Why Twilight’s Vampires Suck
I admit it. I’m a Twihard. I bought the books. Read the books. Re-read the books. Saw the movies—multiple times. Went to TwiCon 2009. Own some t-shirts, illustrated guides to the series and movies, the DVDs of the movies, and other random Twilight paraphernalia. I even wrote two fan fiction novels called The List and While You Were Gone, just to continue to play in the Twilight universe a little more. Twilight was one of the things my best friend and I liked to share together, and, online, I made a lot of new friends who were also fans.
I liked Twilight because of the romantic plot, the average girl winning the eye and heart of the mysterious, beautiful boy. And I liked watching Edward open himself up to the possibility of love, and then become so devoted to Bella. I didn’t even mind the creepy, stalkerish side of his character, which is generally within the norm for vampire characterization. Love vampires, love their creep, stalkerish natures, I say.
However, where Twilight succeeds with its romantic plot, it largely fails with its vampire plot elements. My love of vampires goes all the way back to my earliest reading experiences, and I’ve devoured vampire fiction ever since. Twilight follows none of the “rules” or norms for vampire characterization. And, thus, as vampires, Twilight’s undead kinda suck. Here’s why:
5. With the exception of heightened abilities, none of the vampire myths apply to them. They can walk safely in the sun. Enter buildings without needing to be admitted. They cast reflections in mirrors. Can be photographed. Don’t sleep in coffins or in the ground—don’t sleep at all. Neither garlic nor wooden stakes nor silver nor holy water can harm them. The only thing that can harm a vampire in Twilight’s world is another vampire. This takes a bit too much of the vampire out of the vampire, in my opinion.
4. Vampires in Twilight are either all good or all bad. And you generally know who’s who because their eyes are different colors. The good guys have topaz eyes, earned from their ingestion of animal blood, while the bad guys have red eyes, earned from partaking of humans. So, it’s clear cut. And, to me, that undercuts one of the things I love about vampires—their duality. Most of the vampires I love have both good/vulnerable/tortured sides and dark/beastly/monstrous sides, and the interesting thing about such characters is watching them grapple with the competing sides of their nature. With the exception of being told Edward once went bad 80 years ago, it’s pretty black and white, or perhaps topaz and red, in Twilight.
3. Their physiology makes no sense. We’re told they’re as hard as marble. Not just really muscular, or super firm like marble, but, literally, they’re marble. As in stone. As in hard as a rock. [hehe She said hard.] And they’re absolutely unchanging. So, this raises (hehe) some, er, issues for me, of the penile variety (just one physiological conundrum among many!). Either, they’re hard all the time, or they’re not. Which is it? Either the male vampires walk around all the time with a literally rock-hard erections, which would make them somewhat less cool at school, I might think, or, they don’t, but since they’re unchangeable, they shouldn’t be able to get erect. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the semen. Or the baby.
2. They sparkle. Do I really need to say more about this one?
1. And, the number one reason Twilight’s vampires suck? They don’t have fangs! Just really, really sharp totally normal choppers. Please, for the love of all things paranormal, don’t defang my vampires!
Now, none of these criticisms will keep me from lining up for the opening night showing of Breaking Dawn, mind you, but while I love the Twilight series for the romance and the characters, particularly the Cullen family, the story will still never rank at the top of my “favorite vampires” list.
I’ve just taken a stab at my own take on vampire fiction, with my debut paranormal romance, Forever Freed. Here’s an exclusive excerpt with a little fang, natch:
I had found Jacques. He had found Samantha. He held her in a tight embrace and was clearly feeding from her.
I bolted across, vaulting over a parked car, and aimed for the dark spot shrouded by bushes and trees under the broken fucking street light. My only solace was he didn’t seem to be reacting to the holy water in her blood yet, which I’d been giving both of my girls for months, so he’d just bitten her. I soared over Ollie’s abandoned bike and slammed into them, trying like hell to avoid Samantha’s body.
Jacques roared in outrage and dropped Samantha as he whirled on me. She slumped to the cold ground. I tore my now-inhuman eyes away from her to deal with him.
“You always did know how to ruin a good time,” he spat.
The world went fucking red with my rage at the image of Samantha’s blood dripping off his fangs. All I could see was my maker hunched in the darkness over Lena’s body, his crimson eyes and gory fangs flashing to me when I’d interrupted. But Jacques was standing too close to Samantha’s crumpled body to act rashly.
Then he coughed and sprayed a fine red mist into the air.
“How ya feeling there, Jacques?” I sneered through sharp fangs as I stalked closer.
A thin line of blood trickled down from one nostril. He fisted it away. “What the fuck?”
In the split second his eyes flashed down to evaluate the blood he’d wiped onto his knuckles, I launched myself at him. We collided in a wall of muscle and will and hate.
Jacques stumbled back, propelled by my weight, and gripped my biceps to fling me off him. But my hold was tighter. He succeeded only in spinning us so that when we crashed to the ground, I was on top and pinned him.
Then he made the last in a long line of fatal errors: he turned his head to snap at my wrist where it held his down. In a blur, I leaned forward and sank my fangs deep into his exposed neck.
He roared in outraged surprise. I grunted in disgust as I wrenched my head to the side, tearing a gaping wound partway through his neck. Blood gurgled and splattered from the breach. His eyes were disbelieving as they angled up at me.
“You did this,” I hissed as I released his arms and brought my hands to his jaw. I didn’t pay attention to his newly freed hands until the cold steel pressed against my gut. He squeezed the trigger a split second before I ripped his head clean free of his body. Through a red haze, I watched as his head unevenly rolled under a bush. His body twitched then stilled.
Then the searing fire of the silver bullet registered. I grunted and keened and clambered off Jacques’s torso. I retched up the blood that had gotten into my mouth and throat. It tasted and stank of his evil and burned where Samantha’s precious blood mixed in.
Samantha. I pushed through the paralyzing agony the silver caused and scrabbled over to her. “Oh, no. Oh, please.” She was unconscious. Blood poured from her nose, ear, and neck. The left side of her face was swollen and bruising. Her right arm sat at an unnatural angle. That was all I could see in that moment. It was enough.
So, feel free to tangle with me on the Twilight vamps! I can take it! :)= What are your favorite vampire traits to read about?
One commenter will win either a signed print copy of Forever Freed or an item from my CafePress store (http://www.CafePress.com/LauraKayeGifts) —winner’s choice!
Thanks for reading,
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Laura Kaye is a multi-published author of paranormal, contemporary, and erotic romance with four books releasing in 2011. Laura Kaye’s hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong. Laura grew up amidst family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with the supernatural. Though an avid fiction writer as a teenager, a career as a historian took her in other directions until recently. Now that Laura’s inner muse has awakened, she’s constantly creating new story ideas! Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.