Friday, November 21, 2008

Spike > Edward ... by Alicia

"Twilight" book review:
No bite, no thanks.

I am in bed right now, where I've been for the better part of a week, derailed by pneumonia and bronchitis. Don't cry for me - I've used the opportunity to explore my psyche and some literature. Everyone's been telling me I would love "Twilight," the story of mortal Bella and her beautiful blood-drinking boyfriend, Edward. Since the movie debuted in theaters today, it's the perfect time to review it, no? I finally got up off my high horse and deigned to purchase the obsession-inducing novel online 2 days ago. Official Buntology stylist and longtime friend Jodie Botto offered to lend me the book, but I forgot to take it and thought to myself, "Why do something for free when I can frivolously throw away my money?" I got the book, a 500-page tome, this afternoon in the mail. ($7.98, no shipping charge, from eBay.)

Being hoarse and looking rather vampiric myself, I abstained from the hopping North Adams party scene for a night, and instead "bit" (get it?) into my new book.
I finished about 10 minutes ago. Don't be alarmed by my "inhuman" speed (get it?) - when I have the time and inclination, I can polish off 500 pages in about 4 hours. Which I did.

My eyes are swollen and my lower extremities are atrophied, but as a dutiful Buntology writer, I'm using my last reserves of strength to review the book.


Bella Swan, clumsy and unwittingly gorgeous, moves from her beloved Arizona to her dad's home in Forks, Washington. Long story. She doesn't think she'll like it, because it's always cloudy and rainy, and she doubts she'll fit in, but guess what? Not only does she fit in, every boy in school wants a piece. Including pale, perfect Edward, he of the smoldering eyes and crooked smile. First they're lab partners, then he saves her life a few times, then she finds out he's a vamp, then they vow to be together forever and ever. What problems could possibly arise from THIS relationship?


This was a good junk-food read. Like a Butterfinger, I devoured it quickly and enjoyed it, but derived nothing truly satisfying from it.

The story was painfully predictable: Why was Edward so mean to Bella at first? Because he's so attracted to her and they can't be together. Heard that one before. Uh-oh, his vampire sister doesn't approve - yawn. What makes her so special, anyway? That she has no sense of self-preservation? Seriously?

I mightn't have had such a problem with the tried plot if it weren't for the fact that the words "smoldering" and "chiseled" and "perfect" weren't used so often. "Smoldering" especially.

I became increasingly aware of how frequently Edward's eyes were the topic of description. Which is fine, he's a vamp, and their powerful gaze is often the subject of literary scrutiny. But eyes can only smolder so much before a human - or a reader - either gets pulled in or loses interest. I need more than smoldering eyes and a crooked smile - I need a little more conviction from my vamps. I need to be a little afraid.
Sorry, Edward. Not doin' it for me.

I'll take alabaster-skinned Spike* any day.


Besides the predictably broody, moody, magazine cover-worthy Edward, Bella's acceptance and adoration of the whole situation was wholly unbelievable. I also thought Meyer's treatment of the vampire nature was offensive - the Cullen family doesn't feed on people, only animals.
And throughout the narrative, there is a sense that everyone - the vamps, the humans - find feeding on humans to be reprehensible. The author's disdain for what we all know to be a vamp's true nature comes through, and makes the story pitifully shallow. Part of what makes the vampire such a fascinating and enduring character is that sensual, passionate nature and essential desire for blood. Turning a vampire into a shameful, guilty creature is entirely unappetizing (get it?).

I did, however, like Edward's family - the compassionate Dr. Cullen, who overcomes his bloodlust to care for humans; the elfin-faced Alice, who can see the future (like fashion and stock trends!); and my favorite, big, blond, burly Emmett, who treats Bella in the rough-and-tumble style of a big brother.

Bottom line - I liked the book OK, but I don't know if I'll go for the sequel. Meyer's vampires are meek and indecisive, but not in that complex, I-can't-drink-your-blood-so-I'll-have-to-settle-for-hot-sex way. I like my vampires as brooding as the next girl, but what's the use of superhuman feelings if you can't channel them into something physical?


Final thoughts: No sex, no feeding on humans? NEXT.



* Spike is the sexy, sarcastic, moody vampire from late-season Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Is he going to kick her ass, make out with her or drink her blood? I don't know ... and I like it! Now THAT's how a man should treat a lady.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

spike looks like a girl ew and I will def borrow that book bc I wanna see the movie...even though you say no sex in the book the guy actor who plays the vamp in the book looks hot in the preview! holla--jackie

ange said...

hahahahaha omg i laughed throughout that entire review. that was great. no seriously, that was really well written. sigh. anyway, i love tortured souls so obvi any vamp will suffice, but the vamps in twilight sound like newbs sooo maybe not.

MOM said...

A vampire that does not pose some kind of threat is NOT a vampire he is something else (make up a new name and write THAT book). This sounds likes G rated vampire which is fine but unrealistic and will not cut it with hard core vampire fans.
Will make a ton of $$$ for the author though apparently.
Write a damn book Alicia!

MOM said...

Ange...see your post was at 4:30 AM...maybe your a vampire!

Corrie said...

Alicia I agree with you about the cover of this book. The perfect apple being held is very tempting. heck I want to devour the damn thing and I dont really like apples unless their baked in a pie.

lauren said...

Oh my god this is hilarious and so fucking true!!! spike is ten thousand times hotter than Edward could ever be!! i mean i read this book pretty fast but it's just a distortion of the true vampires in the world, its sad really because everyone fucking loves twilight omg omg its twilight NO NO NO WATCH BUFFY DAMNIT!

Anonymous said...

actually i dont think u know what the hell your talking about its for the younger generation not the older get over it its perfect for them u fucking bitch

why does it hurt when i pee? said...

wwwwwwwwwaaaaa? 500 hundred words in 4 hours. Let's face it, you paid for the women.....

Anonymous said...

Oh Alicia, you jaded, Buffy the Vampire Slayer diva, I thought you would grasp the deeper context and hidden irony or the subtext of pedophilia given Edward's chronological age.

If you ever do find yourself with nothing to do for a week, skip book two and jump to four. Much racier!

Anonymous said...

Spike looks like a girl? How? He has high and prominent cheekbones, this is actually a masculine trait.

Edward quite frankly prances around like a magnificent poofter and sparkles. You can't get girlier than that.

Anonymous said...

@ jackie. wth??? how does spike come off lookin like a girl with all those cheek bones!! are u sure u got the right spike!!
and plus real vamps don't like what they say don't need to sparkle
and it also kinda makes sense why edward is a huge hit among teenage girls most girls around that age are into glitters and sparkles so i really can't blame them for not knowing any better since they're goin through a phase

Anonymous said...

to the one who said that twilight is for the younger generation blah blah blah. well here's a news flash for you why do u think the sayin YOUNG AND STUPID is still around and to the one who said there's a deeper context to twilight and that is what?!! pedophilia! that's all u got goin for twilight. buffy played on the idea of horrors in your life and the way they were manifested in the show is through monsters vamps and other damned souls. also buffy's high school years was purposely chaotic not because of ratings but again another metaphor to how high school cud be tough times for some. and buffy also did a first in tv history by givin us the first lesbo sex on tv. i cud go on and on about the deeper contexts in buffy and all twilight has to offer is pedophilia. and in case u haven't realize buffy has that thing goin on too. u've got angel and spike. besides buffy had not only caught the attention of teenagers and adults it also caught some academics that it spawned buffy studies. so really twilight doesn't come close to measurin up to buffy. bottom line is twilight is fanfiction for 12 yr olds in book form and then turned into live action. buffy real show. and i have to agree to the comment before mine REAL VAMPS DON'T NEED TO SPARKLE!

Buntologically Informed