Despite Twilight's popularity, the books have received criticism. Stephen King stated, "the real difference [between J.K. Rowling and Meyer] is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer, and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn. She's not very good." However, King understood the appeal of the series, adding, "People are attracted by the stories, by the pace and in the case of Stephenie Meyer, it's very clear that she's writing to a whole generation of girls and opening up kind of a safe joining of love and sex in those books. It's exciting and it's thrilling and it's not particularly threatening because it's not overtly sexual."
Laura Miller of Salon.com wrote that "the characters, such as they are, are stripped down to a minimum, lacking the texture and idiosyncrasies of actual people", and said that "Twilight would be a lot more persuasive as an argument that an 'amazing heart' counts for more than appearances if it didn't harp so incessantly on Edward's superficial splendors." Miller also accused the series of sexism in its portrayal of female characters, most notably Bella Swan's obsessive behavior relating to Edward Cullen and the emphasis on his romantic hero status. Meyer has dismissed such criticisms, arguing both that the books center around Bella's choice, which she perceives as the foundation of modern feminism, and that Bella's damsel in distress persona is due only to her humanity. Meyer also added, "Just because [Bella] doesn't do kung fu and she cooks for her father doesn't make her worthy of that criticism". However, in another feminist critique of the series, Bitch magazine stated the novels' appeal were due to their being "abstinence porn", concluding that, "In reality, the abstinence message—wrapped in the genre of abstinence porn—objectifies Bella in the same ways that "real" porn might. The Twilight books conflate Bella losing her virginity with the loss of other things, including her sense of self and her very life. Such a high-stakes treatment of abstinence reinforces the idea that Bella is powerless, an object, a fact that is highlighted when we get to the sex scenes in Breaking Dawn."