Stephenie Meyer – Breaking Dawn
Length: 757 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Romance
Started: 18 August 2008
Finished: 19 August 2008
Although probably everyone who cares has read it already, I am going to do my best to keep this review spoiler-free beyond the first few chapters, but if you’re extremely spoiler-phobic, you may want to skip this one.
Summary: This final book in the Twilight series brings us several events that readers have been waiting for for thousands of pages, beginning with Bella and Edward’s wedding. The ceremony surprisingly goes off without a hitch, but when Bella’s life is put in unexpected danger on their honeymoon, they must return home. For danger to Bella is the only thing that can force Jacob and Edward to be allies… the only thing, that is, until the truly unforeseen happens, which forces the Cullens and the werewolves into an uneasy pact to protect their families against the greatest threat they’ve ever faced.
Review: I knew before I started this book that Edward and Bella got married early on (in fact, just looking at the title page, chapter 3 is called “The Big Day”), and I suspected that this meant that she was going to get her way regarding both the sex and the vampiric transformation. What I should have realized, but didn’t, is that she had to have some twists up her sleeve to fill the other 700 pages, and I should have guessed which directions at least some of those twists were going to go. But I didn’t, and so Meyer got at least one good shock of surprise out of me, at the end of the second section (which is narrated from Jacob’s point of view.) Unfortunately, I didn’t particularly like the direction in which these new twists took the story; up to this point, this series has been about Bella and Edward and Jacob and their melodramatic issues. I feel like if you’re going to write about a love triangle, you have to really commit to dealing with the issues, and Breaking Dawn took the emotional power right out of the characters’ hands and provided them the easiest possible way out, without anyone ever having to take emotional responsibility for the repercussions of their actions. Actually, this sense of an “easy way out” permeated most of the book – most of the conflict that’s been building throughout the series was resolved in the first half of the book, leaving the characters nothing to do in the second half but prepare for a new conflict… which ultimately fizzles out. I have no problem with happy endings in general, but this one felt too facile, unearned, and ultimately unsatisfactory.
I will admit that this book didn’t enrage me nearly as much as its predecessors. I won’t go so far as to say that I liked Edward, but his abusive-boyfriend (husband) tendencies weren’t much on display, and I finally got at least an inkling of what the squealing hordes of pre-teens see in him. Jacob remains my favorite character, although I was really not fond of the direction his story in particular took. Bella, on the other hand, annoyed me as much as ever: she’s so very passive, willing to let other people make decisions for her (a few arguments over whether Jacob or Edward should be “responsible” for her stuck in my craw the wrong way), and extraordinarily, self-effacingly concerned about what Edward wanted, regardless of her own feelings. Plus, Meyer’s morality surrounding sex, marriage, gender roles, and now motherhood just squicks me out, especially when I see teens and pre-teens reading these books. Perhaps they should come with warning labels: “CAUTION! Bella and Edward are not role models of appropriate behavior or healthy relationships. Do not try this at home.” 3 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Once again, Stephenie Meyer leaves me with a host (ha!) of conflicting impressions. I devoured this book in just over a day, but I was ultimately unimpressed.
First Line: I’d had more than my fair share of near-death experiences; it wasn’t something you ever really got used to.
- p. 612: ““Carlisle,” the taller of the two very tall ferine women greeted him when they arrived.” – untamed; feral.