Allow me to clear up some confusion about the ‘vampire’ blogs I’m writing. The overall topic is vampires. The last one in specific was about the first book in the Twilight series and I’m going to devote one blog to each book in that series. So this is the third in the “2010 Vampires” series, but only the second about a Twilight book.
A Question of Love
I questioned in the first book how girls and women could find anything sympathetic in the main character, and continued to do so with this book. The premise of this book is that Edward leaves Bella. She then spends more time pining away for him than she actually spent dating him. This is just plain stupid.
However, it’s also how a teenager behaves, so I’m not going to beat up on that too much. However, if you’re going to create a main character, how about showing one who grows? This is something Bella does not do. Through the entire arc of this book (and the series itself), she makes no forward progress at all. She never learns, as most every person does, that hanging all of your hopes and dreams solely on whether another person validates them and loves you is sure to lead to disappointment and sadness. Instead, she learns that it’s rewarded because you loved them so hard they had to come back.
This is the most problematic thing for me about the popularity of the series. Even if your targeted audience is younger, you can perhaps entertain them while showing them that these things are not only something that everyone goes through, but can overcome.
If the character believed something that wasn’t politically correct, and never changed her view (or even if she did), then certain offended groups would be up in arms that it was setting a bad behavioral example. However, if the character acts like a mentally unbalanced manic and never learns how to put them her emotions in the proper perspective, that’s no big deal. That bothers me.
The whole love triangle thing, hinted at during the closing chapters of the first book, explodes as Jacob steps in and very clearly wants to get with Bella. She spends all of her time with him, cozies up to him and snuggles him like a teddy bear. She’s shocked when he makes a move to replace someone she hasn’t seen in nearly a year.
I have to shout a resounding WTF that grown women think that this behavior is anything less than reprehensible. I’d love to play armchair sociologist and talk about how the popularity of the series displays that, in general, women want two men in their lives at all times, like the Sith: one to have her devotion and one to crave it. For further evidence, look at all the most popular female romantic comedies. Y’all can go to Hell.
There are two things that the Underworld movies should have taught us:
- Kate Beckinsale looks fantastic in skin-tight latex.
- Werewolves versus Vampires is not so cool as we originally thought.
It’s a bit of a comic book cheat to take two things from separate “realities” and mix them. There are very few times that it’s been done successfully. Often it reeks of gimickry. That is what I think about its use here. To steal an idea is a fine literary tradition. But Meyer could have waited for the Underworld corpse to grow a little colder before robbing that particular grave.
Now For That American Indian Thing
I respect various American Indian cultures. Unfortunately, they were in the way of people with superior technology and a desire to conquer. Most of the time, this results in bad things for those in the way. They were on the receiving end of some horrible treatment at the hands of the Conquistadors. The U.S. Government treated them poorly, as did every other government on this side of the planet, as a diverse collection of people.
However, I’ve had my fill of the Noble American Indian archetype. This book continues that trend, along with crapping on religion in general yet finding the myths of the American Indian sacrosanct. There were bad things that various American Indian nations did that were just as bad, if not worse, than what was done “to them.” Scalping was a pretty horrific way to die, human sacrifice is wrong and slash–and–burn farming techniques were terribly damaging.
(Sorry for the digression. In today’s climate, though, you have to be sure to qualify anything you might say beforehand.)
Now, with this book, we get werewolves that are part of some fine tradition of vampire defenders. All right, instead of relying on an interesting dramatic conundrum of having the character have to choose a regular relationship and pining for the UnDead, let’s introduce a false conflict that can make for a neat special effect later.
A Vampire Ruling Council
After all, why wouldn’t there be? Makes total sense. That way our main character vampires can be fighters against The Man.
Naturally, there’s a scene that poops all over the idea that religious belief in God can spare suffering, while at the same time continuing to acknowledge the fine mythology of wolf people who came into being through Animism. The first part is tired and worn out by this point, the second part is a simple matter of the ever-popular practice of doublethink.
What I Liked
Honestly, nothing was especially memorable outside of the major plot. There were a few moments that were interesting, though, like when she runs across a vampire without Edward’s protection there anymore.
But Wait, There’s More
Naturally it’s left open for a sequel. There is no attempt to resolve any plot point or theme in this book. Like a television show, it simply ends when the alloted time slot is done. Which meant I had another book to read, in hopes that there would be some sort of forward progress.