In Defense of Twilight

I’m sure I’ve probably blogged about Twilight before. I read the first two books, got halfway through the third one, then flipped through the pages of the fourth one. I wasn’t interested in actually finishing the series because spoilers around the Internet told me far more than I needed to know about how it ended.

Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”
― Stephen King

Authors like Stephen King think Stephenie Meyer is not a good writer. (I’m sure Harold Bloom would have a lot to say on the subject, but then again, he thinks King and J.K. Rowling are horrible.) There are tons of websites on the Internet that go into detail about why Twilight is no good. Here are 100 Reasons Why Twilight Sucks and Reasoning with Vampires, which takes quotes from Twilight and analyzes how nonsensical they are.

The reason Twilight exists is not to be good literature. It exists as entertainment, pure and simple. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, and anyone who’s smart won’t take it seriously. There’s no deep message. The author isn’t telling young girls to go out and date a guy who’s controlling and overprotective. The books allow teen girls to vicariously place themselves at the heart of a romance and temporarily lose themselves in the fantasy world Meyer has created. The book’s audience realizes that it’s a fantasy and they won’t try to emulate anything the characters do in real life. They’re in love with the book’s romantic premise.

It’s a YA series – and even though I love reading YA, the majority of it tends to be very shallow in terms of character development. You can’t expect it to be brilliant literature. Take it for what it is. It’s meant to be an escape for teen girls – to allow them to envision an alternate world and take them away from the stress of being a teenager. Twilight is important and popular for the same reasons shows like Jersey Shore are popular: a mixture of romance, drama, and unrealistic elements. Read Twilight to be entertained, not to find enlightenment. If you want to be enlightened and have your mind opened, read Dickens or Faulkner or Proust.

The Host – Stephenie Meyer

The Host

Right now I’m on page 516 of this behemoth, with about 100 more pages to go. I must say that I’m surprised. The Host is good. Meyer has really matured in her writing style and characterization since the Twilight series. Usually, the more popular something becomes, the more disinclined I am to get into it, so when Twilight got very popular, I moved away from it. And besides, I didn’t care too much for the whole vampire/werewolf thing anyway. That’s why I wanted to read The Host – I wanted to see how well Meyer could pull off something that wasn’t related to Twilight.

Basic synopsis of the book… it’s a young adult science-fiction thriller involving the body of Melanie Stryder and the host who inhabits it, the Wanderer. An alien race of “souls” has arrived on Earth to take possession of human bodies. Needless to say, they don’t hold humans in very high regard. When a soul takes possession of a human body, the human’s mind is erased. That’s not the case with Melanie. She’s much more persistent than most humans and so she lives on, alongside the Wanderer. The two form an unlikely team, mainly due to the Wanderer having access to Melanie’s human emotions and memories, which are stronger than any the Wanderer has ever experienced before. Thus begins their difficult quest for survival – the Wanderer has grown quite attached to Melanie and to life with humans. That’s not allowed in the new soul-inhabited Earth. In short, it’s a survival story.

Stephenie Meyer’s writing is emotionally strong. She really knows how to put her characters through hell and back and make the reader feel for them and care about them. The futuristic world Meyer creates is unique, and even though I’m not a huge fan of science fiction, I found this world interesting and easy to understand. There’s nothing more annoying than science-fiction worlds with unpronounceable character names and outrageous technologies.

I said the book was “good.” The novel’s slow pace doesn’t make me want to keep on reading, and I think that’s because of the book’s enormous length. In some parts, it feels like it drags on and on. I want to know what’s going to happen with Melanie and the Wanderer and my liking for these characters is the only thing keeping me reading. I’m not a huge fan of Meyer’s writing style; it just feels bland to me. I’d definitely consider this book character-driven rather than plot-driven.

What did you think of The Host? Like it? Love it? Hate it?