List Planet ranks Stephenie Meyer’s novels in descending order of awfulness
—By Janel Sullivan—
I realize in writing this that my first List Planet post doubles as a confession that I’ve read all five of Stephenie Meyer’s novels. But I was young, and we all make mistakes; for example, Meyer once thought she could write a cohesive story, and Little, Brown & Co. thought they should publish it. So, without further rambling, I present the novels of Stephenie Meyer on a sliding scale of awfulness.
5. The Host
In the case of The Host, my curiosity got the better of me. Meyer wrote a novel for grown-ups—I had to read it. But, let’s be honest here; I made it through 50% of the book then skimmed to the end. The Host spins the tale of Wanderer, a parasitic alien who lives inside Melanie. Wanderer is supposed to erase Melanie’s soul, but Melanie won’t go away. So they both live in her body, and—surprise!— they both love her boyfriend, Jared. Not only were these characters even more poorly written and developed than those in Twilight, but the novel is knock-down-drag-out boring. Reading it becomes a challenge because there’s little to no action, and it’s next to impossible for the reader to actually care about any of the characters. (Not to mention that even though it’s meant to be a novel for grown-ups, there’s still no sex scene.)
4. Eclipse (Twilight Saga Book 3)
Eclipse makes me crazy. Bella becomes so indecisive and Edward becomes so controlling and overbearing it hurt my eyes to see the words written. There’s also the insane Wuthering Heights parallel Meyer insisted upon. Why, Stephenie, why? I’m not sure what she was trying to accomplish by likening her characters to other unlikable characters, but one thing is certain: by the end of the novel you’ll want to grab Edward and Bella, shake them both for being so stupid, then cast them out into the moors yourself.
3. Breaking Dawn (Twilight Saga Book 4)
From the opening scene of Breaking Dawn, the characterization reads differently. The writing is a departure from the rest of the series, almost as if Meyer was becoming acquainted with her characters for the first time herself. In this finale, the plot takes a turn for the ridiculous, with half-breed vampire babies, and two werewolf packs with Alphas who speak a secret Alpha-wolf language. (Yup, you just read that.) And all of this comes before what is set up as a “epic battle of epic proportions,” yet in which no fighting, death or destruction of any kind actually occurs. (Okay, so one vampire dies, but she’s a witch of a secondary character we don’t care about.) Breaking Dawn marks the disappointing end of a disappointing series.
2. New Moon (Twilight Saga Book 2)
Once upon a time, the world was ridiculously excited to read this book. (I personally had to wait to read it until I’d completed all my summer reading—AGONY—but I finally got my hands on New Moon.) This one begins with a twist: Edward dumps Bella and attempts to erase himself from her memories. Bella proceeds to sink into a suicidal depression during which she cuts out all her friends, becomes an amateur daredevil, leads Jacob on, and worries her parents so much that they actually consider trying to be less dead-beat. There’s also the ridiculous Romeo and Juliet parallel which would make much more sense if the plot of R&J was actually referenced correctly. For as much anticipation Part 2 had built up, it wound up being a huge letdown.
1. Twilight (Twilight Saga Book 1)
So here’s the big reveal—I like Twilight. There, I said it. Yes, the writing leaves something to be desired, but the book as a standalone is not half-bad. Bella Swan starts out as a sort-of everywoman. She’s plain, shy, bookish and socially awkward, and Meyer rarely comments on Bella’s physical appearance (other than that she’s fair-skinned) so it’s easy for teenage girls to picture themselves in Bella’s shoes. And on the other side, the dangers the mysterious vampires pose to humans who associate with them is evident in this book, for once. The villains are actually scary, and the plot actually moves along at a reasonable pace. My recommendation to you is to read Twilight—and then stop. Just pretend Meyer never wrote any other books and the world will sparkle like Edward standing in open sunlight.