Breaking Dawn…

Posted in Uncategorized by nanshi on August 4, 2008

by Stephanie Meyer.

Read reviews for it at Amazon.com.

This has surprisingly gotten bad reviews.

I feel a little lonely… *goes off to stand by herself in a corner*. This was probably my favorite book in the “Twilight” series. It’s like… I’m always in the minority. The first three books had stellar reviews while I could barely contain myself from sneering everytime I mentioned the title(s). Now, all the [real] fans of the “Twilight” series are sneering about “Breaking Dawn” and I’m all… I liked it.

Sheesh. Not that it was all fluffernutters and butterfly-candies and pink bunny rabbits… but still. I thought it was refreshingly better from the last three.

Note: I am not a hardcore “Twilight” (series or otherwise) fan, so I haven’t kept up with the fandom, don’t obsess over potential “spoilers” and knew nothing AND anticipated nothing when I started reading “Breaking Dawn.”

But it’s impossible to continue this review without spoilers, so you’ll have to click the cut…!!

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!

* * *

Bella and Edward get married. Bella gets pregnant on her honeymoon and this bizarre half-vampire half-human baby is created. Bella’s fragile body can’t handle it and she’s put into quarantine for the better part of… a month (??) while she tries to keep the baby from killing her. The baby almost kills Bella during its birth, but Edward gets vampire venom into her system fast enough so that Bella doesn’t die and instead begins the painful process of turning into a vampire. If the descriptions weren’t Hell personified, I don’t know what is. Moving on, Jacob shows up to the scene; unlike in previous books where the reader was led to believe that Jacob had actually imprinted on Bella, it wasn’t the case. He just was… in love with her. Not imprinted, just in love. Lo and behold, once Bella and Edward’s baby is born, Jacob instantly imprints on the child. Which is a girl, by the way (funny if it was a boy, ne?). And in one of the most horrific twists of fandom, Bella and Edward’s child is called Renesmee. Oh.My.Goodness. People in the book fawn over the name and say it’s beautiful and unique and I just want to throw up. I can’t think of a more horrible name than that. The nickname (“Nessie”) isn’t that much better, but it is much more tolerable than “Renesmee.” Fully, her name is: Renesmee Carlie Cullen. BAH. SUCH an ugly name. rawr~

Oh, and the Cullens pseudo-nemeses, the Volturi, are called to their attention because of the impetuousness of a woman who saw this newborn (Renesmee… *shudders*) and thinks that it is an “immortal child–” one of the plagues of vampiric existence in which a child was turned to a vampire with all the whiny and brattish tendencies of a small child, but the powers of a vampire. As close to a terror as a vampire could face. The Volturi show up, determined to destroy the Cullen clan and kill Renesmee, etc. etc.

Of course everything ends up all dainty and fine. so yay!

The Good (or at least what I thought was good).
The discontinuation of Edward and Bella’s relationship(!). Yes, I know. A great deal of the fans of “Twilight” loved it because it circled around Edward and Bella’s relationship. Now while I don’t have any adverse and/or intense reaction towards relationships and couples, I found their relationship distinctly unnerving. There are only so many times in a book (heck, in a chapter) that I can read about how “wonderful” and “godlike” and “perfect” Edward is. Or their sappy little relationship and how everything is happy and perfect and fluffy for them. Bah, kill me now, plz. Their relationship was so weak and so insubstantial and so… codependent and freaky that I found it completely unrealistic and hated it. This book dwelled on very little of that. Well, at least in my perspective. Not to say it was completely absent, but it was almost like Edward and Bella’s marriage sort of helped quell the flames of blind passion a bit, methinks. It was a bit more serious and dealt with more meatier matters. There was a bit more of inter-character relationship building rather than just pondering the [very few] excursions of Bella and Edward and “Oh, what sappy way can we express our undying love for one another today?” After all, once Bella has sex with Edward and turns vampire, there’s really very very little else that she can needle him of. Oh, there were a few recalls to Meyer’s old habits (like the constant reiterating of Bella’s increased senses and “fuzzy” human memories, but those were a bit more well controlled), but in general, the cessation of Edward and Bella’s constant fawing over one another was a relief (it was there, but quietly subdued).

In fact, much of the angst is given to Jacob, and I am of the Team Jacob camp. Because he’s soo.. real, y’know? I adore Edward Cullen (who doesn’t), but Jacob is real and fuzzy and warm (all of those things are literal too, y’know?). And Jacob is probably the most real character that Meyer has created. He has several feelings (unlike the meager span of Edward and Bella… combined) and goes through them quite a bit. He shows a lot more sides to him than Bella and/or Edward do. And his development was nice to see. The imprinting was actually the last thing I expected. Heck, so was the pregnancy. But at least it gave Meyer some plot…! A lot of the fans of the earlier books in “Twilight” didn’t like this one as much because it didn’t really stick to the “Bella+Edward=luuuuuuuuuuv” storylinel, but I never liked that storyline and I was glad she deviated from it. This is the one book in the “Twilight” series that I could actually imagine myself purchasing. If only for the fact that it’s the final book and there is nothing I like more than closure.

The Bad
The usual, really. Bella is still your typical Mary-Sue figure. Especially since newborn-vampires are supposed to be vicious characters, but Bella adapts within moments instead of… months. She is the “perfect” newborn vampire and has no inclination to fight, hunt humans, or all those other characteristics that vampires come to expect of newborns (aside from her physical features). In fact, as a newborn, Bella is stronger and faster than other “aged” vampires. She also comes into her power (the shielding-thing that Bella could do as a human) and it proves to be vital in the vampire’s final confrontation with the Volturi. As always, Bella saves the day. No really, Edward actually says that in the last few chapters of the book. That was annoying.

Renesmee’s name. I’m not kidding. It’s a horrible name and I think the only one who doesn’t think so is Stephanie Meyer and maybe her editors and her publisher. But the rest of the world seems to agree with me. That aside, I hated how little interaction there was between Renesmee and Bella. What does that mean? Basically, aside from a few little moments here and there, there is very little depictions or scenes of Bella caring for Renesmee. The way Meyer paints the picture, it seems like Jacob and Rosalie take more time caring for Bella’s own child than Bella does. Bella is still more preoccupied with Edward than anything else. In fact, we barely catch glimpses of Edward doing anything with Bella either. Jacob is a better father than he is, if the book is to solely be any judge. I know that even when a couple has a child, the spouses should remember to love one another instead of focusing all their attention on the child, but isn’t this a bit ridiculous? I mean, if the book is any judge, Bella never feeds her own child, sings to her own child, play with her own child, and only spends the occasional time walking her back to her room to sleep and reading her a bedtime story. There could’ve been some more proactive development there! I’m not saying a lot, but some would’ve been nice. I find it hard to believe that a mother who fought as hard for her child even while he/she was killing her — such as Bella did — would just suddenly just give her child to the other “nannies” (which basically everyone in the Cullen clan + Jacob had turned into). It goes to show that Bella is still a child, and despite the fact that Esme says that Bella is like a “middle-aged woman,” she is still very very much a child and a teenage girl.

Bella’s apprehensions about turning old. rawr~ This pisses me off the most. It was there before, and it’s still here. I had an interesting discussion about it with my friend, and there’s no doubt that people look different from when they are 15 to when they are 20, but a lot of it, I credit, is because of outside factors. More mature haircuts, changes in clothing styles, cosmetics, fashion trends, etcetc. Bella is not going to look that much different from 18 to 19. NOR will she actually look significantly older than Edward (who is a perpetual 17 years). So she can chill and probably go up to 20 or 21 before people start to think she’s the “older woman” in the relationship. annoyances ensue.

The development of Bella’s power. As always, Bella is the most perfect and the most useful and blahblahblah. Again, Meyer was inherently vague about Bella’s description (even as a vampire) because she wanted to use the tried-and-true-fanfic-author trick of creating a very very generic female character that all can admire and respond to… and then imagine themselves in her shoes because the descriptions are vague enough that you could easily imagine yourself being her. And I hated the development of Bella’s power because… I mean, I liked Bella being ordinary. It stopped her from being too much of a Mary Sue. But nooooo… she had to develop this incredible mental shield that she could use to protect everybody on her side and then deter and stop the Volturi’s and blah blah blah.

The summation
All in all, the qualms I had with the earlier books are still here (especially about characterization and character development), BUT the fact that this one actually has a plot makes all the more of a difference to me =DD. There is actually a plot that begins BEFORE the last quarter of the book and actually continues on. It was a bit confusing when Meyer switched from Bella’s perspective Jacob’s perspective so suddenly, but I think it was refreshing. After all, I think that it’s quite easy to grow tired of Bella.

So yes, I felt that this book was more coheisve. Yes, it was definitely (definitely definitely) less romantic than the first… three books, no doubt. But I am definitely willing to trade a little romance for a book that is much more solid than the others. There are still a lot of things I’m iffy about (and hate), but it’s about the “Twilight” series as a whole and I can’t fault “Breaking Dawn” for that, true?

I think the reason that this book was such a letdown was because it was so hyped up and people were actually expecting… something different. They were expecting pain and sacrifice. Honestly, I would’ve been very very satisfied that instead of sending in Alice at the last moment to save the day, Jacob had run off with Renesmee and the Cullens had their fight with the Volturi. They would emerge victorious, but the Romanian vampires would’ve gotten some revenge… etc. Instead, Meyer granted the audience with the same sugar-cookie-cutter resolution that she gave the other books. The pain of true love and sacrifice? I’m sorry, but for one moment I never really believed that the “love” between Edward and Bella was genuine enough to be true. A great infatuation and insatiable lust, maybe, but never genuinely true. The “farts in the middle of the night and still laughs about it in the morning” or the “goes to the bathroom in front of one another” true love isn’t the kind of love that Edward and Bella had for one another, I don’t think. But that’s the “love” that Meyer designed them to have so… whatever? I dunno.

I think people were expecting the final book to be realistic… even though the first three are as far from that adjective as can be expected. Um, did you really expect Meyer to suddenly evolve (like a Pokemon?) and become this incredible writer capable of real original thought, ingenuity, and creativity? Well, I didn’t… and I think that’s why “Breaking Dawn” wasn’t such a letdown for me. I expected everything to be wrapped up in a nice little bubble and be like, “Ah, happily ever after…!!” It would’ve been great if it wasn’t, but still… this is Meyer we’re talking about, and she doesn’t have a very strong track record in the “creativity” or the “sad morose life-lesson” department.


8 Responses to 'Breaking Dawn…'

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  1. mariamecham said,

    I, surprisingly enough, liked it too. At the end of the first chapter, I didn’t really like where it was going and I had a hard time wanting to continue. And Renesme? Aweful, of course.

    I liked that it moved beyond the mushy crap and into family life–because while there is love in marriage, it’s more real and straightforward. Still passionate, but more practical. The book focused more on the ties of a family than just them.

    Also, I thought I was going to hate her being a vampire. REALLY hate it. I was actually dreading this book because it was obvious where she was heading—but I liked that the playing ground was finally evened between her and Edward. They were equal. I was so sick of her whinning about unworthiness or talking down to herself that, for me, it was nice to see her assert herself and even be a little aggressive. And have HIM be the one looking to her, no longer the thing cowering behind Edward’s constant shielding.

    I also liked the foreshadowing of Jacob’s imprinting on the baby and that it was resolved, not because I need a happy ending, but oddly it was a bit real for me. The whole sacrifice she made to have Edward instead of Jacob was painful, heartbreaking and very real–for a season. It was really painful for me to read during book 2 and 3. But, things like that last for a season until you gain a little perspective. Heart break seems so violently painful until you see someone or something even better in your life that makes all the previous heart break seem dull and meaningless in comparison. It sucks to see the person you love with someone else, but it’s not as hard as you’d think for the heart to heal. We move on. We live our life. Not saying that this book is supposed to be realistic (Vampires, Imprinting, Half immortal babies for goodness sake).

    I would have liked to see more development of the baby (I don’t like saying the name any more than you), both as a character and in age tacked at the end. It would have been cool to see some resolution with her and Jacob a few years down the road, especially since he is my favorite character.

    The whole development between Bella and her baby was…well lax, but I got the feeling she was skipping over it on purpose, using the excuse that she was afraid to feed her etc. But then suddenly, their togetherness was a casual occurrence and barely mentioned. I don’t think it was meant to appear like Bella wasn’t taking care of her, Meyer just didn’t say much beyond the fact that she was holding her during this scene etc. I agree with you–there should have been some more emotion there.

    There are times that I find Meyer to be an extraordinary writer. Glimpses, more or less. It’s too bad she didn’t write this after a bit more maturity and experience as a writer. I would have liked to see the end go down a bit differently

  2. nanshi said,

    “There are times that I find Meyer to be an extraordinary writer. Glimpses, more or less. It’s too bad she didn’t write this after a bit more maturity and experience as a writer. I would have liked to see the end go down a bit differently

    Totally agree. I think her plot and her vampire universe/canon is very unique… and, as I’ve said in my other “Twilight” review, I think that under the pen of a different, more mature and experienced fantasy-author (I, for one, would love to see how Robert Jordan or Mercedes Lackey or James Mallory makes of this world… heck, even JK Rowling could’ve taken this and RAN!)… the entire series could’ve been really stellar and worth the high praises that it gets across fandom.

    I agree that I would’ve totally loved and enjoyed an epilogue! I would love to see how the characters are ten years down the road with the baby totally mature. It intrigues me how someone can go from a father/uncle/brother figure to a lover/husband figure simply because of imprinting and I would be fascinated to read about that kind of development.

    Although, I don’t know why, and it’s not just you, but I don’t really see Bella make any big sacrifices to be with Edward. It’s not you, because a lot of people have that same perspective, so I’m just pondering aloud (don’t mind if it sounds vehement). I mean, Meyer designed Bella in a pretty… well, lonely manner. It’s not like she was a Gossip Girl in Manhattan with press, a rich family, rich and gossipy friends, and obligations and loads of familial and/or social ties that she could just drop at a hat. As far as Meyer depicts it, the person most ideal in Forks to drop her life and “die” and become a vampire is probably Bella. Especially when she has the huge support (read: money) of the Cullen family behind her. Aside from Jacob, Bella doesn’t seem to have any outstandingly close friends (aside from the Cullens who she drifted very close to), she cares about Charlie, but she understands that he’ll get along (I hated the crack(s) about his cooking; he got along for over a decade when Bella and her mother left her, but suddenly after living with Bella for two years, he’ll die because he won’t get proper food? ridiculous), Bella’s mother has her new husband… in a whole ‘nother state, might I add… and Bella just really has Edward. I suppose the only sacrifice she would have had to make is Jacob, but that just goes back to my original qualm about how selfish Bella is; she wants everything. She wants Jacob to stay by her and be there forever even though she knows it kills him because he’s in love with her. She wants Edward with her by her side because she’s in love with him even though she knows it kills Jacob. … etc. And of course, since she’s the heroine, she gets everything she wants.

    It was nice to see her grow a bit of a backbone in this book though; although I did think that the profuse apologziing after growling at Edward was unnecessary. It would’ve been more refreshing to see Bella a bit more independent and not so codependent. Overall though, I thought it was a refreshing change. Glad Meyer didn’t dwell on Bella’s change as much as expected, seeing as how she still was very human in some instances.

  3. francesca said,

    im still at book 2 to make any sensible comment right now.. im a slow reader. but one thing i like for sure.. that meyer had a JACOB perspective. and this early, i think im gonna switch to team jacob 😛 looking at jacob’s perspective, i understand him more now.

    and omg, the baby’s name! damn. i like almost all the character’s names so far (coz their old-fashioned names) .. i hated Bella’s name the worst.. but now the baby gets that no.1 spot for me

  4. BigBan said,

    Oh, Thanks! Really funny. keep working!

  5. mariamecham said,

    “Although, I don’t know why, and it’s not just you, but I don’t really see Bella make any big sacrifices to be with Edward.”

    Because of her lack of other close friends or at least friends that she can be completely herself around, the conflict with Jacob during book 2 and 3 was a lot bigger than if it was just another friend. She was kind of a loner and Jacob was pretty much her sole confidant. She loved him too, just not in the same way. And I think the reason why I saw it as so much bigger was because of personal experience with giving up my very best friend in the entire world for the love of my life. We were next door neighbors and best friends since we were 5. He could see I was starting to get serious with this guy and he took the opportunity to tell me how he felt before it was too late. I did love him, but not that way, I had to tell him I didn’t feel the same. When I got married, I pretty much lost a brother, someone who had been a part of every important thing in my life. It was absolute hell. I am not saying it wasn’t the right decision, but the book just put me through all that anguish again. She did make a sacrifice, it just didn’t stick…and it was incredibly selfish for her to keep him around.

    I will agree that THIS book, though, was completely devoid of sacrifice. I didn’t like that she didn’t have to at least give up her family. Okay, so she THOUGHT she would have to when she married him, so she was willing to, but didn’t. Not the same.

    She really did have too much all wrapped up at the end there. I, personally, did need Jacob to be happy though and move on. People move on! Okay, maybe not in the love-at-first-sight-imprinting-on-fetus’s kind of way, but he didn’t need to pine over Bella for the rest of her life, putting her in her own personal hell of remorse. But, honestly, I wasn’t too incredibly worried—Meyer had foreshadowed a ridiculous amount about Jacob imprinting on SOMETHING that I knew it wouldn’t be The All About Bella Show for long.

  6. nanshi said,

    Mariamecham: I can see where you’re going, actually. BUT, I think a lot of Stephanie Meyer’s lack of skill as a writer stops it from truly fulfilling itself and for me to be able to feel the emotion. See, it takes explanations from you, other people and other reviews, for me to actually fully grasp the depth of what Meyer implies. It is barely even mentioned in the books (baffling?) and as much as I got the fact that Bella really cared for Jacob, I didn’t get that image anymore than just a vague passing. The bond there just wasn’t strong enough. A few vaguely-described scenes of their friendship isn’t strong enough for me to get why Bella was so “sacrificing.” This isn’t to offend anyone, but maybe it’s because the audience that these novels are aiming for are high-strung and overly emotional teenagers who ARE able to pick up on intuitions like this… when they’re at a point in their lives where their friends are “everything” to them, and just the thought of losing them is just too painful to bear? I suppose so. I mean, I’m in college, so obviously that “separation’ is something that I’ve had to go through already and in hindsight, I didn’t find it to be such a big deal. Not you, necessarily, but just as a general observation of what I’ve seen depicted.

    To point it out, one of my favorite fantasy authors (Mercedes Lackey) has an awesome trilogy co-written with another fantasy author (James Mallory) called “The Obisidian Trilogy.” Heck, I read the first one, and patiently waited over the next three years for the rest of the books to be released. I love them that much… but I digress. Anyways, one of the main couples in the trilogy is a Wildmage woman and a male Elf. In the Obsidian Trilogy, elves are long-lived, and NOT immortal, but they live for about 1,000 years. The Wildmage woman is a human, but she falls in love with the Elf and he falls in love with her. The Wildmage woman ends up leaving him and sacrificing her own happiness and love so that he wouldn’t have to suffer 900 years without her. This all happens prior to the start of the series, and it is only through present description and dialogue (and absolutely NO “flashback” scenes) that this sacrifice is depicted. And yet, I felt for the Wildmage woman’s sacrifice more deeply and more painfully than I ever felt for Bella’s sacrifice. Because Mercedes Lackey is just… that much better of a writer. LOL.

    A big deal has to do with the fact that Bella is such a pathetic Mary-Sue that I just want to shoot her, whereas Mercedes Lackey is much more… professional than that. hahah.

    But yes. I do thank you for putting a personal spin on this and clarifying things for me. I think it ultimately had to do with Bella’s character. Had she not been so selfishly trying to cling to Jacob, the “sacrifice” might’ve been more obvious. Her mouth only spoke that she wanted to give him up; anything else she did completely contracted that, true? And of course, in the end she got her happy ending too.

  7. mitsuki said,

    just want to give my feedback.. XD

    i dont know why..
    but there is a kind of dissapointed in me when i read this book..


    everything that built in 3 past books just gone. END.

    i do like all the stories.. because it was simple and romantic in it ways.. the complicated, the pushing edward, the stupid bella, the kiss, etcetc..

    but when i read this book..

    mm.. i just.. what word can i put here?

    i dont read the 754 pages to just said : ” SO?” with big question mark..

    i hope the official guide which is release in Dec 30th can help me out..

  8. mariamecham said,

    “these novels are aiming for are high-strung and overly emotional teenagers who ARE able to pick up on intuitions like this… when they’re at a point in their lives where their friends are “everything” to them, and just the thought of losing them is just too painful to bear?”

    LOL I TOTALLY agree–that is exactly why!

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