Friday, March 6, 2009

Stephenie Meyer - Breaking Dawn (Book Review)


"Breaking Dawn" (Amazon: UK, US)
by STEPHENIE MEYER
Format: Paperback, 768 pages
Publisher: Atom (August 4, 2008)
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WARNING! HERE BE SPOILERS!
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Though I’m probably late to jump on the bandwagon, I feel I must warn you, the unsuspecting masses, of the atrocity that is Breaking Dawn. While I was less than pleased with the hype around Stephanie MEYER’s Twilight saga (read Trin’s review of Twilight here and New Moon here), I do admit that the series is addictive. I found myself waiting impatiently for the release of the much awaited fourth installment of this young adult vampire series, but then it ended up sitting on my shelf for around four months before I decided to pick it up and get my moneys worth.

My God, what a waste of twenty dollars.

I was appalled at the ridiculousness of it all. What was supposed to be a thought-provoking, intelligent romance ended up being something a twelve year old fan girl with some writing skills could have conceived, I found myself re-reading almost every sentence just to see if I read it wrong, telling myself no author would allow a novel to get so outrageous. Apparently, STEPHENIE MEYER finds herself exempted from the lines of logic.

It starts off well enough, with Bella’s anticipation of her upcoming wedding to the over-perfect Edward Cullen and worrying about Jacob Black, who ran off at the news of hers and Edward’s engagement. When the wedding does arrive, and Jacob comes to visit, she lays out the big business of her and Eddie getting horizontal on their honeymoon. Needless to say, Jacob is less then pleased.

A bit of angst, conflict, and some feuding can be turned into some pretty good literature. My hopes were raised. Perhaps some character development will happen. Perhaps this will go beyond Bella’s utter uselessness. Perhaps this fourth installment will find its way into my best of ‘08 list. Sadly, these hopes were quickly crushed.

Where do I begin? Ah, how about at Isle Esme, where Bella suddenly switches into her fresh temptress skin. She does not just ask Edward for sex. She sits there and begs for more and more sex, even after the first time, which left her pretty bruised up. Edward initially refuses, but when Bella insists … well, he’s only a man, right? (The question of how pops into my mind, though – all bodily fluid supposedly dies out when vampires are created, blood included, so …?)
Needless to say, Edward has even less personality than in the previous books. His life - as usual - revolves around Bella, and Bella can think of little else on their honeymoon than getting it on. Edward and Bella’s relationship in a nutshell: Bella watches Edward sparkle, Edward sparkles, they get married, sparkle some more.

The main twist follows shortly: surprise, surprise, Bella gets pregnant (with the whole tidbit on immortal children in the first two chapters, having nothing to do with the then-plot direction, it was in fact pretty predictable). I won’t even go into the logic of this and I’ll ignore the aforementioned fact that Edward is devoid of bodily fluid (sperm included). Instead, I’ll provide three words that express my feelings: JUMPING THE SHARK! I’ve come to the conclusion that STEPHENIE MEYER was so completely out of ideas that she went on to some fan fiction website, chose the most ridiculous plot possible, and wove a tale around it. I am not pleased, Ms. MEYER, not pleased at all. Thankfully, that is the end of Book One of Breaking Dawn, and we move on to the saving grace of the series; Jacob Black.

For a lovely portion of the novel, we are brought into the heavily sarcastic cynicism that is Jacob’s mind. It is possible that, in these four hundred or so pages, MEYER has written the best she has ever written in any of her published works (The Host included). I love Jake’s dark humor, and the way he is so conflicted between his love for Bella and his devotion to the pack. I love how he also hates her and what she does to him, and how he hates everything she’s chosen to do with her life. It all would paint the picture of a real relationship. When Bella’s with Jacob, she sparks something resembling a personality. They have playful fights and kid around and don’t always bow to each other’s whims. It’s something real, not this desperate, obsessive, controlling fight for power that Edward and Bella have. All in all, I love Jacob. I also enjoyed the pack’s transgressions, and I LOVED Leah. She’s tough, but she has semi-normal worries, such as that, being the only female werewolf, she believes she is destined to die alone. Plus, as a pack member, she is forced to see and hear her ex-boyfriends loving thoughts about Emily, the woman he imprinted on while he and Leah were still dating. She has no choice in the matter. It’s brutal, yeah, but in the greatest way.

Jacob’s narrative still doesn’t make up for the incredulous plot: Bella is not the least bit frightened of an unnatural being that has taken up camp in her womb – even more, she calls Rosalie to help her protect the thing (as though it needs it). I guess that by now her being only eighteen doesn’t matter anymore, or perhaps the birth scene is supposed to scare off any potential fan of hers who’d wish to follow her footsteps – it’s best described in one word: ewwww! Think Rosemary’s Baby combined with Dracula, add a bit of Blood and Chocolate and then just take every single female scream from every single movie ever made, and play it all at once.
Here’s the kicker--Jacob imprints on the baby. And that’s the end of his narrative. How awkward can you get?

Then, alas, we are back to the melodramatic insight of Bella. She wakes up and finds her daughter, whom she has named Renessme, appropriately nicknamed Nessie. That’s the only thing marring her first steps into a life of an immortal, though – she’s utterly perfect once she becomes a vampire. She’s able to control her bloodlust and doesn’t have to give up anything; it’s like she’s missing out on the whole vampire experience. She gets a perfect little ending, even after she’s made the dumbest choices anyone could possibly make. What’s that saying to young girls who are reading this? It’s OK to give up everything in your life for a high school boyfriend, ‘cause eventually it’ll all cool over.

There’s nothing even remotely worth mentioning about Breaking Dawn other than the plot: character development is zero to none. If you’re really into the series, you might like to read it just for some kind of closure, though I guarantee it will be messy. I don’t know, maybe you’ll love it. Maybe you already love it. Maybe you’ve read it multiple times. Debate is welcome. I’m curious as to what others think (that is, others who aren’t blinded by the beauty that is Edward).

Now, if you’ll just excuse me, I’m going to go read my Batman comics and attempt to cleanse myself of this nonsense.

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~Dannie~

7 Comments:

Hagelrat said...

I was not a fan of Twilight the book, I couldn't be bothered with the film, I think Edward is a creepy freak and Bella is a feeble minded twit. Honestly, it's the worst kind of teen fiction to my mind.

Thea said...

*passes bottle of whiskey to Dannie* Everything you said. I too loved Jacob and Leah, but that's not nearly enough to save this shitstorm of a book. GAAH. On second thought, just thinking about the Breaking Dawn debacle is giving me a headache. I'll take that bottle of liquor back now :p

wend said...

I pretty much felt the same way. I tried to think about what ruffled my feathers the most:

1. Bella is no longer Bella! - she's no longer the vulnerable human ... and she becomes so powerful so easily. WTHell?

2. The Jacob/Nessie imprinting ewwww factor. Icky! Squicky! NO!

I really had to slog through it. And, I read 4 other books during the two weeks it took me to read too. A dire conclusion to the series for this reader.

Tia Nevitt said...

I didn't mind the spoilers because I had no intention of reading it. Congratulations on getting through it if you disliked it this much. I guess plunking down 20 dollars is a bit of incentive.

Andrea said...

You know unlike the rest of the commenters I really liked the twilight series though I do agree that Edward just screams RAPIST PEDOPHILE. Breaking Dawn was way all over the place and stupid. I never got the " you're dead but your sperm is alive" thing either. Also what happens when she is on her period, like its blood too and he can probably smell it, okay thats just gross.

Anonymous said...

I LOVED AND ADORED the first three books.

This one was amazing, up until I learn Bella's kid is amazingly precocious. I knew after that the book was going to hell.

Damnit Steph, you had to ruin your totally awesome series!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Stephenie Meyer is a piss poor writer. She just gave up in the end and took all the characters off their psych meds. How in the world did she get a publishing company? And I guess Bellas monthly cycles( to be polite) smell like Lavendar too.

 

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