Wednesday, August 13, 2008

BREAKING DAWN by Stephenie Meyer (A Little Chat With Jen)

Okay, it's Project Runway night, so I'm not getting much done on FI. I figured I could get this review out during commercials. LOL. Yeah, I'm pathetic. I'm moving along in a scene, tho, so I'm sure I'll get back to that as soon as the show is over. I'm actually really excited to work on it (a HUGE relief).

On to BD.

****MAJOR SPOILERS ahead -- stop NOW if you don't want to hear 'em. :)****

***This is your last chance to turn back!!! SPOILERS _ABOUND_ IN THIS REVIEW!!!***

Ahem. :)

This book is the fourth and "final" book in the Twilight series. I use the quotes because apparently Meyer's is rewriting TWILIGHT from Edward's POV. I really look forward to that because it will be interesting to see things through Edward's eyes. Plus, I'm dying to know what Edward's voice will be like. I also used those quotes because you _never know_. There might be one or MANY books left in this series... If I had to bet money, I would definitely lay it on the side of there being a continuation at some point. But that's me. :) I dream of writing a series (or two or three) because I never want to say goodbye to my characters. At least, not yet. (g)

Brief Summary: Last we left the Twilight crew, Bella had finally talked Edward into making her a vampire. His only condition was that they be married first. Jacob, faced with losing Bella, gets the heck out of Dodge--to parts unknown. In addition, the Volturi had put their own deadline on things -- either Bella, who is quite knowledgable about the vampire world, becomes a vampire or she must die, and that knowledge with her. So, will they or won't they? And how in the world is she going to explain things to her parents?

So, according to Edward, the whole transition into becoming a vampire is quite horrific. From the way he made things sound, once she's transitioned, she'll basically become this insatiable animal whose bloodlust will be completely out of control. Even worse, she won't be "Bella" for a very long time. Sure, she'll settle down after a while, but it's gonna be a very rough period during which she'll be a danger to all of those around her -- both to her human family, but also to her new vampire family, who will have to keep her under control lest she expose the vampire world and run the risk of bringing the Volturi down on them.

Egads. Talk about PRESSURE.

So, okay. I'm a little more than shocked that Edward actually DID marry Bella. LOL. I don't know. I thought he might get cold feet (no pun intended) and drag out the whole thing. But no...he stuck by his word. He did marry her. I thought it was really sweet, but then I'm a complete sap, and I was a little more than interested to see what would happen *cough* in the bedroom between them. Alas, Meyers blacked it all out, which was actually okay in the end. The lead up was really sweet and we can all imagine how things went. (g)

What DID shock me was that she got pregnant!!!!!! Well, maybe shocked isn't the right word. Surprised is better. Was I flabbergasted and appalled? No, not really. Honestly, I thought it was a unique twist that was great for the series. I mean, OMG...a half-human, half-vampire baby!! Just think of the possibilities there. (g) Plus, I sort of liked the maternal side of Bella. *shrug* It seems a lot of people were really bothered by this twist... I wasn't.

So then, the baby started to kill Bella. I loved how protective Edward was of her during this time, and I found myself slightly irritated that she turned toward what's her bucket for support...gah, the vampire that doesn't like her. Rosalie!! (Yes, I had to go look up the name. LOL.)

Anyway, I thought the suspense was a little...sketchy in parts. I mean, I didn't _really_ believe Bella would die. And well, of course she didn't. It made me laugh that they couldn't figure out that blood would calm the little bump down (I mean, half-vampire, people!), and could only manage a half-hearted cheer when the lightbulb finally lit up for them.

The superfast pregnancy was a little freaky, tho. Cool idea, if I'm perfectly honest. I almost hoped the whole birthing part would be a little more "alien like" but it was good. I thought for sure this whole baby thing would somehow keep Edward from turning her into a vampire. But no, he had to change her in order to save her. Okay, so here's where things with the book started going a little...too easily. Yes, that is my phrase for this book. Things were _too dang easy_.

I say this because Bella didn't experience a "normal" transition--in that, it was VERY normal, without any bad side effects. She became this super vampire without any real bloodlust. More importantly, she was BELLA. That isn't supposed to happen!! Okay, so it served the book, but good grief. How is it that she's THAT special? The fact Edward couldn't ever read her thoughts was cool...but how is that this klutzy girl was able to transition so easily? Hrm. I dunno...I think there needed to be more to the whole thing. See...easy! Too, too easy. Just any other day.... And seeing Charlie again was absolutely no big deal. Easy.

The baby was cool, but the name... well, let's face it. Renesemee kinda blows as a name. LOL. I couldn't pronounce it in my head and stumbled across it every time. I totally bought into the nickname Nessie. I don't care if I'm in the minority (I don't think I am, btw). It's easy to say.

Anyway, I liked Nessie's ability to speak through images -- and I loved that she was on this super growth spurt and that she was able to talk so soon, etc. Freaky! I worried that she would keep going and be dead within a few short years--just as the characters did. More on this later!

Now, I have to take a moment to talk about the fact Meyer's wrote a big chunk of this book from Jacob's POV. Even though I thought his voice was hilarious, and it was fresh and new to see things from someone else's POV, I found the whole thing did nothing towards warming me up to Jacob as a potential love interest for Bella. Why? Because it all highlighted how truly immature and boyish he is. I mean, how can she be attracted to two totally different people? One mature and strong-willed...the other immature and prone to tantrums?? I LIKE Jacob, but I never understood the attraction. Sorry to all of you in Jacob's camp! And if you ARE in Jacob's camp, I can't imagine that you were all that happy when Jacob imprinted on Nessie!! ROFL. Dude, I roared with laughter when that happened! (For those of you who don't know, Jacob is a werewolf. Every werewolf "imprints" on someone eventually (at least they hope to) and that person becomes the center of his/her universe. It's like love at first sight with a supernatural, obsessive twist to it.) And yeah, it's a little more than creepy that Jacob imprinted with Bella's daughter...right after she was born, no less. Don't get me wrong...he's not a pedophile or anything. He just wants to protect her at this age...but later.... Kinda gross, eh?

Anyway, just another example of how everything was "too easy." I mean, in one fell swoop, the whole Edward vs. Jacob thing was permanently solved. She gets to have them both -- and a baby! What the heck? One of things I really love about a novel is when an MC is forced to make difficult decisions that HURT...decisions that are difficult to live with...ones with reprecussions that radiate into all facets of their lives. Ones that twist my gut and leave me needing to take a step away or lose it. Ugh. It was most disappointing. (OH! And the whole vampire/werewolf war was solved as well, as the werewolves will do anything to protect the imprinted mate of one of their pack. So yeah, they're all on the same team now. Easy, easy, easy.)

Okay, so the baby is born, she's super special, and they need to find out if there's a way to save her from a quick death. They also need to pay hommage to the Volturi so they don't come charging in to kill Bella. Lots of possibilities...had me on the edge, waiting to see what would happen.

And of course, my worst fear came true. The Volturi got wind of Nessie, and if you were paying attention earlier in the book, they of course assumed (or at least used the excuse of the rest of the vampire world assuming) that she is a "made" child vampire (she having grown to toddler size in just a couple of short months). And because of the child vampire wars earlier in their history, of course the Volturi would sweep in quickly to destroy her and the Cullen family. They were biding their time for an opportunity, so I just knew it would come to this in the final book.

So yay...scary, scary war coming. Pretty exciting to see the Cullens pull in all of the vampires from around the world to "witness" for them. I have to mention the Romanians--they were AWESOME. :) Seriously, one of the highlights for me. (g) I could just see them on the sidelines, rubbing their hands together and giggling maniacially. "Muhahahahahahahaha."

I liked watching Edward and Bella prepare for the inevitable. It was sweet and romantic, and yeah, I was stressed to no end. Bella really matured in this book -- almost to the point I no longer recognized her. I really liked her--she was different, but it was good, IMHO.

Anyway, so the "war comes" and man, I was we go...eek...ack...I'm so scared! Please let them all be okay....

Oh wait...

It's over?????????????

Yeah, so anti-climatic. Such a disappointment. Don't get me wrong. I got the ending I wanted...but man, what happened to tough decisions...casualties, hell, I'd settle for an _injury_?? But nope, none of that. It was like climbing the sheer face of a cliff only to discover a nice meadow with frolicking deer at the top. WTF.

When I finished this book, an old dream of mine came to mind. (Let me just say first that I saw Jaws at a VERY impressionable age.) Anyway, in this dream, people are chasing me and I MUST climb this mountain to get away from them. When I would get to the top, I would find the "peak" was literally razor thin, and the other side was an ocean FILLED with sharks. So there's little dream Jen trying to balance on this edge, knowing whatever direction she chose would likely be fatal. What could little Jen do??


Luckily for me, that's about the time I would wake up. (phew) Anyway, isn't that what we ALL want in a novel?? A situation where there are no good options, and ones in which there will be some losses. That's what it _looked like_ in BD, but unfortunately, the ending did not live up to the hype.

Gah. The fact that Bella's new powers scared away this legendary coven of vampires without any fighting...without any of the vampires even getting a single hair shaken out of place, was just a WAH WAH WAH moment. I mean, Alice came back JUST at the right time...Bella managed to throw her shield up when she'd failed so many times before...gah. I almost wanted to throw the book at the wall.

But I didn't. Why? Because I GOT the ending I wanted. I wanted them to all live--for everyone to be okay and happy. And dang it, she gave it to me. I've never been so disappointed/happy. And yeah, you bet your ass I would buy any other sequels she writes. Dang. That's just weird.

Anyway, as I said... it was all too easy. She tied up everything _perfectly_... a vampire HEA. Good grief.

All that, and of course I still loved the book. Well, I loved the characters and I'm happy that things worked out in the end. But, IMHO, she should've hurt her characters's good fiction. *shrug*

I'm sure I'll think of a million other things to say after I post this. Gak. Oh well, that's all I can think of right now and this is already too long.

Would I buy this book? A'yup. Go. Now. It's still really good. LOL.


Beth said...

I haven't read any of the Meyer books, and never will, but it appears she's good at building suspense and anticipation, raising those stakes higher and higher...and then lets everyone off the hook. Gives 'em the easy way out.

A real lesson to be learned there in how _not_ to write a novel. (wry g) The best stories are the ones where the writer leads the characters _into_ the fire and out the other side -- changed, wiser, possibly scarred. Possibly dead. Sounds like Meyer takes them right up to the edge, and then tip-toes around, avoiding any true inconvenience and pain.

Kind of the way Evanovich avoided dealing with the repercussions of Stephanie sleeping with Ranger by treating it as if it had been a casual one-night stand -- pleasant but nothing to rock anyone's world. That was dishonest, to say the least. And cowardly.

Can you tell I'm no fan of authors who do this? (g)

Jennifer Hendren said...


LOL -- well, she usually does fairly well with her endings, but this one definitely takes the cake. I'm shocked it was such a letdown. The other three books were _really_ good and definitely put the characters through the wringer, so to speak.

On the topic of Evanovich -- I rented one of the books on CD from the library and I'm not sure I can make myself listen to it. The Ranger "voice" is Godawful. Sounds like a two-bit hustler with a nasal cavity problem. (g) Not exactly how I imagined his voice. I think ruining the sound of his voice saying "Babe" that I've conjured in my head is just Not Worth It. LOL.

And yes...hurt your characters. Always a good motto. :)


Beth said...

Ranger has a smoky voice. Not a Joisey twang. Ugh, indeed.

Jennifer Hendren said...


Amen. (g)


Helen said...

Hi Jen,

Have you read the bits of _Midnight Sun_ that have now been posted since the partial draft was leaked? If so, has it lived up to your expectations? (I haven't read any of it.)

I suspect there will probably be further adventures in the Twilight-verse...if not Bella & Edward centred, then around Renesmee (sucky name, I agree) & Jacob or some such.

I wasn't surprised that they got married. Seeing how much of a Big Deal it had become, that not only Edward wanted to marry before sex but that Bella ended up feeling that way, I was sure it would happen.

I'm not sure I believe the vampire baby thing. If the whole point of vampirism is that you're frozen in time, then how come vampire sperm isn't? Doesn't really make sense to me. I wasn't bothered by the fact that she got pregnant, but it seemed inconsistent with the vampire myth.

Although it's pretty consistent with Bella's sometimes stupidly self-sacrificing character, I was a bit disgusted with the way she was happy to die for this baby and used Rosalie to defend it to the death.

Like you - I was thinking, "DUH! Feed it blood!" Couldn't believe they didn't work that one out. *rolls eyes*

I never believed she'd die either. I'm not surprised that they only turned her into a vampire when it was that or death - Edward had made it pretty clear that he really never wanted to change her. I am a little surprised that she did get changed into a vampire, actually. I thought seeing Meyer had resisted for the first three books, she'd work out some way for Bella and Edward to be together HEA without the need to make Bella a vampire (some vampirism cure, maybe?)

I was also unconvinced by everything being so incredibly easy for her. Human blood? Pfft. Even if she learnt control unusually quickly, to not have even a month or two of bloodlust before settling into vampirism. Plus, everything else about transformation held true (the beauty, the superstrength, the grace), so why this one thing that didn't? And Charlie being so cool with it didn't ring true to me, either.

Confession - I'm a Jacobite *g* Quite frankly, I don't see a lot of difference maturity-wise between Edward and Jacob. I think Edward is pretty bratty too. (I also don't like Edward as a partner for Bella because I think she's too spineless around him, and that creeps me out. Reminds me a lot of a friend's behaviour in a relationship which turned abusive *shiver*)

Why did you roar with laughter when Jacob imprinted on Nessie? I didn't pick who the object of his affections would be, but I was pretty sure he would imprint with someone in this book because 1) that's how she dealt with the love triangle in The Host, by introducing a fourth, and 2) because it's always been Edward - Jacob's only ever had a look in when he wasn't around - and so Jacob & Bella was never going to happen. Doesn't mean I wasn't disappointed about it, though. But it's just so convenient. Having him not find anyone would have created much more conflict and been much more interesting.

The non-fight with the Volturi didn't ring true to me at all. I bought the idea that they can't stand up to others in a fair fight. I _could not_ believe that they wouldn't come back soon after to mount a sneak attack or something. Hold Renee hostage - now _that_ bring the Cullens to their knees. Like the Volturi would ever leave them all alone. And no deaths, no sacrifices, nothing? (Not that any of the main characters did ever die anyway - also rather convenient, even for a series with immortal characters.)

TBH - I think I've had enough of the Twilight world. I don't think I care to read anymore. Too convenient, too neatly sewn up. Give me conflict and angst (choosing between the two loves of your life? Now that _is_ hard) and actual fear of characters dying please.

If she writes a sequel to The Host, will I read it? Dunno either...

Anyway, I think I've blathered on long enough. :-)