on 25 November 2008
I am unfortunately the kind of person who likes to see things through to the end... Normally that is a good thing, but in the case of the Twilight Saga it most certainly is not. What it is, is a complete waste of time. (incidentally, "Saga" is very apt - it implies somthing dull, long and drawn out).
I feel quite passionate about this: The Twilight saga is over-hyped trash and nothing more. The series is nothing and I mean NOTHING in comparison to books written for a similar age group (e.g. Harry potter/His Dark materials). The only thing Meyer has achieved for the 'literary cause' is a sort of Mills & Boon romp for teenagers - nothing ground breaking and certainly nothing to push the intellectual boundaries. In all honesty, my main problem is that Meyer just cannot write. Her style (if you can call it that) is horrendous and the holes in her plotlines are gaping ones. And to think people moaned about JK Rowling! A literary genius by comparison. For this reason, it pains me to read all the praise Twilight and its sequels have been getting.
Anyway, back to the books: Twilight was okay - it started well (intense teen-emotions explored quite well) but went down hill. New Moon was just painful (content wise - I just couldn't seem to care about Bella's emotional state by this point). Eclipse was less painful than New Moon but still pretty bad (to quote one reviewer: "will they, won't they, who cares?")... and that brings me to Breaking Dawn.
Absurd, ludicrous, inane, plain stupid (I could go on but there is no point listing a whole load of synonyms for rubbish). If I could have given it no stars, I would have. I wonder whether anyone else found the concept of Werewolves imprinting on babies to be very disturbing? Also, how obvious was it that Meyer was simply going for a cop-out 'everything-worked-out-well-in-the-end' ending? Makes me sick.
So, not only is the plot ridiculous but the narrative is very disjointed (it is told from Bella and Jake's points of view). There is also a great big build up which in the end fizzles out into nothing - much like the Saga as a whole.
Conclusion: do yourselves a favour and after reading Twilight AVOID the rest of the Saga like the plague. Wuthering Heights, Fire and Hemlock (Dianna Wynne Jones) or even the Nightworld series/Anne Rice books (if you must read something to do with vampires) are much much worthier of people's time and praise.
Even a number of Stephenie Meyer's most ardent fans will admit that she's not the best writer in the world. Her strength has been in creating characters that have struck a chord and tapped into a teenage feeling that everybody is either currently experiencing or remembers experiencing. Twilight, her best work, is still open to criticism if you start looking at the technical aspects of her writing and plotting rather than just doing as I would suggest most people do and just enjoying it for what it is - great fun. I'm not a fan of literary snobbery, if a book is enjoyable to you it's worth something and that's how I've always approached this saga.
I hated New Moon but thought Eclipse was an improvement, so I was greatly looking forward to Breaking Dawn... but my word, I was disappointed with what I was reading. Unlike some I didn't go in with any particular vision of where the story should go in order to set myself up to be dissatisfied if things didn't go my way, but where it did go was baffling to me; I don't need sequels to happen the way I expect them to, I just need the author to make it fly. Meyer failed. I was able to overlook Meyer's lack of technical finesse before because she's written engaging characters... but in this book, the story and plot twists got so unbelievably ridiculous and out of keeping with all that had gone before that I could no longer do so, as much as I wish I could. Other reviews I'm sure have engaged in big spoilers, but I always try not to so I'll just sum it up by saying the following...
I felt everybody was acting out of character with no plausible explanation for why and it jarred. Unless you explain these things properly, it grates. Edward in particular becomes a wimpish caricature of himself in places. Her big plot twists were very poorly explained in the book and poorly explained after publication when she started defending them (my take is that if your book doesn't explain them properly to begin with you didn't do your job, but even when she went into more depth in interviews I was still seeing holes - she seemed to be under the erroneous impression that "I always intended it this way" is logic enough to fill plot holes, and it's not). She spent page after page introducing reams of new characters and then did nothing with them, effectively wasting paper. All the tension and struggles of the previous books, the ones which kept me reading, suddenly got neatly wrapped up in very unsatisfying and anti-climatic conclusions; all the sacrifice and the consequences of the huge decisions Bella and Edward were facing, the ones that excited me and I was waiting to see come to fruition, suddenly disappeared.
That's not to say there weren't at least some aspects of the book that I liked. Surprisingly, the section from Jacob's point of view (how I groaned when I first got to that page) actually turned out to be pretty funny and engaging; even if I was unimpressed at some of the things happening in it his point of view was fresh and interesting. There were odd moments here and there which did make me smile.
All in all, however, I would be quite happy to pretend Twilight was a trilogy. I found this conclusion deeply unsatisfying and poorly written, even by the lowered standards I previously approached the saga with. I can understand why other people may like it better and score it higher, but even so it baffles me that anybody could think it was a 5 star book; its flaws are too manifest. To be honest, my second star is probably more about the affection I have for the series as a whole than this particular novel; I would gladly have swapped Breaking Dawn to have Midnight Sun (Twilight from Edward's point of view) published - just from the preview Stephenie posted online Midnight Sun seems miles better.
on 18 May 2009
I loved Twilight, and all the characters. New Moon and Eclipse i tolerated hoping that they were building to the conclusion of Breaking Dawn.
But i was so disappointed with Breaking Dawn. I'm not overly picky or a hater, but i just don;t understand how people could rate this book 5 stars. Everything about the book is ridiculous. It was as though the first 3 books never existed. The characters, situations and rules are so far removed from Twilight, i could not feel the same empathy for the characters. Bella's constant whining is tiresome and she displays no redeeming qualities. Edward's blind devotion is frustrating and pushing the limits of credibility. Meyer just wanted to tie everything up with a nice little bow, we had been forewarned that Bella could not have it all, and would have to make sacrifices - it turns out in fact that she doesn't - hurrah!! To give Bella her happy ending Meyer constructed ridiculous and daft plot twists, and contradicted what she had laid out in previous books.(Meyer seems to have some pro-life agenda to push) Bella's dad is treated with complete disdain in this book, as if he would have turned a blind eye to everything that was going on.
Comparisons to JK Rowling only serve to flatter Meyer. Rowling produced fantastic books, each leading onto the next, we rooted for Harry and friends, the tension was built and reached a fulfilling climax. This book meanders around searching for some remnants of a plot, Meyer fails to build any tension and the final 'battle' scene is woeful.
If anyone could enlighten me as to why this book is worthy of 5 stars please let me know.
on 17 September 2008
Twilight came to me on recommendation and I fell in love with the book after three chapters. The subliminal message delivered to young readers that the pursuit of physical perfection plays a very small role in attraction was both healthy and effective. Edward in all his aesthetic glory was drawn instantly to the clumsy and fragile Bella, with whom every girl could relate.
More patience and less sense of reason was required to make it through New Moon, and as for Eclipse - the book literally made my blood boil (excuse the pun). We're supposed to believe Bella has this earth-shattering love for Edward, but ends up snogging the face off Jacob?! Yeah, yeah I get that she loves him too, but that kind of blows away the notion that Meyer threaded throughout her books that we all have one true soulmate, whether human, vampire or imprinting werewolf.
Still, I was excited to see how Meyer would complete the story, and so placed my pre-order and waited. Along came Breaking Dawn, a story split into three books and told from two viewpoints, first Bella then Jacob, then back to Bella. The first of the three books read more like Mills & Boon novel than a vampiric thriller.
Thank heavens for the second book, written from Jacob's point of view. I have to admit, I found Jacob irritating in Eclipse but he really saved Breaking Dawn for me. A welcome break from Bella's vacuous bleatings; Jacob offered some genuine and believable emotions. Yes it was right for him to resent the unborn child and the Cullens for nuturing the pregnancy, yes it was right for him to be appalled by Edward's offer of Bella for the purposes of breeding (was that really necessary?) and at last I realised why people liked Jacob so much, he was the only plausible and multi-dimensional character.
Just as his book was drawing to a close, I had high hopes of him falling in love with Leah, without the imprinting business, just a natural and believable relationship development. But no, along comes Renesmee and Jacob falls in love with a newborn child - how very convenient, if not totally creepy, for the purposes of a happy, neat ending. The clumsy reminder of how `OK' it is to be obsessed with an infant was first drilled into us with the previously irrelevant scene between Jacob, Quil and Clare. Just because it's now Jacob, it's still very weird and uncomfortable S Meyer.
The complete character assassinations that took place in this book were unforgivable. OK, so Charlie was never more than a constantly hungry, fish-obsessed background character. But the protective persona that Meyer developed for Charlie all the way through New Moon and Eclipse was eradicated when he somehow miraculously guessed that Bella had been turned into a vampire, oh and he's fine with it too. Emmett, Esme and Billy practically disappeared, Rosalie (now there's a character that could have been really developed further) was ignored once she'd served her purpose of helping Bella through the pregnancy, and as for the Volturi, there was a real potential for a dramatic and exciting climax with their arrival. But instead, they whimpered off embarrassed and apologetic. Rubbish.
Then there's Edward. Where the hell did he go in this book?
Don't even get me started on the gag-inducing Renesmee, who just summoned up images of annoyingly twee little girls that we all have to stand and adore when we actually want to pull their pigtails.
The main problem with Breaking Dawn is that it's poorly written. The whole thing about Bella hating indulgence (her embarrassment at driving around in an Aston Martin was slightly amusing if not unappreciative) smacked of contradiction when in the third book, references to how great she knew she looked in her designer clothes just eradicated that completely. Also, if Eclipse was about her having to make a decision between Jacob and Edward (humanity vs. immortality) then the sacrifices she chose to make became irrelevant when she was presented with an accepting father, perfect baby and her best friend whom she didn't have to give up after all. It's like Meyer forgot all about what she'd previously written.
But mostly, to fall in love with characters we want to meet again and again, there needs to be empathy. Whether vampire or human, we needed to be able to relate to Bella. We needed to cheer for her when she overcame very human difficulties such as grief, suffering or loss, and we needed to see her experience such emotions if we, as readers, were ever really warm to her. Meyer explored this to some extent in New Moon, but ultimately where was Bella's struggle? Everything she was worried about had a miraculous and easily obtained solution. Didn't everything just work out a little too eye-rollingly perfect? What Meyer actually created was a door to escapism, where everything is wonderful and everyone is beautiful, happy, loved and complete. That's essentially all Breaking Dawn is, so it shouldn't be dressed up as anything else, let alone connected in any way to the previous three novels in the series. Go into it with that in mind, and you will avoid disappointment.
on 12 July 2010
I am one of the many "thirty-something" Twilight fans - dragged reluctantly to the first book by enthusiastic friends, then suddenly becoming a fanatic overnight. Like many, I found the first novel in the saga to be an enchanting, captivating and beautifully conceived tale with an appeal for all ages and I have to say that I liked each of the 4 books in the saga a little less than the one previous. And so to Breaking Dawn...
The novel is divided into three "books" - the first narrated by Bella, the second by Jacob and the third by Bella again. I have to say, that I loved the first "book" of BD, and as with all three previous novels, literally couldn't put it down. There is a great deal in Book One of BD to gratify the expectations that have been building in the first three novels and, for those in the "Team Edward" camp, prepare yourself to heave plenty of wistful sighs.
And therein lies the problem. I believe that the success of the Twilight saga is predominantly in the painfully unconsummated sexual tension between Edward and Bella, which (Edward would have us believe) is a situation that must remain as long as Bella is human, due to his fear of hurting, or even killing her. For me, the intense vampire/human frisson is entirely pivotal to the saga's appeal.
The second two "books" of Breaking Dawn move on from the central themes of the love story mentioned above and become a soft horror/thriller/fantasy tale; and I have to admit that most of my interest waned after the crucial events of the novel had occurred. After Book One of BD, there is none of the delicate subtlety of the previous novels which completely captured my imagination and made me fall in love with something I would never normally dream of reading. On the plus side, I liked that Stephenie Meyer experimented with using Jacob's voice in this novel; and I think it worked well. Also - I thought that the last crucial event that Bella experiences (depicted at the start of Book Three and narrated by Bella herself) was extremely well written and, as with the earlier pivotal scenes, Meyer did not let down the fans that have been anticipating these moments since Twilight.
There is quite a lot in this novel specifically that didn't sit well with me - primarily the new main character and Jacob's involvement in this plot line, which I thought was awkward, clunky and strange. I also feel that Edward's characterisation weakened from Eclipse onwards as he seems to have lost the witty, sardonic edge that was part of his charm and becomes a bit of a doormat. With regard to the saga as a whole; given Meyer's target teen audience, I feel she could have done a lot more to promote a few healthier messages - a couple of characters with an orientation other than heterosexual perhaps (maybe some of the vampires who are introduced in BD?) and less preoccupation with wealth and physical beauty.
Having said all this, I still read BD in a matter of days and enjoyed it more than most books I've read in recent years. Nothing will top Twilight itself for me though, and I think that Meyer was a victim of her own genius in attempting in the three subsequent novels to recreate its very special magic.
on 30 November 2008
This book makes a mockery of the whole Twilight series. The first book in the series was brilliant, the second okay, the third better than okay, but this is plain rubbish. The diologue is rubbish, the story is boring and dull and what I hate most *Warning spoiler* is how the character of Jacob imprints on Bella's daughter. It makes his love for Bella a waste of time and this was part of the reason the Twilight saga was so good. The story would have gone a bit better if he had imprinted on someone like Leah. I also found Bella annoying in this book, and sometimes found myself wanting to tell her to shut up.
Overall, a horrible read and I was so happy when I finished it. If you have only read the first three books, leave it at that as if you read this book, it will change how you feel about Bella and Edward. They aren't the same as in the other books and not in a good way.
on 5 March 2016
Having read the earlier books in the series, I thought I might as well read this one too. I didn't take to Bella Swan as a heroine in the first three books. She was a disaster waiting to happen. Furthermore, I found it impossible to take the human/vampire romance idea seriously. LJ Smith had done much the same sort of thing in the 90s but then she had Damon as a character; I could almost believe in him.
So, having been unimpressed by 'Twilight', 'New Moon' and 'Eclipse', I found myself actually enjoying the last book in the series. Giving the POV to Jacob for part of the story strengthened the plot and prepared the way for the entrance of the new, potentially kick-ass vampire Bella. Suspending disbelief was still difficult but 'Breaking Dawn' includes some original ideas not found in any other vampire stories I have read. Meyer handles the 'pregnancy' well and Renesme and the other human/vampire hybrids make good fantasy.
I could give the first three books no more than two or three stars; I'll give this one four.
[I really shouldn't forget that the Twilight Saga is marketed as 'Young Adult'! I understand why its target audience loves it and is sure to love 'Breaking Dawn'.]
on 3 January 2009
After reading the first 3 Twilight books in the grand total of about a week, I eagerly awaited Breaking Dawn and forced myself to pace the amount I was reading to make it last longer. However, I found that I took my time reading Breaking Dawn just because I couldn't keep up with it. Granted, I read the first book contained within the book in about a night, but after that I seemed to lose interest.
*Possible spoilers ahead.*
The plot, to keep with the theme of every single addition to the Twilight Saga, is thin, however I found this book's plot to be so far drawn out that Meyer might as well've not bothered with a plot at all.
Bella has yet to develop any likeable qualities, and Edward still does little more than dote upon Bella every single second or every single day. Whatever affable characteristics were still present in either of the main characters becomes tedious when all they do is have sex - Meyer even fades it out, the audience being too young and all. The reader does get to know Jacob more for what he is in the 2nd of 3 parts of this book, but towards the end of this part, the paedophilia begins and all the respect he earns for his morality and kindness is thrown completely to the wind.
Renesmee. She has her own separate category as she shouldn't even exist. What, in the name of all that is dear to this stupid world we all live in, were the ideas behind this `plot twist'? Bella cannot be pregnant. With Edward being technically dead, therefore inevitably unable to produce children with his own kind, how the hell can Bella become pregnant? Renesmee, as a character, is irritating and just plain boring to read about. Similarly to the frigging perfect `goddess' that conceived her, she is flawless, gifted in the opposite ways to her parents and even grows at a significant rate, which, considering she's technically half-dead, is quite an achievement. And guess what? Every character loves her! Even the new ones, introduced purely to add to the climax of the `big-bang' finale that never comes - I'm not even going to go into that. (The bad guys just walk away? They apologize? Yeah, that's right.)
Breaking Dawn totally erases any concepts put forth by the other 3 books, (I refuse to call them novels.) especially the struggle that took place in Eclipse, when perfect Bella realises that she cannot have everything she wants and has to choose which life she wants the most, either leaving her lacking in something important to her. Bella finally develops some maturity and chooses Edward, therefore losing Jacob, her parents and that side of her life; personally, I think this a good choice. Being a 17 year-old girl, I'm very partial to Edward's (constant) description. But Breaking Dawn totally dismisses this and gives everyone a happy ending. Bella, getting to keep both sides of her life now, because of Jacob's wolfy love of Renesmee binding his tribe with the Cullens and Bella's uncanny ability to be the perfect new born, essentially learns nothing.
Again following with the trend of each of the additions to this once-acceptable series, the characters with the most potential to be interesting and likeable are either ignored or just not looked into enough, mainly Jasper, who again takes a backseat in a story he could be such a big part of.
I dislike the morals and lessons associated with the close-to-non-existent story line. Breaking Dawn essentially tells young female readers that if you sit back and wait for long enough, bringing yourself down because you think you're ugly and clumsy, a knight in shining armour will come along, marry you, finally get serious with you, get you pregnant and then change you so you're like him. Then everything will sort itself out and you'll get a happy ending.
I realise that this review will probably receive a large amount of unhelpful votes, but my advice to anybody looking to buy Breaking Dawn is to not bother. Keep Eclipse as the final Chapter in Bella and Edward's story and leave them with some sort of pride in that they've both actually achieved something.
on 28 September 2011
The standard is set from page one and it's poor. Meyer has had a complete pacing by-pass. The wedding scene takes place in excruciating detail, to the point of moving in slow motion and not for effect, but just because of a dire lack of editing.
This looks like a first draft that has been hurried through. If you're expecting Meyer's writing to have improved by book four - think again. This is the worst of the series and the longest.
I loved the first book, which made me feel 16 again. It wasn't the best writing, but it caught the mood of teenage, angsty love and added vampires - what's not to love!? And despite Bella being the most annoying heroine in history, Meyer set up some great conflict and interesting vampire lore with the Volturi. But Breaking Dawn unravels all that.
Once Edward and Bella are married and she's a vampire, all the tension that made the romance so compelling is gone. There is no conflict within Edward, as they go hunting together. Didn't he love her humanity? I felt it would have been more interesting if they hadn't just slipped into domestic, undead bliss.
The whole book is leading up to a confrontation with the Volturi. You almost live every second in real-time. That's how painful it is and I had to skim read sections, just to avoid pointless exposition ("he was clearly thinking this" and "alice looked puzzled because she was thinking that"). Ten pages from the end, still NOTHING had happened and I wondered how she was going to wrap it all up. There is no wrapping up, it all just fizzles out.
This has to be the most disappointing ending ever. All the conflict Meyer builds up over the course of 4 books just dissolves. It's the worst bit of plotting since "I woke up and it was all a dream". The worst thing is, I think she betrays her characters and their motivations, leaving the rader feeling cheated.
This book is an endurance test. I read it just because I'd read the other 3, but it would have been easier to just read the Wiki plot synopsis.
Save yourself some time and avoid this. I don't think I'll even bother with the last two movies - it's that bad.
on 3 February 2009
I will try to reign myself in from bashing this book too much because I understand a lot of people feel very protective over this series. To be fair, I can give one word of praise for the series as a whole. They are readable. I whizzed through them in a matter of days, maybe because the writing is so basic and requires only a small amount of attention, or maybe because a small, sad part of myself (somewhere down by my ankle) did want to know what happened at the very end. That small part of my was very disappointed.
On with the review. Plot was strange, cheesy and sickening. Characterisation; non existent. Sense of place; this has evaporated since the first book. I loved the descriptions of the strange, green and almost alien-like quality to Forks from Twilight and I feel like this has been lost by BD.
To be picky, there is always a certain element of sacrifice in vampirism. When a human decides to became a vampire they either lose family, friends or even humanity. Though I get this is fiction and Meyer has the right to do whatever she wants with her vamps, fiction does at least have to be easy-ish to swallow and this book was not. Bella lost NOTHING and gained everything. I would have had a lot more respect for Meyer if Bella had at least had to sever her ties with her parents - that would have made an interesting wrench to watch. Instead, irritating, weak, annoying Bella gets everything she wants in her sparkly human/vampire family.
I will leave the disturbing moral messages in this book to other reviews as they seem to have wrapped that up tight. Needless to say, if you do not believe in sex before marriage, are anti-abortion, think men must be strong and a woman's place is either in the kitchen or sacrificing everything blithely for her man then you will be very happy with this book. I believe that a reader should not be able to tell an author's personal views or religious values when reading their work. If I wanted to read a religious, preachy text I would have done so. I wanted to read a book on vampires and their complicated love interests and I did not get this.
Meyer apparently did not read any other vampire novels because they would have scared her. I find this hard to believe based on some of the blatant rip offs sprinkled throughout this book (and its predecessors). The Immortal Children has been done before. Anne Rice covered this along with the Volturi, which seem such a blatant copy of the Children of Darkness that I am stunned this part even got published. Aro = Armand. Demetri = Santiago. I could go on and on and on...
To conclude, I would recommend this book to a young, maybe early teens person who has not read any kind of vampire book at all. If you were left feeling disappointed and let down by this series, I cannot recommend highly enough the following; Interview with the Vampire (and the subsequent Vampire Chronicles which follow) by Anne Rice. Words cannot describe how amazing these books are. If you want vampires as the monstrous 'bad guys' then I would suggest either Dracula by Bram Stoker (spine-chilling) or Salem's Lot by Stephen King. If you want some very dark and delicious, evil and seductive vamps with a plot to rival Hamlet in horror, then go for Vampire Wars by Steven Saville. If you want a strong, female protagonist as your lead vamp with far more going for her than Bella, go for the Vampire Genevieve by Jack Yeovil.
As for me, I will pretend that Edward killed Bella at the end of the first book. Would have been a braver and far more satisfying conclusion than the fizzle that was the end of BD.