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Monday, August 4, 2008

Breaking Dawn...Review

About the book:
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?

Just a heads-up, this review will contain spoilers. I am not a Stephenie Meyer junkie. I don't think she's the best writer, I don't think her books are the best ever written. And I find it interesting that while I didn't love the first three books, I did enjoy Breaking Dawn the best. If you look around the Twilight universe, though, you will find that many faithful Twilighters hated Breaking Dawn. It's been quite entertaining to read so many nasty reviews.

I had every intention of reading this book simply so I could write another snarky review. However, I liked Breaking Dawn. Meyer finally got it right. Her writing is much tighter here and the depth that I have missed from the other books has finally arrived. There was a hint of depth in Eclipse, so I had some hope that there would be more here.

Meyer's potential is terrific. Her writing, not so much. It has always been the big drawback for me. The writing in Twilight, especially, nearly made me quit reading. I've always wished that she had a better editor. It's as if Meyer bled all over her keyboard, never looked back and her editor (if you can call her that) simply liked the story and didn't actually do any editing. As an editor by trade, this has always bugged me. I've read Harlequin romance novels that were better written. What bothers me is so many people are thinking that it's great writing and it's not. I honestly can't believe that the books have been edited so poorly, if at all.

I have always hated Bella. I have made that clear in my other reviews. She was self-absorbed, stupid, single-minded and always needed to be protected. She complained about everything, even being forced to have a "wedding". She couldn't make her own decisions and let herself be controlled by Edward and his family.

I loved seeing her grow up, here. Marriage and pregnancy can do that to a person. And, the whole pregnancy thing was a surprise, especially given traditional vampire lore and Stephenie Meyer's own canon. Vampires are not able to reproduce. However, I found the explanation fascinating. Very creative. I liked that because of the pregnancy and love for her child, Bella became stronger and less selfish. I also liked Edward's realistic reaction. Normally, he is always in control. He loves Bella and suddenly there is a situation he can't explain, let alone control. He loses it and it was refreshing to see his "humanity." I also liked that Bella's turning was related to saving her from death, not simply to "make" her a vampire.

I enjoyed Jacob. Having the book split between his perspective and Bella's was an interesting angle. The whole werewolf imprinting thing is strange, and the imprinting on children is a bit disturbing. I realize it's a case of Jacob finding his "someday" partner and until then he simply is protector and friend. However, it's still a bit wiggy to me. I do see that by doing this, Meyer was able to keep everyone together and make them one nice, happy family. A bit of a cop-out? Maybe.

I'm sorry: Renesmee? It's a nice thought, but absolutely ridiculous and something an immature teenage mother might come up with. It could be argued that Bella is that immature teenager mother. I'm not sure what Meyer was thinking but Renesmee is awkward to pronounce and I even kept messing it up as I read. I did, however, prefer it over the nickname, Nessie. Sigh.

I like vampire Bella. I like that she finally gains some strength, both physically and emotionally. The vampiric qualities actually make her a nicer, more likeable person.

I found her relationship with Edward much more believable and enjoyable now that they are more of equals. Bella finally grows up and accepts her life: she is committed to Edward and Renesmee and their family. It was interesting that when she finally let go of herself and her own reservations and focused fully on her family, her "special quality" or supernatural talent finally manifested itself. It was only then, that she could use it to protect those she loved. Quite profound actually.

I was happy to see the end result of the "battle" with the Volturi. Bloodshed doesn't cure everything.

And maybe it's another cop-out, but I liked that Bella was still able to have her father in her life. Family is important and I'm glad Meyer made that work.

Overall, I thought it was an enjoyable read. Stellar? No. Compelling and entertaining? Yes.

So, while I haven't jumped on the Twilight bandwagon, I think that if you can read them for the fluffy, romantic, pop trash they are, they're fun. She does have a way of sucking you in and the whole way through (at least with Twilight and New Moon) I was thinking, "this is stupid why am I doing this?" And, yet, I kept on reading.

I think that all of these books would have been better if they weren't written in first person. Bella is so shallow through them that you don't get the character development from the others. In Twilight, especially, there would have been so much more depth to the story if it was told in third person, where we actually get Edward's reaction to Bella, rather than Bella's confusion.

Thanks to my library for having a copy I could borrow. I haven't had to buy any of these!  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 8/08

* * * *
4/5 Stars

13 comments:

  1. Did I tell you this already? I have another contest for a free book on my blog. Hardly any entries so far! It's a great book :-)

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  2. What an interesting blog! I'll have to come back and poke around some night when I have more time. :) I'm here tonight to thank you for entering my Bloggy give-away. Come see who won at http://www.InnerBeautyGirlz.com :)

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  3. I agree with you on pretty much everything in your review.

    Renesmee was definitely weird and hard to pronounce. I agree that it seems like something a teenager would name a baby. Nessie was better, but not by much. I wouldn't have minded Carlie (the middle name) to be the first name, and Renesmee to be the middle.

    I've been thinking about Jacob imprinting on Nessie and how disturbing it was. It could be worse. At least Jacob can stop aging while Nessie is growing up, and at least Nessie will be fully grown in less than seven years. It makes it a little easier to swallow.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog by the way.

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  4. My next door neighbor hates Bella too. She said the other day, "She's so annoying. And she totally acts like she's in high school." I'm like, duh. She is in high school. That's why she's annoying. And that's why she writes like that, because she's writing for other silly high schoolers.

    I agree with you, it was nice to see her sort of grow up. And although I was so against her turning vampire, I liked her better that way.

    My opinion (you already read it on my blog) is that it's just fluff reading anyway. So I don't really have any literary expectations for it.

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  5. I agree with you about Bella being stronger here. And I enjoyed Breaking Dawn the most, out of the four books.

    As long as you don't mind, I am linking your great review to mine.

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  6. hi, great review. I agree, Bella is annoying, I don't like her character either. For me, Twilight was the best of the bunch in the series. I also enjoyed your reviews of the Twilight and Eclipse.
    The whole Jacob imprinting thing was strange and annoying as well. It made me not like him at all. It was like he was obssessed over Nessie. I just didnt like the 'happily ever after' aspect to this one.

    http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

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  7. I can't really wrap my brain around the whole imprinting thing either. A little too strange for me.

    I have always been a fan of Bella though. I haven't understood how people dislike her so much! It was nice to see her grow up a little though.

    I thought that the ending was satisfying and like you, I was glad that she still had her dad. I was also glad that there wasn't a lot of talk about the hunting and I'm glad she didn't kill anyone.

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  8. Here is a review that I thought you might find interesting:

    http://krandle.com/kstreetjournal/2008/08/twilight-and-other-purloined-morpheme-packets-%e2%80%93/

    Let me know what you think...

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  9. Amanda, I love it! Great review. LOL!! Snarky. I have to agree with so many points. It's how I felt after I read Twilight. And after reading Breaking Dawn, I still feel that way. I did, however, like Breaking Dawn...simply because it was an entertaining fantasy. Still poorly written, but entertaining. What did you think?

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  10. good review. i'm glad that you liked this book better than the others. i specifically thought of you several times as i was reading about Bella taking more initiative, being less dependent and less whiney.

    i've linked to your review. thanks!

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  11. I agree. Thanks for the review. Personally, I liked The Host better.

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  12. I have very mixed feelings about the whole Twilight series. I was glad to see it all finally end. I liked that Bella grew up and that she finally thought about someone else besides herself.

    Throughout this whole series I found myself thinking alot about my bratty teenage years and this story played into all those emotions; perfect boyfriend, sneaking behind my parents back, someone to love me and always protect me, the dream of lots of money, perfect in-laws, my own clumsy, non-perfect self and the dream of someday becoming graceful and beautiful, two men fighting for me,....the list could go on. When I stand back and look at the whole story, I thought it ended close to where my life is now, just a mom protecting the life I chose and those I love.

    Now for what I really think...It was disturbing to me. I think the author blurrs the lines of right and wrong and plays into the readers lustful emotions. I thinks she encourages bad teenage decisions with the result being a fairy tale ending. The fact that she is an LDS writer, whether that information was used intentionally or not by her to help with sells, bothers me even more. I guess I hold her to a higher standard than other authors

    I know it's all fantasy and I enjoyed escaping to an easier place for a few days instead of dealing with my screaming kids, my empty pocket book, my not so young body, and my husband that I never see anymore because he's always working. In the end though, there are just so many things about it that I'm bothered with. I kept hoping that it would all come together in the end and all my issues with it would be reconciled and I would walk away feeling uplifted or inspired or just entertained. I didn't. I walked away feeling very disappointed and confused. Maybe that's how she wanted it to be.

    So, in the end: I liked it, I didn't, I liked it, I didn't....I just don't know! I do know that I definately just wasted way way too much time thinking about it.

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  13. What bothers me is the fact that LDS booksellers sell them and so people don't realize that they aren't LDS books. Because of that, so many LDS girls read them and I just hope they will realize that it's not appropriate for the boy you love to stay in your room all night, or it's not ok to always lie to your parents! The fact remains that they aren't LDS books, They aren't published by Deseret Book (although they are sold by Deseret Book). Yes, Meyer is LDS, but she didn't write them for an LDS audience or with LDS characters. But you're right, because of the LDS part, she's held to a higher standard.

    Even though I liked this one, (which surprised me) I still think they're completely over-rated. I didn't like the first two and thought the third one was ok. I checked them all out of the library. I read them mostly so I could write snarky reviews and tick off the people who think they're the best thing ever written and who stand in line at bookstores at midnight. I love Harry Potter, but I didn't stand in any lines at midnight to buy the books!

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