Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer.

(I suppose I really should call this post “Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, and the Twilight Saga In General,” since it’s extremely difficult to discuss one of these books without touching upon the others somehow. Oh well — I don’t really like verbose titles anyway.)

Each of the four books — Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn — tells the story of Bella Swan, a teenager who has recently relocated to the small town of Forks, Washington, to live with her father. Almost immediately, she is drawn to a classmate named Edward Cullen, whom Bella soon discovers is a superfast and superstrong mind-reading vampire. She also meets Edward’s large family — six strong, and who drink the blood of animals instead of humans. Predictably, Bella and Edward’s attraction and eventual love affair causes much strife for them, their families and the vampire community in general.

I began reading the Twilight books late in the game; it wasn’t until this spring that I even picked up the first novel. The deeper I got into the plot, the more I could understand why such a vast amount of readers were so very captivated with Bella and Edward’s story. It’s angsty, and overflows with drama, romance and action — qualities almost guaranteed to enthrall a wide audience. While I will happily tell you that I was full of curiosity as to what would befall Meyer’s characters next, I never once found myself hooked by the writing. In fact, part of me involuntarily cringes when I read sections like this:

Sometimes it was so easy to forget that I was kissing a vampire. Not because he seemed ordinary or human — I could never for a second forget that I was holding someone more angel than man in my arms — but because he made it seem like nothing at all to have his lips against my lips, my face, my throat. He claimed he was long past the temptation my blood used to be for him, that the idea of losing me had cured him of any desire of it. But I knew the smell of my blood still caused him pain — still burned his throat like he was inhaling flames.

That said, though, I can easily see how paragraphs like that can so deeply spellbind a reader. It just so happens that I’m not one of them.

Don’t misunderstand: I think the storyline of all four books are supremely readable — Meyer takes the mythos of the vampire (and that of the werewolf, and the shapeshifter, and the occult itself) and handily manipulates it to fit her needs. She includes details that are flat-out creative (vampires are unable, for example, to go out in direct sunlight not because their skin is so delicate, but because their skin is so hard that it glitters like the surface of the most sparkly diamond) and the scope of Meyer’s imagination is as undeniable as her ability to weave a thoroughly thrilling tale. It is her writing that is her weakness.