Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bella and Fella

Okay, Fiorella has read all but the last seventy pages of Twilight, which she will dutifully slog through before she posts this review, but so far she is not impressed.

The author handled the high school scene well, I thought. And I liked the way she got into the protagonist's mind. For me, the story started foundering when it centered almost entirely on the two lovers.

First of all, the story is too drawn out. One can only be on tenterhooks so long without getting bored. Second, the vampires are unbelievable. They're too perfect, too talented, too--well--nice. Third, the situation doesn't make sense--everyone knows everything in a small town, and the vampire family's differences would have been noticed and commented on and soon rallied up a mob with flaming torches. And how does one stay under cover when one's skin glistens like diamonds every time one goes into the sunlight? Even when the sky looks cloudy in the morning, it can unexpectedly brighten in the afternoon.

As an educator, I have a real bone to pick about Bella and Edward missing so much class time with no consequences. Doesn't Oregon (or Washington, or wherever it is) have any attendance requirements? And what about those low, LOW-cut gowns the vampiresses wore to the prom? Doesn't the school have a dress code?

As a reader, I am disappointed that the story did not set up a situation which prompted my ever-fertile brain to come up with its own variations and scenarios. As a writer, I wanted to blue pencil scenes like Edward racing through the forest at top speed with Bella on his back and him lurking in Bella's bedroom overnight just to watch her sleep.

But then, I don't enjoy vampire books (like Laurell Hamilton's series) which involve alternate universes, and I do see a vampire sub-culture being set up in Twilight. The problem is that if one establishes an omnipotent character--Superman, vampire or whatever--one has to set up an equally strong opposing character so the story carries some tension. (Thus Superman's opponents became ever weirder as time went on.) I prefer using the human element, like, well, the vampire book I wrote which has--ahem--not yet found a publisher.

Obviously I'm in the minority. Daughter, from whom I borrowed the book, and half the young women in America adore Twilight and are eagerly gobbling up the whole series. I much prefer The Historian.

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