Meyer's book had a great marketing team. They got her to change the title of the book from the less appealing Forks to a less obvious title, and they picked really visually appealing covers. I read young adult quite a bit, actually. I browse that section of the bookstore, particularly when I was looking for a less mentally demanding book to read for fun (because I picked a major that forced me to do a lot of dry reading, and a lot of analysis; sometimes, I needed a break). My eye was caught many times by the book with the black cover, and the pale arms, with hands cupping an apple. I noticed the cover, I read the back cover, and I put it back on the shelf. Frankly, those famous "three things" Bella's "absolutely positive" about make it sound like the protagonist is an airhead. Not that that's a bad thing, but I have a kind of intolerant attitude with regards to idiocy, and I didn't think I would like this book.
Well, then the trailer for the movie came out. The trailer looked pretty interesting, and I was like, Okay, I'm going to suck it up and pay eleven dollars to read this book. That clever cover was right - this book is interesting.
And then I read the book, and was very underwhelmed. Not at first, but at the end.
See, here's the thing. The book starts out okay. Excluding the epilogue, it ends okay, too. Yet for 500 pages, this book doesn't pack the punch I'm aiming for. If we are an S&M couple, I'm bent over, expecting to get smacked hard, and I feel a tap. I want to be sore for a week, and am instead only slightly irritated for a few seconds.
I know this book has a lot of fans. That's great; Meyer got lucky with this book series. And have you seen her interviews for The Host? She might not realize how lucky she got with this series, but she is appropriately humble about her writing skill. She says she was kind of "raw." I appreciate that she isn't acting like the greatest writer who ever walked the earth because some obsessed girls say it's true.
(Also, I would like to say, I like Meyer much more after seeing this interview. What a bitch! She refers to her readers as "girls," when I know there are some boys, middle-aged moms, etc. who rave about these books. Then, while she said she's got cool fans, she still puts them down, insinuating that they're not open-minded when she says they might just throw the book on the floor because it doesn't have Edward in it. While she's got a clear view of why many of her fans like the Twilight series, it is still deliciously evil to call them out on being love struck ditzes.)
I'll ignore the inconsistencies in this book - suffice it to say, they exist.
I won't go into detail about the abusive relationship, because many others have discussed this, and I doubt I can do better than they have. I would like to say that Bella is afraid of Edward many times, though, and that any impressionable people who read this book and happen to stumble upon this review, please keep in mind, if you're scared of your significant other, that is wrong. Don't date someone you're scared of, physically or otherwise.
I didn't mind reading the book as much this time around, but I'm definitely not going to rave about it.
Bella gets kind of whiny, kind of annoying, and says some really stupid things. She's a teenager. You know what? She sounds like a teenager most of the time. Meyer did a good job of capturing that phase of life. I like reading about teenagers who are more intelligent.
The big problem with this book for me, though, is that a lot of the dialogue is really shitty. I'm sorry, there's no way around this. Around page 206 (and remember guys, this book is FIVE HUNDRED FREAKIN' PAGES LONG!), the dialogue just starts to get ridiculous.
Let's put it this way - when I watched the movie with my boyfriend, he was guffawing at the dialogue, and actually said, "This dialogue is terrible!"
My response: "It's from the book."
Sometimes, the narrative writing gets a bit saccharine, too, at least for my tastes. An example of this can be found on page 257: "I tried to keep my eyes away from his perfection as much as possible, but I slipped often. Each time, his beauty pierced me through with sadness." Now that is just bad writing.
Still, while there are a lot of dopey moments, Meyer has some good writing in here, too. There were times I giggled, and believable moments. I would not call this a good romance, though.
If you like your reading to be witty and clever, I say skip this one. It is Meyer's first book, and the writing might get better later in the series, but this book's pretty rough.
(P.S., this book counts towards the 2009 Romance Reading Challenge I'm doing.)