Most Overrated Book(s) of All Time

Rant of the week: The vampire books by Stephanie Meyer are quite possibly the most overrated books of all time. Many have been comparing her to J K Rowling, but please. At least Harry Potter has witty dialogue, and an abundance of colourful, believable, solid three-dimensional characters. At least J K Rowling (70% of the time) writes decent – dare I say – literature. Well, I won’t go so far as to say literature. But she writes decent, nonetheless. Twilight is written like poorly-composed fanfiction; half the book is angsty, indecisive monologue. Every line screams, “I was penned by an internet fangirl!”

This is a book not to be touched with a five foot pole unless you wish to support the contamination of all that is pure and good about literature. Okay, maybe I exaggerate slightly; however, it really aggravates me when people herald her as some sort of literary genius. Take, for instance, this review from Goodreads.

Stephenie Meyer is really starting to piss me off. I’m actually ANGRY at her. Why? Because she’s the great untapped potential of our time. She was born with such an innate gift for storytelling. It’s uncanny. I mean, as a storyteller, she’s one of those six-out-of-five-stars kind of talents. But as long as her writing clocks in at the zero mark, she’ll never reach greatness. HER INTERMITTENT GENIUS IS KILING ME!

Right. Sorry, but untapped potential of what and whose time? Not ours, hopefully. Because if she’s the great untapped potential of our society, then our society is going to the dogs. I hate to sound like some sort of literary snob, but in my opinion, the Twilight books are pure pop trash. They aren’t the worst books ever published, but they sure are overrated, and they aren’t nearly as good as people make them out to be. I’ve read the first book, and I’ve read The Host. The stories were compelling enough, but in a read once and forgettable way.

The only reason why my mind can’t be put to rest is because it’s brought up again and again in the media, in blogs, in my friends’ conversations – this book is everywhere, when I’m clearly happy to forget it. Sure, she’s a YA writer, but I’ve said this again and again: I don’t think poor writing is excusable anywhere, regardless of the book’s intended audience. If young adult fiction is written poorly, I hate to think of what will happen in the coming generations. Why must people underestimate children/young-adults? Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, may I remind you, was first and foremost a children’s book, despite his supposed political insinuations. Think of the childrens’ classics – Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl. None of these writers’ work would be considered literary, but they are far from being poorly written.

I suppose I have more pins to poke with Meyer’s fans, rather than Meyer herself. Why, why are so many Twilight fans held in the grip of these abysmally mediocre books? I am really quite confused at all the attention Meyer has been receiving. And before people start retorting that I’m – gasp – jealous of Meyer’s talent, let me just say that firstly, the whole ‘oh my gosh, you’re, like, just so jealous” argument is so old, and in nine out of ten cases, not at all accurate.

Secondly, I’m not saying these books are bad. Well, I actually think they are, but my argument today is that they are Overrated with a capital ‘O’. I can’t grasp why these mad fans can’t differentiate between a book that’s likeable, and a book that’s good. I am extremely fond of Harry Potter, but I have not once proclaimed that J K Rowling is ‘the great untapped potential of our time’. I acknowledge that there are gaping plot holes, and that the series is, at most, an imaginative pastiche of archetypal texts such as Lord of the Rings and British school-dormitory books. J K Rowling is a great storyteller, but she is not a six-out-of-five-stars type of writer. She just tells good stories.

Conclusion: Stephanie Meyer is overrated. Not the worst out there, but extremely overrated. Possibly more so than J K Rowling. Please, fans of Twilight, don’t delude yourselves that Meyer is the ‘great untapped potential of our time’.

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9 thoughts on “Most Overrated Book(s) of All Time

  1. Thank you. Not that I was tempted to read Stephenie Meyer, but I’m glad I’m not the only one.

    I can’t believe you haven’t gotten hate mail comments from this post from all the rabid Twilight fans….

  2. Hahah! It’s probably because my blog is so obscure, and not that well known in the blogging world. Besides, I don’t think the rabid Twilight fans would type the words “overrated” and “Stephanie Meyer” together into a search engine (it doesn’t occur to them that those two words can co-exist). Their tags would be more along the lines of “Twilight” + “genius” and + “best book, lyk, evurr”

  3. I disagree with you on one thing. I find the Twilight series very enjoyable. However, I agree with you on every other level! This book series has way too much hype. While it is enjoyable, there is mediocre writing, flat, boring character s (even Bella, the main character who should be complex). Not only that, but there are pieces of the plot and characters that have been done before, and much MUCH MUCH better in a much more oringinal, witty, gritty, realistic way *cough* Buffy *cough* (Joss Whedon seriously should get royalties). While I do find the books entertaining and I find myself really liking the story, I will be the first one to tear it to shreds and admit it is the Hannah Montana of literature. If one more fangirl says “Zomg! Twilight is the best thing on this earth EVA! SQUEE!” I will give up all hope on the intelligence of humankind.

  4. Just some teenager – firstly, thank you so much for dispelling my belief that all Twilight fans believe Stephenie Meyer to be a literary genius.

    Well, yes, I don’t dispute with the fact that the books are enjoyable either. The thing is, though, there are a multitude of YA writers who possess far more wit, talent and skill than Meyer yet they don’t receive this level of recognition at all. And whoever said trash couldn’t be enjoyable? It’s like declaring KFC to be the next great diet food, because fried chicken tastes good.

    That’s exactly what bugs me: the fact that the majority of Twilight fans are blind to the flaws of Stephenie Meyer’s writing.

  5. I completely agree about the hype. I saw the movie before I read the book and thought the idea was executed much better as a movie rather than a book. Her writing bugs me, especially since she has pages and pages where every sentence starts with ‘I.’ Sure, it’s in first person but I’ve read books in first person that were extremely well-written.

    I rated it so high on my blog (3 out of 5) because I like the story. I disliked the writing, but I still wanted to know what happened to Bella and Edward, despite not liking the characters themselves.

    I’ll be the first to tell you they’re not that good, but I’m still going to read them.

  6. Christina – I think in Australia the movie comes out on the 12th of December. I’m actually looking forward to watching it, for the same reasons as you, probably: I was interested in the characters and plot but disliked the writing (and also I’m a fan of the guy who plays Edward. Can’t remember his name though) Who knows? Maybe after the movie, I’ll be converted into a die-hard fan…

  7. I’ve been meaning to read the book, to give it a chance and see what its like for myself, before I pass judgement. Because I did that with the Harry Potter Series. I saw the first two movies and basically said the series was crap and refused to read the books (ducks from angry HP fans). BUT, I saw the 3rd movie, then read books and fell in love with the series. So, I’m giving Twilight the benefit of the doubt.

    The movie doesn’t look bad, but the more I look at reviews of the book, the more I find the book is about some cheesy teenage romance/angst book. I knew it was romancey teenagers fighting the odds as in human falling in love with vampire, but I also thought there would be more good vs bad vampires etc. Hmm maybe I’m wrong. I’ll still read the book, (although at my local library, and by local I mean 99 branches that collectively have over 300 copies of the first book, there is a 2000+ on the holds list. )So, I’ll be waiting a while, before I get to read the book.

    1. Recently when Twilightmania hit my school, I tried to give it a chance. From a brief summary of the plot, it might seem like this book is all about ‘teen-angst and love’, but to be fair, it isn’t so crude as it might sound. I have to admit that beneath all the fangirl type romance, Meyer does seem to be grappling with “greater” themes (although this may have resulted from a deeper than required reading of the text, rather than any intention on the author’s part). However, I couldn’t excuse the poor writing no matter how hard I tried. Whilst I found myself engaged with the plot and characters, I would occasionally pause and cringe. Particularly on the pages with dialogue, which would probably be about 7/8 of the entire book.

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