Twilight Review: Chapter 02

[First] [Next (Coming whenever)]

Disclaimer: I’m not a professional critic. This is strictly my (clearly biased) opinion and if you like this book; hey, good for you. Don’t read this unless you know you can take a punch and laugh about it. Also… Strong language ahead probably. I hate Twilight with a fury.

Twins help me. It’s this thing again. *sigh* Usually I’d say something like ‘better late than never’, but this is Twilight. I’m not fooling anyone with that.

Still… A promise is a promise is a promise. And I agreed to do this. When things are a little more stable concerning doing actual work and producing better-written things than this tripe, I’ll try to get these chapter reviews out more frequently. After all, we have a lot of ground to cover in this goddamn series.

The bright side is, I talked to the friend who asked me to do this and she agreed that asking me to be ‘nice’ about it was too much. She changed that term of our agreement to ‘be objective’, which as much as I curse this book, I always try my hardest to be. So no problem there.

I still need to try and point out a positive at the end of each chapter though. So. Ha. 😐

With that out of the way, let’s move on to Twilight chapter two, expertly titled…

Open Book.

Okay, whatever, I’m not good enough at titles to properly express my thoughts on that.

I’m moving on.

What Happens

Nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing. -.-

Let’s Break It Down

This chapter starts with the quote:

The next day was better… and worse.

And I wish I could say the same for it, but I can’t. There is nothing ‘better’ about this.

The above quote is, of course, immediately followed by a weather report. And I tell you guys right now: I’m not gonna point that out every time it happens because I honestly can’t be bothered to repeat myself quite as much as this book does. Seriously. We had enough of Bella hating the weather in chapter one to last a fucking lifetime. No more. Thank you. >.>

Bella then goes on listing what was ‘better’ and worse about her day. And I don’t care. It’s all classes I didn’t care about when I was in school and people that I don’t give a shit about because they’re just names tossed into the narrative. Bella is shit at sports; she already bitched about that in chapter one; so again who cares. The only thing remotely relevant is that Edward isn’t at school at all that day.

This is where I go from just being bored to growing more and more annoyed at both the writing and this character. Bella mentions Edward not being at school to be a reason why the day was ‘worse’. Then this is followed by her repeatedly saying she was dreading the sight of him, but then she’d get disappointed every time she thought she was going to see him and he wasn’t there. Now, I understand having mixed feelings about someone, but… She met this guy yesterday. Having any feelings for him at all is a stretch, never mind spiraling down into inner conflict. For fuck’s sake.

Let’s talk about another issue I just found with this book, one that I’ve never actually addressed before… The pacing is shit. At the beginning of this chapter, Bella went on about why this day was better and worse. She started talking about classes and hitting a volleyball at someone’s head in gym class. Then, she talks about Edward not being there at lunch and not being there in Biology class. This, to me, implies that Gym class took place before lunch. But then we’re treated to this section:

When the school day was finally done, and the blush was fading out of my cheeks from the volleyball incident, I changed quickly back into my jeans and navy blue sweater.

So Gym class was at the end of the school day and therefore after lunch. Why was it brought up before what happened at lunch? Am I supposed to just know Gym class is at the end of the school day? Because I don’t. Even if it was mentioned in chapter one, why would that be a detail I’d consider important enough to remember? Don’t make me put so much thought into your meaningless filler bullshit.

Moving on, she sees the other Cullens on their way out of school. And we get paragraphs more of how beautiful they are, how well-dressed they are, and how nice their car is. Bella is unbelievably shallow. If chapter one didn’t make that clear enough, this one beats you over the head with it. And not for the last time.

For the record, there’s nothing wrong with thinking someone’s attractive or beautiful if they are. I mean, we all have eyes and we all notice people’s appearance. Doing so, on its own, doesn’t make your character shallow. But things like this…

The isolation must be their desire; I couldn’t imagine any door that wouldn’t be opened by that degree of beauty.

Yeah. Beautiful people can do no wrong. Period. That’s pretty much Bella’s stance on the Cullens. These people she’s just seen a couple of times and met yesterday at this point in the book. If anyone even remotely implies they’re weird, well, they’re petty and jealous because the Cullens are so obviously perfect there could be no other reason.

I’m so fucking annoyed already and there’s so much nothing left to cover in this chapter… God help me. I’m gonna try to summarize what happens between seeing the Cullens and the next sort of eventful thing or we’ll be here for the next month.

Bella goes shopping and cooks because Charlie is a pathetic single guy stereotype (I’ll come back to this and a few more things in the conclusion later, don’t worry).

Her mom emails her repeatedly because Forks is stuck in the late 90s and cell phones don’t exist in this universe for some reason otherwise I don’t see a reason why a seventeen-year-old would own one, especially if she’s moving away from the parent who raised her so far. Also, her mom doesn’t know that her kid isn’t gonna be around to email her back immediately on a school day. I guess she actually is that much of an idiot.

Charlie gets home, they have dinner, he might have a crush on Edward’s dad by the way he talks about the man. This is the first actual dialogue in this chapter and it’s not used in any competent way. It doesn’t say anything more than we already know; the Cullens are literally too perfect to be human because they so obviously aren’t. And, worst offense of all… It doesn’t say anything about the characters having the conversation. The Cullens are the one thing Bella and Charlie talk about that isn’t the pointless ‘how was your day?’ bullshit. Then they eat in silence. Character development? Fuck that.

Then we’re graced with this lovely line:

The rest of the week was uneventful.

Hate to break it to you, Stephenie Meyer, but so has everything else so far. How about we go into the ‘eventful’ for once. Please. Something, anything?

Oh yeah, it snows. That’s important.

Bella hates it. Big fucking shock.

Remember how I complained that Charlie and Bella’s dinner scene was the first actual dialogue in this chapter? Yeah, well, I no longer mind having less dialogue. Because what we do have is utter shit. Seriously.

“Wow,” Mike said. “It’s snowing.”

“Ew.” Snow. There went my good day.

He looked surprised. “Don’t you like snow?”

“No. That means it’s too cold for rain.” Obviously. “Besides, I thought it was supposed to come down in flakes — you know, each one unique and all that. These just look like the ends of Q-tips.”

“Haven’t you ever seen snow fall before?” he asked incredulously.

“Sure I have.” I paused. “On TV.”

Riveting conversation. Just wow. O_O

I… Hmmph… Other people looked at this book before it was published, right? They must have. How did any of those people think it’s acceptable to have so many paragraphs of both narration and dialogue about the MOTHERFUCKING WEATHER!? It’s goddamn snow. Who gives a shit? TELL A FUCKING STORY!

*Sigh* Okay. It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine. Let’s just move on.

In the next several pages of nothing, the only thing that actually happened is Edward comes back to school. It’s like a week later now. She said it was uneventful but rambled the fuck on about it anyway. Nothing happened. It was uneventful.

Bella sees Edward at lunch. They look at each other. That’s it.

Skip to biology. They actually have a conversation. It’s… Meh.

Edward is more friendly now. Bella stutters like a moron. They’re both awkward. Again, the conversation tells me nothing about the people having the conversation. There’s no personality behind anything actually being said. I feel like there’s an attempt at it while they do the biology assignment, I’ll give it that. There’s a hint of playful competition going on there, but it’s not enough and gets disrupted by Bella’s constant swooning. Even Edward’s goddamn handwriting is perfect and fucking hell, shut up.

If you want to convey any form of bonding or chemistry or goddamn anything between two characters, it needs to go both ways. You can’t have one character act like a smug little shit; even if in jest, and have the other react by swooning over them. There needs to be some level of give and take to actually make that work. And, if I’m to be perfectly honest, I have no issue with Edward’s character at this point. In fact, the best part of this chapter is him questioning Bella on her ‘exiling’ herself to Forks and being genuinely confused by her logic of why she had to move because her mom missed her husband when he traveled. People miss their spouses when they travel. And clearly, Bella’s mom misses her too because she emailed her fifty times in one afternoon. So, yes, thank you, Edward, that is nonsensical. You get the title of ‘best character’ this chapter. Enjoy it because it’ll probably not happen often.

There’s some chit-chat with Mike (remember Mike? We’ll get back to him in a bit) and she gets distracted by Edward in the parking lot which almost leads to a crash. He laughs at her. His only redeeming quality is, no joke, how much of a condescending asshole he is to her all the time. If it wasn’t for everything else in this book, I would enjoy it for that.

End chapter.

My Thoughts

It’s been over a year since I reviewed the first chapter of this book. And it feels like I spent that entire time reading this goddamn chapter. It dragged SO MUCH it was draining to read. There was a lot of unnecessary filler in this. Trivial school bullshit. Weather. And whole scenes of nothing where there could have been character development. Bella doesn’t have a personality. No other characters are actual characters in this, they are whatever opinion Bella has of them. That’s it.

Charlie is a pathetic loner who only has his job. And no, this isn’t portrayed with any form of sympathy from Bella. The fact her dad still seems to have feelings for her mom; who left years ago and has clearly moved on from him, is treated as sad, but not in any heartwarming way. Charlie’s feelings are described by Bella as something pathetic that she doesn’t want to look at.

Mike is a Golden Retriever. She literally calls him that and at one point claims to be imagining him with a wagging tail.

It goes on.

The only people Bella sees in some sort of positive light are the Cullens and other than Edward, she never actually met them. They’re just rich and beautiful. And that’s literally all the reasons she gives too.

I was asked to provide a positive for each chapter and be objective and… Objectively speaking, there was potential here. This chapter could have been used to set up the reveal of who and what the Cullens really are. All of their ‘perfection’ could have been portrayed in a more unnatural and unsettling light. And if Bella actually felt unnerved by them initially, it would have been so much better. Tension could have been a thing here. Just because you’re writing a teen romance novel it doesn’t mean you can’t make use of the themes you’ve chosen or play with your readers’ expectations.

And yes, I know that bringing up the gloomy weather all the time is supposed to be set up, but it’s boring, it’s grating and it’s not good enough. If you choose to write a first-person story, then use your character’s perception to your advantage. Bella just immediately accepts these people as being innocent and in the right without even knowing them despite the fact they are clearly not normal. She doesn’t question this. Not for a second. Ever. Because she has no personality. She’s there to tell you how the author wants you to think and feel about the other characters. And that makes her a giant judgmental egotistical bitch. Another problem with writing first person when you don’t know how to develop a character.

I’m sorry, that was supposed to be positive, wasn’t it? I’ll reiterate; it had the potential to be good. The ideas are there. I’m willing to give it that much.

Another positive, shockingly enough, was Edward. Edward isn’t as bad of a character as Bella is at this point. I mean, don’t get me wrong… I’m sure I’ll have something to bitch about with him eventually, but for now, I’m fine with him.

One chapter at a time, yeah? I’ll try not to take so long next time.

B.B

One thought on “Twilight Review: Chapter 02

  1. Pingback: Twilight Review: Preface + Chapter 01 | Blackbird's Nest

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