I buckled down and read the last three books in the last two days. Call it boredom, or snooping in Judy’s room, or morbid curiosity. Or all three.

Meyer’s writing itself improves somewhat in the last three books, but she’s still incredibly amateurish. don’t ever, ever write “‘sorry,” he apologized” because that is SO FUCKING REDUNDANT and we are slapped over the head with this eight gazillion times that I want to boil a baby. She’s got some funny bits of dialogue that give a chuckle or two, but the rest of it amounted to “blah blah blah blah”. The sheer amount of “blah blah blah blah” makes me want to take a giant red pen and cross out all the unnecessary dialogue, which would condense the series to about, oh, maybe a quarter of the number of pages it was? Think of all the trees saved!

Other people have written about the characters, the pacing, the what have yous, but I think Meyer’s biggest issue is that she fails to answer the question, “WHY?” WHY is Bella so special, WHY does every guy she meet fall in love with her, WHY does she love Edward (HE IS BEAUTIFUL DOES NOT CUT IT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH) so sickeningly? I mean for Christ’s sake, grow a spine, woman! Shut the fuck up and stop blathering about how this WOUND tears at you and creates a giant black abyss inside your already dead soul because your sparkly pretty rich boyfriend ditched you! Bella does not have a single redeeming quality about her. I think I skimmed about ten pages of that unnecessary dialogue going “I hope she dies in a fire. I hope she dies in a fire. I hope she dies in a fire.” The same with Edward. I kind of lol’d at the part where Jacob is telling Bella “You know, I saw this thing on the news about abusive teenage relationships…” aaaaand that’s Meyer’s big “FUCK YOU” to the people who have a tiny bit of sanity to realize that what’s going on between Bell and Edward is sick and disgusting and creepy as all fuck. I waited for pages, and pages, and PAGES for Meyer to explain why, because although I’m not a fan of Bella, Jacob and Alice redeemed her enough for me to keep slogging through her whiny pratty twatty angst fest with some big thesaurus words sprinkled on top.

I honestly couldn’t even tell you what happens in Eclipse. Oh. wait. Bella’s once again the target of a feeding frenzy because she is OMG SO SO SO SPESHUL and… what? It’s just pages and pages of ooey gooey filler of her staring into Edward’s “smoldering topaz eyes” (and seriously if I read that phrase again I just might set something on fire, preferably Bella, or Edward, or Renesmee, or all three of them). If you’re going to do some character development, all that filler stuff needs to be cut. It’s okay to write for yourself and use that to explore your character relationships, but it doesn’t weave tightly enough around the supposed plot and focus of the story, which is… nothing, really. Just a poor cover up for some steamy kisses and longing looks reserved for airplane fiction and Danielle Steele. oh, wait. All of that filler needs to be cut. That drove me insane. I slog through pages and pages waiting for SHIT TO HAPPEN because they are all in MORTAL DANGER except for that allotted amount of time not a damn thing is being done about any of it. Really, Meyer could have spent some of that staring-into-his-smolderin

g-topaz-eyes time to explore her take on vampire lore, or werewolf lore, or, I don’t know, MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN?

So wait, vampires. Let’s talk about vampires for a sec. Meyer seems to think that the real vampire is just a human plus some extra special fudge and sprinkles and sparkles and cherries on top and rainbow unicorn vomit. What the hell happened to the Dracula model? I can accept a well done romance between a human and a vampire–read “The Silver Kiss” by Annette Curtis Klaus. PS- Simon from that book could kick Edward Cullen’s ass. The reason why that book is so well done is because Klaus cuts down the amount of unnecessary characters so she really goes into the psyches of the two main ones, Simon and Zoe, while still creating realistic side characters. Meyer, on the other hand, creates a huge hot mess of characters and fails to go into any of them in depth. Dr. Carlisle is a mouthpiece for vampire lore, as is Billy Black/the entire La Push tribe for werewolf lore. I couldn’t even keep the names of all the coven members straight (well, thank you Meyer for providing a little chart for your memory impaired readers in the back). The same with the Volturi. Was Marcus even necessary? He just stands there looking bored while Aro and Caius bitch at each other. PS, the Volturi… what? Just what? A poor plot device and so much less cool than the Theater Des Vampires from the Anne Rice books. I’m sure Armand could kick any of their pasty pansy asses. There was so much more she could have done with the Volturi that went beyond the “ho ho ho, I am an evil powerhungry villain who works under preserving the status quo but really I just like the POWER”. I liked Jane, the sadistic one. She was the less cool version of Claudia. Too bad she couldn’t kill Bella or Edward. That would be breaking Meyer’s heart a little too much, wouldn’t it? Why did the wives have to come when they were ganging up on the vampire army the Cullens had gathered? Why does Bella all of a sudden have the power of LOVE on her side? Why in Christ’s name IS THERE NO FREAKING FIGHT? The omniscient vampire elders get there and they’re like “…kthxbye” and leave. I was waiting for some blood, some gore, some death. I guess Meyer can write about an Alien-esque birth where a baby vampire chews its way out of Bella’s uterus, but not a battle.

Once again, the question is WHY? I kept expecting to find my answers through the dialogue, the badly written love scenes and the descriptions of Edward as an angel. Except I didn’t, and that really pissed me off. I don’t know why I kept expecting Meyer to redeem herself and her characters as the first book attested to the trashiness of the entire series, but I thought there was some hope there, and on most parts, I was wrong. The only hope for character development comes in the form of Alice (to an extent) and Jacob. He is the only one of them with a personality that goes beyond the “UR SO BEAUTIFUR”. He’s sarcastic and funny (I think Jacob’s lines were among the only ones I laughed at). He likes motorcycles and cars. He actually has feelings for Bella other than “YOU’RE HOT.” He has inner conflicts that can’t easily be resolved through deus ex machina and he has his moments where he’s self-sacrificing and others where he’s selfish. I’m not even going to pretend I hate his clinginess and his inability to let go, because I can actually relate. And then, Meyer, Jesus fucking christ, you turn him into a pedophile. WHAT. WHAT. Once again, WHY? It’s only to give Bella what she wants.

Steve Almond says to “love your characters”. Mmkay, this Meyer follows through with panache. She loves her characters so much there’s no hope of them actually being put in any danger, emotional or otherwise. Edward leaves, Bella mopes for six months, and then he comes back, and everything is a-okay! Not only is that so unhealthy, it’s just… what? WHY? WHY can’t she live without him? The answer “because she loves him soooooo much” is not enough, because the readers don’t see enough of a love relationship built up that’s based on something other than physical attraction. Bella is just a horny teenage girl. Also, if you’re going to write a sex scene, just do it. It doesn’t have to be like “and then she felt his pleasure pole and it made her shiver like being naked in a snowstorm” but for god’s sake, don’t skimp around it. I actually would prefer the sex scene from Anchorman. You know, the part where Veronica Corningstone screams “TAKE ME TO PLEASURE TOWN” and there are unicorns and rainbows. But I think the part everyone’s dying to know is whether it really was like fucking a popsicle, and how the mechanics of it actually work. I mean, technically he’s dead and all…

And then Bella wakes up from a night of mindblowing sex with Edward and she’s covered in bruises and feathers. Am I the only one who finds that really disturbing and gross? It’s okay to get the crap beaten out of you when you sleep with someone, as long as that someone is a sparkly vampire? It’s okay to let a guy push you around, just because he’s a hundred year old vampire and knows what he’s doing more than you? It’s OKAY to date someone over seventy years older than you? It’s okay to let a guy make all your decisions for you (he even goes as far as disabling her truck so she can’t get to Jacob’s. Talk about control issues)? It’s okay for a guy to leave for six months, disappear, not write, or call, or ANYTHING, and when he magically reappears again, you take him back, just like that? Because apparently he was pining away and dying for you? You would JUMP OFF A CLIFF just to hear a voice in your head? Well, I guess domestic violence is okay, because sometimes she has to be told more than once. It’s okay to be a groveling sycophant to your partner, because you LOVE HIM SO MUCH, that you forget about your own life, your friends, your family, your ambitions, even going to college? As long as he’s rich, hot, and can fuck you as many times as you want in your fairy tale cottage in the middle of the woods with a closetful of Armani and Dolce and Gabana? It’s okay to get knocked up when you’re eighteen, as long as you’re married? That’s some kind of life to aspire to.

Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad if the target audience weren’t mainly thirteen year old girls who have no idea what a real, healthy relationship is like, who would dump their real life boyfriends because he’s not Edward Cullen. I kid you not. Who think as long as he’s rich and hot and drives a nice car and can buy them whatever they want, it’s okay to be controlled like that.

And in the end, Bella, our lovely main character, gets what she wants. She gets a fairy tale ending. She gets the hot hubby and the best friend who is also in love with her. She gets a perfect Mary Sue daughter, and wads of cash to spend at her leisure, and to keep her dad in her life. Yawn. It’s boring when the main character gets what they want. At the beginning of a story, the main character is one way. At the end of a story, he/she has to have gone through some kind of change. It doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering revelation, but simply that his/her world can never be the same again. And I’m not talking about a metamorphosis from a selfish whiny bitch into a super powerful beautiful omniscient vampire. Bella’s character doesn’t change in the least. Neither does Edward’s. Jacob had promise, he had so much promise. I really wanted him to move on with his life. Or at least for Bella to choose him. Or at least for SOMEONE to not get what they freaking want, and the dumb jock at Bella’s school who likes her but can’t have her doesn’t count. But I forgot, that would be giving Meyer more credit than she’s due. The bad guys don’t get what they want. That doesn’t count either. She is too afraid to put her characters in emotional danger to really impact their lives. They can’t grow as characters. Everything just goes full circle. Edward loves Bella. Bella loves Edward. Jacob can’t love Bella, so he becomes a sycophant to her baby, and he’s not even an eloquent pedophile like Humbert Humbert. All premise of a good story ruined to be left with Care Bear drool and fairy poop.

I do not accept the deus ex machina of “THE POWER OF LOVE” to save everyone from Jane’s arrows of pain or whatever. When writing fantasy it’s so tempting to use magic to solve everything, but it just doesn’t work because it’s too easy. I also had this problem with the last Harry Potter. I honestly think it would have made for a better ending if Harry died, but he also has the power to break the otherwise unbreakable Killing Curse, not once, but twice. But look at The Amber Spyglass. Pullman doesn’t break his own laws so that Will and Lyra stay together! They have to be apart, but it’s what’s best for them–and it’s what inevitably triggers a growth of character development even after the series ends. He puts them through the greatest of emotional dangers, but they live through it, and they grow. It’s called tough love. Meyer coddles her characters way too much.

At one point in the story I thought it was going to diverge from a love story into a story about something more–the world around them, vampire society, etc. If a story is becoming less of a love story and more of something else, than stay on that track. It would have made for a much more interesting read, especially since Meyer spends the first two books laying down all the relationships. The third and fourth books could have been put to way better use going above and beyond the microcosm that is Edward and Bella. Except of course she didn’t, and chose to focus on the sap and rainbow unicorn vomit and “EDWARD I LOVE YOU” that we know too well. And why is it so important for Edward to be an obscenely old virgin? I would totally understand if he’d had a few lovers beforehand. Seriously. It’s not a bad thing to play the field before picking out someone you’d be compatible with. Oh, sorry, I forgot, that’d be too realistic and unromantic, wouldn’t it?

I really have no idea why I kept expecting this shit series to redeem itself. I hope Bella and Edward die in a fire.