Title: Fifty Shades Trilogy – Fifty Shades of Grey (book one)
Author: EL James (UK)
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop (e-book) & Vintage Books
Date: E-book & print on demand paper back by The Writer’s Coffee Shop – May 2011. By Vintage Books – April 2012.
Genre: Romance/Erotica – including BDSM
Fifty Shade of Grey by El James, if you haven’t heard of the romance/erotica novel, then I would like to ask where you have been these recent months? The book is causing a huge sensation in the literary world, selling absolute millions internationally. The trilogy has a huge fan following, as well as a huge following of haters; especially since the content of the book have been disclosed as BDSM erotica, something for the right wing/conservative/religious zealots to get their book burning teeth into (for all you book burners out there, I hope you realise your actions do little to solve your perceived problem. In burning the book you have to actually buy the books to burn, thus increasing the book sales and keeping the book in the attention of the media and on the best sellers list).
Given all the hype which has surrounded the Fifty Shades trilogy, I became curious to see what all the fuss was about and I bought the book; at a deal too for half the original price. Now having finished the book, I’ve come to realise I have paid half the price too much for this atrocity of fiction! I can honestly say I absolutely detest this book! Now I’m no prude, I have very little problem with the erotica or BDSM in this book, my main gripe with this book I shall explain bellow.
I started reading the book, and after a couple of chapters I got a feeling of Déjà Vu. I had a feeling I had read about these characters before, and then it hit me: I realised someone had been reading/watching the Twilight Saga. Yes, the influence of Twilight became blindingly obvious, but as I read on, it seemed to be Twilight was much more than an influence in Fifty Shades of Grey.
The resemblance between Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey was uncanny. The two main characters Anastasia Steele & Christian Grey could very easily pass for Isabella Swan & Edward Cullen; the only difference being a name change and the odd change in physical appearance. The main core of what made Edward and Isabella who they are was present in Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. But it wasn’t just the main characters I noticed a similarity to Twilight, the supporting cast in Fifty Shades of Grey also bore a strong resemblance to the supporting cast in the Twilight Saga. And it didn’t stop there, the dynamic between Christian and Anastasia was the same as Isabella and Edward, similar plot points which had appeared in Twilight were appearing in Fifty Shades of Grey, and there were at times where I read the same scenes from Twilight in Fifty Shades of Grey. For example:
In Twilight, Edward is always telling Bella she should avoid him because he is dangerous, but decides to pursue her because he is unable to stay away from her any longer, even though he never earnestly tried to keep his distance. In Fifty Shades of Grey, Christian constantly tells Anastasia to stay away from him and he is no good for her. He admits he tried to stay away from her, despite the fact he was going after her from day one.
In Twilight, Bella’s father buys her an old truck which used to belong to the grandfather of Bella’s friend, Jacob Black. Jacob Black had also restored the old vehicle and also does repair jobs on it for Bella. In Fifty Shades of Grey, Anastasia’s step dad bought her an old Beetle, which used to belong to the grandmother of Anastasia’s friend José. José had restored the old car and also does repair work on it for Anastasia.
In Twilight, Edward takes Bella to a restaurant and in the restaurant the waitress tries to get Edward’s attention, much to Bella’s annoyance. Thankfully, Edward only has eyes for Bella and ignores the waitress’s advancement. In Fifty Shades of Grey, whenever Christian and Anastasia eat in a public place, all the female waiting staff are trying to get Christian’s attention, much to Anastasia’s annoyance. Yet Christian only has eyes for Anastasia and ignores all the waitresses.
I could co on and on with the similarities between Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
However, having noticed the strong connection between the two books, I decided to do some research. I eventually learned Fifty Shades of Grey was originally Twilight fanfiction which had become so popular, the author decided to publish it has her own piece of original fiction. Now I have no problem with a fanfiction author taking their original concept from a piece of fanfiction and using it to build their own original piece of fiction and selling it – I say good luck to them. What I have a problem with is: a fanfcition author taking a piece of fanfiction with all the original ideas/characters from a title/series by another person and selling it off as their own original piece of work!
In my opinion EL James is nothing more than a thief! I see nothing original about Fifty Shades of Grey, and it has been compared to be 89% the same as the piece of fanfiction it initially was. It seems, All EL James did was make a few name changes so her characters and ideas she borrowed from Stephanie Meyer were not identical. You can read a report here on how Fifty Shades compares to Master of the Universe (the fanfiction she originally wrote).
Doesn’t EL James’s actions infringe on copyright law? She has taken characters and ideas created by Stephanie Meyer, tweaked them a little and claimed them as her own original ideas, whilst riding on the coat tails of Twilight’s success. As far as I’m concerned, what EL James has done is morally wrong!
I am absolutely disgusted with myself for having bought this book new, now knowing my money has gone to line the pockets of the publishing house and EL James – even at a discount price. I would like to take the opportunity to apologise to Stephanie Meyer: I had no idea Fifty Shades of Grey was so heavily based on her work. If I had of known, I would not have bought the book!
I am not a Twilight fan, I don’t personally like the saga, you can see my review for the first book here. But, I respect the fact Stephanie Meyer created the ideas and characters herself, and I do not think she deserves to have her characters pinched from under her nose in such a blatant fashion. Stephanie Meyer took the time and effort to create her characters, only to have someone come along and swipe them, give them and new name and eye colour, and then claim Stephanie’s characters as their own.
When I hear about EL James and Fifty Shades, all I can envision is a charlatan stealing someone’s work, and because of that I can find nothing positive about this book to critique. However, this is a review of the book, and I shall do my best to give some kind of fair critique.
To begin with, the grammar isn’t too great. The flow of the words just doesn’t seem quite right and comes across as amateurish. Many times I found myself mentally re-writing sentences/paragraphs so they would read better. Another thing to take note of, is EL James repeats a lot of words, impassive seemed to be very popular – as well as the description of shattering orgasms, and the mental thoughts of oh my. About a third of the way through I was sick to death of the repetitions.
There was also the constant mention of how Christian’s trousers hung off his hips in “that way”. “That way” was never explained in the book. Was it at a jaunty angle, or perhaps dangerously low, whatever “that way” meant I have no idea. It was just another annoying repetition and with no clear explanation to the phrase made it stupid.
The plot is also very thin to, as not a lot happens. All we have is Anastasia fawning over the ridiculously handsome Christian Grey, who proposes they enter into a BDSM relationship where he is allowed to punish her by hitting her because he gets off on it. Anastasia now has the dilemma of falling in love with beautiful and rich Christian, but contemplating whether she should let him hit her, all interjected with kinky sex. It was all long winded and boring, just like the relationship between Bella and Edward in Twilight.
Had Fifty Shades stayed as fanfiction, I would have given EL James credit for having Anastasia/Bella questioning the darker aspects of her relationship with Christian/Edward, instead of just glossing them over. Another thing I would have given EL James credit for had Fifty Shades stayed as fanfiction, is Anastasia/Bella seems a lot nicer and actually comes across to appreciate her friends and family instead of whining about absolutely everything and everyone – excluding Christina/Edward. However, Fifty Shades was not kept as fanfiction and I cannot in good faith give sincere praise for something I find morally wrong.
Now I think about it, because Fifty Shades was originally fanfiction and has stuck so close to its fanfiction roots, it also means the problems with Twilight will now be present in Fifty Shades. We have Anastasia falling in love with Christian foolishly fast and with no logical reason why. We also had Anastasia continuously referring to how beautiful and fantastic Christian is. Both points were present in Twilight, and both points were infuriating in Twilight as they are in Fifty Shades. And because Anastasia and Christian are alternate versions of Edward and Bella, it also means neither of the two main characters are likable – even if Anastasia seems nicer than her Isabella Swan incarnation.
I did get a bit of a mental reprieve; at least EL James had Anastasia/Bella sticking up for herself with the overbearing control freak Christian/Edward – occasionally, and at least she didn’t continuously mention Christian’s/Edward’s crooked smile. Unfortunately, half way through the book, Christian’s/Edward’s crooked smile started making an appearance. ARRRGGGHHH!
The dialogue was also weak and very cheesy in places, making it cringe worthy to read. EL James also had a problem with repetition here too. For example: she would have a character thank someone in the first sentence, then in the next sentence within the same speech brackets the character would be giving thanks again, just with a different terminology. You didn’t need two mentions of thanks in the same speech brackets, and moments like this happened often.
Another thing with the dialogue, was EL James suddenly had Christian referring to Anastasia as Baby. Terms like: “laters baby”, “baby what’s wrong”, and “come for me baby” cropped up regularly. I found this to be very jarring; here we had this character of an extremely successful CEO, who’s intellectual, into art and music (many classical pieces included), and likes flying. He is depicted as being suave, smooth, charismatic, eloquent, and enigmatic man who suddenly starts sounding like a stereotypical skater dude. I hated seeing Christian use the term baby, and at one point I was screaming at the book to stop using the damn terminology as it does not suit the character.
There were also large sections of the book devoted to e-mails between Christian and Anastasia. A majority of the time the e-mails contributed very little to the plot other than to fill it up with more cheesy and sappy content. However, the e-mails did take up a lot of space on the page with very little words, making reading through them quick and help speed along getting through the book. (Ooo, I think I just found a redeeming feature)
I also found the characters, including the two main ones, very bland and boring. No one really grabbed my attention and made me care about them or feel any kind of emotion for them other than apathy. Part of this was because the characters came across as very clichéd, and EL James seemed to be trying too hard in the dialogue to inject some personality into the characters, which didn’t work. Plus, there is the fact virtually all the characters seem to be based on a characters from the Twilight Saga – characters who were originally uninteresting to begin with.
Finally, there are the sex scenes, another aspect of the book which has propelled it to its current heights with infamy and notoriety. I’m not going to go on about all the people complaining about the sex in this book, they need to get over themselves and realise making such a huge fuss about it is only making more people read the book they want to disappear into obscurity.
Getting back to the sex scenes in this book, they’re poor. Completely un-erotic and un-stimulating. Also, for BDSM, they seem rather tame. I think part of the problem is because the sex scenes were over with very quickly, you didn’t have much to get your heart racing. Even though we were told how earth shattering the orgasms were, it just seemed to be a flash in the pan moment and we were back to the tedium of the book. If I had been the one to have a passionate tryst with the oh-so-wonderful Christian Grey, the words “Is that it?!?!?!” would be passing my lips.
Another problem, was at times things seemed very unrealistic. I know it is meant to be fantasy, but it helps to have some plausibility in you story. I was once told anything is possible in fiction; yes, anything is possible in fiction, anything is possible in bad fiction.
First: we have Anastasia losing her virginity, yet she suffers no pain what-so-ever. Despite the fact Christian has a large dick, wasn’t gentle with her, and she bled. Somehow, I can’t see her first time being pain free, especially with those three factors.
Second: we have Anastasia giving her first blowjob, and taking Christian’s penis to the back of her throat without a single gag reflex. I don’t even think the most expert of blowjob givers have no gag reflex, and probably takes them a second or two to control it.
Now I know you can say I’m nit-picking, but I was doing it a lot in this story, and if that’s the case then there is a problem with the book. In all fairness, it wasn’t just the sex scenes with these questionable plot points. The book was littered with them, snapping you out of the story and brining you back to reality scratching your head, while you realised no such situation would happen in real life, nor could it be conceivable in any kind of specific circumstances.
Overall, the book is a shambles, and I advise all people to avoid it. There are so many things wrong with this book, and yet the success and praise it is receiving is astounding. I can guarantee you, if you look for fanfiction relating especially in the vampire genre, you will find many pieces like Fifty Shades – and that is where Fifty Shades should have stayed!
I am now going to do the one and only good thing I can do with this book and stick it in the recycling bin – maybe it can be made into toilet paper.
- Published fanfiction, thus making it a rip off of Twilight
- Bland and boring characters
- Corny dialogue
- Poor grammar making it very jarring to read at times
- Unsatisfying sex scenes
- Over hyped
- Weak plot
- Tedious relationship dynamic
- Problems occurring from Twilight also present here
- Unbelievable scenes.
- E-mail sections make reading this torturous book a little quicker.
I’ve decided to write a second book review, this one being for *sigh*…Twilight. Written by Stephanie Meyer and first published 5th October 2005 by Little Brown publishers.
To start off with I proudly state I am a fan of vampires, ever since reading Dracula they have fascinated me. In fact, many forms of mythology and legend interest me; from the Ancient Greeks, to Norse mythology and even modern day urban myths. I’ve always found the tales surrounding myth and legend entertaining and been intrigued by how they have shaped our lives and culture throughout the centuries to this very day.
Myths and Legends have been with us for thousands of years, and I doubt they are going anywhere soon. Though many cultures have abandoned the belief in all these ‘monsters after our souls’, they still have the power to entertain us today. One such myth that has peeked in popularity is the vampire; it seems everywhere you go nowadays you can’t escape the vampire. He’s on our television screens, movie theatres, in our book shelves and even our music. The vampire, at the moment, is the A-lister in popular culture whether you like it or not; and it is partly thanks to a popular series like Twilight. But is this a good or bad thing? Has Twilight revolutionalised the Vampire genre? Or is it being forced on us by idiotic romantics who don’t know the difference between good and bad vampire fiction?
As I stated before, I am a fan of vampires, and I have watched many shows/films and read many stories/books as well; I’ve come across some very interesting pieces and I’ve also discovered some very bad pieces along the way. The best by far and without a single doubt is the classic, Dracula by Bram Stoker. In my opinion, no modern day equivalent can knock it off its perch; the only one to come anywhere near close is probably the Manga series, Helsing. However, my review today is not about Helsing or Dracula, it’s about Twilight. This is a series that has had huge success; reaching No.1 bestseller, receiving many positive reviews and so far produced four successful films. The series has a massive fan base and has been catapulted into some form of super stardom…and I can’t quite understand why.
Twilight passed me by when it was initially released, it wasn’t until the release of the first film accompanied with all the screaming fan girls did I even notice it existed. With my love of vampires my curiosity was piqued and I did some research into the film and books, trying to decided what all the hype was about and if it was worth a look. With what I discovered about the series I was instantly put off and avoided it like the plague, I couldn’t even walk past a movie poster without sneering and showing my obvious disdain for the franchise.
However, I got to thinking that perhaps I was being overly judgemental and hypocritical. After all, I hadn’t even seen a single film or read a single book, yet I was willing to spew venomous hate for this piece of work without even properly studying it. So, to form a fair and just opinion I decided I actually had to read one of the books or see one of the movies. I chose to read the first book.
I tried to read the book with an open mind, not letting my previous opinions cloud my judgement. Unfortunately, after reading the first chapter I released an exasperated sigh and realised I wasn’t in for an enjoyable read. All my original views come back with a vengeance, strengthened and fortified after torturing myself to finish the damned book. I can now clearly state that Twilight: Is a piece of shit that doesn’t deserve the hype it gets! In fact, a piece of shit is more interesting and entertaining than Twilight!
We start by meeting Isabella Swan (AKA Bella), a 17-year-old girl who is moving from Phoenix, Arizona to live with her dad – Police Chief, Charlie Swan – in the small town of Forks, Washington. As she tries to adjust to small town life (which she hates with a passion and I shall touch on this later) she bumps into the local pretty boy – and also a vampire – Edward Cullen who she falls head over heels in love with at first sight (well not quite first sight, but it wasn’t far off it). We then spend the rest of the book with Bella obsessing over Edward while the object of her infatuation is overbearing and stereotypically moody; until they eventually and painstakingly slowly admit they love each other in the most mundane of fashions…oh, and there is a bit of a rushed, poorly constructed and inconceivable plot in the last few chapters.
This book has absolutely no substance whatsoever. It raises no issues worthy of thought or discussion, it has very little plot and what there is just happens to be utterly tedious and unfathomable. The book also fails to explore any dynamics or feelings of the dark and complicated relationship between a human and a vampire (it tries to, but fails miserably). Not only that, the book is littered with grammatical mistakes and terminology that just didn’t make sense; these mistakes were so bad that it got to the point where I just thought ‘you’re making this shit up as you go along’. (I know writers make ‘shit’ up as they go along, but this really was making shit up as you go along.)
Generally, when writing there are certain spelling and grammatical rules that you follow to keep your work readable (the odd mistake here and there is forgivable, it happens and is sometimes necessary for the flow of the story). Nor can you just make up words and sayings just because you feel like it; if you do, you have to provide some sort of explanation within the book so the reader can understand this is what happens in your universe. However, to constantly fill your work with these mistakes shows a complete and utter disregard for the reader and any other writer trying to produce a piece of quality work. Yet it was more than just the obvious and unforgivable mistakes that lowers the quality of this book. We cannot ignore the poor character construction either.
I bring up the issue with Bella…well I say issue, I should really say issues for there are many with Bella. To start with, opinion seems to be divided whether the character is a good role model for young women, or whether she is an annoying ‘Mary Sue’ (a character that is annoyingly perfect in every possible way) with the only fault that she has is being clumsy. Both these analogies are wrong! Bella is in no way a role model for young women. Bella is a selfish teenage girl that is completely dependant on a man and pushes the advancements feminism has made over the years back by centuries. The character is a feminist’s worst nightmare, making them pull their hair out and grind their teeth in sheer frustration. However, nor is Bella a ‘Mary Sue’ either, she is far from perfect.
In fact, the main problem with Bella, is that she has absolutely no redeeming or likeable qualities about her whatsoever! There is nothing to endear the reader to Bella, not even her clumsiness (which could have been used to inject some much needed humour into the book but Stephanie Meyer chose to ignore this opportunity). Nor can you sympathise with Bella’s plight. When she starts whining about being hard done by, all the reader can do is wonder what her problem is because all she is complaining about are petty troubles that are really and truly unimportant.
From the get go Bella is whining and complaining; for starters, Bella hates small town life – especially the town of Forks for being ‘too green’ – yet as we journey through the story and learn her reasons why she hates Forks and learn more about Bella’s character I struggled to understand her disdain of the town. Some of the problems she had with Forks she no doubt would have had much worse in her beloved city ofPhoenix; and it left you scratching your head and wondering just what exactly the problem with Forks is. She is also unable to appreciate any of the beauty that the town ofForks has. It was incredibly frustrating as there was no justifiable reason for her hatred of Forks; it just seemed like Stephanie Meyer was desperate to give a reason why Bella hated Forks and threw the pettiest excuses at us because she could come up with nothing better.
One thing that actually could be attributed to small town life and was a genuine reason for dislike was that everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows everyone’s business; a fact that Bella hates as it draws attention to her. This I could understand to some degree, especially as Bella fretted over how she was going to fit into a community that was so close knit. However, I quickly lost all sympathy for Bella on this fact when the town of Forks embraced her into their fold. Yes, they all know she is Charlie Swan’s daughter from his estranged/divorced wife now coming to live with him; but instead of gossiping about her and ostracising Bella, they were nothing but friendly and helpful to her. People at school went out of their way to befriend Bella and invite her to join their company. Yet instead of being relieved by this fact it was a problem for her.
It is here where Bella’s self righteousness comes out. It is heavily implied that Bella is above all these superficial people what with her disdain for their shallowness. However, when reading the book I couldn’t see where these people befriending her were fickle – there was one who had a bit of jealousy towards Bella and didn’t really like her, but that was it – on the whole they all seemed fairly nice and pleasant to me. Yet for Bella this wasn’t good enough and she only put up with these people because she was obliged to; this attitude really annoyed me.
There was one point in the book where she was invited to a day trip to the beach; Bella didn’t want to go because of her obvious clumsy reason, she had already decided it was going to be terrible as it was a beach trip located in Forks, and she didn’t really want to associate with the people who had been nice enough to invite her along. Regardless, she went along because she couldn’t find a way out of it and she sat there being miserable throughout the whole trip making the reader endure her miserable thoughts. As I read this I could clearly picture Bella as the type of person to go to a party and stand in the corner all night long sulking and not really wanting to be there; and in all honesty you wouldn’t have wanted her there anyway but had to invite her out of politeness. In regards to the film, the casting of Kirsten Stewart was perfect; because Kirsten’s unsmiling and sour face is exactly how I picture Bella to be…all the fucking time!
Bella is continuously miserable about things, mainly because she is ‘self sacrificing’ and always doing things for others at the cost of her own suffering. But is that really the case? Well, no, it isn’t. Nine times out of ten, Bella’s self sacrificing deeds are normally for her own advantage because she wants to get out of something; it’s only a bonus that they have a nice outcome for one of her friends or family. If however her actions do have a positive outcome for someone else, does this please Bella? No, it doesn’t, because now Bella has put up with listening to how happy her friend is that benefited from Bella’s self sacrifice. What a hard and unfair life! Not even for her mother can Bella conjure any happiness about doing something nice for her, Bella just sulks about her ‘dire’ situation at having to do something for someone.
This now brings me to the dynamics of Bella’s relationships with her mother and father. It is stated in the book that Bella’s mother, Renée, and father, Charlie, separated many years ago. Bella and her mother moved to the city of Phoenix in Arizona, while Bella’s father stayed in Forks, Washington. Naturally, Bella went to visit her father during the summer holidays, but thanks to her hatred of Forks Bella eventually insisted that she wasn’t going anymore, so her father would come toPhoenixto visit her instead.
From what I can gather, Bella never enjoyed visiting her father, she and him never truly got along that well. Bella’s father comes across as the quiet and reserved type, making it difficult for Bella to communicate with him (though Bella doesn’t seem to mind such a fact because she doesn’t really want to have a conversation with her father any way…don’t ask why, no reason was ever given in the book), but apart from that he does nothing wrong.
Bella’s mother on the other hand is the complete opposite to her father. Bella’s mother is portrayed as this enigmatic and free spirited woman who Bella adores and is the person she is closest to. Bella’s mother actually left Bella’s father because – just like her charming daughter – she couldn’t stand the town ofForks; she felt it was smothering her and she had to get out, leaving her husband who never actually got over the loss of her.
In the beginning of the book the story starts with Bella leaving her home in to live with her dad; this is because Renée had recently married her toy boy baseball player and what with his job taking him from state to state he wasn’t at home much. It wouldn’t have been fair to travel as a family and constantly uproot Bella from school to school so Bella and her mum stayed home; but Renée missed her toy boy, so Bella decided to go and live with her dad in the hated town of Forks just so her mum could be with her toy boy and live the glory life of being a baseball player’s wife.
As I read further into the book, I came to learn that Bella’s mum wasn’t really a good mother. Though Bella is supposed to be really close to Renée, Renée was never really much of mother because of her aloof and flaky nature. Bella states that she was often the adult in the relationship and from a young age she had to take care of herself on some things and take on certain responsibilities that her mum didn’t do because she was ‘away with the fairies’. The only thing we see of Renée being a caring parent is when she writes snippy e-mails to her beloved daughter when Bella doesn’t reply quick enough for Renée’s liking. (You would have thought Renée would understand that her daughter doesn’t have a very good internet connection, is trying to adjust to a new home and has school work to get on with, thus making it a bit difficult to reply promptly.)
In comparison to Charlie, Renée was a terrible parent and just as annoying and self centred as her daughter. Some may argue that Charlie hasn’t been around much for Bella, but let’s look at the facts. The only reason why Charlie hasn’t been around is because Renée moved her and her daughter to a different state for her own selfish reasons of not liking Forks. It wasn’t like Charlie didn’t want to know his daughter, he regularly had her visit him in the summer holidays, but Bella threw a hissy fit and put a stop to it. So what did Charlie do, he goes out of his way to visit his daughter in her home state. It was not Charlie that separated him from his daughter, it was his former wife; thinking only of herself as she uprooted her daughter and took her away to another state and thus taking her away from her father!
Throughout the book, Bella also seems to overlook all of her father’s actions. She overlooks the fact that he welcomes her into his house with no problems and is happy to have her living with him. She overlooks the fact that he buys her a truck so she can travel around Forks and asks for no money in repayment for the truck. She overlooks the fact that he constantly shows concern for her by asking how she is fitting at school and such. She also overlooks the fact that her dad put snow chains on her truck so she wouldn’t have an accident in the icy weather. Despite the fact she is at times emotionally touched by learning how her dad cares for her, Bella still favours her mother that was more interested in being with her toy boy than her. Bella even favours her step father over her biological father because he bought her a cool CD once! Bella hardly ever refers to Charlie as her dad; she lacks the respect and affection for him to do so, thinking nothing more of him than an embarrassing nuisance. This unjustified attitude made me want to slap Bella round the face and point out she needs to take a good hard look at reality and sort her priorities out.
Talking about finding her father embarrassing, it brings up the issue that Bella is very self conscious and finds absolutely everything embarrassing, to the point where it was getting ridiculous and showed Bella to be nothing more than a little Madame! Bella is the type of teenager that sulks and doesn’t want to join in with anything because it is ‘too embarrassing’. If I was Bella’s parent, I would have taken her aside and told her to stop behaving as such because she is ruining things for everyone and in actual fact she is the one who is an embarrassment because of her attitude.
In the beginning of the book Bella’s father bought her a truck to travel around in. Unfortunately, the truck was an old, restored banger of a vehicle that a majority of teens would be ashamed to drive; all except Bella who loved the truck’s character and that it had been lovingly restored. However, these sentiments soon changed in the morning when Bella first drove it and learned it was a very noisy truck – as most old trucks tend to be – and she was utterly aghast at having to drive such a noisy vehicle and drawing people’s attention to the fact she had a beat up ride. Bella just did a complete 180 and disregarded her affection for the car and embraced the shallowness that most ‘stereotypical’ teens have. Yet this was absolutely ridiculous because no one in Forks was looking down on her for having such an old and cheap ride, not even at her school (most of her fellow classmates drove cars that were equivalent in condition if not worse than Bella’s). Yet despite Bella realising this fact, she was unable to let got of her embarrassed reservations about her truck and continued to mentally complain about the truck she had initially loved so much.
Then there was the time in the hospital. Bella had to take a trip to the hospital to be checked out after almost being run over; when her trip to the hospital is finished she learns that all her school friends and her dad are there to see her. Instead of being pleased that people who cared are here for her in her time of need, she gets embarrassed because now everyone is going to talk about her (mind you, everyone was going to talk about her almost fatal accident anyway because it happened in a busy school car park, her friends and family going to the hospital make no difference on this fact). Now, I could almost forgive this shy embarrassment of not wanting a fuss made and wanting no attention drawn to her if it weren’t for the fact that she was a stuck up cow! You see, instead of being happy that her friends and father were there to see her, she held resentment for their kind actions as though they had done something wrong to her, and she rushed out of the building wanting to get away from them as quickly as possible. How un-fucking-grateful!
Bella is never able to appreciate her friends; she’s always being embarrassed by them or is too superior for them. Her self righteous attitude really grated on my nerves, because all I could think was ‘what gives her the right to be so judgmental and self pitying’. There was no justifiable reason for her to have such feelings, everyone around her was perfectly civil and nice to her, but as far as she was concerned, everyone was a nuisance that poor little Bella had to endure. The only time she was happy to be in anyone’s company, was when she was with ‘Edward Cullen’.
Now that I’ve brought up Edward Cullen, where do I start with this prick? How about the fact that he is the most good looking boy in the school that every female swoons over…even the wonderful Bella who is above such superficial notions. In fact, Bella spends an infuriating long time obsessing over Edward’s god like good looks, comparing him to classical Greek statues and melting over his ‘crooked’ smile. Bella pretty much fell in lust (notice I use the word lust, and not love) with Edward on first sight. Bella’s feelings for Edward are highly confusing, because it is hard to understand where they developed from. The whole relationship and its development are paper thin and inconceivable that the reader is unable to make logical sense of it, let alone feel any emotional empathy for it.
It is implied that Bella is above all those love struck, teenage girls that do nothing else but talk about and sulk about boys. This is quite important, because Bella is supposed to be above such ‘nonsense’ you’d think that she wouldn’t let Edward’s poor treatment of her affect her, you’d think she would just brush it aside and carry on with her life. Well, she doesn’t, she does a complete U-turn to how her character is portrayed – something that happens a lot in this book – and does nothing but fawn and mope about Edward Cullen! Oh…she complains about Forks, her friends and her Dad a lot too! Let’s not forget that.
Bella’s first meeting with Edward doesn’t go to well to say the least. She first sees him in the school canteen and is instantly struck with how beautiful he and his companions are…blah blah blah…vampires are beautiful…blah blah blah…not that original…blah blah blah. Bella makes a few enquiries about Edward and Co. and learns that they are the Cullens, the beautiful adopted children of the rich Dr. Carlisle Cullen. She also learns that the Cullens are considered quite snobbish, choosing to keep to themselves despite the fact the town community and people at school have tried to approach them.
Once finished in the canteen, Bella makes her way to her next lesson, Biology, where she learns that the only available seat in the classroom is next to the god like Edward Cullen. Bella tries to be polite, only to have Edward be very rude to her; in fact, his actions are so extreme that the reader can’t quite help but feel he absolutely detests her. I liken the scene to a Ku Klux Klan member sitting next to a black person, it was that bad. Yet things get worse, when the school day is done and Bella reports back to the main office, she finds Edward desperately arguing to be transferred from his Biology class – with little luck – leaving Bella wondering why Edward hates her so much.
Thankfully, Bella doesn’t have to put up with Edward’s shitty attitude the next day, as for the next two weeks Edward is mysteriously absent from school. However, instead of being relieved at not having to put up with such a jerk, Bella frets over what she could have possibly done wrong to incur such hatred from a stranger. The real question is: why is she so bothered about it? Bella is supposed to be above such petty natures. If someone wants to behave like that she shouldn’t let it bother her, she doesn’t need to associate with that person as she’s already made friends. Surely Bella should be telling Edward to get on with his bad attitude elsewhere and that she is quite happy to leave him alone, while getting on with her own life. But no, Bella has to mope about wondering why the most beautiful boy in school doesn’t like her.
However, after two weeks absence, Edward returns; much to Bella’s horror. Fortunately, Edward has seemed to have had a change of heart, being perfectly civil to Bella and even starting a conversation with her. WHAT THE FUCK! A fortnight ago he absolutely hated Bella to the point where it made her uncomfortable and scared, and now, he’s being pleasantly civil towards her and striking up a conversation with her about why she moved to Forks. What is even more shocking is that Bella is participating in the conversation and answering the questions freely. Um…Hello…shouldn’t you be a little more guarded with your answers Bella, considering he’s a stranger who was an out and out bastard to you when first meeting.
Edward constantly flips from being a massive dick to normally civil constantly in this book. I use the term civil because Edward isn’t capable of being nice; Edward, like Bella, also has no redeeming qualities either…asides from being unfairly good looking and a ‘vampire’. He is constantly moody and lacks any whit or charm, aside from his physical appearance there is nothing to attract you to him and any sensible person would move onto the next prospect after five minutes of talking to him and learning what a dick he is. Also, the sudden and abrupt U-turns this character has are so sever that it leaves the reader with a bad case of whiplash. It certainly leaves Bella confused, and I understand why; but if Edward is going to behave like that, then surely that should be more ammunition as to why she shouldn’t bother with him!
Now, I understand what Stephanie Meyer was trying to do; you see, later on in the book it is revealed that Edward doesn’t hate Bella, he actually likes her a lot, he was just struggling with his desire to eat her. It’s the classic dynamic in the human/vampire relationship; the vampire loves the human, but the vampire also wants to eat the human. However, when you write a relationship where one member of the partnership believes the other hates them, you have to have an element of doubt in a certain member’s actions. Otherwise, when you reveal that he didn’t really hate her the reader will be unable to believe the plot or relationship development and find your work filled with too many confusing contradictions. Stephanie Meyer seems unable to do this as we’re left with the constant switching of Edward’s mood swings. One minute he hates Bella, then he doesn’t, then he does, then he doesn’t, then he does…and so on and so forth. It’s a confusing rollercoaster that does nothing but baffle you. And that isn’t the only inconsistency in the book.
Edward is constantly warning Bella that he is dangerous and that she should avoid him; yet he seems to be constantly perusing her. Then, after telling her once again to keep her distance, he then all of a sudden and completely out of the blue decides that he can no longer keep his distance…like he had been trying really hard not to get close to her in the first place. This was absolutely ridiculous, Edward was in one way or another involving himself in Bella’s life yet he acted like he was unable to get away from her. It wasn’t like he had to be at Bella’s side; so he couldn’t get his Biology class changed to avoid Bella, all he had to do was sit at a different desk, it’s not hard. But oh no, they were thrown together by fate…more like a lack of him trying to keep away from her. What was especially annoying was that Bella had to keep away from him; not the other way round. No, it wasn’t up to Edward to be the responsible one and resist his murderous urges and keep his distance from the vulnerable Bella. Bella wasn’t aware – at the time – that Edward was a vampire, she just thought he was a kid who hated her, she had no extra special reason to keep her distance. It was Edward who was privy to the knowledge of his dangerous identity; it was his duty and responsibility to keep a distance.
Apparently, Edward tried to keep his distance, yet he always seemed to find a way to intrude upon her life. When it is revealed in the book just how much he used to do that – when he admitted he used to watch her sleep pretty much from day one – you are faced with yet another contradiction thanks to Stephanie Meyer. Stephanie is clearly trying to build the dynamic of Edward wanting Bella but he can’t have her for fear of hurting her; this doesn’t actually work if you don’t have the character actually trying to keep his distance. Yet again, we have another failed dynamic in this relationship and another contradiction in the story.
Another thing that completely failed was the fact that Edward is a vampire. Yes I know the book is about vampires and that is the whole point of it, but the revelation that Edward is a vampire was long winded and anticlimactic. Even before the world wide coverage Twilight got, readers would have known this book was about vampires. The synopsis on the back cover gave it away, and when you are first introduced to the Cullens it sticks out like a sore thumb to the reader that they are vampires. Unfortunately it is quite a few chapters before Stephanie chooses to confirm this already well known fact; and it is done in the most boring of fashions. Yet, when we get to the critical point in the book where it is finally put in black and white that Edward is a blood sucker, it is done with absolutely no drama what-so-ever! If you’re going to draw out the revelation that one of your characters is a supernatural creature follow these rules.
1: Don’t make it obvious what kind of creature your character could be.
2: have some investigation to what your character is, it builds suspense and intrigue.
3: When you make the big reveal that your characters is a vampire/werewolf/ghost/demon/whatever, have the scene grab you by the short and curlies and rip them out. After all, it’s a big scene.
Stephanie Meyer does none of the above. I read through Bella’s investigation to what Edward was with great frustration, wishing it would hurry up and get to the point that Edward was a vampire so I could move on with the story. When it was finally revealed that Edward was a vampire, it was done so flippantly that one would wonder what the big deal was.
However, once it is confirmed that Edward is a vampire, Bella does one of the most annoying things in the book. You see, this is where it is shown that Bella isn’t your stereotypical, self centred teen; as she completely embraces the fact that Edward is a vampire. How understanding of her…actually, how fucking stupid of her! Not only does Bella learn that Edward is a vampire – a fabled creature known for drinking the blood of humans – but that he also finds her particularly more appetising than any other human, struggling to control his blood lust around her and that he has also been acting rather stalker like by invading her privacy and watching her sleep in her own home! Bella doesn’t have the slightest apprehension or fear towards Edward, instead, she is ‘irrevocably’ in love with him!
Where the hell is Bella’s survival instinct? Left in the trash with her common sense I suppose. Most people would have been backing off by now, but not Bella, she’s in love with Edward. How is she in love with him?!?!?! This couple have hardly spent any time together for feelings like that to develop naturally, and when they did spend any time together a good portion of it Edward was ignoring Bella. Second, Bella knows absolutely nothing about Edward, and with him being a vampire there is a lot for her to learn. I really can’t fathom where the feelings of love come into it, all I can see is lust and obsession, but some people can’t seem to differentiate between that; including Stephanie Meyer who wrote this drivel.
However, this piece of garbage is a love story, an unbelievable and disturbing one at that. I say disturbing, not because it is a dark and gothic love story, but for these two reasons.
1) Edward is not a teenager. He may look like a teenager, but he has been around for over a 100 years, and I can guarantee you he is very much a man. A man who has lived a long time and gained a wealth of experience and knowledge…so why is he sexually interested in a 17-year-old girl?!?!?! And he is sexually interested to her, because he admitted to ‘still being a man’ and finding her attractive.
This really doesn’t sit well with me because Bella is clearly a girl in this story; though the author tries to make her more mature than her years, Stephanie fails in doing so because Bella acts like a naive teenage girl who thinks she knows everything but actually knows nothing about life. No man of Edward’s mindset and maturity would want to enter into such a relationship, only for the reason of sexual gratification…those people we call ‘dirty old men’. Perhaps this scenario would be more forgivable if Bella wasn’t so young, if she was an adult and a strong confident woman. Nor is Twilight the sort of book to explore such a disturbing theme in a way that it provokes thought from the reader. It is the type of book that has capitalised on such a relationship between Edward and Bella that I find morally wrong.
2) Edward is constantly dominating over Bella. Something that infuriates me, especially because Bella is still technically a child and in some respects considers this behaviour normal and okay?!?!?!
Edward is always dragging Bella around like a rag doll. He claims he does this for her protection, because she is so clumsy. But not once did we see Bella’s clumsiness put her in a life threatening situation. The only time Bella’s clumsiness is mentioned is when she states she didn’t have a good time in P.E or she tripped up and scraped her knees…she’s that accident prone. I don’t know about you, but if Bella was such a klutz I wouldn’t be letting her drive a big truck or cook in the kitchen (one of the most dangerous rooms in the house). However, Edward constantly manhandles Bella and dominates over her for her own good; and Bella goes along with this without one single word of complaint, even revelling in such treatment. Stephanie Meyer has managed to write a story where it is acceptable for a 100-odd-year-old man to date a 17-year-old girl with low confidence and physically drag her about and dominate over her in the process. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!
Another thing that really annoyed me with this book, is that Stephanie Meyer completely and utterly shit over the mythology of vampires. It’s not unheard of for authors to tweek with the mythology; though what needs to be remembered is that if you do such a thing, you need to keep your theories plausible. Remember, mythologies have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years, and at one point were genuinely believed, so show them a little respect. Stephanie Meyer did not do this. She spun her ridiculous ideas that left the reader speechless! (and not in a good way) Her ideas were either lame or contradictory.
First off, Stephanie’s vampires were so beautiful and graceful it was almost god like. They also had amber or burgundy eyes which would change colour to black depending how hungry they were. However, what they lacked were fangs. I don’t know if any one knows this, but vampires are creatures famed for biting and drinking the blood of humans…blunt teeth ain’t gonna do the job!
Second, Stephanie’s vampires were so strong and fast that no human could match them. They were also expert hunters with very keen senses. They also had no weaknesses or had a need for sleep, and the only way to kill a vampire was for another vampire to rip them apart. Humans had absolutely no fighting chance against these vampires.
Third, Stephanie’s vampires were perfectly capable of walking about during the daylight hours. Now, if you’re going to make such a major change to the mythology, you better have a good reason to back it up. For example: Vampires can actually cast reflections, it was just a lie they spread to protect their identity, how could one be a vampire if they had a reflection. Stephanie did however have a reason why her vampires walked about in sunlight, though they often chose not too; and that reason was…
…When walking in direct sunlight, vampires sparkle, like a glistening diamond…WHAT?!?!?!
Stephanie had her vampires sparkling in the sunlight…what a pile of shit! I have never heard anything so stupid before! Stephanie’s vampires didn’t explode into flames when in the sun, Stephanie’s vampire didn’t become lethargic in the sun and more prone to attack; no, they sparkled and it was a bit of a pain so they avoided sunlight. Apparently, the reason why they sparkle is to lure their pray towards them. This idea doesn’t really work and contradicts all of Stephanie’s other ideas regarding vampires. One, vampires are ridiculously powerful; they can easily catch their prey without luring it to them. Two, they are already unbelievably beautiful, which would act as a lure but still deceive the prey into believing they’re human. And three, sparkling is a hindrance to them because it risks exposing them, so why would they evolve such an ability in the first place?
Sparkling vampires is beyond ridiculous and stupid. The only purpose sparkling can provide is so that the idiotic reader will grin from ear to ear going ‘aren’t vampires fantastic’ while clapping and bouncing up and down on their seat like a giddy school girl. Vampires are meant to be scary; after all, they hunt and kill humans. Stephanie Meyer has unforgivably glorified vampires to the point of disrepair, all so the readers can ‘ooo’ and ‘ahh’. Even Bella is continuously in awe of the vampires, each vampire has their own unique talent, while everything they do is magnificent and they can do nothing wrong. These are vampires in name only! Stephanie really needed someone looking over her shoulder, telling her that sparkling vampires was a crap idea. In fact, she needed someone to tell her to scrap the whole book and saga all together!
Another of the major problems with this book is the fact it has no plot. Nothing really happens in this book apart from having to put up with Bella being miserable, embarrassed, complaining and moping over Edward. Then we have the blossoming of Edward and Bella’s relationship which is utterly inconceivable. Nothing actually happens to draw Bella and Edward together, there is no common enemy or disaster to unit them. All they do is go to the canteen and Biology class together. We go through Bella’s boring life, witnessing her be a stuck up cow; then we have to witness Bella and Edward being together and having their ‘deep’ conversations where a lot of words are spoken but nothing is truly said. (I re-read parts of the dialogue several times and I still have no idea what some of the conversations between Bella and Edward are about.)
The book is dull, dull, dull; with nothing happening to grab your attention. All we have is the mind numbing relationship of Bella and Edward, where Stephanie Meyer showcases the talent for having the ability to rush things and draw things out at the same time. (Their attachment to each other was far too quick to be believable. Yet Bella’s discovery that Edward was a vampire took far too long; and the ‘touching’ & ‘intimate’ moments they share are long winded) However, right at the end, Stephanie spins a rushed plot. Out of the blue, a group of murderous, blood thirsty vampires appear, wanting to kill Bella for no good reason other than they want to. This has often been complained about because readers felt it came from absolutely no where. This isn’t quite true, but an easy mistake to make.
In the case of the film, I’ve heard this is very applicable that the bad vampires came from absolutely no where. In the book however, their coming is mentioned…twice…and briefly. You see, there is a vampire named Alicefrom the Cullen clan, she has the power of vague and inaccurate visions. She mentions – twice only – that ‘someone’ is coming, these mentions are very brief, but it is in reference to the enemy that is coming. Unfortunately, these mentions are so small, that the average reader will easily overlook this and get engulfed into the mundane and pointless conversations of Bella and Edward.
Another fact that people had a problem with this new plot development was that these vampires claimed to kill many humans, but not one single body has turned up in Forks. What actually happened was these vampires killed quite a distance outside of Forks, and thus the murders were not noticed in the small community where such a heinous crime would have been big news; especially for Bella as her dad is a police officer. However, I think the book would have been greatly improved if we did have some murders in Forks. It would have added a sense of doom to the story. It would have raised the question whether the culprit of these strange crimes was Edward or another entity. It would have been interesting.
Then there was the fact that Bella was being targeted by these vampires for no other reason than the leader, James, wants to and always gets what he wants. It just seemed really illogical, because once again I can see what Stephanie was trying to do, but this element was not properly developed. There is nothing about Bella to draw the vampire’s interest; she has no talent to be of use to vampires, nor is she a threat that needs eliminating. The only quality Bella has is that she smells tastier than your average human; but then again is it worth risking a fight and your immortal life with another coven of vampires when you can easily move onto the next meal? The answer is no; however, James is the type of vampire who gets a thrill from the challenge and doesn’t like to be told no; he is also an intelligent and cunning vampire, and his sudden spur of the moment decision seems recklessly made over something so insignificant.
It would have been better if James and his coven were brought into the story earlier. Their horrendous crimes would have ignited the fearful gossip in the town and the readers would have been treated to a ‘who done it’. The Cullens would naturally know about these bad vampires and would be concerned of them exposing their kind to the world; as they wanted to live in peace with humans on a vegetarian diet (that ate animals not humans). So the Cullens would try and drive James and his motley crew out of town, thus causing tension and resentment between the two covens.
However, James being an arrogant vampire would refuse to leave on the order of vampires he deems beneath him and continues his killing spree, targeting the tempting Bella next. The Cullens obviously want no more murders in their town for fear of the finger of blame being pointed at them, so they get Edward to keep a discreet eye on her, he would be the least suspicious if he were seen with her because they go to school together and sit next to each other in Biology. Unfortunately, because Edward finds Bella delicious himself he is reluctant to do it, but understands the importance of keeping his coven safe. Thus giving Edward a genuine reason to be around Bella and protect her. However, during the time they spend together their feelings grow for one another while Bella wonders about all the strange stuff that is happening, and if the boy she potentially likes is the culprit or not. James will also have a growing hatred for the Cullens and their meddling, making his determined hunting of Bella all the more plausible.
As you can see, in the last two paragraphs I have fixed so many things wrong with the book. One, we have an actual plot, what with the unresolved and strange murders in town along with the attempts on Bella’s life. Two, we have a believable situation for Bella and Edward’s relationship to flourish, what with Edward constantly rescuing Bella they no doubt would grow fond of each other. And finally, three, James’ pursuit of Bella would feel more natural in its development and perhaps be more sinister as it grows.
Instead, this is what we got in the last few chapters of the book: Bad vampires appear, bad vampires want to eat Bella, nice vampires say no, bad vampires say fuck you and hunt Bella, nice vampires hide Bella in a hotel in Phoenix while others lure bad vampires away, bad vampire says to Bella ‘I got your mum’, Bella leaves safety of nice vampires to help her mum, bad vampire reveals he tricked Bella into coming to him, bad vampires beats the shit out of Bella, Bella is rescued in the nick of time. And once again, Stephanie shows her talent for rushing and drawing things out.
All this action was squeezed in at the end of the book, which would have been better if it was drawn at throughout the story. Yet parts of it were incredibly far fetched and tedious to read. As Bella and the gang came up with the most pathetic plan to keep her safe I couldn’t help thinking this had to be the most boring thing I’ve ever read; then I read the chapters where she was holed up in the hotel and almost fell asleep while reading.
You see, Stephanie Meyer doesn’t write action very well…she writes tedious and unbelievable romances excellently, but action she sucks at writing. The only bit of action we get is Bella being manhandled (as vampires do not understand she has two perfectly good and working legs to walk with) and her getting brutally beaten up at the end. Do we get to see James hunting Bella down? No, that is all done over the phone when Edward andCarlisle touch base with the other vampires of their coven. Do we get the see the big fight between James and the good vampires? No, it was explained he was ripped apart when a semi conscious Bella asksCarlisle what happened. The only bit of action we get is Bella being physically debased, all in the name of romance and entertainment!
Which now brings us to the ‘happy ending’. Bella is out of hospital after having been so badly beaten, and her vampire friends are dressing her up for a night out. Bella happily puts up with being treated like a Barbie doll, thinking the love of her life, Edward, is finally going to turn her and they can be together forever and ever. However, Bella reverts back to her sulking and ungrateful self when she realises Edward is taking her to the school dance instead – which she didn’t want to go to because she is so clumsy and she’ll trip up. I wouldn’t have minded so much if it wasn’t for the fact that Bella was such a moody cow, and that the only reason why she was truly disappointed was because she wasn’t getting her own way! You see, Bella is so selfless she wants to give up her humanity and become a vampire to be with Edward for all of eternity. Awwwwwww…
Does Bella not realise what it means to become a vampire? Does she not realise she could become a blood thirsty and murderous monster? Would she want to become that? Is she not aware of the struggles she will face as a vampire? Fighting her urge to drink human blood, watching people grow old and die around her, seeing the world change for good…and for bad. Doesn’t she realise things could change between her and Edward were she a vampire? He could regret turning her if she doesn’t accept his life style, or she could resent him for forcing such a life style on her. And does she not realise what she would be giving up of she were no longer human? She would never be able to have children, never be able to go out in sunlight in public, having to live a lie…giving up her friends and family (mind you, that last one wouldn’t bother Bella as she doesn’t really like her friends and family, they’re too much of an embarrassment and nuisance).
Most people would consider what I mentioned above before choosing to become a vampire. Bella didn’t, she didn’t even go through the motions to come to such thoughts let alone come to the conclusion she wanted to be a vampire. For example: Oh, he’s going to out live me, will he still want me when I’m old, the only way we can truly be together is if I were a vampire as well, but is that what I want? Bella does none of that, and jumps straight in, wanting to be a vampire.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, STUPID GIRL!
As I said in the beginning of this review, this book is a pile of shit. The only good thing of this book was the character of James who was actually quite cunning, but badly underused! It is filled with errors and terminology that doesn’t make sense. The main characters are utterly despicable. It is filled with inconsistencies and contradictions. There is no plot. The characters and relationship development are dire. It is rushed, yet also long winded. Some of the ideas are painfully lame and do not work! And finally, it finishes on an anticlimactic, unsatisfying and frustrating end!
For all the fans this book and series has garnered: you are romantic fools! Take your rose tinted spectacles off and take a good hard look at what is before you.
This book is an insult to literacy!