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samedi, novembre 22, 2008

 The Twilight Saga: A Review of the End of Two Days of Reading

I've just finished the fourth (and latest) book in Meyer's Twilight Saga, and I have to say that the fourth book rather redeemed the first three.

This review is mostly toxic spoiler-free. I'd rank it a 2/10 for spoiler danger - some revelations, but not enough to spoil much.

[Broad Strokes: Meyer's Twilight Saga]
After getting through the first two-and-a-half books, I was rapidly getting tired of the extended foreplay between the two characters - nothing risque, just UST at its utter best. Think Buffy-Angel Season 1 and 2, drawn out in three books. That the utter longing that these two characters had for each other was the main thing driving the plot - and you can see why it does grate after a while. Sort of like how you probably wouldn't be able to stomach two friends staring mooney-eyed at each other just because they're in love - it's just tiring when you're all out for a night in town.

But I digress. The fourth book redeemed the first three - or condemed them, if you want to look at it the other way around. The writing isn't much better - but then again, I feel that Meyer really wasn't putting much effort into the first two books. What stands out is that for the first time in her novels, I feel that she's trying for depth, rather than simply writing whatever she feels like.

[The Plot: Written into a Corner]
The turning of Bella, the dumb love triangle, eventual imprinting (which I so totally called once Bella conceived) were all cheap wish-fulfilment fantasies typed out and given life in print. I gave Meyer a pass on the way that the plot turned out - she's written herself into a corner, and she has to deal with the materials that she's churned out.

I didn't enjoy reading about the confrontation with the Volturi - but my discomfort was ironically pleasurable reading because it's quite rare for me to be so completely tense about the outcome of a fictional confrontation. It's also somewhat ironic that this effect of good writing (that the reader completely immerses himself into the story) is due to Meyer's bad writing style and lack of consistency - she's shown very little planning on back stories and plot arcs.

I am suspicious of the ending though - younger readers may not share my doubt, but it presents yet another conundrum to this new Twilight Saga reader. The end leaves me with the question - are we going to witness more growth in Meyer as an author, or are we simply going to see this series descend into pretentious chaos?*

Without giving too many details, Breaking Dawn was sewn up a little too neatly for my taste. The only time this was done before was in Book 1 (Twilight) - which felt like "the end" for Meyer's little foray into writing. Book 2 (New Moon) and Book 3 (Eclipse) always ended on a minor cliffhanger. The end of Book 4 felt rather final - except for the inclusion of the Vampire Index at the end of the novel, which could be read as a suggestion that Meyer is finally taking her little writing project seriously enough to give it a bit more history than normal.

I'm quite certain that her usual readers are not particularly pleased with her latest novel - there was some character development, which generally distresses pre-teen and young adult readers. Why do you think Archie comics have stayed the same all these years? With the introduction of so many new covens - Meyer went global with her character choices - I'm not sure if she'll be able to control her plot in the next book. Back stories upon back stories upon layers of back stories could be written on - but Meyer's core audience will not follow her there, because they've gotten all that they've wanted - and a baby to boot.

[Conclusion: Tread Carefully, Meyer]
Meyer definitely has to walk carefully - she cannot afford to alienate the core base of her loyal fans, but the romance and honeymoon are both literally and figuratively over for her characters - the question is: how much further can she take the Twilight Saga without moving forward into marriage, which is (dare I call it) a rather alien concept to her tweenage base? The series reads like a fanfic that took over the world, with no end of sappiness in sight.

Perhaps I'm not giving her enough credit. I am stacking the cards where they are: end of UST plot arc, add the baby, plus character development, a dash of author development, with a side of depth and history - I have a feeling that Meyer's freaking out over where she wants to bring this.

[*ETA: Amazon lists this as the "final instalment" of the Twilight Saga, which I didn't know, and haven't found definitive proof of yet. I did not know this when I wrote this, so read it as such.]

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[The Twilight Saga: A Review of the End of Two Days of Reading]
Sngs Alumni @ 22.11.08 { 0 comments }


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