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Home > Reviews > Twilight by Stephenie Meyer Book Review

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer Book Review

I suppose it’s only fair to preface this by saying that I’m not a reader of the vampire sub-genre. In fact, I’ve never read any novel with the plot revolving around vampires, and Anne Rice remained somewhere on the lower half of my mental “to-read” list. Right below 100 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade.

In a way, that can be an advantage for critique. It gives me a fresh view going in, as I have nothing to cross-compare it to and no expectations.

*Spoiler level*: minimal

On the inside of the back flap, Stephenie Meyer said she wanted to create “characters that are so deeply human that their perspectives make the situation believable.” In the end, I remain unconvinced.

Take the protagonist, the narrator, Isabella Swan. I suppose Meyer wanted her name to be ironic, a graceful princess-like assonance contrasting to her gratingly annoying and awkward character. She’s always “pleading” or “grumbling” or “complaining” or “glaring.” She likes to “glare” a lot (it’s enough times to turn it into a drinking game) , especially at Edward. She’ll be smiling one second, be in horror the next, in disdain the next. Her character is negative, negative, negative, unsatisfied with everything, including her own humanity.

But even though written from her perspective, the novel isn’t about Bella at all. In fact, I feel that Meyer designed Bella’s character to be quite unlikable on purpose.

Twilight’s appeal and popularity relies heavily, as in 97%, on the appeal of Edward Cullen to the female reader. If she had made Edward’s love interest a likeable character then it would be immensely unsatisfying for the ladies. Why else would Meyers juxtapose Bella’s constant whining to commentary of Edward’s “dazzling” and “hypnotizing” looks? If the reader sincerely wanted Edward to be with Bella unconditionally, then what masturbatory fantasies would be left for her, the reader?

Trust me, I’d hit it too, if vampires can have sex with humans. Meyer never really elucidates on that point, something unusual because they’re seventeen years old. Seriously. High school juniors carry rubbers with anticipation. Meyer needs to not let her Mormon roots get the better of her. But I digress.

Edward and Bella’s relationship is one dimensional, the roots for Edward and Bella’s “eternal” love unfounded. Their attraction began as physical chemistry, admittedly scent on Edward’s behalf. He notes that he’s curious about her and intrigued by her sense of perception. But where’s the depth of their relationship? Their dialogue is constant argument and bickering and clashing. I can’t find any grounds for emotional or intellectual attraction between the characters. And that’s rather sad considering most of the book seems to have the intent of building the couple’s relationship; the secondary characters have barely any substance of their own.

The action of the story was short lived. From the start of the major conflict to the climax, it’s less than 100 pages of the 498 page novel. And not much happens in those pages except for a lot of talking. There’s a residuum of wit in the story but not so much to absolve it from the rest of Bella’s grating narration.

The only major likable thing about Twilight remains Edward: the chiseled, intense, chivalrous, mystery man. The only reason he’s not a cliché is because he’s an a-typical vampire, both in the context of the novel and contemporary stereotypes of vampires.

Perhaps Twilight would be have been more for me if Meyer had expanded upon the apple allusion, given more depth to the consequences of temptation and immortality, provoke some thought. But she didn’t. Twilight did nothing more than the show me yet another way to exploit the relatability and popularity of the confusing throes of young adulthood and raging hormones.

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  1. Dara
    May 19, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    THANK YOU FOR AGREEING WITH ME. at my school i have to beat twilight readers (lovers) away with a stick. i found bella and edward’s relationship to be one-dimensional and poorly constructed, and i hated how “big” the book was when actual plot construction was done in 100 pages or less. hated the book, hate the pro-twlight readers. also, the cover photo had NOTHING to do with the book. nor the title. meyer went for “whatever attracts horny teenagers”, and she won.

  2. mashie
    June 1, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    1st of all it’s Stephenie Meyer
    2nd,the apple is the forbidden fruit which connects 2 bella cuz she’s sorta forbidden 2 him and
    3rd, evry1 is entitled 2 their own opinion so stop it w/ the “h8ing pipol who read twilight” stuff, if u really h8 the book that much, then ignore it! Stephenie Meyer put a lot of hard work in this….

    call me watevr u want, I just have to say that u should at least appreciate the effort that the author puts into a book.

    • Anonymous
      May 30, 2009 at 9:08 pm

      I have a problem with your third point.
      Everybody is entitled to their own opinion – exactly. Amongst an ocean of positive Twilight reviews (which you will undoubtedly have no problem against) there are one or two negative ones, and I find it laughable that some – not all, some – fans of Twilight – such as you – feel the need to jump in saying: ‘OMG stp h8ting’.
      It is not hating. It is an opinion; and as you said, everybody is entitled to an opinion, no? Not stereotyping, but from what I’ve personally seen, I actually find it quite ironic that the majority of Twilight-haters are more respectful of opinions than Twilight’s fans.
      Cut short, you are giving off the impression that expressing a different opinion than to everyone else is wrong – otherwise, why should you tell the author of this review to ignore their negative feelings towards the book?
      That is exactly the sort of thinking that makes the world a worse place. Congratulations: I hope you’re proud of yourself.

      • as unbiased as humanly possible
        April 1, 2010 at 12:39 am

        I agree with you, except you’re wrong about the anti-Twilighters. You say they’re not haters, but if you happened to read the first comment, it’s obvious that some–not all–are. Just pointing out a fact. Also, why must we all be so verbal about our opinions? Keep them to yourself. Everyone has their own morals and ideas of right, wrong, good, and bad. Instead of arguing and commenting about Twilight, read a different book if you don’t like it and read it again if you do. Simple as that.

    • bgg
      October 29, 2009 at 3:19 pm

      Oh my god, you’re a fucking idiot.

    • Anonymous
      January 9, 2010 at 10:57 pm

      Why do you type like that? About your second point,Stephanie Meyer barely connects the apple to Bella just her blood. I would also like to point out that the Enlightenment philosophers were persecuted for putting out their works and they were called heretics. . .Just saying

    • KimLala
      May 7, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      Should society praise something just because a person worked hard at it? Sure, I give her credit for giving it a shot, but does that make her a proficient writer? There are expectations to maintain, and when you grow and find your self in a profession, you’ll realize diligence in a short duration of time doesn’t necessarily guarantee excellence on the spot. It’s clear Stephanie Meyer hasn’t read any books with depth and Twilight was probably her first piece of serious writing; of course, I’m judging from the content of the book and the presentation of it.

      You say everyone is entitled to their own opinion, right? So why should the exception be only for people whose perspective is in your favor? Besides, I think it’s obvious Twilight has benefited our youth very little and has actually fabricated false ideals of how relationships should be run. I mean just look at your grammar; I guarantee it was much better before you read the book!

    • Bryan
      April 21, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      Kinda hard to do when the book is just kinda shit. Vampirism is not a happy thing, it is a deal with the devil at the price of your soul in eternal damnation.

  3. Sola
    November 21, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Yeah the books pretty much suck.
    Meyer wrote the book due to the lack of sex in her marriage.
    And millions of squealing pubescent fangirls insert themselves in the place of Bella to fantasize about an abstract abusive relationship with a vampire (not really a vampire) boyfriend.

    • Cory
      October 29, 2010 at 2:12 am

      THANK YOU! I am a fan of vampires but you are RIGHT! This book is not about vampires! It’s about shiny pedophiles who for some reason still succumb to teenage hormones that they should have long passed over!

  4. DorkChild
    November 23, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Okay, I liked the first book. I thought most of it was pointless filler, the characters could have been better, and that I could have written a better novel, but that the idea was good. The author was just trying too hard.

    In the second book I wanted to kill Bella for being a weak little loser who becomes all crazy and suicidal after her boyfriend leaves her.

    The third book made me hate Bella more with the way she was with Jacob. She should have left him alone. I hate how she goes from clinging to one guy to clinging to another to breaking the other guys heart when he had clearly proven that he was the better choice.

    Now the fourth book:
    1. Edward should not have been able to get it up
    2. Jacob becomes a pedophile
    3. Bella should have died.

    Perhaps I am being a cruel because Bella annoys me to no end, but she should have died.

    Quite frankly, the books should have stopped at one. It would have been much better that way.

  5. him
    January 24, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    stupid witch with a b. i ❤ all things twilight!!!!!!!!!!

    • scandalousmuffin
      February 16, 2009 at 8:24 pm

      When you are older, you will be embarrassed at yourself.

      • bgg
        October 29, 2009 at 3:21 pm

        lol, they will be so ashamed

    • Cory
      October 29, 2010 at 2:14 am

      Because you are a sad teenager who wants little plot, a lot of annoying narration, and no point to anything! ^_^

  6. spaztasticbabygirl
    July 20, 2009 at 1:47 am

    thank you.

    almost all of my friends are like ‘OMG Twilight’s SOOOOO romantic! and OMG, Edward’s SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO hot.” Shut up, seriously. Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a flying f*ck about Twilight. The FIRST book was fine. The movie sucked.

  7. very true
    November 30, 2009 at 8:41 am

    thankyou this is exactly what i have been trying to tell people.
    i HATE bella swan

  8. the one who hates twilight
    December 1, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    I agree!grrrrr -_- i hate this book and it’s fans so much….well maybe not ALL twilight fangirls are crazy but i’d say most are..
    I find it funny how alot of people like it,i think Stephine Meyer creates an illusion in her writing to make it SOUND good….but in the end no matter how well you write your novel will fall apart if there are plot holes and character design flaws…
    and I just realized that in the first place I only liked twilight for the soundtrack xD

  9. JCKelsall
    December 6, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I have to agree that the books are not a good quality. I have never understood the obsession, so I decided to read the books and all I have to say, is: “What a waste of my time!” The romance is based on merely physical appearance, which is fine. Most relationships start that way, however, there needs to be an emotional attachment. Not an unhealthy, suicidal obsession, but a healthy emotional attachment. I myself am a budding vampire writer and am working towards getting my first book published. I therefore understand the hard work that an author must put into a book. It can be highly mentally exhausting and so the work must be appreciated. However, the effort that Meyer has put into this, in my opinion is just on making the perfect man for a woman. Bella is like a helpless whining baby who is so dependent on her man. People say that men are sexist, that they think that women need men and aren’t independent. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Meyer has made a book that shows a girl who is so obsessed with a guy that she doesn’t live for anything else and seeing as how nearly every woman likes this book, it proves that they all long for the same thing. If a woman wants something like this then why don’t they go live in the 1700’s when times were like this? Why fight for independence when you have a passion to only be dependant on a male? I have nothing against women and know that there are some that don’t feel like this. But I think that my reasons are logical and completely rational. The book is so popular with women because they long to be in Bella’s shoes. It is a fantasy and an over the top dream, nothing more.

    • hai
      February 2, 2010 at 4:48 pm

      i am one of those crazy twilight fans and love the books no end, but i think that more importantly,everyone has their right to an opinion. not everyone was going to like the books and the films, to think that is just stupid. i think the films are nothing compared to the films, but that is my opinion. seriously peeps, stop arguing about these things because quite frankly, they are there for us to enjoy. (or not as the case may be)

    • as unbiased as humanly possible
      April 1, 2010 at 12:50 am

      I agree with you 100%. Amen. Good luck with the writing! I am writing a novel myself, so I must also give Meyer credit for all of her hard work, her dream, and her determination. Writing a novel is difficult! My motto comes into play here, with all of the Twilight chatter: if you can’t do any better yourself, why are you criticizing? Also: spend your time the best way you think possible in order to better yourself. If that means loving the Twilight series, then fine, or if it means disliking it and moving on, fine.

    • Cory
      October 29, 2010 at 2:26 am

      I know quite a few women, only ONE of them likes the Twilight series… sorta. My mother, my sister, all of my sister’s female friends, all of MY female friends, they all HATE it. I think a reason these books are so popular is that they appeal to the teenage girls out there that also like Vampire Diaries and all those things that are making vampires just attractive and stupid. Sexuality is not all their is to vampires, and Twilight and Vampire Diaries seem to be making it out that way. I also know some guys that like the books. In my opinion, the movie had SOME plot to it, but not much. It’s not a vampire story, it’s a story about a guy who glows in sunlight and a girl who is obsessed with him and nothing else.

  10. hai
    February 2, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    *nothing compared to the books

    • Cory
      October 29, 2010 at 2:20 am

      I tried to read the first book… TRIED DILIGENTLY! Could not get through it. My sister warned me that Bella is seriously annoying and she only liked the last fifth of the book where it actually involves some other more interesting vampires than the main characters… but I couldn’t do it. And I think I like GOOD books. If you ever decide to read GOOD books, look at Gregory Maguire, Michael Crichton, -some book titles- The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime, White Oleander< book, not movie, 101 Dalmatians< again book, not movie… those are some good stories. Twilight is pure crap and the characters do things that are convenient for the plot. Sorry, I understand if you like them, but GOOD books are out there.

  11. Cory
    October 29, 2010 at 2:27 am

    I think the author of this commentary is right. That’s all I have to say.

  12. cassandra
    February 14, 2011 at 2:31 am

    i enjoyed the books alot! dont know why people are diisliking them so much? maybe jelously because she is making millions of dollars on her amazing books and u lozers arn’t?

  13. Carol
    March 29, 2011 at 1:03 am

    I tried to read the books while I was on medical leave from work. However, I found Bella to be more annoying in the book than she did in the movies. Bella grew up in Arizona, with a mother who wanted more from life than living in Forks. So why is Bella so inexperienced, nieve, whinny and uninformed about boys/men. Stephanie Meyer made her character to weak and unbelievable. I like the concept however I really do not care for Bella’s character. In viewing the first three movies Bella fails to evolve as a person. Her character is one deminsional with no true depth. The concept of the love triangle is interesting but not played out well. Bella’s character has set women back a 100 years. I realize it is all a romantic fantasy but why not have a character that young girls can look up to. As much as I wanted to like something other than seeing Taylor Lautner with his shirt off. I could not enjoy the series of books. To an adult female reader the Twilight novels are condescending to young women. I actually prefer “TrueBlood” over any other vampire based movie/novel. The HBO series is a lot more entertaining and believeable.

  14. Lianna
    July 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I was in 6-th grade when I started reading the series, and I really liked it. I was one of the fangirls myself, knowing quotes, loving the characters and all the stuff that comes with it. But I realized soon enough the characters were flat, the plot was almost nonexistent. When the movies came in, I really disliked them, mostly because of the reason I dislike the books.
    The worst part, and I am sorry to say this, are the fans. Everyone as the right to an opinion, and no, the so-called haters are not jealous on Stephenie Meyer for her money. No, she isn’t so talented so they can envy her. The books are mediocre, and the characters’ traits are too easy to figure out, not to mention the lack of the plot. And love stories happen every day. People don’t need an Edward, with his fake perfection, to feel happy.

  15. Ace
    July 21, 2011 at 2:47 am

    The book was basically like any other “girl wants perfect guy” scenario. The only difference was the guy was vampire and the girl might have been (let say way more) childish and needy to no end.

    I loved the books the first time I read them (Note: I was in middle school).

    Reread them again (In high school) have to say I truly like some parts and couldn’t believe how ignorant I had been in most others.

  16. Joel
    November 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    You all are stupid. Twilight is a very good book. Stephenie Meyer did a wonderful job constructing it and planing it. And it was a success. You try and write a 300 page book that is a best seller and tell me how that works out…

  1. August 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm
  2. August 24, 2011 at 3:02 am

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