jetsetgreen

Monday, August 04, 2008

Go On, Break Another Little Piece of My Heart

As usual, my series cynicism has prevented me from reading the Stephanie Meyer books. Oh, I'm sure they're fantastic. Maybe.

The thing is that just like I did with Harry Potter, I refused to read a series that was not finished. Why? Because I know better. Let me tell you about Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. It started with Eye of the World, published in 1991 and read by me in 1993. Eleven books later it's 2008 and I'm waiting for the twelfth book to consume the wee hours of the morning and leave me, finally, satisfied.

Only something happened, something terrible, something that scourged my easily-attached reading heart, Robert Jordan died last year. Yup. He got an incurable disease and he DIED. It's taken almost a year for me to even talk about this without freaking the Hell out.

For a comparison, it's as if 24 just stopped at hour 21; Lost stopped after episode one of the third season; and in the perhaps worst twist imaginable, US Weekly stopped publishing any pictures in the "Celebrities: They're Just Like us!" section. All utter catastrophes. That's why I'm warning you: anytime you undertake the reading of a series, make sure it's done, or at the very least, request a bill of health from the author's primary care doctor.

So I'm putting up a poll (those of you reading through Reader will have to click through,) is it time to read those Meyer books? And, just in case you think I'm kidding, I will absolutely abide by the winning poll option.

64 comments:

Rynell said...

My husband is still in mourning over the loss of Robert Jordan. I never started that series, so I don't share his pain, but I will tell him that you do.

Rynell said...

P.S. I hate waiting for the next installment in a series to come out. I am not a patient person.

nevadanista said...

De-lurker alert. I'd like to give you my opinion, even though I don't know you. I've read through some of your blog, which I love btw, and I have to think that you won't be a fan of the Twilight series, given what I've seen of your tastes and interests. But the books might be fun for you to read so you can bash them when you're around people who love them. People who love them are fanatical!!! I haven't read the latest one yet - I'm waiting to borrow one because I know I won't want to keep it. Is it the end of the series though? Even if it isn't, go ahead and read them, because you probably be able to live without reading the next one right away.

It would have sucked for season 1 of 24 to end at 21 hours. Then I wouldn't have had the satisfaction of seeing Nina kill Teri. Ciao, thanks for letting me crash your poll :)

Azúcar said...

Oh I love a de-lurking! Welcome.

It's kind of tricky, because sci-fi/fantasy are completely my thing, as are just about any other ripping tale regardless of genre. However, I have little patience for poor writing and am suspicious of any overly popular book (because I was a snobby book store employee.)

That's why I'm leaving it all up to you, gentle readers, to make the decision for me.

Sherry said...

I read the first two, and I wasn't really crazy about them, but I figured I'd read the third when it came out. However, when the third came out I realized that I could find much better things to do with my time (like read strangers' blogs). I am so glad to be free of that series.

The basic ideas are clever, I will grant the author that. But the writing is nearly painful.

b. said...

No.
I don't want to be completely alone in not giving in to the insanity.
I read half of the first one...sh!t or get off the pot was my thought.

Queen Scarlett said...

I enjoyed them until this last one...Breaking Dawn was disappointing.

I did enjoy The Host.

i i eee said...

You already know my vote. But maybe you should read it just so we can both talk about it. Because obviously I love to be the critic.

I don't even think the basic ideas are necessarily clever. Have people never heard of Bram Stoker? Or even Ann Rice? Buffy? It's like apparently Meyers invented the vampire... and despite the sparkly hotness, her vampires are...yawwwwn. And far from scary. Even the ones that are supposed to be scary. So at least that's on your side, for I know your bladder can't handle the horror.

I do think the books are fun for what they are: cheesy, formulaic plot-driven, Young Adult novels that are a lot easier to read if you're not taking graduate level English classes, har har. If you want to read a popular Young Adult series, I think Louise Rennison's novels, "Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging," and "On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God," would be much more entertaining. It's all British, the first one is also coming out in film form, and it's not 100 pages too long like Meyers' first novel (and possibly the subsequent sequels... I haven't bothered to find out). And it's funny. Hopefully the movie will supply.

I really hate to be a constant basher of something, but I'm afraid I'm just not seriously, so blessed enough to like the Twilight series. Maybe if I lived outside of Utah, and could get away from it being testified at the pulpit, but... no. I just can't. I was kind of excited to see the movie after seeing the teaser trailer because I wanted to be supportive, but then I saw the full trailer, and the acting looks horrible.

Emmie said...

I read the first one, and thereafter read the plot summaries on the online world wide web.

I think you might find Meyer's spin on vampires kinda interesting (at least for the first hundred pages), but the writing and accident-prone heroine would probably drive you kuh-rayzee.

marshall p said...

I can not even imagine your pain. I wouldn't want to be around me when terry pratchett or garth nix died... just saying. at least garth nix finished the sabriel series.

I don't know if I can handle the vampire books. I started to read one and it just pissed me off because those vampires sounded like annoying goth kids and I couldn't handle it.

KT said...

I read 1/3 through the first book and couldn't handle Stephanie's writing. Personally, I thought the books were cheesy, and really not that creative. Not to be a Debbie Downer on the series, but pbtbptpbptpbtppbt.

Annette Lyon said...

What a delight to find so many anti-fans! I have too many friend who are Twilight-obsessed. It's so sad.

I've read 1 1/2 of the books. I'll probably read them all just for the sake of cultural literacy, if that makes sense. Meyer can write in a way that makes the pages clip by quickly, but NOTHING HAPPENS. Her books are several hundred pages too long.

I did enjoy The Host more than the vampire nonsense. (Still too long, but at least it has a heroine who actually ACTS instead of REACTS and isn't an idiot.)

Re: Wheel of Time, I'm assuming you'll give Brandon Sanderson a spin since he's writing #12?

~j. said...

I haven't touched them, either. I joined Harry Potter after #5 and found the wait for 6 & 7 annoying. I've considered reading this series, too, though, but only because I've been told I can finish the entire thing in about a day (because, really, WHO HAS THE TIME???). I don't have any interest in it, though. None. Should we take this trek together?

Mona said...

Just don't do it. I read the first one, skimmed #2 & 3 and ended up irritated and annoyed by the end. I now wish I hadn't read #1-3 so I didn't feel some obligation to skim #4. The jury is still out on whether or not I will.

Emily said...

Her heroine has been criticized for being so dependent on her vampire beau and utterly helpless. In other words, it may strike you as anti-feminist and I predict you will really really hate them. Read HP for heaven's sake!!

ClistyB said...

i havent read them either. My 12 year old has, and even she says that the repetitive descriptions are annoying. I plan on reading them just 'cause, but the weak writing is going to bug the heck outta me. Partly because I will be be hitting myself over the head with every turn of the page saying "if her writing passes through publishing surely mine could!!"

Lani said...

Oh goodness. Are they literary works of art? No. Are they a fun escape from reality? I think so. Literary chocolate.

My stepmom (literary snob with a PhD) was holding out too... but she gave in this summer. By the second book she was totally hooked.

I say... enough with the snobbery, people!! Just because "everyone's doing it" doesn't mean you should run the other way. Sometimes everyone's doing it for a reason.

Are they flawless? Of course not. Did I love reading them anyway? Absolutely!

Lani said...

I should mention, however... I just finished reading the last book, and I was disappointed. Did I devour it? Yes. But I was disappointed.

i i eee said...

Meh, I wouldn't call it snobbery, I'd call it a matter of taste. I'm not immune from critiquing the HP either, for it certainly is not perfect, and yet I still enjoyed reading that series.

I read the first book in the Twilight series before "everyone else was doing it," and I was none the well pleased. I kept turning the pages, because it's almost funny how bad it is.

I mean, her relationship with her parents? Ha. Hahahaha. *Spoiler* I really said out loud near the end, "Ah just let the vampire kill your mother. It's not like anyone gives a sh*t about her anyway." How hard would it have been to make her mother an actual character worth saving? I mean, there's like maybe a paragraph devoted to letting the reader get to know her mother in the whole 300+ page travesty. Making the mother bait for Bella? Pathetic. Seriously, pathetic. I don't care if she says one line of, "Oh my mom is my best friend in the entire world." Calling someone your BFF doesn't hold enough water for me on that one. The reader was given almost zero interaction between Bella and her mother, making the entire "set-up" laughable.

My point is, if you're looking for a fun escape, I don't think the mess that is the Twilight series is worth to rummage through for a bit of fun.

nevadanista said...

That's nice, thanks for the welcome. I hope you'll end up reading them, and as I predict (since I know you so well) hate them. A play by play on your thoughts about how lame they are would make me happy.

La Yen said...

Tia Juju was forced by the corporate office to read them, and called me with her review--"It's like Passions, but you are READING it. It makes The Work & The Glory look like Pulitzer writing. I am volunteering at the homeless shelter to make up for the guilt I feel after spending a day reading them. And now I have to go read the next one because I kind of liked it."

I just like my vampires to be smutty. And, from what I understand, there is no sex? Boo.

And I remember your grief. I remember taunting it. I remember not feeling bad about it.

Andreared said...

Another de-lurker...
I have this thing with not giving into big popular culture things. I have never read the Harry Potter series, and I've studiously avoided it precisely BECAUSE everyone was so into it. To be honest, I've TRIED to start reading the first one, but it never grabbed me and I've watched a couple of the movies, but, meh...I don't think I'll ever be interested.

I also saw my friends gushing over the Twilight series and I had the same knee-jerk reaction. I WOULD NOT read them merely because everyone else was. Then, my son was in the hospital and I was desperate for some fluffy reading (you CANNOT read the scriptures in the PCU!), so a trusted friend who understood my hangups recommended them -- as fluff reading. I was not disappointed by the fluff. But if you're looking for something deeper, more meaningful, and better writing, you won't find it there. I also read The Host, and found it somewhat more interesting than the Twilight series, but again...meh...

I've never seen any of the Rocky movies either, and I don't think I ever will.

Stay strong...unless you REALLY need some escapist fluff. Then, get yourself a box of Godiva chocolates and dive in.

Geo said...

I read the first two one weekend while I was down with the flu. I read them because my young women were raving about them, and I wanted to see what was filling their brains. I vote NO. Spend your eyeballs on something else.

Rachel said...

As one who has spent many consecutive HOURS reading and watching book and television series once they were almost complete (usually just a book or season to go), I applaud your efforts.

Here's the thing about the Twilight books. They're strangely addictive. You start reading, and you think, "This isn't even that good." But it's just so easy to read that you keep going. Kind of like The Da Vinci Code. I didn't like it at all but I kept reading it because the chapters always cut off right at a climax and I wanted to find out what happens. Oh, but my point is, hey, the Twilight series is done. Give the first book a try, and if you tolerate it, push yourself through the second book, enjoy the hot vampire make-outs of the third book, and muddle through the anticlimactic, predictable fourth. I mean, at the very least, you can consider yourself up-to-date with your young-adult lit, non?

Kalli Ko said...

um,

I feel like I should tell you not to read them. Because I did and I kind of want those hours of my life back.

But like Yen said, it is kind of like Passions on paper.

And should you choose to read, you must brace yourself for several paragraphs of metaphorical romantic euphemisms (i'm not really sure if all of those words go together), and steel your gag relex after the millionth reference to Edward's glowing aura and steel chiseled body. Just a warning.

Azúcar said...

By the way, I very nearly named Proximo Edward, I'm thinking the kid barely escaped a whole crop of new Edwards and the ridicule of his schoolmates.

Britty said...

Hallelujah! I'm not alone! I swear, I'm the only one of my friends and family who did not think those books were heaven on earth. The writing is awful, and monotonous, and WAY too introspective. Not enough action. I can remember picking out numerous grammatical errors thinking, "Don't these books have an editor?" A few comments I can relate to: repeated redundant descriptions of Edward, waste of time, not good, etc etc. I did just finish The Host because I didn't have much else to do, and I have to say that I did enjoy it A LOT more than Twilight. And for the record, Harry Potter is the end all be all. :) You'll have to give some recommendations on some good books for me to read, oh Borders goddess!

lj said...

i haven't read them and i don't plan to. too many other really great books out there.

Renee said...

Yet another de-lurking...this seems to be a hot topic. Long long ago, a friend recommended the series, I think the second book had just come out. So I went down to Powell's books which is renowned for having every book on the planet...it's like the Library of Congress in kitchy used book store style. Anyhoo...they were sold out of Twilight and only had the second book in stock, so I didn't buy it. I think that was the magical moment that saved my life. Every day I thank my lucky stars that the tweens in Portland had gone ga ga for it and saved me from wasting my time. Now I'm saying no more for the principle of the thing...it's gotten way too out of control and I can't handle the hype, particularly considering the blazee reviews above. My RS book group is reading the series in preparation for the December movie release. A girl actually got up and said the books have "changed her life." Seriously?

petullant said...

1. She's not finished. She's finished with "Bella's" side but she's announced another book that will be told by another character's point of view. She's so in love with her characters that I have a feeling it might never really be done.

2. Please oh please don't let this come back to my professional life but it's not worth your time. It's not.

Aimee said...

Delurking for this post...

DON'T DO IT! Stay strong! I tried to read some of the first one, but got tired of feeling my brain seep out my ears. The fact that so many people are so ga-ga over this series makes me kinda sad. There are so many other books out there worth "wasting" time on!

Natalie said...

Delurking! I agree 100% with commenter rachel - they are not well written and despite it all you get completely sucked in.

I was a Buffy/X-Files fan so I guess this is a bit of my genre, and didn't read Twilight for the exact reasons you haven't, and then I did last Sunday, and then blew through ALL FOUR OF THEM in record speed, and now I have to read them again because hah, it turns out I am a fangirl.

So, I guess my point is, don't read them, unless you're okay with realizing you're a geek who likes something you know you shouldn't like, but you like it anyway, and maybe even are a little obsessed? So don't do it. But please do so I'll feel better about myself!

Mary said...

I've only read Twilight. I read a copy during girl's camp (I was camp nuse - pretty light duty) and every girl who saw me reading it gushed over it. I almost didn't make it past the half way point... it started to seem like a chore to read it. But I'm glad I finished it, just to have a point of reference in my popular culture literacy. I've had the second book from the library for a week now and haven't managed to start it. As for whether you should or should not read them, I say give it a try. You don't have to read the whole series just because you started it. Do read HP. And some really good YA fiction is the trilogy Gifts, Voices and Powers by Ursula LeGuin.

Mary said...

Ummm.... I was the camp nurse, not camp nuse. Yeah, camp nurse, that's it.

The Motherboard said...

Do it only if you want to succumb to the voodoo spells she has interwoven into those dang books.

They bug the Ca-rap out of me... and yet I have to finish them. The voodoo made me do it!

I wanted to gouge my eyes out with a fork when I was reading #3-- the main character is so needy and stupid. Her descriptions of Edward are nauseating... and they are on every freaking page. I completely agree with the commenter that said the books were like Passions, only reading it. Perfect. I felt like I needed to wash my eyes out-- not because it was smutty (its not) but because it was predictable and the gag factor is WAY high.

I guess Seriously so blessed I am not.

The Bakers said...

The chick drives me nuts.
Edward is obsessive and mopey.
There is a constant feeling of that teenage anxiety whilst first dating someone and there is a fear of expressing mutual affection. Annoying.
And the chick drives me nuts.

I guess they were a fun read. I may have liked the Host better... ( "

Likely said...

You know how I feel about them. BLAH.

I read only the first one just to see what all the YW in my ward were fussing about and I literally had to make myself finish. It was torture. Poor characterization, poor description, monotonous plot. You will roll your eyes at least once on every page - guaranteed. I kept saying to my husband, "oh my gosh, listen to this" and then I would read him something lame.

And for those who are telling you that they are crappily written but you will get sucked in - I don't think they know you too well.

You will not like these books.

There is something wrong when a series takes such a short time to pen. Not a lot of editing. There are spelling mistakes in it for crying out loud.

c jane said...

buzz buzz buzz buzz Twilight buzz buzz buzz

whats all this buzz about?

leslie j said...

I refuse to read them my little sister said they sucked, and I trust her more than the many vampire obsessed masses.

Like LJ says (my initials too) way too many great books out there. This summer I've read 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn', and am currently in the grasp of 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read them, but I know all of their endings and spoil them to anyone in my math class who pulls them out without finishing their homework.

- Other Half

Cole said...

I believe strongly that you should not read a series until it's over...mostly. I have not yet started on the madness that is HP. I do, however, read and love the "In Death" series by J.D. Robb. But there aren't any cliff hangers, so it's ok.

I am starting Twilight et al next week. I finally gave into the pressure of my obsessed friends. At least I'll know what they're talking about. Reading your comments though, I am prepared to be less than amazed.

liliblogs said...

(First visit to your blog... thanks, Seriously, so blessed)

You didn't have a "start them but don't finish them" option on your poll--I'm half way between "stand firm!" and "read them, eh." (So I voted for stand firm).

I read 1 because of all the fuss. The same story could have been told in a lot less words, but it was fun enough (though I did laugh at it the whole time, and I thought, if he flashes that dreamy perfect white smile at her ONE MORE TIME...) So anyway, I read 2, because I'd already started, right? It was a fight just to get to the end. Book 3: So verbose that I completely abandoned ship after three or four chapters, and I have never looked back.

Jscrapalex said...

I know the feeling of when an author up and DIES before finishing their book series... it is horrible horrible horrible.
I haven't read the breaking dawn book yet, haven't gone crazy over it, haven't bought it, haven't reserved a copy. I figure the longer I wait to read it, the better.

Likely said...

my comment was erased???? hmmmm.... where did it go, zuc?

More Caffiene, Please said...

i read them both b/c after the first one was so dumb i had to know what happened to the dumb characters. bella was still too whiney and no sex. come on now!! so no #3 for me. but i did read that 13 million copies sold the first week so we might be the only haters...

Heidi Ashworth said...

If you want a good vampire book (then again, maybe you don't) read Sunshine by Robin McKinley. If you want a really fun, smart, clean, witty romance, be sure to check out Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind, due out in December but hitting libraries around the country in November.

Tiffany Twisted said...

You know my response regardless of whether or not you know I've read or not read the Twilight Series. You knew my response as you wrote it out. You know because I have also been reading that damned series for so many years that I'll have to re-skim them all the remember what the hell might actually happened when the final book only sketched by him who will not be named will be published.

Anyway, the end of Book 1 (was that one actually named Twilight?? i don't know the names of them) was not too bad, but yeah it'll take you about a day to read each one. It's an airplane read.

Anonymous said...

I was not all that interested in these books at all when I heard about them, being an Anne Rice ol school type, however, I must say that I caved and picked up Twililight this past weekend out of curiosity, and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.Finished it in one day, at 1 am last night. Am going to the Library to get the other three because I am pretty well sucked (haha) in. Judging by most of the comments so far, I would guess you probably won't get to them, but for what it's worth, for an easy read (i.e. no brain power required, just sit back and be entertained) the first book is ok.

Fig said...

I'm on the second one. The writing is not fabulous, but I don't hate it as much as I thought I would.

They ARE inexplicably compelling. I don't feel too bad about the hours of my life I'm losing, and I can understand the hype.

Well-written they are not, and full of typos they are, but I don't think the venom-spewing is warranted.

I DO think you should read HP. And the next person who tells me the two series(es?) are comparable (literary-wise, not popularity-wise) will feel my wrath.

Fig said...

I posted a comment, and it showed up in my email, but did not appear here. Weirdness.

Jennifer said...

Not a total lurker (this is LaQuina's former roommate)...

I've taught 5th grade reading for the past 2 years and am now working with 6th and 7th grade English classes so I've read a lot of tween lit. When given a choice, there are quite a few series that are far better written and more interesting.

Pros:
1) It seems like many of the people (not all, so dissenters, please don't jump down my throat) who LOVE the series also describe themselves as non-readers. The series seems to have caught the attention of people who don't typically love reading. 2) Easy to read
3) Helps me follow conversations with Beehives and their moms
4) Edward's eyes smolder, as Meyer points out repeatedly

Cons:
1) Poor character development (most can be described in one word--disappointing when it comes to the villains)
2) Difficult to make predictions because the writing is inconsistent--left me wondering if certain parts were purposeful or if there was just a lack of details
3) It is rather seductive reading (especially the third) for the 10-year-olds that are indulging in the series. Due to a lack of details, visualizing is difficult for most of the book--except for the Edward/Bella make-outs.
4) The first half of the books could be cut out--nothing happens.

I can't start a series without finishing it, so yes, I've read all of the books. All things considered, I don't regret reading them and even enjoyed certain parts. However, they're still going in the Goodwill box.

Adria said...

Wow, this is a hot topic!

I predict that you won't love them but I'd like to read your posts picking them apart, I think.

I did like them. I liked her characters and I cared what happened about them.

The first drew me in - against my will. The second and third weren't bad. I really enjoyed the fourth. I stayed up way too late in order to finish.

I've heard it said that it's worth reading 1-3 just to get to #4.

And I really, really liked The Host.

tamara said...

If the crowd is doing it I am generally heading the other direction. So if you are heading that way yourself, perhaps we will meet in the road someday.

Azúcar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Azúcar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Azúcar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

I read this post several days ago and voted "I read them. Eh" Well, I just finished the final book, Breaking Dawn, and I have to say, I've changed my opinion of the vampire series. Bella "grew up" in this novel. FINALLY! OK, there was still some drama and angst I could do without, but I had a hard time putting this book down until I was done (2 days). Go ahead and read them, Azucar, the first 3 are somewhat tedious for those of us with discriminating book tastes and the love triangle was old from the the start, but if you stick with it, book 4 will redeem the entire series. And it ENDS nicely, but not in a contrived way.

DeLaina said...

This is only the third time I've been to your blog-funny stuff-so I guess I'm officially de-lurking as well.

Here's my input on the Twilight Series:

#1: Best of the four despite crappy writing. PG-13
#2: Kill me now. PG-13
#3: Slightly better than #2, so...wound me now? PG
#4: Why am I still alive??? Rated G due to all the "deus ex machina" lack of natural consequences so that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, gets wrapped up in a pretty, pretty bow. Ugh. It's like TAMN got a hold of it...seriously, SO bad. Blechy!

They're SO much fun to rip apart, so read away and prepare to post your pain for public consumption.

Candace E. Salima said...

I was looking for Mormon Blogs and found yours. There were too many comments for me to see if anyone told you that Brandon Sanderson is finishing the Wheel of Time series. He was tapped by the publisher to write the concluding book. When I spoke to him a few weeks ago he said it was coming along nice.

Azúcar said...

I heard that about Mr. Sanderson when it was announced. Mrs. Jordan had a hand in selecting him, as I understand. And it better be coming along nicely; it's no skin off my nose to walk right over to his house and demand to see evidence of progress.

Mr. Sanderson! You're on notice!

kRiStYw said...

First of all, I am a stalker. 2nd, I love your blog.
About the books...I think it is important to remember these books are marketed to the Young Adult group. Also, I find it interesting that most of the people that are telling you not to read them have never read them or given them a chance. I LOVED the series. Sometimes I need an escape from my world and my thoughts and this series took me on a great escape!

i i eee said...

I think it's time you announce your decision on this, before all the fans outdo the non-fans.

Azúcar said...

I already did :)

I am loving all the delurking--welcome to everybody.

i i eee said...

Oh yes. Ooops. :)