Friday, 22 July 2011

Twilight Chapters 1 & 2

Here goes. *deep breath*

I attempted to read Twilight when I was eighteen and wanted to know what all the hype was about. I remember at the time coming to the conclusion that it wasn't worth the hype and not finishing it because I got bored. And I read Charles Dickens' Bleak House for funsies. It takes a lot to make me declare a book boring.

But my thesis is on female characters in young adult and fantasy literature, so alas, Twilight is inescapable simply for the massive influence it has on the entire young adult genre. A casual glance at the YA shelves in my local Dymocks reveals titles such as Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy, Vampire Beach-

Wait a minute.

Vampire beach? What is this, The Supernatural Hills? Or were all other settings already taken? Oh dear.

So I admit, I approach Twilight with some trepidation. It's not that I don't like vampires or urban fantasy. I do. A lot. I've been a huge Buffy fan since I was a teenager, and I watch True Blood, albeit more for the hilarity (speaking of which, I'm actually really impressed by the current season. But more on that in another entry). It's more that I find the whole premise of Twilight kind of silly. Still. It's beloved by teenage girls (and older women!) across the entire world, it must have something going for it. Right?


I'd never given much thought to how I would die- though I'd had reason enough in the last few months

Bella darling, maybe you should consider a lifestyle change?

I knew that if I'd never gone to Forks, I wouldn't be facing death now. But, terrified as I was, I couldn't bring myself to regret the decision. When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it's not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.

Really? Because to me that sounds like a perfectly good reason to grieve. If I'm having a good life I don't want it to end, thanks.

Oh wait, the prologue's over. So... that was pointless. We know at some time Bella's life is going to be in danger, so good job ruining that tension, Stephenie Meyer. But as the opening two chapters reveal, if there's one thing Meyer loves it's foreshadowing, and therefore killing the plot.

On to Chapter One!

Chapter 1: First Sight 

Giving away the plot in the chapter title will become a recurring theme, so please take note.

A summation of the first three pages: Bella loves Phoenix. A lot. I mean, she really, really does. Bella is moving to Forks, which she really really hates. Why is she going to Forks if she hates it so much? God knows.

Bella leaves her mother, about whom we know next to nothing (but we do know what Bella is wearing!), and meets her dad, who's a police chief. Bella muses that this meeting and subsequent car ride would be awkward. It... really isn't. Or at least not any more awkward than most teenage girls' conversations with their fathers.

Car ride, car ride, Bella's lack of decent clothes, car ride...

"He used to go fishing with us during the summer," Charlie prompted.

That would explain why I didn't remember him. I do a good job of blocking painful, unnecessary things from my memory.

Wow. Either the last fishing trip occurred during a hurricane or Bella's kind of a bitch.

"He's in a wheelchair now," Charlie continued

And Bella immediately asks how the man ended up in a wheelchair, how his health is and how's he's coping with such a dramatic change in his life. Oh wait, no. She just wants to know about the truck he can no longer drive.

So Bella gets a car and loves it and we're treated to a full description because anything Bella owns/will be seen in is important, unlike her parents.

Bla bla, Bella's room, bla bla, Bella's pale (translucent, even!), bla bla...

I didn't relate well to people my age. Maybe the truth was that I didn't relate well to people, period.

You think?

Bella gets ready for school, and this takes two full pages. Suddenly I'm realising why this book is so damn long.

Bella goes to school, her classmates stare at her, Bella's read everything on the booklist (this is another recurring theme: Bella is always better than any other mere mortal. Always. She talks about this a lot). A guy tries to talk to her and she's snappy, but he persists with being helpful. The nerve!

"You don't look very tan."

"My mother is part albino."

He studied my face apprehensively and I sighed. It looked like clouds and a sense of humor [intentional use of American spelling- what does that nation have against the letter 'u'?] didn't mix. A few months of this and I'd forget how to use sarcasm.

...I don't think clouds are your problem, Bella.

More people are friendly to Bella (the nerve!) and she is unfriendly back. Then she spots seven curious strangers! DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUN!

I'm going to skip the two page description of the Cullens because it's kind of dull and expositiony. In fact, lets skip ahead some more...

Aha, first class with Edward! Edward seems hostile and unfriendly. Bella seems hostile and unfriendly. I see the connection.

Another guy is nice to Bella, but all she can think about is why Edward isn't nice to her. Well, I guess having only having 99% of the guys in school lusting after you must be a bit sucky.

But Edward Cullen's back stiffened, and he turned slowly to glare at me- his face was absurdly handsome- with piercing hate-filled eyes. For an instant, I felt a thrill of genuine fear, raising the hair on my arms.

Behold, Bella, your future husband.

Bella declares that her first day at school was ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE and runs home in tears. And that's Chapter One!

Chapter 2: Open Book

Bla, bla, guys lust after Bella, Bella is nasty...

Bella likes cooking. Ooo look, an interest! Finally!

Bella is condescending to her mother, Bella reads Wuthering Heights. Wait. Bella loves Wuthering Heights. Stephenie Meyer loves Wuthering Heights. IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW!!!

Bella asks her dad about the Cullens, exposition occurs, Bella goes to school, Bella notices Edward doesn't come to school, Bella cares about this. The first time she's cared about anything other than herself, by the way.

Edward speaks to Bella. Edward is stalker-y. Um.

Biology, biology, Edward has gold eyes, biology... You know, for vampire supposedly living undercover, the Cullens sure aren't very good at it.

They talk, Edward is creepy and socially inept, Bella is also socially inept, Bella is nasty to people who aren't Edward again.

And that's it!

So Bella, our narrator and heroine, is anti-social, hostile, bitchy, no good at sarcasm and completely and utterly self-absorbed. Great. I can't wait to spend the next 400+ pages in her company.


1 comment:

  1. Good review kiddo, you hit most of the major problems and as some who has read it as well. Beware, it's only gonna get worse from here.