We ran a series of competitions in school to celebrate the Reading Week we were staging across our ‘family’ of schools. Charlotte Rodgers won the KS4 Book Review category and was the overall winner, as chosen by our head teacher. She won a Kindle and the opportunity to have her review published. So here it is:
Vampires: Undead, widow-peaked blood-suckers that leap out from coffins and prey on the innocent, right?
Thanks to the bestselling series Twilight by vampire expert extraordinaire Stephanie Meyer, this obviously false stereotype is completely done away with and replaced by what is most definitely a more correct alternative; they now sparkle, live in huge modernised houses and lust after teenaged girls! Oh, how Bram Stoker’s face must be red.
The series follows 17-year-old Bella Swan as she moves away from sunny Phoenix in Arizona to the dreary little town of Forks, Washington. It is there that she meets the brooding, mysterious, somewhat icy (pun intended) and sparkly Edward Cullen along with his equally glittery family. Whilst the hormones of just about any other teenaged boy in school are going wild at the sight of the sullen beauty that is Miss Swan, copper-haired (her words, not mine) Edward shows no interest whatsoever, even appearing to be disgusted at the very sight of her! Poor dear, life is just too cruel.
But anyway. We are treated to a dismal nine chapters of Bella and the chronicles of her adventures in Forks, including meeting the Quileute boy Jacob Black (later revealed to be a werewolf-human boys in this book are rarer than the supernatural ones), who tells her a rather interesting tale about wolves and vampires fighting and killing each other and so on, so forth…
…yadayadayda. It makes Bella suspect that Edward is a vampire. And thanks to a handy little thing called Google, she is able to research the walking/talking icicle before an almost-rape encounter leads to a not-so coincidental meeting between the two.
In other words, he was stalking her. And she finds it incredibly romantic.
She later outs him as a vampire and, despite his warnings (which could have saved a later three sequels and a hell of a lot of paper) the two begin a relationship. A relationship which, according to the National Domestic Abuse hotline, ticks the boxes of all fifteen criteria for an unhealthy relationship. These little gems include: threatening to commit suicide (book two, check.), making all the decisions for the two of them (uh, every book, mega check.), and, of course, threatening to kill you. Something Edward likes to remind Bella he could do at every chance he gets.
Let me put it this way; if I had a penny for every time Mr. Sullen reminds his air-headed amour that he wants to drink her blood, I would have enough money for a refund, as well as something with which to gouge my eyes out and save myself from reading this pile of drivel.
Unfortunately, many other girls my age (and embarrassingly so, mothers of these poor dears) do not share my sentiments. As a series, Twilight has sold over 116 million copies worldwide and appeared on the New York Times Best Seller lists for over 235 weeks. Oh, and have been adapted into five immensely popular films, starring the marvellously miserable Kristen Stewart as Bella. Personally, I think half the time she appears on screen, she is finding the story just as bland and tasteless as I.
Ridiculed and mocked online and in forums, it has even spawned the “still a better love story than Twilight” meme, a comment commonly used as a response towards pairings, animals, or even day-to-day objects, saying that the connection between them is better than the relationships portrayed in the series.
The majority of Twilight’s audience is preteen to teenage girls, and so would not have an inkling of a clue as to how adult relations work, even more so than Bella Swan herself. This, I think, has contributed towards the book’s popularity; because they only see it as a silly, supernatural love story, they continue reading and fuelling sales whilst simultaneously filling Meyer’s pocket. The poor plotline cannot even be saved by decent writing, either. A suitable comparison to Twilight would be that of a fan fiction written by a half-educated tween girl, fawning over a couple and treating the gloomy male protagonist like some kind of statuesque Greek Adonis.
Around 40% of the book is our damsel in distress feeling the need to remind us of just how damn good looking her man is. This is not an exaggeration.
Overflowing with enough lines to make you cringe in embarrassment and a cast full of paper-thin characters, I would only recommend Twilight to those who have but a single brain cell remaining, and for some reason would like to brutally torture it before exposing it to a cruel, slow and painful death.
As for me, I think I’ll stick to Harry Potter, thanks