Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vampires In The Sun, That Is What We Are .....

Look: Everyone makes mistakes.

Yup. Me too. I make’em by the boatload.

Matter’n fact, I made no less than three of’em with my recent venture into Stephanie Miller’s mega-popular novel (and coming-soon-to-a-theater-near-you-this-fall film) Twilight.

Naturally, you want to know more about the mistakes I made in delving into this piece of popularity, right? Well, read on, McDuff … read on.

I didn’t get a real taste of this tome 'til I hit the San Diego Comic-Con this summer. Twilight was a subject that came up often. Fans roaming ‘round with copies of the book tucked ‘neath their arms. Talk of the Twilight panel could be heard in the air whilst perusing the Comic-Con aisles and waiting in lines. People with Twilight T-shirts. It was everywhere.

So, when I returned from the Con, I decided to pick Twilight up and give it a read. After all, it seemed popular, much talked about and - if tons of web blogs had any truth to'em - an exciting pastime.

Oh, sure … I saw the title of the book over and over again in various locales. Wal-Mart. Borders. So-n-so's internet site. A casual aside in the paper. “On Sale!” in a Sunday ad flyer.

Though, while plastered out there everywhere, I didn’t truly take notice of it until The Con. I didn't even know it was a vampire book. I never got the meat of what Twilight was and never gave it a second thought. Apparently, as far as this book was concerned, I was living in a cave.

Also while at The Con, I was given a free copy of Dead Until Dark, the novel by Charlaine Harris that's being serialized by none other Alan Ball (“Six Feet Under”) for HBO. (Yes, there was a panel on this adaptation as well.) Yikes! Even more vampire stuff! (This one, at least, I'd heard of.) Them creatures of the night sure are popular of late, aren’t they?

So. Even though I had Dead Until Dark in my back pocket, I decided to pick up Twilight at my local library. (In fact, I had it reserved. The six copies they had were checked out and I was next in line. Popular book indeed!)

Retiring one evening, I had a conundrum to overcome. Which to begin with? Dead Until Dark? Or Twilight?

And here, dear readers, was the First Mistake: I began with Dead Until Dark. I got a couple chapters of that one in. Spiffy book, right from the get go! Nifty characters! Intriguing introduction! Out of the gates and right into the thick of things! But, I realized, if’n I didn’t get motoring on Twilight, my time would run short before I had to return it to the library.

So I retired Dead Until Dark temporarily and committed to Twilight.

The blurb on the back of the book sounded rather promising: “About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him – and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be – that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally, and irrevocably in love with him.”

But ... this blurb was a bit disturbing to me. Would this be my first venture into "trashy novel" territory? That made me pause, if only for a moment of consideration.

Then, I noticed the label applied to the spine of the book: "Teen Center". This was a "teen" novel? Another potential flag. But these things were to deter me not. I dove in.

What I got, in the first two thirds of the book, was a lot of this: “Every one of them was chalky pale, the palest of all the students living in this sunless town. Paler than me, the albino. They all had very dark eyes despite the range in hair tones. They also had dark shadows under those eyes - purplish, bruiselike shadows. As if they were all suffering from a sleepless night, or almost done recovering from a broken nose. Though their noses, all their features, were straight, perfect, angular.”

Those few lines are highly indicative of Twilight. Pages and pages and pages of gunmetal gray description of looks and touches and wants and emotions and facial tics and thoughts that just don’t matter to the story. Well … to be completely fair, they just didn’t matter to me.

Couldn't we have just "bitten" into some action within the chapters? (Pun definitely intended there, people.) Vampires come with fangs and garlic and horror and chills and bats and coffins and stakes and spells and fog and gloom and doom and wonder and creeps and surprise and evil power. Right?

Evidently not.

I'm not going to carry on about what is and what isn't within this book, but suffice it to say I was rather bored for the first two thirds of it. It just wasn't turning my crank

Then, all of a sudden, things got a bit interesting ... some intrigue came about. And this is where my Second Mistake came into play.

I got "nipped" and became interested. It would be short lived, however.

Because, after a few chapters of too brief breath-holding, the story drug on once more. And, quite simply, it became boring all over again and too quickly.

Oh. There're a few nifty turns in this read. It's not all description. But a lot of it is - a big majority of it. The initial set up just

. . . s . e . e . m . s . . .

. . . t . o . . .

. . . g . o . . .

. . . o . n . . .

. . . f . o . r . e . v . e . r . . . . . . . . . .

With Dead Until Dark, the introduction is quick and the action takes off like a shot. It pulls you in immediately. And this book's premise will make for a fine, fine series. Especially with Alan Ball at the helm.

Oh .... Twilight will make a fine flick for its fans. The story will be the darling of its followers, no doubt. But the book, in and of itself, doesn't deserve the hoopla everyone has given it.

And that's just my opinion.

Which leads to my Third Mistake.

I tried hard to enjoy the book. And I did enjoy it, despite the fact it felt like I was dragging along with it as if it was tied to my ankle, ball and chain like.

You see ... my Third Mistake was going to the library today and checking out it's sequel, New Moon .....

First, however, I think I'll get Dead Until Dark relaunched. It's been calling to me, waiting patiently. Bidding me come, to where the real vampires are.

..................................... Ruprecht ( STOP )


  1. Thanks for that tip Rupe. I was going to read Twilight but I don't really dig overly descriptive whoohaw. Maybe I'll try Dead After Dark first, then hit the Twilight series. Oh, have you ever read Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore? If not, I highly recomend it along with it's sequel, Bite Me.

  2. Ah, Rupe! You crack me up! I am glad you made the foray into teen lit with the rest of us. The Twilight series is what it is, a Romeo and Juliet story for the tweens to sigh about. You are right, there are many, many pages filled with the boring....

    My SIL reads all the Charlaine Harris books and now that I know you are giving them a shot, I may dip a toe in myself!


  3. Too funny. If you didn't like Twilight, I doubt you'll like the rest of it. Keep in mind it's a vampire book by an LDS SAHM and it's target audience is a bunch of 14 YO LDS girls. You'll get more of the same and big let-down if you crawl your way to Breaking Dawn.

    Expecting you to like Twilight is well, uh like It's like expecting Kurt Vonnegut to find enlightenment in Nancy Drew. In short, as we say in my business, you're not the demographic.

    Happy reading!