Spike > Edward … [by Alicia]
“Twilight” book review:
No bite, no thanks.
I am in bed right now, where I’ve been for the better part of a week, derailed by pneumonia and bronchitis. Don’t cry for me – I’ve used the opportunity to explore my psyche and some literature. Everyone’s been telling me I would love “Twilight,” the story of mortal Bella and her beautiful blood-drinking boyfriend, Edward. Since the movie debuted in theaters today, it’s the perfect time to review it, no? I finally got up off my high horse and deigned to purchase the obsession-inducing novel online 2 days ago. Official Buntology stylist and longtime friend Jodie Botto offered to lend me the book, but I forgot to take it and thought to myself, “Why do something for free when I can frivolously throw away my money?” I got the book, a 500-page tome, this afternoon in the mail. ($7.98, no shipping charge, from eBay.)
Being hoarse and looking rather vampiric myself, I abstained from the hopping North Adams party scene for a night, and instead “bit” (get it?) into my new book. I finished about 10 minutes ago. Don’t be alarmed by my “inhuman” speed (get it?) – when I have the time and inclination, I can polish off 500 pages in about 4 hours. Which I did.
My eyes are swollen and my lower extremities are atrophied, but as a dutiful Buntology writer, I’m using my last reserves of strength to review the book.
Bella Swan, clumsy and unwittingly gorgeous, moves from her beloved Arizona to her dad’s home in Forks, Washington. Long story. She doesn’t think she’ll like it, because it’s always cloudy and rainy, and she doubts she’ll fit in, but guess what? Not only does she fit in, every boy in school wants a piece. Including pale, perfect Edward, he of the smoldering eyes and crooked smile. First they’re lab partners, then he saves her life a few times, then she finds out he’s a vamp, then they vow to be together forever and ever. What problems could possibly arise from THIS relationship?
This was a good junk-food read. Like a Butterfinger, I devoured it quickly and enjoyed it, but derived nothing truly satisfying from it.
The story was painfully predictable: Why was Edward so mean to Bella at first? Because he’s so attracted to her and they can’t be together. Heard that one before. Uh-oh, his vampire sister doesn’t approve – yawn. What makes her so special, anyway? That she has no sense of self-preservation? Seriously?
I mightn’t have had such a problem with the tried plot if it weren’t for the fact that the words “smoldering” and “chiseled” and “perfect” weren’t used so often. “Smoldering” especially.
I became increasingly aware of how frequently Edward’s eyes were the topic of description. Which is fine, he’s a vamp, and their powerful gaze is often the subject of literary scrutiny. But eyes can only smolder so much before a human – or a reader – either gets pulled in or loses interest. I need more than smoldering eyes and a crooked smile – I need a little more conviction from my vamps. I need to be a little afraid. Sorry, Edward. Not doin’ it for me.
I’ll take alabaster-skinned Spike* any day.
Besides the predictably broody, moody, magazine cover-worthy Edward, Bella’s acceptance and adoration of the whole situation was wholly unbelievable. I also thought Meyer’s treatment of the vampire nature was offensive – the Cullen family doesn’t feed on people, only animals. And throughout the narrative, there is a sense that everyone – the vamps, the humans – find feeding on humans to be reprehensible. The author’s disdain for what we all know to be a vamp’s true nature comes through, and makes the story pitifully shallow. Part of what makes the vampire such a fascinating and enduring character is that sensual, passionate nature and essential desire for blood. Turning a vampire into a shameful, guilty creature is entirely unappetizing (get it?).
I did, however, like Edward’s family – the compassionate Dr. Cullen, who overcomes his bloodlust to care for humans; the elfin-faced Alice, who can see the future (like fashion and stock trends!); and my favorite, big, blond, burly Emmett, who treats Bella in the rough-and-tumble style of a big brother.
Bottom line – I liked the book OK, but I don’t know if I’ll go for the sequel. Meyer’s vampires are meek and indecisive, but not in that complex, I-can’t-drink-your-blood-so-I’ll-have-to-settle-for-hot-sex way. I like my vampires as brooding as the next girl, but what’s the use of superhuman feelings if you can’t channel them into something physical?
Final thoughts: No sex, no feeding on humans? NEXT.
* Spike is the sexy, sarcastic, moody vampire from late-season Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Is he going to kick her ass, make out with her or drink her blood? I don’t know … and I like it! Now THAT’s how a man should treat a lady.