Coming Clean

So, I did it. I finally gave in. I bought Twilight.

Let me first say that I resisted mainly due to the fact I'm an incredibly picky reader, and since the books are aimed at a younger audience I didn't think I'd like them. Also due to my pickiness, I tend to be wary of anything that has such mass appeal. I wouldn't call myself a book snob, but something about hysteria always makes me suspicious. I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books, for example. But then I got to thinking about it. I write about vampires, and I read about vampires. Why wouldn't I check out one of the most successful additions to the vampire fiction canon?

I recently bought a Kindle, and have been using it to try out all sorts of books since the book versions are cheaper. I'm finding it's a lot like my iTunes addiction. So easy! So cheap! Why not? So I downloaded Twilight.

People, I couldn't put it down. Not because Meyer is a genius at word craft, although I think she gets a worse rap than deserved. Not because I wanted to figure out why the books were so successful. But because I kept waiting for Edward and Bella to get it on. The tension was sharp-edged and heightened by the complication of Edward's blood lust. And it kept me turning pages into the wee hours.

Haters say what you will, but I love some good sexual tension. And Meyers delivered it in spades. I'm not saying this is why other people enjoyed the series. I'm also not saying it was a perfect read. I'm certainly not a convert to Twilight hysteria. But I enjoyed the book and will continue to read the series. In fact, I'm already halfway through New Moon.

Has anyone else out there resisted the siren call of Edward and Bella because of it's popularity? Or those who have read it, what did you think about the tension. Was the lack of (ahem) consummation refreshing or a let down?

Now, before you answer, a caveat: Twilight is obviously the subject of lots of debate, especially in UF circles. But I would ask that you refrain from author bashing. If you didn't like the books, that's cool. But I don't think you'll find much support here for personal attacks against a fellow scribe.

Comments

Vickie said…
Jaye: I did read TWILIGHT last year. I wanted to see what the fuss was about. Now I know and I am done with the series.
I am glad for the author, she has found a niche and has profited. My reading time is too precious and my book $$ too thin to add to her coffers. She has plenty now and will get more.
I'd rather spend my $$ on the not so famous and monied authors whose stories I dig much more.
That said, I do enjoy the Harry Potter series, much better written and more to my liking. I listen to them rather than handhold the hewgah book. I get the FAB Jim Dale telling me the story of Harry and the gang. He makes the story even better.
Enjoy your Kindle. I may have to get one someday if only for the books that I can't find in affordable MPB size.
Chris said…
The tension was really well-done. Bella's passivity creeped me out.
Jessica Kennedy said…
The tension was what also kept me going. But I also knew that Meyers would not give me what I wanted between Edward and Bella. Not in a YA book.

The romance was pure and very addictive. I enjoyed the first book the most but the rest feel short for me. I hated New Moon....I'm an Edward lover not a Jacob lover!
Falcata Times said…
To be honest I read them before the fuss kicked off about the whole thing and I quite enjoyed the first couple.

What did get to me however, was Bella's character change in the final novel which I didn't feel was a positive message for the young female readers. I felt that she should have been more like the original Bella than the drone she became. But thats my own opinion.
writtenwyrdd said…
Thank you. While I don't admire these books with the rabid intensity of the tween set, I did read and enjoy Twilight. I've read it twice, in fact. and while I deplore the constant mention of heartbeats and Edward's smile, there was a lot that was good and which really worked to pull me into the story. She makes you care about the characters and want to know what happens next. That's skillful writing.

But the book still annoyed me, too. Because I really don't like doormat characters like Bella.
Brooke Reviews said…
I agree with Falcata Times 100% especially about the final book. I read them awhile ago, before things got crazy. I enjoyed the first three mainly because of all the tension.
silveradept said…
On the matter of tension between Edward and Bella, I found that was actually another reason why I didn't like Twilight - the tensions seemed manufactured, as did the relationship - stalking someone is generally not the way to their heart, regardless of whom is stalking whom.

I had other complaints about the book, including characterizations and motivations for the relationship, but that's off-prompt.
-Kelly Meding said…
My main reason for not having read "Twilight" is that I know enough about it (from other people) that I'm positive it won't appeal to me.

I read UF because I like heroines who fight back, take charge, and have personalities. Bella doesn't sound like that sort of heroine.

I love some good sexual tension, as well, but going into a book knowing there's no payoff kills that tension for me. Which is more the fault of me reading spoilers than it is the fault of the author, but it is what it is.

I really don't read YA. I've read one YA in the last year. I'm so behind in current UF series that it'll take me a year of reading 16 hours a day (gotta sleep) to catch up. And this isn't a slam against YA, because there are several series/authors I want to read (House of Night, for example), but I need to get through the mountain of books I own first.

Plus, I'm more of a werewolf person than a vampire person, and I know poor Jacob didn't get the girl, so...
Anonymous said…
I loved the first three books and admit to being a teensy bit obsessive. However, the fourth book completely ruined it for me, and I'm no longer a devoted fan of the series. I don't quite understand the hysteria; I was never really quite so in love with Edward as so many people are, because I think he's a little creepy. I'm more of a Jasper fan. :)
unseelieme said…
I actually liked the series, because it reminded me a bit of Jane Eyre & Wuthering Heights. Weird, I know.

I also have to say that I kept thinking thru the whole set that the true monster in the books wasn't the vampires or the werewolves. It was Bella. I really didn't care much for her.

And last, it got me reading again, something that I'd abandoned in my hectic life. In fact, the next series I read was Jaz Parks, which I loved immeasurably more than Twilight.
I had actually bought Twilight back in fall of 2007 and ended up returning it because the whole YA label turned me off. It wasn't until I kept hearing about it through my various channels that I decided to pick it up. I couldn't put it down. Now while I wouldn't say I'm a part of the Twilight hysteria, I do keep an eye on what is happening in the Twilight saga (i.e. the movie version of New Moon).

I personally think the tension is going to be awesome for other authors. I have a friend who was sucked into Twilight, but once she was done, she wanted to know what else was good and maybe ones with a little more action. I sent her towards the Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine and she's loving that one as well. She's been raiding my library constantly every since. I now have her hooked on the Dark-Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon.
I feel so much better now that I've read all the comments. I wasn't the only one who thought the series could have ended at Eclipse! Breaking Dawn was fine, but the whole story was ridiculous. Granted, the whole turn of events got Bella what she wanted, but it was so over dramatized. (I'm trying not to spoil it for everyone).
Jaye Wells said…
Like a lot of you, I'm sure, Bella passivity was a sticking point. Obviously if you've read Red-Headed Stepchild, you might be able to guess I prefer stronger heroines. And I certainly understand people's complaints about the Edward/Bella dynamic coming off as unhealthy. It was. But I still devoured the damned thing.
Fawn Neun said…
I've managed to resist completely. The more I heard about it, the creepier it sounded and the easier it was to resist. I saw the movie to kill some time at the mall, but it was less than illuminating.
Nicole Peeler said…
I totally read it for the sexual tension . . . between Bella and Jadob! I am so team Jacob it's outrageous. So I went ahead and wrote a dirty, raunchy, me and Jacob book in my head. It's hot. I'd publish it if I wouldn't get sued.

Seriously, EDWARD IS COLD AND DEAD. Jacob is where it's at. Mmmmmmmmmmm. Jacob . . .

*rolls around in the worms from the can she just opened*
Nicole Peeler said…
OH, and I'm totally going to start making up character names by sticking two of mine together.

"Janyan"

"Capimoo"

Ryuiggan"
spinsterchick said…
I'm a bit of a populist snob too. Refuse to read a book if there's too much hype. Loved Harry Potter because I started them before the frenzy. Read Twilight & the adult novel. Enjoyed the adult novel. Just wanted to smack Bella and tell her to get a life. If the female lead isn't strong & interesting forget about it. Flawed is fine; brainless is not.
I did read the Twilight series. I did enjoy the tension between Bella, Edward and Jacob. It being a YA I new there would be no JR Ward kind o love... in the books.
But all in all I enjoyed the series. Breaking Dawn.. not as much. But Hey I had to find out what happened.
catie said…
I knew I'd get around to the TWILIGHT saga eventually, if for no other reason than to see what all the fuss was about and must admit, am at a bit of a loss. No, no bashing here either; but I can't honestly see anything spectacular about these books either. They're okay. I probably would have read them as a teen and thought: Well, they made time pass a little faster. How to explain the mania though? I still don't get it and probably never will. I'm much more entranced by the worlds of Cassandra Clare, Carrie Jones, Richelle Mead, and Melissa Marr (just to name a few).
I haven't read them though I did purchase the boxed set of them as a gift for my household's YA reader who enjoyed them. Same kid thought the movie was a little bit of a let down. I watched the movie and it confirmedthat these were not books I /need/ to read. (And no, I never read Harry Potter's either, though same YA reader has all of them, too.) But seeing vampires/werewolves staying popular despite being told forever that vampires were through, THAT makes me very happy. Also my niece and her daughter have really raved about the books.
tom-gallier said…
No Twilight for me. 50-something men don't go there. But I really enjoyed the Harry Potter books. I started reading the books after seeing the first movie. The movies are great, but the books are better.

I like my MC (male and female) to be butt kickers, action oriented and going for glory, baby. No submissive/passive-agressive MCs for this guy.
Sally said…
I actually just did a blog post about how Stephenie Meyer has ruined the very word "Twilight" for me. Well, I work in a bookstore. :) While it's great that she helped us make sales plans and such, it just annoys me to no end. But the reason I blogged was because I read on the galleycat website that in the first quarter of this year, Stephenie Meyer accounted for 16% of ALL books sold. It's freaking mind-boggling.

I was in a similar mode for the first four Harry Potter books, then I sucked it up and read them and now I'm a total convert. However, I don't think I'll become a Twilight convert. I would have loved them when I was in high school 15 years ago, but now? Now, I've read vampire books for twenty years and I've become a snob about them. An author really has to wow me and I'm just not into that "ohmygod, I'm in high school and I love you FOREVER" kinda mode. So while I may eventually give in and try it, I certainly am not pushing anything back in my queue of tried-and-true authors. Or those that just have such great titles as "Red-Headed Stepchild." I'm telling ya Jaye, I bought that one for the title and cover alone (with a little bit of favoritism for my reluctant adults addiction).
redqueen1 said…
I'll be honest, I've read the Twilight books as well as The Host. I thought they were good ... but just that. I don't really get the whole hysteria surrounding them but kudos to Meyer for pulling it off.

There WAS good sexual tension but I don't like Edward and I'm not that into Bella either. I'm more a fan of Alice and Emmett (weird? probably).

And, for the record (no spoilers, I promise) I felt Breaking Dawn to be a big let-down, mostly because there was minimum sacrifice and the stakes didn't feel high enough.
Jaye Wells said…
OK I just finished New Moon. The teen angst is starting to get a little old, but I still plan on finishing the series.
I’m a self-acknowledged literary snob who secretly enjoys reading trashy, summertime paperbacks. I, like you, also shy away from the “trendy” thing to do/read/drink/watch etc.

I have a degree in English Literature. I’ve read and enjoyed more literary classics from the beginning of English to modern times than I can count.

But I finished the fourth Twilight book last week after devouring them in almost as many days, and I couldn’t put them down. While Meyer will win no awards for literary finesse, she’s continuing the immensely important effort that J.K Rowling undertook – getting kids to read.

Whether or not you’re a fan of Harry Potter or Twilight it’s undeniable that having more kids get their first glimpse at an amazing world of literature is good for us all.
JSB said…
I've read it and it was...fine. I'm kinda disturbed by the kind of relationships portrayed as being okay. I skimmed through the last three volumes and the teen angst got to me, not to mention some of the ending points. I do think the tension was interesting and the enforced Byronic hero. So I don't begrudge the books, but I also was glad I got them from the library and didn't buy them.

I did however by that Red Headed Step Child book. :P It's next on the TBR after Turn Coat.

Jana
Michelle Rowen said…
I shamelessly love this series (and the movie) despite not connecting to Bella's first person narration until the last book.

New Moon was even better. Love Edward and love Jacob. Bella...not so much.

*slurp*
JD said…
I went into this series with next to no expectations, so when I found myself positively devouring the books, not only was I stunned at how well Meyer suckered me in, but also at much I was enjoying the complete near-trashiness of it all. I had even less expectation of the movie than the book and, aside from the horrible CGI, I really enjoyed it.

The final book I could take or leave but I really didn't want to put the other three down. Yes, there were places that weren't all that much and it could have used a good edit. But it's getting people reading again.

My local independant bookstore constantly gets mums coming in, asking for something for their daughters to read now that the Twilight saga is over. They're usually referred to Richelle Mead. :)
Abby said…
I hadn't planned to read the saga because I don't read YA, until I saw how many copies had sold. Then I figured I'd better see if I could figure out why they are so popular. I couldn't put them down.

Someday I plan to reread at least Twilight and try to figure out how she did it. But at the rate my TBR pile is growing, that may not happen.

I'm not into the whole mania thing, and have no desire to see the movies. I read them without ever really liking Bella. I kept wanting to smack her upside the head to knock some sense into her. And I never cared that much for Edward; who wants to cuddle with someone as hard and cold as marble? As for vampires that sparkle in the sun - don't get me started. I liked Jacob better, but he's too young for me to lust after.
T.M. Thomas said…
Never read them.
Never will.
Proud to this day I haven't seen "Titanic" either.
Nicole Peeler said…
T.M.: Ah, but have you seen Bitanic?

Classic.
Taylor-Marie said…
I read Twilight back in 2006.
I have to admit that I'm still a Twilighter and going strong.
I've the first 3 books about 6 times and the 4th one 2ce.
I've been too busy to re-read them again.
I don't like how people judge them on how popular they've become. ):
So anyways. I love Twilight (:
Kiyote said…
i still haven't read them...even though my sis bought them for me. i am hesitant to read them cause i have read the reviews on how she is all helpless and he is a stalker...i will eventually break down and read them since they are just sitting there now.

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