Some warnings before we proceed. (1). If the ‘Twilight’ fills you with sparkly squee, you are not going to love this post. (2). If you, as I previously had, have luckily managed to utterly ignore the whole TwiThing, then please, for the love of god, leave this page right now. Save yourself. Run.
So yeah, I am aware of the whole TwiThing. I generally (**generally** NOT unconditionally) love sci-fi and horror/fantasy/whateverthefuck you call stuff with zombies, robots, killer daisies, etc. However, I am not really into dramatic crap about vampires. I was never a big Anne Rice fan. Quit watching TruBlood after 2 episodes. Etc. HOWEVER, if you throw in some funny and/or some insane fight choreography, I am on totally on board and will sit through the mushy shit (i.e., Buffy, Christopher Moore). Because that is really the difference, isn’t it? Mushy shit. You don’t see a lot of ‘tender’ heroines fawning over zombies. And aside from the dramatic ‘human’ question, robots are more likely to be carnally used and tossed, than to be the object of some self-loathing human’s obsessive love.
But vampires? What a long history of painful, ridiculous, embarrassing “love” stories we have here. Anyone else remember cringing your way through Bram Stoker’s Dracula? I was SO delighted when Gary Oldman floated creepily about – I mean, how PERFECT was he? And then they had to go and spoil a perfectly good vampire horror story. It could have been done differently.
I am not talking about GOOD love stories – I don’t hate love. I DO hate “love” stories that spray “love” everywhere, shove “love” down your throat, and calls itself ‘profound’ and ‘passionate.’ It isn’t “love” just because you say so – you STILL need to engage in good writing and SELL it to us. The “love story” element doesn’t have to take over and, done correctly, (see Gaiman, Neil: anything) can enhance the horror/fantasy/sci fi elements. For example, I thought the Buffy/Angel thing was REALLY well-done for the most part. Because it knew when to be subtle and when to be aggressive. But, unfortunately, these are the exceptions.
So, yeah, not a big fan of the romantic vampire drama genre. But I have been really terribly swamped with the lawyering work of late and much in need of some easy mind-candy.
So, I picked up the first Twilight book, or “Twilight,” as it is called. Made it through. Read the second one, moon something? maybe. Had some hope after that. You know, first book = Girl falls in love with vampire (blerg), second book = Girl rebounds with werewolf. So, I am thinking things are on a decent track. Maybe in Book 3 (there is a ribbon, kind of chewed-up looking) Girl will go on a bender and have nasty revenge sex with a whole bunch of zombies. And by Book 4 (no idea), Girl will settle down with a nice respectable robot and plan the destruction of earth as we know it. Something told me I was going to be disappointed.
Well, I have finished the 3rd book, and I am sorry to report that it is entirely devoid of zombie. Well, real zombies. There are a lot of 2 dimensional characters that lurch around stiffly and engage in repetitive and uncomfortable speech, but they cannot be rightly categorized as zombies. See, I have read a lot of the criticisms of this series – that it is poorly (or at least not well-) written, that it is anti-female, that it is anti-feminist, that it it anti-sex, etc etc etc. And you know? All of these allegations are valid to some degree. But I was was willing to give it a shot. Because, let’s be honest, the sci-fi/horror/fantasy genre is not exactly a walk down the women’s studies reading list (but see, e.g., Tepper, Sheri).
I think I may have hit a wall. The main reason I have made it this far through the books is that I know what happens in the 4th book, and was willing to suffer through all the TLA shit with the schmaltzy Romeo and Juliet crap and the completely unworthy self-comparisons to Wuthering Heights (hands OFF the Brontes, Twi-Stuff Author!). Because how cool is the violent birth of a human/vampire spawn, right? But people, I just don’t know if I can make it.
Stephen King was right in that these books are NOT well written. The underlying plot is driving, and the backstories are interesting, but the characters are painful, boring, obvious, and/or irritating. Which would be okay, except the characters seem to thing that they are mind-blowingly profound. Please don’t use Cathy and Heathcliff references to excuse your poorly constructed characters. Why does every female have to be ONLY motivated by shopping, vanity, jealousy, or mothering? And then there is Main Girl, who painfully and pointedly is not motivated by any of these things (yeah, I GET it), but is instead motived by TRUUUUUUUUE WUV. Arrggg… I can only take so much.
I would call it anti-female, except it is equally anti-male. Which leads me to conclude that it is really not anti-female or -male, but is instead simply anti-development and anti-depth.
Sigh. When I finish this, I am going to treat myself to the new Atwood, full price, hardcover…