Jan 02, 10
Read in January, 2008
Keep in mind that though this review is about to wheel off into an angry rant, this book is good. The series is addictive. And as I said previously about Stephanie Meyer, if you want to cease brain function for a few hours, she's your girl.
The beginning is slow, the middle is gold, the end is lacking. The blank pages to represent months passed in zombie-depression, great idea.
Now, my problem. My problem is not so much with the story as it is perhaps with the idea behind the story and thus, the author herself.
It all starts with Romeo and Juliet. Stupid kids. Yes, yes, the great tragedy of love. Please note the word tragedy came before the word love. Because without the tragedy there would be no story. What would the story be otherwise? I'm not going to presume to rewrite Shakespeare (at least not for the hypothetical purposes of illustrating a point in this review).
I will say, that I find it sad and unfortunate that Meyers insists on her characters not only admiring Romeo and Juliet (not the play, but the hormone-addled teenagers who committed suicide rather than take a minute to think it through), but specifically referencing the star-crossed lovers in near direct comparison to her protagonist and the lover-vamp. (Her main character also can be caught reading Jane Austen, but more on that later).
My point? Impossible love is a great story. No doubt. And Meyer's characters, the human girl and the vampire (um, Buffy and Angel anyone?) are certainly in an impossible situation. Great, perfect, wonderful.
The difficulty? No where to go. That's what makes Romeo and Juliet a tragedy. That's why Buffy and Angel never got back together. What choices has she left us? Either the human becomes a vampire or the vampire (in what would be a HUGE cheat) becomes human again. So? Make the human a vamp, right? Problem solved. Well, despite the flippancy with which so many of Meyer's characters approach this option, to do so would be a tragedy of sorts. Because in effect, it would be suicide, a life ended to be with the man she loves so senselessly that it makes you wonder how she could admire Jane Austen at all.
Yes, Jane Austen writes about love, but take a look at "Sense and Sensibility". Jane Austen recognizes that love is more complex than the simple lust of it (while Romeo and Juliet barely get a chance to blink before they marry, screw and die-much like the carrion flies Romeo references. . .) Strength of character, not the sweaty passion, conquers all. Clear conscience and unerring moral fortitude conquers class-differences, social stigmas and familial disapproval. And so, they all get to live happily ever after.
This is your dilemma Stephanie Meyers. You've laid the groundwork, not for a Jane Austen like happy-ending despite the odds, but a Shakespearian tragedy that will not only leave the audience sobbing, but foaming mad. Frankly, the readers of today don't want a tragedy (for the most part), they get that enough every day. They want the happy ending. I want the happy ending and what would that be in this situation?
As far as I can see there is no way to have a true happy ending. Either you make a living girl a vampire. Or you pull out the deus ex machina and make the vampire a human. Neither option will be unsullied enough to be fully satisfactory.
Personally, I would rather see the girl become a vampire, though I wish the character would take it a little more seriously than she has. Because my sense of fairness would be violated if the vamp miraculously becomes a human. But no matter how it ends, I fear I will be disappointed, as the endings of both books have been so thoroughly let-downs I cannot imagine the author has it in her mind to tack a new course at this point.
How do I have the audacity to be so critical? Have I written a New York Times Bestseller? Two, three?