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Monday, May 17, 2010
THE TWILIGHT SERIES -- FINALLY READ
What is interesting is how little editing went into this book. Did the publishers decide that it would be a waste of time, as it was going to sell squillions anyway? Awkward sentences, redundancies, and grammatical lapses abound, which was not the case with the first book. On the bright side, Jake was allowed to develop in most ungenre-like fashion. An interfering editor could well have made him as wooden as Edward the vampire, to keep to the romantic stereotype. Instead, I emerged a definite Jacob fan.
I couldn't get hold of the third book, Eclipse, so looked up the synopsis on Wikipedia, and moved on to the last in the series, New Moon. To put the story in a nutshell, Bella and Edward marry, but she asks that the marriage be consummated before he turns her into a vampire, with the secret wish that she falls pregnant, as once she is a vampire, she will be barren. Her wish is fulfilled, with unforeseen consequences. Surprisingly brutally, the teenaged reader is introduced to the complications of an extremely abnormal preganancy and birth, seasoned with the queasy possibility that the child will be a monster.
This is where the lack of developmental editing input became a serious issue, as in my candid opinion, the author was not ready for the challenge. The whole appeal of the series had been the forbidden nature of sex, but now she had to describe the act in acceptable form, then the horrendous natural consequences, and then Bella's awakening as a vampire after two days of agony, to face not just the psychological challenge of being immortal in the company of other immortals (some of whom are hundreds of years old), but the oncoming revenge of the Italian vampires who had forbidden any such birth, too. It was as if a Mills & Boon author was suddenly faced with the complexity of literary science fiction, and Meyer is no Anthony Burgess or Brian Aldiss. Instead of feeling the requisite sympathy for Bella, I was sorry for the author, who seemed so unsupported here.
As it is, Meyer ends up with a Lord of the Rings-style stand-off, "good" vampires and those likeable werewolves on one side of the battlefield, and "bad" vampires slavering for blood and guts on the other. Various reviewers have pointed out that the result is disappointing -- blood and guts is what was called for, it seems. Undubitably, a sympathetic editor would have prodded the writer in the right direction for a LOTR battle, designed for the best of Weta workshop ingenuity in the move-production line. Instead, the author breaks the golden rule of plot development by introducing new characters -- important characters, right at the end! -- who provide a cozy denouement.
Not that I am complaining. The LOTR battlescenes fixed me for life; the fewer guts and less blood, the better. An unusual ending is a nice change -- but couldn't someone have helped Stephanie Meyer out, by recommending that the characters could have been introduced very easily near the start of the book? During the honeymoon, in fact. It would have been so easy, and the ending so much more satisfying.