I hate to say it, but I've read the Twilight series. Well, I've read the first 3 books and skim read the last one. I'm still trying to get the hype, but seriously the only achievement Stephanie Meyer has accomplished is managing to create the most annoying literary character since man started scratching in the dirt to form crude writing.
Firstly, the Twilight series CAN NOT, NOR EVER BE, compared to the Harry Potter series. For one, JK Rowling has something called IMAGINATION. She created an entire universe, one that appeals to all ages. Her books have depth, her characters have courage, vision and BALLS. Bella Swann, the 'heroine' of Twilight, is a disgustingly boring, self-centred little whinger, who manages to hurt everyone around her whilst putting herself in life-threatening situations and expecting everyone to protect her. Stephanie Meyer has borrowed the girl/werewolf/vampire love triangle from Laurel K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, which is also whim to the self-indulgent fantasies of the author, but at least it has passion and Anita Blake can kick ass. Bella Swann couldn't fight her way out of a room full of dandelions. The ONLY thing that Twilight and Harry Potter have in common is Robert Pattison. End of discussion.
The books themselves are written in the first person, meaning we have an insight into Bella's idiotic tiny mind. I haven't seen the film but I'm hoping that without Bella's internalised whinging it might actually be a bit more interesting than the books. Bella contradicts herself throughout the novels, immersing herself in Edward the vampire and his family completely, whilst waxing lyrical about how handsome he is and how unworthy she is every two seconds. Alice is supremely annoying, and I think she must be some projection of the best friend Meyer never had. Jacob Black is a much more rounded character and why the hell he is obsessed with Bella is beyond me. She and Edward are so bland and tunnel-visioned they belong together. If Bella had actually fallen in love with Jacob, perhaps had an affair with him whilst Edward was AWOL, then the books would be more engaging, more real to life. Instead she uses the poor guy and Jacob ends up being just another sap with no balls for letting her.
Normal teenagers are hormonal and obsessed with sex. Meyer manages to write 3 books about teenage love without mentioning the word 'sex' once. It's only in the fourth book, after Bella and Edward are married, that they make love and ooooh, what are the consequences?? Bella falls pregnant!! Well big-moral wow there Meyer, sex = babies. The fact that your ENTIRE series has been building up to this takes the whole kapow out of it a bit.
The books leave more questions unanswered than not and the answers would have made a more fulfilling backstory. How do Carlisle and Esme get so much money? How can they afford top of the range cars? How many times have the vampire teenagers been to school? How come there are there no old-timers in Forks who recognise Edward et al from back in the good ol' days? How come Carlisle is the only one with a job? Let's explore Edward for a little bit. Stuck in the body of a 17 year old boy, he's never had sex. NEVER HAD SEX?? He's a 100 years old! He's in the body of a love god! And he is the murderer of cute fluffy animals. Vegetarian? Oh, it's not okay to kill a human but it's okay to hunt and murder a mountain lion? Yep, that's sending a really great message to the youth of today. What, exactly, has Edward Cullen been contributing to society in his 100 years on the planet. He's not had sex, he didn't get a job, he's not used his intelligence and learning to better mankind, instead he mastered brooding, peevishness, being petty, sullen, contrary and basically being a right miserable bastard. Halfway through the first book Edward's entire reason for his continued eternal existence hinges on his love for lame, ridiculous Bella Swann who, like Edward, seems to have no ambition to further herself. It is only the fact that he is a stubborn prick of a man that he holds himself back from having sex with her, and then dumps her, forcing his entire family to relocate (!!!!!!!!!!! If I was Carlisle I would have told him to f off, grow up and deal) just because he believes it is in her best interest. Edward obviously holds Bella in higher esteem than she deserves because she stops becoming a normal functioning human being and manages to make herself appear even more weak, daft and annoying than before, and when she does resurface she forces herself on the one person she can hurt the most, Jacob Black. Both Bella and Edward are quite loathsome individuals and if I was a werewolf I'd want to tear them into little pieces too!
Meyer wants to be Bella. She wants to be pulled into the arms and lap of a handsome perfect man and cuddled. She wants to be the centre of everyone's universe. The girls who are so obsessed with her books and the 'love' story need to be shaken out of their little macrocosms and given a big reality bitch slap around the face. This is not 'fantasy', it's not even a great love story. There are no lessons to be learned from these books, no morals to be gleaned. There's no greater good or noble purpose that they are fighting for. It's not even good entertainment, or a brilliant literary masterpiece. The books are repetitive, self-indulgent and boring at best. The characters are one-dimensional, and their backstories are flimsy and unimaginative. Meyer has ripped off other similar authors and does not deserve the hype. Anyone who is considering reading the series, don't waste your time - they are hours of your life you will never get back.
To paths less trodden...
As I embark on my journey I'd like to thank everyone for their continued support, your excitement for me as I start a new era in my life, and the gift of your friendship. I'm as excited as a kid at Xmas who has just spotted the big bike-shaped present under the tree! Given the past year, I'm sure I may encounter the odd natural disaster. There'll be drinking, dancing, extreme sports, and possibly even a little romance in amongst treading paths both touristic and off-the-beaten track. I plan on patting every mangy critter I encounter between here and Timbuktu, probably at the expense of my travel partner's sanity and my poor mother's health (Caro, you've had your rabies shots!) I want to climb, swim, fly, trek, ride, meander, ski, dive and raft. I'll probably laugh, cry, get sick, get better, wonder, cringe, be baffled, be awed, be repulsed and be bitten by something (no doubt). Temples, mountains, rivers, deserts, beaches, palaces, canyons, meadows, plains and city streets shall all be trampled by my teeny-tiny hiking-boot encased foot.
I hope you enjoy following me around the world. You know it's not going to be boring.