Yay, I've finally finished the Twilight series! Breaking Dawn was the fourth and final book in the saga that follows high school student Bella after she meets and falls in love with her vampire soul mate. So far the first book, Twilight covers Bella discovering vampires and Edward's family, New Moon and Eclipse covers their growing pains with their controversial love, and finally Breaking Dawn is their cementing into a family.
Man this was a long series:
Twilight: 544 pages
New Moon: 608 pages
Eclipse: 640 pages
Breaking Dawn: 768 pages
Note how each book is longer than the last? Ahh!
So spoilers for earlier books from this point on. Here are my reviews of New Moon and Eclipse. If you read them you'll know I have many rants about the relationship between Bella and Edward and about the way certain characters acted. New Moon was my least favorite book because of Bella's angst. Eclipse was slightly better, though I still had problems.
Breaking Dawn was better than the previous two, but I liked Twilight the best, because that was when I was oblivious to some of the character's flaws and was most able to just enjoy the story.
Because this is such a popular series I've heard how many fans of Meyer's had huge problems with Breaking Dawn which led to them returning the book in droves. Which really puzzles me: how did you not see this coming? I think that Meyer is the QUEEN of premonition – from book 1 you know Bella's fate, and in every. single. one. of these books the preface starts off with a preview of what is to come which pretty much gives away the whole plot! You didn't notice this? Really?! I read this books preface and I made several guesses which all came true. So while I was laughing at the what-the-fuckery, I wasn't super surprised. Actually, making guesses and having them turn out as expected was my entertainment, though there were some moments that I rolled my eyes at things being laid on a little thick. Also – I never thought that the ending wouldn't be one where everything wasn't going to turn out all right, so no surprise when Meyer took a lot of easy ways out on things. Boy was this book long though, I thought it would never end.
Overall: Although most of the book was predictable with a lot of convenient short cuts and no real sacrifices by the main characters, there were some amusing moments and I found the characters less annoying than in previous books. There was also more actually going on rather than me ending the book thinking – 400 plus pages of nothing much happened that could have been made shorter. So I'd say – above average and entertaining, but didn't blow me away.
**** OK major spoilers from now on, really. I'm going through the book point by point and ranting freely ****
Let's take a look at things chronologically.
1. Preface: Well I already talked about the preface giving up the whole plot.
2. After the preface, the first thing I noticed was: Book 1: Bella. What? This book is divided into books with different narrators? Random. All the other books had Bella as a narrator. OK, fine, I'll just roll with it.
3. The wedding. This is really my notes as I was reading the book:
- Edward bought her a Mercedes "Guardian"? Cute.
- Bella's father and mother seem to be taking the wedding very easily. Too easily?
- Jacob is still a wolf and roaming. Charlie is concerned but Bella and the wolves know he's not missing.
- The wedding was nice. Maybe sappy, but alright.
- OK this seems too easy. Tanya's people come to the wedding, feel guilty about not helping with Victoria in Eclipse?
- JACOB comes to the wedding so Bella can be happy? Too easy!
Notice how I use "too easy" a lot. And this book is just starting. I got the distinct impression that Meyer just wanted to skip by some of the tougher things and move the plot along to where she wanted it, and having people actually angry at Bella getting married (her parents, Jacob, the Denali coven) would mess up where she wanted it to go. So she took some short cuts. Thankfully – hell DOES finally break loose when Jacob realizes that Bella is having a real honeymoon with Edward (as in: vampire/human sex! Oh no, he'll kill her!). Jacob is incensed! Of course, in typical Bella fashion, instead of being really annoyed at Jacob she just blames herself. Ug, I rolled my eyes. As I've said repeatedly, I find her martyr attitude highly annoying.
4. The honeymoon : Edward and Bella have the honeymoon on a secret location from Bella, much romance ensues which was highly cheesy. My notes: "sex! – not told! We have the morning after!" Again, not surprised at all. I laugh at fans that expected some details. The previous books where Edward thinks he's going to hell for being a vampire, and so doesn't want Bella to be damned like him, and where Edwards also wants to get married first kind of point towards some very traditional values. I didn't want the details anyway, so this was fine with me. I was a bit surprised (but I guess I shouldn't be), that Edward's a virgin?! Seriously? He's about 80 or so? Yeah right. After the sex, I was somewhat irritated by how Edward got very mopey about the bruises Bella gets from their sex. At least Bella actually tells him off, but then we also have to suffer while Bella has to beg Edward to have sex with her after that. Oh boy, drama. Bella also gets weird dreams in the honeymoon which I thought just repeated what's going to happen. It's weird that Meyer puts that there and then Bella never tells people hey I dreamed all this would happen!
5. The Pregnancy: This is supposed to be a shock, but anyway. What I found surprising was that in 5 days Bella had a bulge. That was crazy. Then Edward wanted to kill it to save Bella, which was also crazy and out of character for someone so concerned about "sinning". It felt odd to me that he didn't even moan over that crisis of conscience – Bella's life lost if her baby kills her, or killing another life. Hmm, I guess Meyer didn't want to have that kettle of fish. Bella calls Rosalie for help. Which explains why the one scene in Eclipse with Rosalie in it just had Rosalie come in to say how much she wanted a baby (which I thought was yet another a big hint of what was to come in Breaking Dawn too).
6. The Pregnancy part 2: This is where the narration switches off to Jacob's point of view. Bella has been rushed back to Forks, where Rosalie and half of the Cullens side with Bella to keep the baby, while Edward agonizes over Bella's probable death. Jacob is certain that Bella has been changed during the honeymoon when Bella comes back and tells Charlie she's "sick", so he's surprised to see she hasn't been changed, and even more surprised to find she's pregnant. Jacob has never been a fan of vampires, so his siding with Edward to kill the baby and save Bella was in character. Edward however, is so frantic all his morals go out the window. He's willing to have Jacob give Bella babies if that's what's needed. As long as Bella lives, she can have what she wants.
Although having Jacob narrate seems odd, I liked his point of view. His thinking seems more sane and normal to me than Bella's! He's not a martyr! Plus, he calls Bella one in his thoughts – how spot on. Having his point of view we get to see Rosalie as a pretty annoying person, wanting a baby so much she's fine with Bella dying to get it. At least Leah and Bella see this a different way - 1) as someone who wanted something so much and never could have it, so this one chance means a lot, and 2) as someone who feels that Bella is making the same decision she would, so she finally warms to Bella. However, I am with Jacob in finding her unlikeable.
7. The Wolves React: Of course when the wolves find out about Bella's pregnancy they are ready to attack. They have no idea what's inside Bella, and the freakishly fast growth isn't a good sign. Strangly, Jacob doesn't foresee this before turning into a wolf, thus letting them all know. Or maybe it's not surprising since Jacob never did seem to think far ahead. In Eclipse we already know that Jacob should have been the pack leader so – Jacob goes Alpha and leaves the pack to protect Bella and the Cullens. Seth, who by now is a friend to Bella and Edward after the ending of Eclipse follows, as does Seth's sister Leah. This all seemed in character, and I liked hearing they're view of things and growth of friendships between the three defecting wolves. I also found it refreshing to see more of Leah's pain instead of her being painted as a horrible shrew, which I found unfair anyway (the one female werewolf who runs with the boys = total bitch? Wow). Leah also tells Bella off like she needed to be, which made Jacob and Edward angry because Bella was upset and crying over it (oh please). Conveniently for Bella though, because of Jacob, she and her baby are saved, because the wolves have lost their element of surprise for an attack. Not only that, but technically it seems that since his grandfather set up the vampire/werewolf treaty, Jacobs permission is all they need to let Bella be a vampire. Convenient times 2: no wolf fight and now Bella HAS to become a vamp to live.
8. The Birth: While I knew this was coming, this had the most surprising bits and laugh out loud moments. The violence was pretty explicit after the fade to black sex – "then Bella vomited a fountain of blood", not to mention all the bones breaking because Bella's body can't accommodate a vampire/human hybrid baby. I was thinking - WTF, this is kind of awesome! Then Edward has to use his vampire teeth to open Bella up while there are buckets of blood, and Rosalie loses her control! After the baby is born though, the baby is is just "perfect", and she's good because she loves Bella. The only reason why Edward went along with the birth – he hears the baby's adoration of Bella. Jacob of course is in anguish that Edward changes sides and then when he thinks Bella is dead (of course not! But hmm, maybe that's why Jacob is the narrator here, so we don't know if Bella makes it?), Jacob wants to kill the baby. Bella's name for the baby however is extremely terrible. I can't even begin. Awful. Then we have more convenient things: Jacob imprints on the baby! Ha, who didn't see this one coming? Come on. So now Jacob is okay, and this obviously explains why Bella is so inappropriately nuts about Jacob - it was the baby! Even though she was nuts before the pregnancy, but let's gloss over it – now they are normal friends.
9. Back to Bella as the narrator (and Bella's Change): And I guess it's back to feeling irritated of Bella for me. Again with convenience – Bella is unlike normal newborn vampires, she doesn't go crazy! She has extreme control! Jasper is surprised, everyone is surprised. And Bella is gorgeous. When she was human she was "ugly". Now she's sooo perfect, but oh her lip proportion is slightly off so that makes it better because Bella's still in there. Ug. And now Bella hunts, but again, self control: she stops before hunting humans, and everyone is amazed. Her thirst keeps being described as a fire in her throat, I was getting tired of that. How is thirst = fire in your throat? Bah.
10. Inexpicable filler Now the book just lags for a bit. Bella gets her 19th birthday presents, she and Edward get to have off the page vampire sex. Jacob becomes a dumbass again and just goes to tell Charlie about the baby and Bella being in town in order to force them to get over the one issue that keeps them from being able to stay in town. And yet again, convenient for Bella – Charlie is fine! He doesn't know much, but he knows something supernatural is involved, and oh he doesn't want to know what has happened to his daughter! Father of the year award. Other stuff happens that I didn't care about.
11. Action again – Alice sees that the Volturi are coming to kill them all! And it's all the Volturi – guards, wives, everyone. This was also expected from Bella's dreams and the preface. Reason is: Irina comes by to say sorry for missing the wedding and mend bridges and sees Renesmee, the baby. She assumes this is a vampire child, not knowing that this is a hybrid, and vampire children are forbidden. Things happen quickly now, Alice runs off leaving a message for them to contact as many friends as they can to bear witness, and then disappears. Everyone is shocked, thinking Alice ran to save herself! I said yeah right, and it's rather silly people thought Alice left them for herself.
12. Boring stuff, more filler - Now for about 100 pages, all these other vampires decend onto Forks as the Cullens try to work towards saving Bella's baby. We also get some theories about what the Volturi are really after, not for their supposed crime, it's their talents that Aro covets. Bella tries to learn how to fight and use her powers (Edward doesn't want to teach her because he can't bear thinking of hurting her – what a drama queen!). Anyway, blah blah, was rather slow, could have been edited.
13. The Face-off: Finally the Volturi arrive! Of course this is in the SAME clearing used in almost every book – where Bella watches the vampires play baseball and where they fight off the newborn vampires. Are there no other clearings around? Aro and the Volturi try one thing after another in order to have the excuse to break apart the Cullens and take their powers. Bella saves the day with her shield powers, and then Alice cames back like expected, to save the day some more. The end. No real sacrifice to Bella, no real fighting.
P.S. While Twilight has hints of Pride and Prejudice, New Moon was inspired by Romeo and Juliet, and Eclipse on Wuthering Heights, I fail to see how Breaking Dawn has anything to do with A Midsummer Night's Dream. Though google says also The Merchant of Venice which I haven't read.