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A Sh*tty Fairy Tale Tailor Made for the McDonald’s Happy Meal Generation

By FyreHaar | Books | May 11, 2010 | Comments ()

By FyreHaar | Books | May 11, 2010 |


twilight-still-oct-head.jpg

New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer, the second, third, and fourth books of the Twilight series.

If you call it a saga, I will cut you. Spoilers abound.

In Twilight we meet Bella Swan. A somewhat normal 17-year-old girl with an improbable name. She moves from Arizona to live with her father in Forks, Washington. While living and going to school there she meets and falls in love with a sparkly vampire named Edward Cullen. In the first book we learn a lot about vampires and how they aren't what we thought but they are still generally bloodthirsty and dangerous.

New Moon comes right on the heels of Twilight. The first half of the book was enjoyable. Edward leaves and Bella is thrown into a terrible depression. She hears Edward's voice when she is in danger, so she goes out of her way to take risks so she'll hear him berating her for being stupid. It's the sort of desperate, idiotic move someone would make if they were 17 and thought it was the only way to reconnect with their loved one. This is where Jacob Black comes in. Bella initially uses him to get into riskier behavior but his genuine friendship starts to bring her relief from her bereavement. Meyer sets up Jacob as a patient, affectionate boy who is truly interested in loving Bella just as she is.

Then she shits all over him. Just as Bella is seriously considering a good life with love and warmth and Jacob, the Cullens reassert themselves. Alice Cullen, who I sort of liked from Twilight, is the harbinger of suck as she rolls into town to beg Bella to help her keep Edward from killing himself. Regardless of the plot, this is where these books really become horrendous. The end of New Moon, the entirety of Eclipse, and at least half of Breaking Dawn are filled with these characters being terrible people. They freely admit to emotionally blackmailing each other to get what they want. The story becomes a triangle of whiny, passive aggressive, co-dependent jackasses. Bella has no insight into what other people feel at all and so woefully misinterprets their actions. Edward firmly believes that he knows what's best for everyone and will stoop to anything to get them to do it. Jacob knows he is going to lose Bella but seems unconcerned with how much damage he does to himself trying to push her into admitting she loves him.

New Moon presented Jacob as a likable character. I was really rooting for him. Eclipse turned him into a total douchebag., Edward has a skeevy, daddy-knows-best vibe and Bella is just too stupid to live.

Twilight concluded with the off-screen death of James, a vampire hunting Bella. Eclipse delivers on the promise of vampire-on-vampire-on-werewolf violence. Breaking Dawn sets up a truly epic confrontation of elite vampires vs. the Cullens and allies and werewolves. Awesome, right? Meyer spends the better part of two hundred pages setting us up for a battle royale between our heroes and the big bad Italian vampires from New Moon. The baddies show up, everyone lines up for the massive confrontation, Bella is ready to rock out her fantastic vampire skillz. Then the Volturi shit themselves and back off. That's it. One vampire dies and it's over. Vampiricus Bellus Interruptus Magnus. Meyer ducked out of her narrative debt like a compulsive gambler fleeing Atlantic City at 2 a.m. with nothing but the clothes on his back and pockets full of worthless betting slips. J.K. Rowling set herself a heavy burden and took three years to write Order of the Phoenix. She took the time to do it right. Meyer copped out. I was so disappointed. I read that entire goddamned, shite series and I got no catharsis at all. There is no cost to Bella and Edward and Jacob's Happily Ever After, no one has to compromise or go away empty-handed or live with the consequences of their decisions. It's not a saga, it's a shitty fairy tale tailor made for the McDonald's Happy Meal generation.

If you want to read a good book about someone having a relationship with a vampire, read Sunshine. If there's not enough romance in that, read Dark Lover. If you want to get some insight into a pop culture happening, then read these.

This review is part of the Cannonball Read series. For more of FyreHaar's reviews, check out the blog, Fire and Sonic.


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