Customer Review

152 of 189 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Meyers' books are GREAT...., April 4, 2008
This review is from: New Moon (Twilight) (Hardcover)
...if you're an aspiring writer in need of a primer that gives never-ending examples of what NOT TO DO.

I'm working on a teen fantasy novel of my own, and Meyers' Twilight series never fails to remind me of the things I want to completely avoid in my own writing. Let's consult the list, shall we?

1) THE BORING SUE HERIONE. You may have heard of the Mary Sue, the perfect female protagonist who can do no wrong, who has unnatural beauty, who is beloved by all; Bella isn't quite a Mary Sue. She's described (by herself, at least) as plain and is endlessly clumsy (though her clumsiness is so contrived that it seems like a magical Sue ability, practically). She also has no interests, hobbies, or anything that she excels at in particular. Despite these flaws, Bella nevertheless ends up a Sue because everyone loves her for reasons that defy explanation or logic. Even when she is behaving in a selfish, whiny, and intolerable way, Bella is never called out for her behavior. The only character who ever seems disgusted by Bella is Jessica, but since Jessica is written as a shrew anyway, we're clearly not meant to put much stock in her opinion.

2) FATED TRUE LOVE. In my world, Fated True Love isn't romantic, it's lazy. It says "hey, instead of working out why these characters are attracted to each other and showing how their relationship develops, I'm gonna just put it in the hands of FATE and have them fall in love for no reason whatsoever!" Edward loves Bella because she smells good, which means Edward loves Bella like I love freshly baked bread. Bella loves Edward because he's beautiful. God-like. So beautiful...really BEAUTIFUL, in case you missed it in all the numerous descriptive reminders. But really, why do they love each other? I have no idea. Shakespeare was all too aware of the ridiculousness of star-crossed love, which is why he was smart and killed his teenaged lovers off. But Bella and Edward's happiness hinges entirely on their togetherness. What a strong, solid message to send to the young women of the world: happiness isn't something you create for yourself, oh no, it's something you can ONLY find in a beautiful, immortal man. Bella's slow recognition of Jacob as a potential suitor was far more interesting and realistic, and it was teeth-gnashingly disappointing to see Bella repeatedly insist to herself that no one would ever do it for her again but Edward.

3) THE ZERO-HOUR PLOT. Nothing much happens in Meyers' books, aside from Bella's enthrallment/suffering over Edward. In the last few chapters, Meyers will attempt to inject some kind of conflict into the narrative, either in the form of James, Victoria, and Laurent ("Twilight") or the Volturi ("New Moon"). It's difficult to get invested in this conflict at the last minute, and again feels like a lazy, tacked-on, "oh right, I am writing a book, maybe something should happen!" move from the author.

Of course, as someone who hopes to be successful at writing teen fantasy, it's depressing to know that all I would need to do to achieve this success is construct a BORING SUE HEROINE, a FATED TRUE LOVE, and a ZERO HOUR PLOT.

Or maybe it's not depressing...maybe it's an incredible relief! After all, coming up with those three things shouldn't be too hard. If a lazy writer like Meyers can do it, anyone can!

For readers looking for good, solid teen-level fantasy featuring interesting heroines, more complex and realistic portrayals of love, and truly gripping plot, I recommend Diana Wynne Jones and Libba Bray.
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Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 37 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 7, 2008 7:28:12 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 7, 2008 7:35:08 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Apr 8, 2008 3:23:01 PM PDT
Strawberry says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2008 2:29:16 PM PDT
Smarmstress says:
I certainly hope I'm not in the same league!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2008 2:32:53 PM PDT
Smarmstress says:
Selling books is not a prerequisite for voicing criticism. I don't have any books written yet, which is why I described myself as an ASPIRING writer. Perhaps your inability to note the difference is a sign that you should stick to reading Meyers' simplistic fare.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 16, 2008 10:35:27 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 16, 2008 10:43:02 AM PDT
Dahlia says:
Smarmstress, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but criticizing your own future reading public isn't the smartest thing to do (I'm referring to your last comment above). You realize that if you were using your real name you'd be losing readers right now, right? If you can create a story that resonates with people the way these have, then more power to you. But whether you like or not, there's a reason SM's books have reached the level of success that they have. If you want to blame it on the stupidity of the public and their preference for 'simplistic fare', okay then, but don't expect that public to support you when it's your turn.

Posted on Jul 17, 2008 11:09:52 PM PDT
Lutra says:
I completely agree with the review...the book was absolute rubbish.

And Diana Wynne Jones is a brilliant author, one of my favorites. She's a thousand times better than Meyer ever will be and it's a shame she's not as recognized; her books are incredible.

Posted on Nov 11, 2008 10:08:54 AM PST
I laughed so hard I almost cried!
You put into words what I could not. After the announcement of the movie, I thought to myself: what are they basing the plot off of? The last two hundred pages?

Honestly, once you've read Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles (the first four anyway), you really can't buy into Meyers "vision" (way too strong of a word there), of the Vampire world.
The creatures "sparkle" when they hit the sunlight - COME ON!!!
I know Meyers is a Mormon, but was g-rating the whole vampire experience necessary to sell these books?

But, smartmstress, you hit the nail right on the head on every count. Completely unextrordinary characters, complete lack of plot until the end...this series of books appeals to primarily one fan base, and one fan base only: obsessive teenage girls, and Meyers could not sell one of these books without them.

Posted on Nov 22, 2008 6:49:08 AM PST
M. L. Campos says:
Smarmstress: Don't worry about this rabid fans criticizing you using arguments such "you never wrote anything, you have no right therefore of recognizing junk" or " if it sold out, is good, period". If a writer needed to be good to sell books, Daniele Steel wouldn't be wealthy from it. And about losing readers, I don't think so, there will always be readers looking for quality books, and even those who are Meyers fans now won't be anymore when they start reading better things or stop having to fill the void HP left. When you finish your book, let me know, please.

Posted on Nov 22, 2008 5:09:47 PM PST
judo74 says:
Wow, I understand that you have found percieved faults with the book, but your negativity ("a lazy writer like Meyers," etc.) takes away from your carefully organized list of defecits, it makes your appeal too emotional even though you are attempting to seem logicical in your disdain. It does come across a little harsh and maybe motivated by something other than critical analysis. And while Dianne Wynne Jones and Libba Bray are good also, The Meyers series is a purely intoxicating read inspite of your emotional testament to the contrary.

Posted on Nov 22, 2008 6:54:58 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Sep 14, 2009 9:23:10 PM PDT]
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