Saturday, January 10, 2009

Vampire Love

I'd heard a lot about these "Twilight books"...and I was fairly sceptical. For three main reasons:
  1. I don't like vampires. Vampires were my least favourite villain / mythical entity. There wasn't a single vampire text I'd enjoyed...ever. I found the concept and lore surrounding them utterly...repulsive to me. The only vampire that ever gave me pause to consider their potential was the portrayal of Mina Harker in the film The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. It was the first time I caught a glimpse of how a vampire might be alluring, mysterious, and beautiful. These qualities were appealing to me. Every other vampire character I had seen or read about was too animalistic or grotesque for me to appreciate these subtleties.
  2. I don't like romance novels. Austen is the only exception to date. Thus far any novel that could be described as a "romance novel" had been disappointingly vulgar, cliche, immoral, offensive, unrealistic, unsophisticated, empty, or just plain wrong for me.
  3. I don't like reading something just because it's popular. That's a very good reason to investigate, but not enough to read...Mills & Boon is popular too.
With these three prejudices, I began reading.

Two weeks later, I have read all four of the books. And seen the film.

My overall opinion; I enjoyed them...quite a bit. /blushing
Without including spoilers (in case you intend to give them a whirl), here are my pros and cons...

Things I liked about these books:
  • The world Meyer has created. I love the varied dynamics between vampires and humans, vampires and vampires, vampires and wolves, and humans and wolves. By Eclipse I was feeling like I had been gifted an alternative universe, and that is one of the things I long for from a book.
  • The lack of swearing and vulgarity. Granted, there's still a little bit of "nudge nudge" in there for ya, but it was so great to get away from the gritty particulars of physical love (I'm still recovering from Love in the Time of Cholera).
  • Easy-to-read visual imagery. Eclipse deserves a special mention, as I read it in one day, because it was easy to. That's the best way to describe it. I didn't stop eating, take the phone off the hook, or giggle ecstatically with anticipation at regular intervals...but it was easy to keep on reading. I could see the story well, and so Meyer deserves some credit.
  • Characters I can manage in my mind. There is a surprisingly high number of personalities and names, but I coped fine. A book can quickly disappoint me if I forget a character and have to turn back and remind myself, "Who are they again?" I hate that.
I didn't like:
  • The odd ill-chosen word, where I thought, "Does Meyer know what this word means?" These went beyond the three or so typos per book, but rather times where I doubted Meyer's writing. Most of the time, I trusted her, but now and then, pieces were not solid and tight.
  • Failed attempts at foreshadowing. This literary device was abused beyond recognition again and again - morphing to operate less like a shadow, and much more like a cheap neon motel arrow sign.
  • Anti-climaxes and unspent potential. I'll say nothing more on this, except that I was hoping for more from four.
Overall, I enjoyed the journey, and access to the world and its characters. I even miss them a little bit.

In case you missed it, Sherry, I'm sorry, I liked 'em.
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