Saturday, March 07, 2009

I want to suck your blood...

As anyone who knows about the saga of the multiplying Draculas knows, I do love me a good vampire story. In celebration of birthday month, I have contemplated availing myself of a copy of Many Bloody Returns, a collection of short stories about birthdays and the undead. Advancing on an age that would make me want to start counting backwards if I truly cared about that sort of thing, immortal youth just feels right. But first, there is the matter of finishing my current reading material - Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga.

The Twilight books are something I had actually avoided reading. In keeping with not liking it when (most) people try to tell me what to do, I find myself avoiding things that are too popular. Band wagons give me hives and "popular" doesn't necessarily mean well written. But then came February. February had me coughing like Camille on her deathbed. It wasn't really a good time to take sick leave at work, which left me even more tired. This called for something light and fun but non-taxing in my free time, and reading something like Twilight definitely fit the bill.

There is a lot about the series to recommend itself. The books are huge, but read fast in the way of escapist novels that suck you in even though your intellectual brain sheepishly thinks they probably shouldn't. There are a few cheesy aspects and there is the annoying addition in the 4th book of a precocious human-vampire hybrid love child - Renesmee (a combination of the names "Renee" and "Esme"that strikes me as more tedious than clever), but over all the books are fun. There is danger, romance, occasional international travel, and a host of requisite bad guy(s) to thwart. The drive to know what happens next has helped me plow through the first 664 pages of the final installment in about a week, and it's not like I've devoted all my free time to reading.

In many ways, the formula of the novels reminds me of Buffy with a little of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse thrown in. And it is formulaic (young, awkward, misfit who is not too misfitty but doesn't realize how pretty and fab she is moves to small town; finds brooding hottie soul mate who just happens to be a vampire but a good, vampire; heroine discovers she has hidden gifts of her own; otherworldy hijinx ensue and good triumphs over evil), but in the way of the Joss Whedon and Charlaine Harris worlds, it also sports plotlines that lend themselves to staving off the very human humdrum complaints of everyday life while at the same time exploring them (love, heartbreak, loyalty, conflict, responsiblity, growing up and leaving home) in mythological terms.

It is all very good versus evil with notions of what constitutes each turned on their heads. Bad things happen despite the best of intentions, (some) vampires are good and ethical, and werewolves protect people. Both groups have evolved societies with their own codes of ethics. And while that's all been done before, the notion of grey in matters of good and evil, right and wrong in a post-Bush cosmology is a welcome one (especially when it comes packaged in such a light, easly to read package).

7 comments:

Sonya said...

I made it through all of the Twilight books, and I have to say I was really getting a bit pissed by the 4th book. But, by then I had invested all of that time and I couldn't just stop cold-turkey. I think she totally lost me on the Renesmee thing, though. All of her cred went out the baby-naming window.

I can deal with the "vegetarian" vampire premise. I can even handle the sparkle (though I did cringe in the movie when they added that sparkle sound-effect)... but OMG that hybrid vampire baby with her 20-year old wolf-lover and the worst name since Dick Assman (hey, I looked that up, he exists) just made me want to (almost) put down the book. But I didn't. I read them all, and in record time. I suck.

Martina said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean! The whole Renesemee storyline was pretty gacktacular. By the last book, despite my shame, but still couldn't just stop reading.

I haven't been able to bring myself to watch the movie. Maybe on Netflix, but I don't know. The couple clips I saw of her hanging on his back like some kind of weird monkey while he ran were too much for me. I don't even want to know about the sparkle sound effect! It doesn't involve chimes or anything tinkly, does it? No, wait! I don't want to know.

Sonya said...

lol. Yes, "despite my shame... still couldn't just stop reading".

I feel your shame! I still gobbled it up, hating myself, cursing, yet still unable to put it down.

I went to see the movie with my daughters. Laryssa had read the first book because her friends made her, but she was able to stop after Book 1 "cold-turkey". Her friends also wanted her to go to the movie, so she went with them -- then she went with me. She warned me about the sparkle sound effect before I went inside, and we had a really long laugh at her stories of the fan-girls in the audience*. We had to drag Kristen kicking & screaming to the movie (with promise of dinner after the show).

So, now Kristen and I have a running gag, teasing Laryssa about "Edward". We are plotting to buy the giant cardboard cutout and leave it in front of her bed one night. muahahahahaw! (yes, we are evil like that).

*Laryssa tells me one girl sitting next to her kept squealing and clapping every time Edward was on-screen. At the point when Bella enters the classroom and Edward crinkles his nose, this girl gasped and said "OH! HE SMELLS HER!" So now we go around crinkling our noses and saying "Oh! He Smells Her!" I tell you, if nothing else, some precious fodder for our snarky behavior came out of that movie!

Sonya said...

p.s. Twilight is playing now at the Kennedy School... beer AND snark...

Martina said...

At least I am not alone in being completely lame! You totally SHOULD buy a giant cutout!

I actually saw it was at Kennedy. It almost lured me out. I bet beer would make it better!

Sonya said...

We actually debated on how we would get the giant cut-out from the store to the house. We were thinking of lugging it through the mall like a giant body, then seat-belting it in the car. It would be pretty epic.

Martina said...

I feel this is something you really need to do!!!