...or, criticizing popular literature. I feel I should preface this entry by pointing out that fantasy is by far my favorite genre. I have read (and love, deeply) high fantasy, urban fantasy, stories about magic and elves and vampires and werewolves and bards and giants and all manner of things. So, I'm not hating on fantasy here. Much love to the fantasy writers who do a good job (hi, roxie and amy lane!). However, I have a few bones to pick with Stephenie Meyer.
I started listening to Twilight because I was sort of intrigued by the idea. It's hardly new, but well, see the above disclaimer. Fantasy is my genre, baby. However, Stephenie's fantasy really isn't. See, I can suspend disbelief to accept that vampires are real and walk among us. However, I can't make myself believe that they voluntarily put themselves through high school over and over and over again. Come on, high school really isn't the glory years. It's an angsty, confused, hormonal time. Why would a cosmopolitan, century or so old creature put itself through that again and again? That stretches my imagination muscles a little. However, the heroine stretches them to the point where they break.
See, the main vampire admits to the heroine that he's been breaking into her house and watching her sleep. He's been doing this for weeks, even though he seemed to pretty much hate her when they first met. And the heroine doesn't once bring up the words 'stalking' or 'restraining order' or even 'psychotic'. Nope, she tells him it's incredibly romantic and she hopes he'll do it more often. Sorry, nobody is that crazy. Nobody thinks that level of creepiness is okay in real life. Not even a besotted teenager. The vampire admits to his lady love that he could crush her if he loses his concentration for a single moment, and that there's a very, very good chance that he's going to end up killing her. Does she say, 'Well, huh. I think we're done here'? Nope. She says, 'I trust you!' and bats her eyelashes and leans in a little closer.
Also, said heroine must have harnessed the awesome power of pheremones or something, because she starts out the book without a lot of friends and having never had a date. However, three or four chapters in, at least four different young men have asked her out. She suddenly becomes catnip for males. It's just a little too high school wish-fulfillment for me.
And all that, I could have accepted, albeit with a little work. But Stephenie lost me the minute she disclosed one thing. In her magical world of improbable things, vampires are strong, virile, fast, and... they sparkle. I'm sorry, I can't accept a world where vampires choose not to go out in the day because they sparkle. That's just too much, even for me. And I believe in fairies. All in all, it's not a bad book, and I'll probably listen to the end, and move on to the rest of the series. Mainly, though, because I downloaded it for free.
--Real vampires don't sparkle
--Who gets turned on by skin that feels like marble/ice/stone? I understand a lot of kinky fetishes, but necrophilia just baffles me (the heroine is way into the cold skin thing. creepy!)
--Read something written by Amy Lane instead. There's actually sex and swearing
--Stephenie Meyer basically wrote a book about what she wished high school had been like
--This is not the book to use to illustrate healthy boundaries. Not even a little.