Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer

>> Friday, February 11, 2011

TITLE: Breaking Dawn
AUTHOR: Stephenie Meyer

PAGES: 702

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Paranormal YA romance
SERIES: 4th and last in the Twilight series

REASON FOR READING: I wanted to know how it all ended.

When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife have led her to the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating, and unfathomable, consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life--first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse--seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed... forever?

The astonishing, breathlessly anticipated conclusion to the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic that has entranced millions.
Right, given how long this has been out, there's no point in avoiding spoilers here. Anyone who's read the first books will probably have read this one by now, and if they haven't read the first few, they shouldn't be reading this book (or this review, for that matter). So, WARNING, spoilers below!

I could probably do this review in a word. Pants. That's what this book was. It was pants It's not a matter of taste, but an objective judgement. It was bad. Truly awful. But surprisingly, it was also a bit of a guilty pleasure. It took me a while to get into it, but when I did, I got through this brick of a book in a couple of days. And most of it, even while I was rolling my eyes and cringing at the most embarrassingly awful bits, I actually kind of enjoyed.

The main thing wrong with it is that there's no conflict at all. It looked like this could be a pretty dark book at the beginning, what with the unexpected pregnancy that seems to be violently assaulting her right from the inside. But nope, everything just resolves itself, because Bella is the Mary Sue to end all Mary Sues.

Bella is just way, way too perfect. Even when the thing inside her is doing its best to kill her, she loves it. Not the least resentment from our Bella, just joyful acceptance. And then when she's actually changed she becomes even more perfect.

Meyer spent pages and pages building up the horrors of being a newborn in the last book. Bella would not be the same person. She'd become a being consumed by her thirst, a danger to any human who even comes close and even to any vampire that tries to stop her. She wouldn't be able to see her family and friends, not even when she'd managed to get control of herself, because if they suspected what she was, they'd have the Volturi after them. The idea was that she could gain immortal life with Edward, but at a price.

But after all this build-up, nothing happens. It's all good, and about Bella getting every single bloody thing she's ever wanted and not having to sacrifice anything for it.

Bella has no trouble at all controlling herself, unlike every single other newborn in history! It's not even an effort, she can just do it without even thinking about it, to the astonishment of the rest of the Cullens. Everything is effortless for Bella, it's as if she was born to be a vampire! She can see her family without any trouble! She's got a really cool talent, which she learns to do amazing things with in mere days! She actually can have a child, no matter that we'd been told that it was something she'd have to sacrifice! And her daughter is the prettiest, bestest child in the world, who enchants anyone who comes into contact with her! And bestest of all, the little girl's got the coooooolest name! No common name for her, she has to have a unique one. Renée, like Bella's mother, isn't good enough. Neither is Esme, like Edward's. So the poor little creepy thing is saddled with... Reneesme! Never did Bella seem more of a teenager than she did right then.

And then we get to what should have been this epic, massive confrontation. The Volturi are coming. They believe Reneesme is an "immortal child" (a vampire no-no, although the way Meyer was breaking her own rules left and right, I wouldn't have been too surprised if she'd broken that one, as well), and she should be killed. The Cullens plot and plan and gather support on the tiny chance that they can clear up that misunderstanding before violence ensues. Even if they do, though, they suspect the Volturi will find an excuse to kill them anyway, and acquire those among them who have talents that are useful. So the volturi come, they stand around chatting, Bella flexes her wonderful, cool talent that she's only just discovered, and the volturi chicken out and leave. That's it. Finito, on to the HEA! Oh, for heaven's sake!

The one bit I enjoyed of the book was the little section narrated through Jacob's eyes. There's real pain there, tough choices, and a voice that sounded pretty believable. But once we go back to Bella, all difficulty disappears and through the wonderfulness that is she, the world is sorted out. Bah!

So why did I keep reading and even enjoyed it a little bit? I have absolutely no idea. I shouldn't have. I should have banged it against the wall (actually, probably not, it would have left a massive dent, it was so heavy). Eh, well, I guess there's a little emo teenager inside of us all.



Marg,  20 February 2011 at 10:16  

I had a number of issues with this book, including the ones you mentioned here, but also the wedding night, the whole Jacob bonding thing and the baby's name! I am hoping that now Meyer will now work on something different - perhaps another Host book.

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