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Monday, August 11, 2008

Broken Dawn

posted by on August 11 at 13:23 PM


In this week’s paper, I wrote about all the Breaking Dawn midnight sales going on in bookstores in the area and around the country. I also reviewed the first three books in Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance Twilight series:

Edward Cullen has “a face any male model in the world would trade his soul for.” He is an eternally 17-year-old vampire who lives in the eternally cloudy town of Forks, Washington. He doesn’t have fangs, he doesn’t kill humans, and he’s continually described as the most beautiful man on earth. Sunlight won’t burn him into a black powder; it only makes him prettier. “Edward in the sunlight was shocking,” his creator writes. “His skin… literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare.”

There’s an interesting postscript to this midnight sale madness: half the fans hate Breaking Dawn with a disturbing passion. I’m not talking about snarky people who are reading the books for a laugh, I’m talking about the serious fans of the first three books. The response to the book has been so bad that fans are organizing online to return copies of Breaking Dawn in protest. Fans on Amazon are announcing that they don’t consider Breaking Dawn canon, and that the Twilight series is a trilogy that ended with the last book. Some are calling for Meyer to rewrite the ending.

I hadn’t read Breaking Dawn in time for the piece on the midnight sales, but I’ve read it now, and I have to say that, though I didn’t think the books were ever well-written, Breaking Dawn is a different kind of bad. It’s a really terrible book, and this amazing reaction—I don’t think I’ve ever seen fans turn on an author of pop fiction this dramatically—should restore people’s faith in young adult readers. There’s nothing wrong with reading bad books if you can tell when the badness has completely gone off the rails. These fans aren’t blindly accepting everything with Meyer’s name on it, and that makes this story heartening, I think.

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i recall feeling the same way about the rice vampire trilogy twenty years ago...

Posted by chops | August 11, 2008 1:30 PM

Paul, why did you find it worse than the other three? I think you're right, but I can't quite put my finger on why it's a different kind of bad.

Posted by giantladysquirrels | August 11, 2008 1:51 PM

I found a website this weekend that is a complete walkthrough of Breaking Dawn. It was hilarious.

It saved me from reading the book, not that I was going to anyway, but at least this way I can nod knowingly when people around me meltdown about the book.

Posted by PopTart | August 11, 2008 2:00 PM


LOL a fan of the trilogy WOULD have an LJ hahaha losers

Posted by Non | August 11, 2008 2:07 PM

The picture accompanying this post is pretty hilarious, though.

Posted by Abby | August 11, 2008 2:18 PM

@4: She's, uh, she's not a "fan." Cleolinda writes humorous summaries and take-downs of pop fiction, films, etc.

Posted by Darcy | August 11, 2008 2:28 PM

*ahem*George Lucas*ahem*

Posted by TheMisanthrope | August 11, 2008 2:49 PM

@4 I love how someone who actually writes "LOL" and "hahaha" thinks themselves an expert on what's cool and hip.

Posted by whatevernevermind | August 11, 2008 2:58 PM

@7: George Lucas isn't an author. But this seems like a pretty similar analogy.

Posted by Paul Constant | August 11, 2008 3:33 PM

@2: It was bad because Bella got everything she wanted without making any sacrifices. And frankly, while the previous three were entertaining fluff, Breaking Dawn was like stumbling onto someone's Twilight fanfic page-- all 750+ pages of it. I mean, really, could Bella get any more Mary Sue?

Posted by Jessica | August 11, 2008 4:48 PM

The author is a Mormon, right? I grew up around plenty of Mormons and getting married right out of high school and having lots of children was what young ladies were were encouraged to do (and did).

Posted by chuchu | August 11, 2008 9:46 PM

Well, nothing to do now but crack open that stack of Harry Potters, am I right?

Posted by Greg | August 12, 2008 10:02 AM

I recently read the first three and they whole time kept thinking, this is not good writing and is ridiculously maddening for anyone who is the slightest bit of a feminist.

But, I kept reading, mostly because they were such a quick read, and she did do a good job of making me want to see what happened plot-wise.

I will probably read Breaking Dawn at some point... does the writing actually get worse or are people just mad about the plot not turning out how they would have liked?

Posted by Julie | August 12, 2008 11:35 AM

I read Twilight as an attempt to relate to my sister-ten years my junior and completely obsessed with the series. I felt kind of pervy for getting into it with her as the motivation for picking up the softcore pore vampire action. It reminded me a lot of Placebo fanfic I used to read online when I was a teenager. I tried to get caught up in the series but after Edward dicked out on Bella outta the blue in book 2 I couldn't force myself to read more. Every page has the words "his crooked smile" on it! I knew after reading on the sleeve that Meyer was a BYU grad why the writing was so basic and lacking in creativity. But my sister is just a kid so I bit my tongue instead of ripping her favorite author a 2nd butthole. Thank god Breaking Dawn sucked so bad because now she understands why Stephanie Meyer is such a weak writer. The kid sister dabbles in fiction writing and I think the bar has been officially raised.
The Vampy kids are pissed, but at least the bubble got burst.
Are adjectives a sin to Mormos? Cause Stephanie Meye sure don't like to indulge in any decent ones.

Posted by calamitypositiv | August 13, 2008 4:59 AM

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