

Hmmm, I agree that it's nearly impossible to fall in love in a week, but people this is a FICTIONAL BOOK ABOUT VAMPIRES! Some of the allure they have for one another has nothing to do with realistic human qualities.


Ellie I agree to the two comments above. Also with Heidi. I think Twilight was AWESOME!


Danielle I love your review! I'm a middle school teacher, and my kids are freaks about this book, so I read them (all three). I wish a vampire would bite me, after reading them because thew were so boring! I don't care if she writes about cheese (which I think would be just as exciting)--you're correct, they are boring. And, Bella is a weak, pathetic character.

Good work!


Shannon (Giraffe Days) It's html code, so I can't type it here for you, but if you go to one of your books and click on "review", beside the space provided is a bar of "Formatting Tips", which shows you how to do italics, bold etc.


Nicole Great review! I just do not get the hype for this book. Actually if Bella wasn't in it I'd probably like it. And haha. The first thing I did after I read it was go post on my journal about it and I mentioned the stupidity of the granola bar. It just stuck with me. I mean why would anyone mention that in a book ever?


Shannon (Giraffe Days) I honestly can't remember a granola bar, and I've read it three times.

The domestic details really didn't bother me. They worked to ground the story. It's a fantastical story, and the contrast between Bella as a regular girl and Edward as, well, a mythical creature, adds to a sense of plausibility. It's fantasy, but every fantasy book needs to possess at least a grain of reality in order to make it possible. It felt real, to me, even though it's not. A book works, for me, when I can disspell disbelief and fall through the rabbit-hole right into the story, and feel it. I'm always on the hunt for books like that, but everyone's different.

But I can understand how details like the ones mentioned would get on your nerves, once noticed. Such things usually bug me only when I've already made up my mind not to like the book; then, everything's fair game to ridicule.


message 21: by Liz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Liz Wow, this review sums up my feels about Twilight better than I could ever have. It's nice to know I'm not the only one that feels this way...my friends all are crazy about this silly book!


Josephine Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious nicola is saying that edward did not act like the 100+ year old vampire that he was. Not that she didn't believe that vampires exist.


message 23: by Bex (new) - rated it 1 star

Bex If ya'll want a good fantasy series with a strong, badass female, I highly recommend Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series: A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing. In that order. They are amazing and 2000% better then Stephanie Meyers' crapola.


TheUnicorner I want to marry this review and have snarky, jaded, capslocky babies with it. You summed up my thoughts on this book exactly.


Laurie Nicola, AMEN!

Anyone who's seen vampires done by Joss Whedon knows it could have been so much better...

Since when are the marble-cold undead romantic?


message 26: by Toni (new) - rated it 3 stars

Toni I know this is a little late, but I really wanted to reply to this comment.

So whether you were able to find the story BELIEVABLE or not demonstrates your lack of ability to realize you were reading a book about VAMPIRES!!!

I really take issue with the notion that just because a book is a work of fantasy, it is automatically excused from attempting to make the characters and storyline convincing. The ability to make characters that are not human appear human, the ability to create a story anyone could relate to no matter how fantastic the circumstances...that takes talent, and shouldn't be brushed aside.

I guess what I'm saying is that believability is NEVER something that should be limited to non-fiction. It is the ability to invoke empathy and understanding in the reader, making us see the characters are real, rather than words on a page, and that's a wonderful thing.

I think the reviewer's desire to see this in a storyline and characters demonstrates a deep understanding of basic criteria for a great read, as well as an understanding of her own desires, which, in the end, matter most.


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Another Heidi here, except I'm in complete agreement with the reviewer :P


"If ya'll want a good fantasy series with a strong, badass female, I highly recommend Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series: A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing. In that order. They are amazing and 2000% better then Stephanie Meyers' crapola."

Seconded!


message 28: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Williams I find it rather amusing that Heidi (the first) and Nikki postured about reading all sorts of books, and how the details weren't pointless, but when asked for details that would have actually served to elaborate on the world, or to indicate books they've read that, like Twilight, had details given that had no bearing on the story at all, they failed to deliver.

And then they fell into a bout of self-congratulations.

What they failed to realize was that details such as the layout of the kitchen or the color of her shirt would stick with the reader, letting them feel more a part of the world than simply knowing what she ate that morning. How can you feel a part of her environment, or aware of her surroundings, if you don't know what they are?



..anyway, I agree with the review.


Heidi Joshua...you obviously failed to see my point at all! Did you even read what I wrote, or were you just so anxious to write what you thought was a clever little comment that it became easy for you to ramble aimlessly? What self-congratulations? I believe someone suggested something about me that was absolutely far from any truth, so I felt compelled to straighten that out. I'm not sure why. I almost wish I'd never posted anything on this comment, but then what would you guys have to talk about? I think some of you need to get a life, or write a book yourself if you think you're such a genius. I'm all for the details, but I don't think a writer is required to describe everything in every room , along with every stitch of every article of clothing, etc., in order for it to be an enjoyable book. If you don't like it, don't read it. One of my favorite books is Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind. I love detail, but I can enjoy a wide variety of writing styles.


message 30: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Williams I read it. And I re-read it, for posterity's sake. And you still did not provide the requested information.

..you think I need to get a life? I just came here today because someone pointed me toward this review, and I ended up reading the comments.

You're the one that's been sticking around for months, apparently just waiting for anyone to attempt to counter anything you said.

And, on a side note, I actually am writing a book. Several, in fact.

I agree that not every stitch of clothing or every detail of a room should be provided. But there ought to be more focus on the environments than the comestibles.


message 31: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Williams And remember, kiddies.

If you spout "If you don't like it, don't read it" here in regards to those who didn't enjoy Twilight..

..there are two problems with that statement.

1. If you don't like a review that downs Twilight, by your own 'logic,' you shouldn't read it.

2. How would anyone know if they won't like it if they haven't read it? Some of us might have expected it to be what you fans claim it to be, only to find that you were vastly mistaken.


Heidi Well, I really am done here. I usually get a notice in my in box if someone leaves a comment after a response I've posted. I'll have to just start deleting the one's I'm no longer interested in. I was just trying to be considerate, and read others responses as well. Good luck with your books Joshua. I really do wish you the best. Why would I not?

p.s. I should have said "don't read it again", or you could have quit it after realizing you hate it, however long that took you. Just don't waste your time with it if it isn't benefitting you or others for you to be reading it. The best thing you can do for others, by the way, is to point them toward the best books, not waste time picking apart the crap ones. Just a bit of friendly advice.


message 33: by Joshua (last edited Mar 12, 2008 04:18PM) (new)

Joshua Williams Actually, it's kind of a odd topic regarding good and bad books.

If you don't read the bad stuff, you'll not be able to appreciate the good ones. It's like joy and sadness. You'll never know one unless you've encountered the other.

And if you don't pick apart the bad stuff, you might run the risk of encountering the same pitfalls within your own writing.

Plus, if no one picks apart the crap books, then there won't be any bad reviews to warn potential readers of what they're getting themselves into.

If everyone only commented on the things they liked, there would be no warnings available for those who don't share the same tastes.

I don't go to the reviews of fans of books I don't like, telling them they're wrong, even though it's a matter of taste. Shame fans don't give the same courtesy toward those who don't share their fandom.


Gracie Thank you! I completely agree. Though I have been known to compound readers with details in the past, even the smallest hole in a character's shoe has meaning. Twilight was drabble. It got me addicted as I'm sure it did every other teenage girl in America but it's a deeply flawed novel.

No better than a Mary Sue.


Megan Heidi
"Pointless details" can be a good thing. IF--and I did say if--there are "pointless details" about everything. If there is a pointless detail about what color shirt she wore, or what her kitchen looks like, sure, those kind of "She ate a granola bar for breakfast" deatails can be fine. But when you don't even know what her kitchen looks like until the end of the book, but you know that she had a granola bar for breakfast in the beginning, you have a problem. She added some VERY pointless details at the beginning before adding details that may have added to the story.


Megan Adrienne!!!! I feel the exact same way!! You pinpointed it PERFECTLY!!! I really enjoyed and was addicted to this book, but it was very flawed and wasn't written very well. If people would read it not trying to enjoy the story but really being logical and thinking about flaws and mistakes, you would really see that it's not a very good book at all.


Lacey I haven't read the book....and now don't want to. I must say I laughed outloud several times while reading your reveiw and I want to be your friend!!(not really that might be kind of creepy) you crack me up!


marjo I agree with your review but I enjoyed the book a lot. Am I insane?


Lindsey I was going to write a similar review, but now I don't have to! I agree with everything you said and you touched on everything that was wrong with this book. I'm scared for this generation if they honestly believe that this is what love and life is really like and even worse, what great writing should be like.


message 40: by (G)Emma (last edited May 06, 2008 01:50PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

(G)Emma Bravo! I LOVED the review, you adressed all my issues with Twilight and in an articulate way.


Bailey In my opinion, you are quite wrong with they way you describe this book. I do not think that there is a need to flip out over the mentioning of a granola bar, but hey? What ever floats your boat!


message 42: by Adora (last edited May 13, 2008 05:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Adora Do you expect her to just jump right into the climax within the first page of the book? She couldn't do that. There'd be nothing to wait for, no suspense. Bella and Edward's relationship had to grow and she had to know more about him before something dramatic happened. (I'm referring to the situation with James, not the whole car crash thing.) Granted, what she ate in the morning was pointless. But I believe she was trying to imply that she was in a hurry to go somewhere (possibly to Edward's home...?) and that she didn't have enough time to eat a regular breakfast. It helps the reader get more "into" the story, I suppose.


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

I find it humorous you say "jump right into the climax" because that's basically what Meyer does. The book lulls along for a few hundred pages and then BAM! and action plot comes out of nowhere. So explain that.


Adora Considering there are about 250 pages, "a couple hundred pages" is pretty far into the book, wouldn't you agree?


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Exactly. But that chunk of fluff doesn't have anything to do with the climactic plot thrown in at the end, now does it?


(G)Emma Sure, of course you need time to grow relationships, heck it can take a whole half of the book and I'll love it anyways. But you need some kind of plot there still. Something that the readers are waiting for. And then Meyer has this plot that's just half-hazardly put in, and you can't even be happy with the ending!


Adora Of course you can't be happy with the ending. She was in the process of writing a second book, and she wanted to leave you dying for more at the end so you'd buy her next book. And there was a plot. Jacob Black rolled in and told her he was a vampire, and then the situation with those guys who wanted to abuse her and how Edward drove in and saved the day. I believe that's a plot.


message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

The point is, it's a horribly written book if you get past the "omg Edward is hot! They are in loveeee!" stage, simply influenced by the fact that Meyer added in a few too many adjectives for "sexy" and descriptions of his eyes and whatnot...which in return seem to act as some sort of drug that puts tween girls and (unfortunately) even "grown" women in a Twilight-induced coma.


(G)Emma Heidi, YAY! Someone who loved The Gemma Doyle Trilogy and also hated Twilight!

Well, there's a difference between contentment at the end of a book and contentment that the series has ended properly. That was more relationship development than a plot.


message 50: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Williams Not really. Jake telling her he's a vampire is hardly a plot. It's not even a plot device as no actual conflict comes from it. The guys showing up and Edward "saving the day" is a plot point, but for a book of the size of Twilight, that's hardly enough of a plot to suffice.


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