Yeah, but I read the entire Anne Rice series too, all the way to Memnoch the Devil and besides the daylight thing, they had it pretty good too. Back when it was the 'it thing' people complained about Louis's neverending angst (which is similar to Edward's quandary about whether he has a soul) and 'why was he so upset about it when he had it so good.' Those vampires were beautiful, strong and fast as well... and I seem to remember Marius and some of the ancient ones flying in some of the later books though it's been years so I may be just making that up.
Perhaps the later books work to dispel some of the sparkliness when Meyer explores the history of the various clans and their trials and tribulations. The first book doesn't even begin to touch on that aspect.