Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why I Hate Twilight

Warning: This post includes spoilers on the series, so if you don't already know what happens in all the books, don't read this!

It's come to my attention that I may come across as a Twilight hater. Well... yeah. I am. I despise the series. But it didn't have to be that way.

I didn't start out hating the Twilight books. I was never a die-hard fan, but I didn't outright hate the series, either (I wouldn't own copies of all four books if that were the case). I reviewed all four books on Amazon, and my star ratings were as follows:

Twilight - 3
New Moon - 3
Eclipse - 2
Breaking Dawn - 1 (zero, really... but Amazon doesn't let you give zero stars)

I had hoped to be able to give Breaking Dawn a higher rating. Sadly, that wasn't the case. The author dropped the ball. She blew it. And I, as a reader and a consumer who paid money for that book, have every right to be annoyed.

There's a book on writing by Bill Johnson called A Story Is A Promise. I think that phrase is very appropriate here, as it underscores the reason why Breaking Dawn failed to live up to people's expectations. Multiple promises were made throughout the course of the "saga" that led readers to expect certain things. When those things didn't happen, people were understandably upset. It's not a matter of being old, bitter, unloved, or a happy-ending-hater (all excuses I've seen Stephenie Meyer's defenders throw about). It was a betrayal on the part of the author.

Had Meyer kept her promises to the reader, Breaking Dawn would have turned out very differently. There would have been no baby. There would have been at least one instance of newborn bloodlust on Bella's part -- maybe she would have attacked Charlie or one of her high school friends. One or more major characters would have died. All of these things were explained, hinted at, or foreshadowed in the first three books. Vampires can't have babies (it's part of the reason Rosalie's so... bitchy); newborn vampires can't be trusted to control their urges (look at the havoc Victoria's army of the undead wreaked in Eclipse); the Volturi are dangerous and could eliminate any vampire at any time if they disapprove of their actions (we see this with minor characters throughout the series). To foreshadow these events and then not follow through is breaking a promise to the reader. Those events then become pointless, just empty words to take up space and increase the page count. The conclusion is ultimately hollow, and the ending doesn't make much sense.

Another reason I hate Twilight is the whole phenomenon that's sprung up around the series. There are proms, conventions, tours of Forks, bookmarks, board games, t-shirts, movies, and school curricula (don't even get me started there; the only reason anyone should be studying Twilight in an English class is as an example of how not to write a book). There are the endless comparisons with other books, trying to convince readers that if they like Twilight, they'll love this other book, too. To me, especially in the case of Wuthering Heights, it just seems like a money grab. It doesn't matter if it's "Bella & Edward's Favourite Book". It's still Wuthering Heights, and it's not that easy to read. And while it is about a very dysfunctional relationship (as Twilight is), it's not at all geared to the same reading audience. All an endorsement like this will do is get people to buy the book; it won't necessarily get them to read it. Poor Emily Brontë. She's probably spinning in her grave.

Finally, I just want to clear one thing up. Just because I hate Twilight does not mean I hate people who like Twilight. My opinion of the series does not necessarily equal my opinion of the people who like it. But I will not apologize for having an opinion on the books, nor will I temper that opinion. I have as much right to hate the books (and say so) as someone else has to love them (and say so). And that goes for any book... not just Twilight.


  1. Good on you for your honesty.

    People can be really weird about others trashing books they've enjoyed. You see it in Amazon comments all the time.

    What puts me off Twilight (besides that there are at least 1000 other books I'll rather read) is that a friend mentioned that women/girls are stereotypically depicted as secondary to men, and that the writing is generally poor. That does it for me.

    I'm also with you about the whole circus that follows these things. Nuts.
    ONE aspect I will concede is that if it gets more young people reading, it ain't all totally bad. ;)

  2. While I love Twilight I'm always blown away by those Twilighters that can't take any Twilight criticism.

    The way I look at it: as with all books - some ya love and some ya don't. We are all entitled to our likes and dislikes.

    As for Wuthering Heights. I had been meaning to read it for years. After reading the many references to Wuthering Heights in the Twilight series I picked it up. I was so glad I did. It's an AMAZING book and I now consider it one of my favorites. I think it's cool when something in pop culture brings attention to a classic.

    But I feel ya doll. ;)

  3. Great post! To each his own. :)
    I really didn't like the last book in the Twilight Series, but I'm glad I read them anyway.

    Oh, and I have an award for you! I hope you don't mind. :)

  4. "Those events then become pointless, just empty words to take up space and increase the page count. The conclusion is ultimately hollow, and the ending doesn't make much sense."

    This is why I hated New Moon and Breaking Dawn. I loved Twilight and Eclipse was a major improvement over New Moon but the ending? WTF?! Seriously.

    But I have to thank that series. It got me motivated to read again. I haven't stopped since I read Twilight.

    Great topic!

  5. I loved Twilight (not so much the rest of the series), and am still annoyed at the phenomenon. Great post!

  6. This is a great post! I'm surprised how much I agree with you (I usually have a lot of trouble finding people who don't worship the bookshelf Twilight sits on). I don't think Stephenie Meyer is a bad author overall, I just think the hype over Twilight is way more than the books (and movie) deserved. And Breaking Dawn was a complete failure.

    On another note, thanks for becoming a follower of my blog, Mindful Musings Book Blog. I've never came across your blog before, but I'm really glad I did and I'm a follower now and you've been added to my blogroll. I love all of your posts!