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Stephenie Meyer

Best selling author of the Twilight Saga

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An Accidental Genius?

  • Aug 26, 2009
Everyone knows who Stephenie Meyer is.  She is the famed bestselling author of the Twilight books.  I've reviewed each and every book individually, but just the same, I was quite lenient on them.  If I went back and edited them now I'd be a lot harder.  When reviewing those books, however, I spent quite a bit of time simply talking about the books and the characters but not so much the author.  To compensate I decided to talk about Stephenie Meyer as a whole.  We'll talk Twilight too, but we'll get to it a little later.

It's a mystery as to who Stephenie Meyer was before Twilight.  Almost every author has a story.  We know J.K. Rowling was on Welfare, James Patterson worked in advertising, Stephen King and Dean Koontz were teachers.  So was John Irving.  Nicholas Sparks worked at a call center.  We can also cite stories of how they became successful and famous. 

The only thing we know for sure is how Twilight came to be.  You see, Stephenie Meyer, was having a dream.  And in that dream she saw this gorgeous sparkling vampire.  She describes it as the scene in the first Twilight novel where Edward and Bella are in the meadow or whatever.  So there you have it, it was conceived as a dream.  She wrote it and became nervous about sending it in.  When she finally did it was rejected several times before Little Brown and Company finally picked it up and published it.  When it was published, however, I don't think anyone anticipated it was going to be quite as big of a success.  The Twilight Saga has made Stephenie Meyer a multi-millionaire.  But when reviewing an author it's mostly about whether or not she's a good writer and what it is she does that can really

This is where it becomes hard to talk about Meyer.  Her books are incredibly popular, and while people like the story, I have concerns as to whether or not they're well constructed books.  We all know where Meyer got the idea for her books, but in terms of her writing it's a little hard.  In the first place, Twilight doesn't actually have the best story, or the best characters... or the best writing for that matter. 

To put it in a way, Meyer has potential.  She got millions of young readers hooked on reading and that's not something I'll deny.  I love reading and I wish more of my friends did it too.  And hey, whenever someone gets others hooked on reading, that's always a good thing.  I won't fault anyone for liking Twilight.  But when I review I'm not always interested in how much I like it or enjoy it.  I'm a bit more interested in how good or bad something might be.  Or how well a certain artist can do something.  

And Meyer does have potential.  If she escapes Twilight.  And if her writing improves.  There are a lot of things that Meyer does within her writing that can be annoying at times.  Most of this is concerned with those Twilight books.  I hear The Host is good, but as I'm reading it now, it's mostly a boring book with nothing happening, but more on that later. 

Those Twilight books are big and fat.  Especially the last one.  I read them all (and was scarred by the birthing scene in Breaking Dawn--parents if you want to keep your daughter from having sex, just read that birthing scene to them and say, "You want to risk getting pregnant now?").  Most of them suffered from the same problems.  Which is good because it makes reviewing Meyer much easier.  Let's start with her strengths: Her books are by no means difficult to read.  If there's one thing Meyer does right when it comes to fiction it's following that old phrase, "Keep it simple stupid!"  There's nothing wrong with reading something more complex or difficult.  But a story doesn't HAVE to be difficult and a book shouldn't have to be just for the sake of enjoyment.  Obviously you'd be crazy to think Stephenie Meyer would be anyone's intellectual treat.  But I argue that reading shouldn't always be for intellectual stimulation.  So in terms of telling a story, at least Meyer is keeping it simple.  I also won't fault that she can sometimes use some colorful language in describing certain things.  Her word choice is sometimes a little funny but at least she tries to be colorful.

On the other hand, "colorful" writing is what helps to showcase some of Meyer's bigger problems.  Her writing is colorful, but sometimes having colorful writing isn't always a good thing.  At least when it comes to certain aspects of the story.  Let us put it this way: Meyer uses so many different words to describe Edward.  I don't know how many ways she describes Edward, but here are a few adjectives she uses:  beautiful, gorgeous, handsome, delicious, perfect, glorious, angelic, seraphic, heavenly.  Those are but a few words.  But it gets worse.  In one sentence she describes him as He was so beautiful, gorgeous, and perfect.  The writing can get repetitive.  That's the biggest problem with how she writes.  Not only are there a billion different words used to describe Edward, but they all say the same thing: He's perfect.  Not only does she do all this, but she spends so much time in those books describing just how perfect Edward is that it actually holds up any actual story from moving forward.  There are other writers who are a bit worse in their superfluous writing (Christopher Paolini comes to mind) but after a while we can only hear about how perfect Edward is for so long.  It's as if Meyer has a Thesaurus as she's writing.  "What's another word for perfect or beautiful?  Oh, look seraphic... no one actually uses that word... ever, but it sounds nice!" 

This brings into question Meyer's character development.  Again, we can only point to the Twilight series (although I must admit The Host does a pretty good job in the character development arena thus far).  Bella is described as a plain ordinary girl (okay, compared to Edward), but she gets the attention of all the boys and all the girls seem to want to be like her and envy her in some ways.  Along those lines, Bella really doesn't serve to do much in the series.  She's the heroine but not well developed.  Aside from Edward we don't actually know much about Bella.  If I asked you to describe Bella perhaps the only thing you could say is, "She loves Edward."  That would be about all you could say.  Well, no, we can say she loves English literature, but Meyer only seemed to do that so that we could see that Bella is a smart girl.  Get it?  She reads Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet.  Bella's a genius!  But for someone who Meyer describes as smart, she hardly does anything to show us that Bella is smart.  And she spends so much time jumping through hoops for Edward that she isn't that believable.  Edward, however, is much worse.  Edward seems perfect in every way.  Meyer hasn't crafted a character when it comes to Edward.  She's merely only channeling a teenage girl's fantasy.  Edward never seems to do anything wrong.  Ever.  He could be on the other side of the globe and if Bella trips he'll be there to catch her before she hits the ground.  My point is, well developed characters have flaws, and if Edward does have flaws they're not very well known.

That's not to say Meyer doesn't know anything about character development.  She clearly does.  Even within the Twilight series.  Jacob Black, for example, IS a well developed character.  Fan girls, don't get mad.  It's true.  You love Edward.  We get that, but that doesn't make Edward a well developed character.  Jacob on the other hand is.  He has strengths, flaws, and interest.  The reason Jacob Black makes for a good character is because of these things.  In a word, Jacob feels real.  That's often what the reader wants from fiction.  Young men can identify with Jacob and almost every girl... some where, knows someone like him.  He feels like he isn't a figment of ones imagination, even if he is a werewolf.  That's what makes a good character.  Not Edward who is too perfect, or Bella who doesn't do anything except lust after Edward.  So Meyer DOES know about character development, and she can do it.  Unfortunately the rabid fan base seems to hate Jacob for the very same reason he's a great character in fiction... he's imperfect.  Take it from me.  I was in a classroom filled with Twilight fan girls and I said, "Eh, Jacob is better."  I've never been in more lethal danger in all my life.  I got a few bruises and scratch marks all over my face, but the important thing is I survived. 

All this boils down to Meyer not having the best structure in her books.  Her pacing is sometimes uneven.  The Host is unbelievably slow, but it's appropriate.  Twilight is unebelievably slow, but since 90% of that book is spent on this, "I hate but love," relationship between Bella and Edward, there's no actualy story or plot until at least three quarters into the book.  

Is Meyer a bad writer?  Well, no.  She's not an especially good writer either.  She just has some of those problems.  The biggest of which is her characters.  It's clear that Meyer has a creative mind.  The Host, as I've read it, seems to be far better written, but it is pretty slow and uneventful thus far... and it's long.  I've heard of long books before, but much of Meyer's length comes from inflation... and ridiculous margains within her books (because for some reason publishers think that kids can't read anything that doesn't have big font and big margains). 

It's hard to see what Meyer's future will be.  Partially because she seems unable to leave Twilight alone.  Apparently she's got a book called Midnight Sun... which is apparently just the first book, but from Edward's point of view.  Meyer wouldn't be the first author to do such a thing (Orson Scott Card did a similar thing with Ender's Shadow) but I'm not sure I'd want to read Twilight from Edward's point of view.  If he were a more interesting character it might bode well, but Edward really isn't.

There's potential for Meyer's, though.  She's not a bad writer.  And I'm glad that she was able to get so many people hooked on reading.  But sometimes her writing just isn't as strong as it could be.  If she continues to think writing with a Thesaurus in hand is a good thing or beating into the heads of her readers things like... how perfect some characters are... that's detracting from getting to the point and telling the story.  If she can work on character development (which she can do) and getting rid of some of those needless adjectives, Meyer could be really good.

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February 23, 2010
Nice review, I've known so many girls who've raved over this book so many times, it just turned me off completely. They'd see me with a book as say "hey, I read" and when I ask what they read, they say Twilight, and that's it. Really? That's the ONLY thing you've read? Twilight? Come on! But I'll admit I've never read the books, and have so far avoided the movies as best I can. My sister read the books and HATED them (I normally trust her opinion pretty well), by brother saw the movie and the best way he knew to describe it was "I started menstruating while watching it." Wow, def dont want THAT to happen to me. lol
August 30, 2009
The only exposure I have to her work is the previous Twilight movie and I have no intention of reading any of her books. I agree, that she does have potential and she knows her target audience. When I reviewed the Twilight movie, I gave it a 2 star rating, and my lady friends couldn't understand as to why I would give it such a low rating. Meyer knows how to play her readers--by enticing them through crowd-pleasing elements. (notice I said crowd-pleasing and not clever). Great breakdown, I know quite a few folks who tried reading her books and they all said her writing was ok. Oh, vampires do not sparkle LOL!
August 31, 2009
There's no way that movie was better than the book.  It was one of those rare moments where I was so displeased I gave it a negative rating (although some of its bad stuff was kind of funny... I enjoy watching some bad movies... I just don't like paying to see them).  I respect the fanbase, but for whatever you're always walking on thin ice around them.  That whole, "Jacob is better..." and being attacked by rabid fangirls... dude, I seriously WISH I was making that up!
August 30, 2009
Loved your review, Sean....I'm not the target audience either, and have not been tempted one iota to pick up one of her books. Now, however, I'm curious and I do love to read and read everyday of my life. I'll check one of these out and let you know what I think. If the writing's that and slow bad I probably won't be able to get through it.
More Stephenie Meyer reviews
Quick Tip by . July 17, 2010
the twilight books and bree tanner are great but i felt like shes just pushing them out as fast as she can while the money is still there. the quality of her novel the Host was poor to say the least.
Quick Tip by . July 17, 2010
Though she's effectively divided much of the world into feuding factions between vampires and warewolves, her writing skills are most kindly described as lacking.
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
I'm sorry. This woman is trying to bank on the dollars of the youth. She is playing to the public and not writing anything worthwhile. My husband would call her a hack. I did read all her novels to see what the hype was about. That is about a week of my life that I will never get back.
Quick Tip by . June 30, 2010
if you like "sparkling" vampires and a wanna be twisted romance novel then this is great for you
Quick Tip by . June 21, 2010
Nothing but flowery purple prose and mostly two dimensional perfect Mary Sue characters. Her writing wouldn't be nearly so bad if she was a twelve year old girl, but since she's not, I can't have that much slack on her.
Quick Tip by . June 19, 2010
There are no amount of words to describe how much I dislike Meyer's writing.
Quick Tip by . August 26, 2009
Overrated hack of an author, who uses subliminal religious themes in her books to seduce teens to conformist beliefs. Plus, she can't write!
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #3
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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Stephenie Meyer (née Morgan, born December 24, 1973) is an American author, known for her vampire romance series Twilight. The Twilight novels have gained worldwide recognition, won multiple literary awards and sold over 70 million copies worldwide,  with translations into 37 different languages around the globe.  A film adaptation of Twilight was released in the United States on November 21, 2008. Meyer is also the author of the adult science-fiction novel The Host.

Meyer was named USA Today's "Author of the Year" in 2008. She was also the biggest selling author of the year, having sold over 29 million books in 2008 alone, with Twilight being the best selling book of the year. Meyer was ranked #49 on Time magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential People in 2008, and was also included in the Forbes Celebrity 100 list of the world's most powerful celebrities in 2009, entering at #26 with annual earnings exceeding $50 million.

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