Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jenn's Review: Breaking Dawn

Summary: 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.

Review: I really thought Stephenie Meyer had backed herself into a corner at the end of Eclipse. Apparently, I wasn't the only one questioning the moral fibre of the series (MSN article), but I think Meyer pushed the envelope and fought her way out of it with the only satisfactory resolution. We were left at the end of Eclipse with Bella's impending death. The only way to gain the moral high ground on this front was to make the question of Bella's immortality the necessary recourse to save Bella from the brink of death. It can't be the impending threat of the Volturi, the self serving ruling coven of ancients from the old world, because that thread must be saved for the climax of the book, as hinted in the final chapters of the penultimate book. [***SPOILERS AHEAD, ~you have been warned!***] How can Meyer make Bella's death/near death the ultimate sacrifice, giving it as much credence as possible while fueling the imminent battle? By making her a mother, of course. The willing sacrifice on behalf of her unborn child is heart wrenching (especially being new mother myself).

The existence of her enchanting, half-breed offspring is the impetus for the climax of the book, essentially the ammunition the Volturi have been waiting for to come after the Cullen's with a vengeance, apocalyptic wrath, if you will. The role of Jacob in this book is a little bit of a stretch, but it was a necessary stretch to keep the well oiled plot in motion. But I can see where Jacob's place in this new story is disturbing to some. I loved meeting all the covens and learning of the innate powers displayed by individual members (and if you have trouble keeping it straight, Meyer even provides a chart at the end of the book). It was intricate but well designed. This is not the Bella of New Moon who has control over nothing in her life, this is a Bella who is stronger and has more will power than perhaps all her fellow immortals. (I think this is at least partly due to being a mother, as Bella had a way to hold on to her consciousness during her transformation, thinking about her daughter.) Finally we see Bella be the strong heroine, that we all knew she had in her.

I have heard from teenagers who have loved this book and those who have hated it (although my niece has yet to weigh in on this). You can tell the Meyer is a mother as it is definitely written from a mother's point of view. (Perhaps another reason it is hard for some teenagers to accept the storyline?) For me, this is the perfect ending to an enticing series. I thoroughly enjoyed this finale and it resolved all my nagging qualms from my review of Eclipse.

Please feel free to add your point of view in the comments. (I would be really interested to hear from someone who hated it.)



Anna said...

I've heard so much criticism about this book. I just didn't like how the characters didn't seem like the characters we knew and loved from the previous books. I also felt that the ending was a little flat, given how much she built up the visit from the Volturi. But overall, I thought it was an adequate ending to the series.

I reviewed it here:

And I'll add the link to your review to my post. Great review, btw!

--Diary of an Eccentric

Anonymous said...

I really liked Breaking Dawn, too - of course, I'm also a mother.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your review. I think Meyer wrapped it up the best way she could, trying to appease everyone. I was happy with it!

I reviewed it, too.

Jenn said...

Thanks for the input, everyone!

Anonymous said...

While reading it my head was spinning with all the twists and turns. In the end, I thought it was a good book, but still really think Twilight is by far the best in the series!