Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

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.  

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Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Eclipse is the third book in the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. Unless you've been living under a rock, you'd know this is the story of Bella, a "normal" high school girl who falls in love with a vampire. Complications ensue because she's human and should be her boyfriend's dinner, and she has a werewolf for a best friend.

Some minor spoilers for this book and previous ones are in this review.

My review of New Moon is here. If you read that, you'll know that I found New Moon very angsty and it made me feel rather ranty about Bella and her depression. I also thought that Edward was rather controlling by deciding what was best for her and not letting her make her own choices. Despite really liking Twilight, I'm not sure I would have continued this series after New Moon. But that this series is so popular that my cousin gave me the whole series as a present so I own it now. Also my best friend has been nagging me to read it so she can rant to me about it. So I read it.

Where to begin. Well I thought that Eclipse was better than New Moon. I think that that is greatly due to my aversion to reading about a main character who is moping around and angsty, which is what you see a lot of in New Moon. I'm just not a fan of depression in my escapism. On the other hand, while in New Moon I found Bella and Edward somewhat annoying, in Eclipse I started also getting mad at other secondary characters like Charlie, who is Bella's father, and Jacob, Bella's best friend! Why is everyone annoying? Let me tell you:

Edward is trying to back off on his control issues here but he still slips with the excuse that he will do anything to keep Bella safe. He manipulates her to get what he wants. At least he was so overshadowed by other people who were driving me crazy in this book, he didn't bother me as much as he did in the past. His "patience and understanding" were laid on a bit thick though. I still don't quite understand what he sees in Bella. He just shakes his head and says Oh Bella, you don't know how wonderful you are.

Jacob: In earlier books, Jacob is this sort of happy-go-lucky guy that Bella just hangs out with, and he pulls her through her depression, letting her use him as a crutch through her bad time even though she knows he has feelings for her and she doesn't feel the same way. You know that Jacob doesn't like vampires, so he's constantly making nasty, petty remarks about them and about Edward. In Eclipse, this pettiness seemed to rise to extreme levels. I found Jacob's smugness and casual put-downs about people Bella cares about very immature. To top it off Jacob has Bella's number because he realizes she's easily manipulated through guilt. So he uses this several times to get what he wants. Also *spoiler here so look away if you care about that type of thing* Jacob forces a kiss on her. Bella hits him for that, but because he's a werewolf, all that does is break her hand. And then he *laughs* about it and is never really sorry! What a great guy. I was pretty pissed off to reading this part.

Charlie: He doesn't like Edward so of course every chance that he can he pushes Bella towards Jacob. When Jacob admits that he kissed Bella, instead of feeling concern for why his daughter is so mad, all he can do is be happy and praise Jacob for it! His comment regarding Bella's hand is something like I must not have taught you how to punch properly. He's a cop, but he's really uncaring about his daughter being sexually harassed. This is of course coupled with the same complaint I had in the last book – Bella is Charlie's servant; doing the cooking and cleaning while his excuse is that he is just a man so can't do housework. He can't heat up sauce in the microwave (puts metal in there), and he can't do his own laundry. Let's not even go into his parenting and his not having a clue as to what his daughter feels or what she's up to.

Bella: I kept noticing what felt like excuses for Bella's past behavior. Behavior that continues in Eclipse. It felt like the author was trying to address complaints from readers. The servitude is explained away as OCD. I lived with someone with OCD, and Bella does not have OCD. Even if she had *mild* OCD, her dad should still know how to microwave some damn sauce if he's lived alone before and he's an adult! Secondly, Bella spends a lot of time thinking she's a horrible person and has hurt Jacob so much, but feeling bad and still doing it doesn't really absolve you. I really dislike when people don't want to hurt someone, but instead they just give them hope by not trying hard enough to tell them the truth, so in the end it feels even worse. These people moan to everyone how they feel bad, but what they really want is for others to say that they aren't bad so they can continue what they were doing. Which I feel Bella does with Jacob. Not that Jacob is an innocent here, but Bella has already gone through this in New Moon, why are we repeating it again in Eclipse? Finally, Bella acts like a doormat. She gets manipulated by everyone. Edward tricks her into doing what he wants, so does Jacob, so does her dad. I found it really aggravating that the main character is a woman, surrounded by men who want to control her, and she let's them! She's submissive! Any fight she makes just feels like token resistance, because she gives in later. I actually wrote down a couple of times – Bella is mad, I bet she'll forgive him soon, and Bella says she doesn't want to, I bet she will later. And surprise, surprise - she did forgive, she did give in. Jacob underlines this for me because he actually says that he knew she was going to forgive him  so he did what he wanted. 

All this points to something which feels glaringly obvious; this book has very old fashioned values and views. Bella's role as housekeeper for her dad is a good example. Then we have the sex. Stephen King infamously commented on Meyer's writing recently, and said: "A lot of the physical side of it is conveyed in things like the vampire will touch her forearm or run a hand over skin, and she just flushes all hot and cold. And for girls, that's a shorthand for all the feelings that they're not ready to deal with yet." I was hardly surprised that Edward was unwilling to have sex with Bella before marriage. Already he's discussed his belief that as a vampire he has no soul and probably will go to hell when he dies, so it was no stretch to see him want Bella to marry him first. This is safe moral ground. It's a bit too pat but I have no real problem with this little bit of preaching in this story. What bothers me more is Bella being easily controlled – forgiving easily the asshat-ery of her male controllers. It disturbs me to see her accept what the men do, when I see it side by side with her domestic duties. It disturbs me to see Meyer's picture of men vs. women, Bella vs. Edward/Jacob/her father.     

I admit, Meyer has to be doing something right. These books aren't on bestseller lists for nothing. I'd say it's the world building and the way she writes her dialog. It feels very natural and real and it's very readable. From what I remember of Twilight, the pacing there was quite fast. The pacing in Eclipse however felt a lot slower, with much of the action happening only in the last 100 or so pages. So despite my liking the way Meyer writes dialog, I felt like there was too much – it takes up a lot of room so pages and pages later you realize – nothing has happened. At 600+ pages, this book could have used some merciless editing.

Overall: An average to slightly above average read. Natural dialog, fascinating world building, great action when there is any (there was little), but I had some major issues with the characters and with Bella's subjugation by her male counterparts.

I now leave you with Southpark's Twilight parody "The Ungroundable", which aired recently and is online in its entirety for now (go watch, it's awesome).

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Twilight perfume? I’m boggled.

OK, so I was a bit weirded out that there is a Twilight perfume out there. I think I spied it on some Borders or B&N email. I was even more surprised when I googled it and at Hot Topic it's $48 dollars (isn't the intended audience mainly teens – that's not cheap)..One per customer? And the apple says "The Forbidden Fruit Tastes The Sweetest"? Gag, so cheesy. I went googling while chatting with a friend online about it:

janicu: duddeee
friend: apparently soem ppl are saying it's only 25 at borders? no idea
janicu: good lords
friend: oh wow, some one on etsy made scents for edward bella jacob and alice
 Edward: honey, lilac, and sun; with a little shimmer
Bella: freesia and lavendar
Jacob: earth woods scents like cinnamon
Alice: citrus orchid; with a little shimmer
 haha with a little shimmer, of course
 wtf is sun supposed to smell like

These two kids on etsy must be making lots of money because they've had 1,422 sales as of this posting.

I saw that HotTopic – has a whole twilight section with t-shirts (I ❤ boys with sparkle) and Twilight Edward Body Shimmer and Alice's choker even. Egads.. the marketing for this book seems overboard.

Oh look Borders also has a Twilight Shop. It does look like the perfume there is a different one from Hot Topic, with a different bottle shape and is $24.99.

I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone. But then I remembered Harry Potter and the marketing involved with all of that so I guess I shouldn't feel as surprised as I do. I suppose it's because I've never been fanatic about something like it seems that people are about Twilight.  It's like being in an entirely different culture I just don't understand.

And then today I saw this on perez hilton's website via reviewer x:

"We smell a lawsuit coming!

Naughty, naughty, naughty!

The makers of the new Twilight fragrance have done something VERY bad.

They've ripped off the bottle for the "Nina" by Nina Ricci fragrance.

With all the money they are making on the film you'd think they could afford designing their own bottle!

The Twilight bottle has completely ripped off Nina Ricci's bottle design, right down to the leaves on the lid. The only difference is the script on the bottle and the box that it comes in."

Life is .. interesting, that's for sure.

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A Couple of links

I have reviews to post but I'm feeling lazy. So instead:

1) According to US Weekly – Obama is reading the Twilight books with his daughter (via MTV movies blog):

 "President-Elect Barack Obama truly has a full plate. Revitilize a sinking economy. Energize a nation. Rehabilitate America’s fragile standing in the world. Oh, and get through four “Twilight” books with his youngest daughter.

Yes, according to the latest issue of US Weekly, Stephenie Meyer has a couple fans who will be moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in a couple months. The magazine reports that the President-Elect and his ten-year-old daughter Malia often bond over addictive book series, “They read all the Harry Potter books together and have moved on to the Twilight series.”


2) Holly Blacks hidden library @ The Steampunk Home (thanks for the link Angiegirl!). What's crazy is I saw an episode of Extreme Makeover Home edition with something like this *yesterday* and have been talking about it since.


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New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

I have written a haiku:

Liked Twlight but then,
Heard Bella is annoying,
Now that’s all I see.

I read Twilight years ago and remember liking it. I thought it was a sweet high school romance, and I remember being pulled in by wondering what was going to happen next - especially the second half when the action kicked in. I enjoyed it. Since then I think the whole world has read the books, and I haven't gone out of my way to read other people's opinions, but it's kind of hard not to run into them. You know when someone points out something annoying about someone that you never noticed and then after that you do start to notice? I think a whole episode of How I Met Your Mother was centered around this. WELL NOW, the whole time I was reading New Moon I was thinking to myself – wow, Bella really is annoying!  Was she like this in Twilight? And Edward really is controlling! I didn't think he was as bad in the first book, was I just completely unaware?

To be honest though, I have an aversion to reading about angsty teenagers. I read Harry Potter until book 5 (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) when Harry suddenly got mood swings and I just couldn't finish it. That's where I stopped the series. Maybe one day I'll pick it up again, but it's not high on my list.

In New Moon, Edward decides for Bella that their relationship is dangerous for her so he removes himself, so almost all of the book is centered around Bella on her own, and we're basically in her head for months. Months and months of completely dramatic depression. The book felt very long despite the simple writing and the larger font. I kept checking to see how much more I had to read. I seen depressed people, but Bella takes the cake – "catatonic" is used to describe her – and I found myself unsympathetic to someone so self indulgent and childish. Maybe it's my own age and experience here that I don't find it very romantic when someone can't pay any attention to the other people in their lives and only center on their own issues. While Edward is gone Bella begins to use Jacob Black as a crutch. He makes her feel better, so while she knows that Jacob likes her romantically, Bella feels that she needs him and when he holds her hand, she tells herself that Jacob knows that she's not interested in him that way, so she lets him. Strangely Jacob still likes her, no idea why – she's depressed half the time and he notices. I couldn't see what she was giving him besides companionship that wasn't male. I felt that Bella was giving herself excuses to do whatever she wants at the expense of others. This is not a nice trait, and this is not just with Jacob. Whenever things did go the way Bella wanted, her reactions made me wonder if she's as grown up as she thinks she is. To top it off, Bella really believes that Edward lost interest and her response is to become a depressed zombie. Not anger at being thrown off like an old plaything. Yay, women's liberation. Speaking of, it ticked me off that Edward decided what was best for her, and keeps at it later. Their relationship is not healthy. I think in book 1, I was seeing this as one of those intense first loves. Edward wanted to protect her yadda yadda, but it wasn't in your face controlling to me, and at the end of the book there was a relatively happy ending and that was it. But, in New Moon, this intense love continues and the seriousness starts to become disturbing. That they think of themselves as having a love like Romeo and Juliet makes me want to slap them. To compare yourselves to star-crossed lovers who killed themselves is ridiculous!!

Speaking of odd relationships - I couldn't remember why Bella called her parents by their first names and had to cook and clean for her dad. There was a point where she was up to her arms in Comet while cleaning the bathroom. Yet her father was supposedly living by himself before her – is he that hopeless? Or does Meyer only know hopeless men who can't cook and clean for themselves? I'm baffled. Also baffled by how even when Bella is grounded she's still allowed to have her boyfriend to come over every day for an hour and a half. In her room. By themselves. My brow furrows.

Overall: Liked book 1 better. This one makes me feel ranty. In the end not too much happens, though we get some information about Jacob's tribe at La Push and we learn a bit more about other vampires in the world. There is a set up for book 3 because there are rising tensions between Jacob's family and Edward's, but besides that there is very little actual action, and even that is only towards the last 100 pages. This was more a book that focused on Bella's inner turmoil, which made me I feel like a lot of what I read could have been condensed. Even with the ease of reading the simple language, teenage angst is tedious reading material. I have Eclipse and Breaking Dawn on my TBR because they were gifts, so I will shoulder on, but not right away. I really hope that I'm less annoyed by the main characters when I do.

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Prom Nights from Hell by Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe, Stephenie Meyer, Lauren Myracle

I read this book sometime last year but I was so disappointed with it I didn't even bother to review it. Everything felt like it lacked effort. Anyway, I've had this nagging unfinished feeling about not reviewing so here goes. This is a anthology of prom stories with some kind of paranormal aspect to them.

The good thing about this book is that a portion of the proceeds goes to, which is a charity I like. Um.. otherwise, it was in the average to meh range for me.

The Exterminator's Daughter by Meg Cabot – This was a story of a vampire slayer's daughter, trying to track and kill the son of her mother's killer (that would be Dracula, naturally). Each chapter was told from the point of view of Mary, this girl, or of Adam, another teen involved. Well this seemed very predictable. Teen + paranormal + prom, let's just have a vampire slayer going after a vamp at prom. Add a dash of back story, some other teens for perhaps a romantic angle. The end. This lacked kick and I didn't understand the point of switching narrators so much (to show how they liked each other? not really that necessary).

The Corsage by Lauren Myracle – Well there's a warning on the front of this story that this is inspired by "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W Jacobs, and talks about being careful what you wish for. This was definitely in the creepy camp, and the most memorable story in the book. The narrator is a silly teen girl with foot in mouth syndrome, who, just to get the boy she likes to take her to the prom, makes some really dumb decisions involving a bad voodoo-vibe object – an old corsage. I could have smacked this girl, but I still felt sorry for her after what happened.

Madison Avery and the Dim Reaper by Kim Harrison – well this girl was another one I could have happily smacked. Another one who didn't listen to other's advice and made rash decisions out of spite, then other rash decisions out of fear. But there was an interesting paranormal aspect about dark and light reapers, and about the protagonist's role in the future. The reapers reminded me of the shinigami in Full Moon o Shagashite. I felt like this could be the start of an interesting series, and there seemed to be more detail and thought to this world than some of the other stories. And I hope if this is the start of a series, that Madison starts acting after thinking. I would really like a teen protag that I do not want to smack. Why are they lacking in recent young adult fiction?

Kiss and Tell by Michelle Jaffe – Ok, so a protag (Miranda Kiss) who is a princess with special powers, hiding out as a town car driver. She befriends a girl (Sibby) who she drives from the airport. A special girl who has some other powers herself. Miranda decides to rescue her from a cult, some actiony stuff ensues, but the suspension of disbelief I had was hard to maintain. Not badly written, but too many leaps in logic to get the story going.

Hell on Earth by Stephenie Meyer – This was about a junior demoness spreading despair and unhappiness with mental nudges at a school dance, but she can't seem to get everyone unhappy because a boy at the dance seems unsucceptable to her powers – he's just full of goodness and light. Not only that, he senses the darkness in her and wants to help her. Not a bad idea, has a sort of open ended conclusion, but it also felt somewhat predictable to me. And a little sappy.

Sighh. I am old I think. Old and crabby about young adult books now.

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