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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Twilight from outside the demographic

A sort-of review…

Never before has a series of books seemed to polarise opinion so vehemently that the Twilight saga. There are the legions of very loyal ‘Twilight Looovers’ and the equally, what’s the word for anti-loyal, ‘Twilight Haters.’

First of all I have to point out that I only looked at book one, and the grammar used in this is not the same as that used by the vast majority of books I would normally read.
Honestly, my immediate reaction would be to say this has some issues, but as stated in the title I am very much outside the target audience demographic.
It was hard going for me to read this book, but I can see why it would read well to some people.

The three big issues I kept on hearing about with this were the writing style, the simplicity of the story and the message. Ok, it will never be considered as what is generally referred to as ‘literary fiction’ (a whole other rant), and the style won’t be to the taste of most, if not all, avid-readers. Then again, it does appear to appeal to the mainstream target audience, at which it was marketed, as well as quite a few others. So surely this must be doing something right.
I have heard quite a few teenage readers referring to this as ‘The best book ever,’ and in their, sometimes limited, reading experience I believe they truly mean this, and why shouldn’t their opinion be as valid as that of the avid-reader?
Some of my favourite books have often been described as ‘flowery’ and ‘pretentious.’ Everybody has an opinion. As I’ve said before, any book that gets people reading, especially those that may not normally do so, is a good book (in as much as it fits its purpose, it does what it was produced to do).

To me the words did get in the way of the story a little, which brings us to the story… see what I did there …
Yes, the story is simple. So what? Some of the best books have simple stories, and most genre books follow some form of the ‘Hero’s Tale’ concept.
‘Alice in Wonderland’ has very little story when you break it down, as do a fair amount of the ‘classics.’ So simple story, yes. Unimaginative story, well you can see where this tries to be different from the standard vampire story. How successful this was is entirely subjective, but it does follow a fairly predictable pattern. Then that pattern may only be discernable hence predictable to someone who reads a lot! I think it’s fair to say that a major part of the Twilight audience is not hugely well-read: that is not a slight!
And we are now left with the message… Interpreted by many as: teenage girl with low self esteem is used and abused by older ‘sometimes boyfriend.’ OK, I can see where this is coming from. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, I didn’t particularly care ether way… and truth be told ended up skimming the best part of the book. In my defence I had already discerned the writing style, and wanted to understand the story, by this point. From what I gathered, it isn’t as bad as some people make out, and it isn’t as good or morally commendable as others seem to think it is. Of course that assumption is only my own personal thoughts, and as such is entirely subjective.

My quick conclusion… Ok, if you insist…
Personally I didn’t care for it very much, then it wasn’t aimed at me.
I think the story is simple, but that isn’t necessarily a sin on its own.
The message is morally ambiguous at best, again not necessarily a sin.
I didn’t like the way this was written and found it hard to read. I think a large percentage of frequent readers with probably feel the same.
I can see why it has gained favour and scorn where it has.
The solution… As always, don’t read it if you don’t like it. What’s the point of hating?


  1. Interesting review and very honest - the best kind. Thanks for the info. I look forward to more reviews and ramblings (which I do on my blog!) I am a new follower from Goodreads. I hope you'll visit my blog and follow. Donna

  2. Good review, Garry. I've not read any of the Twilight series, nor seen any of the associated films, and have no desire to do so for the simple reason that I vehemently object to the current trend of romanticizing a literary creature that was always meant to be inherently evil in nature. Not even '60s Gothic-style soap Dark Shadows attempted to do that with the somewhat sympathetic yet still sinister Barnabas Collins.

    In short, I like my vampires lusting for women and blood, not romance and friendships.

  3. Hi Garry, saw your blog on Goodreads. I am also quite old :D and had to spend a day frowning at the computer before I worked out this blogging business. I do agree with your review, but I have to admit that, whilst not the most literary of the books I've read over the years, I did find Twilight to be a guilty pleasure (of course I was only reading it for research purposes :P)

  4. Interesting post Gary, and I agree with most of it. I'm not a hater, nor a lover. It was a gateway book for me. They brought me back to the land of books, and for that I am grateful. But the books have issues :lol:

    Feel free to chat anytime
    Erika @

  5. Thanks for all the good comments.
    All the opinions, one way or the other, got me interested in this.
    I’m never going to be a fan, then I knew that before I read word one.
    But I don’t hate it. I won’t read the rest, but if people like them and it gets them reading that has to be a good thing.

    I did see the first film, someone asked me to *cough* acquire it for them. I have to say the production was very low, I believe the production of the second film was better, but I haven’t actually watch ether.