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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review: Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

So, I know what the vast majority of you must be thinking: Why, after my previous reviews of the Twilight series, would I even bother to read this book? The answer is simple: Julie.

You see, I chose to read Twilight all on my own. It was in the bookstore at the airport. I was in a hurry and had checked my book for the flight into my checked bag by mistake. I needed reading material, and everyone had been talking about Twilight, so I decided to give it a try. I disliked it, but even before I was done, Davida was convincing me to read the second book, New Moon. I read New Moon, disliked it more than the first, and abandoned the series.

Then, along comes Julie. Julie is my co-worker, she sits in the next cubicle over, and we share a cube wall. She insisted that the entire series could be redeemed in my eyes if I were to only read the third book, Eclipse. I kind of shrugged and said, "whatever," and then the very next day, she brought in her own copy of Eclipse and left it on my desk. She INSISTED that I read it, and was making it so I didn't even have to pay for it. Then, my other co-worker saw it on my desk and felt the need to remind me that this was not a book about an IDE. And, Julie is such a sweetie, how could I turn that down? So, I read it. And here's my review.

When we last left Bella, Edward the Vampire had gone away "for her own good," and then returned. In the meantime, she'd befriended Jacob Black, who turned out to be a werewolf, and who she kicked to the curb when Edward returned. At the opening of Eclipse, Jacob is angry - werewolves and vampires don't get along very well... or, not at all, really. Bella has decided she wants to be a vampire, too, and the whole first half or so of the book bumbles along as Bella goes over this with everybody who can know (Edward, Jacob, Edward's siblings). Both of her parents (who don't know about the whole vampire/werewolf thing, btw) show concern, neither seem to particularly like Edward, but both of them do essentially nothing to really get to the bottom of what is going on. I'm still baffled at how Edward takes Bella to Florida to visits her mother and her mother completely misses the fact that Edward sparkles in the sun.

***********SPOILERS COMING*************

So, after all of this nonsense about being a vampire, we also learn that Edward will only "let" Bella become a vampire if she marries him first. I find this down right silly. Really? She's still in high school. Everything gets put on hold, though, because the vampires realize that a serial killer in Seattle is actually a group of newborn and uncontrollable vampires. To make a long story short, the vampires end up teaming up with their mortal enemies (the werewolves) to take out the newborn vampire army, and then everything is happy again, complete with wedding invites being sent out.


So, first of all, I didn't hate it. Bella at least didn't drone on and on about Edward, so that's good. She still has no goals and no hobbies (besides necrophilia and bestiality, if you want to be completely honest), but at least she fights with Edward a little more and seems a little more like a real person and not a puppet. She has two main goals in the book: To become a vampire, and if that doesn't happen, to have sex with Edward. She doesn't ever say she wants to have sex with Edward, and I found it highly entertaining to watch Stephenie Meyer dance around it, with Edward calling it "that thing you want" or some such, and Bella just basically throwing herself at Edward repeatedly -- rubbing on him, kissing him, basically acting like a sex-crazed lunatic who actually has no clue what she's doing.

In the end, though, Bella hasn't really changed, she just became more tolerable. She still puts herself down constantly and has no self-esteem whatsoever. Nobody really makes any attempt to correct this - not her parents, not Edward, not Jacob, nobody. And she won't help herself. None of the female characters in this book are role models, especially not Bella. Use Harry Potter as an example - you can be MODEST YET BRAVE without being self-deprecating. Plus, Bella is just so impossibly stupid and whiny - but I'm used to that from her.

If Bella is more tolerable, what about Edward? He's the one that got on my nerves in this book. I find him highly annoying and a grade-A jerk. At one point, Bella is crying about Jacob and I just wanted to go punch Edward in the face. When he speaks of loving Bella, he comes across as plastic and fake, and I didn't find myself believing for a second that he was anything but selfish. Things he said and did were manipulative and juvenile. His tendency to read peoples' minds was irritating and invasive. When Bella was busy trying to get him to have sex with her, the descriptions of him being cold, and like marble, and stone-like.... Um, not appealing. Not appealing at all. During the final battle scene, I sincerely hoped he wouldn't make it. He is just NOT SEXY. (Not that Robert Pattinson isn't hot. He's totally hot. But, too young for me to find really appealing. Let's make all of that clear -- I'm just a cougar at this point if I want him).

Partway through the book, Edward becomes less of a jerk. He stops manipulating and stalking Bella quite so much (or at least he stopped being so up front about it), and instead takes on this "bump on a log" persona where he just keeps saying "as long as Bella's happy, I'm happy." This was even more irritating than the asshole persona. Hence, my desire to punch him in the face. The whole Edward-Bella-Jacob love triangle was tired and used, and just executed poorly.

Another annoying character? Edward's sister, Alice. Her over-hyper and almost bi-polar personality grated on me. Alice, in this book at least, turns out to be self centered and materialistic. Edward asked her to keep Bella captive (oh yeah, that's something I want the man I love to do), and offered Alice a Porche in order to get her to do it and she did it. For a CAR. This is NOT OKAY. Then, later, when Bella finally agrees (at age 18) to marry Edward, Alice sees in her psychic way that they plan to elope. She is sad (because Edward & Bella's wedding should be ALL ABOUT ALICE, right?) and guilts them into having a big wedding. She then plans it, apparently without keeping Bella's wants in mind at all. What a great sister-in-law! Alice didn't bother me in the first two books, but I think I am permanently turned against her now. Why doesn't Alice just plan her own f'ing wedding? She's immortal, she could probably have one every 50 years or so and nobody would know the difference. Bella doesn't want to get married because it's embarrassing (but she has no qualms about becoming a vampire **rolling eyes**), and in the end Bella has no say about it at all - whether she's getting married or not, and if she does, what that wedding will be like. I find it AMAZING that Stephenie Meyer even went down that road in a novel written for teenagers, and even more amazing that so many adult women seem to advocate it.

Speaking of annoying, let's talk about Bella's parents. They need to get a clue. First of all, her mom is the biggest non-mother I've ever seen. She lives across the country, her life is taken up by her new husband, and seems to only really talk to Bella through email. Then, when Bella finally visits her, she sounds like a first-class ditz. No wonder Bella's such a nothing. Then, there's Charlie, Bella's dad. He believes that Bella should be with Jacob, and through the first 2/3 of the book constantly interferes with Bella's love life. What a dick. Like Bella's mom, he's a total non-parent and I found him irritating in every single scene he was in. Note to parents out there: if you don't parent your kids, they will fall in love with mythical creatures behind your back.

So, who did not bother me? Jacob. The scenes with Bella and Jacob were far better than the scenes with Edward. Sure, Jacob was manipulative and immature, too, but he doesn't claim to be 80 years old or whatever. Apparently, werewolves are hot, not cold like vampires. And, unlike vampires, they don't sparkle in the sun. Being with Jacob would not require Bella to become a werewolf herself, and werewolves are not truly immortal. All plusses for Jacob. Plus, Jacob was just not annoying. And he was not a jerk. Jacob is the better choice all around. Who wants to spend eternity with a marble statue? I mean, really? Wouldn't a big dog be more appealing? Plus, if you change your mind on the werewolf, at least you're not a vampire! And guess what? Edward will still be around!! He's IMMORTAL. Love them both.

Let's talk about the book itself. Typos. There were typos all over the place, and Stephenie Meyer has this habit of using words that aren't words (I do this, too, but this is a blog, not a novel). The novel was just as poorly written as the first two, possibly even more so. The characters are one-dimensional, and irritating. The book plods along and when it finally reaches an action scene, it goes by too quickly. Some scenes seem rushed.

Do I recommend it? Well, I mean, it's the third in the series, and in my opinion the best one (better than Twilight, leaps and bounds over New Moon, which should be used as kindle for a bonfire). So, if you've suffered through the first two books, you may as well move on to the third, huh? If you haven't read the series at all, then don't do so to get to this book, it's not worth that level of suffering.

Am I going to read the fourth book? Yeah, probably, I think Julie will insist and I may as well find out what happens. They're easy reads and give me something to do without any thought at all.

Am I excited about the New Moon movie? Well, I've mentioned before that I don't go to the movie theatre except once or twice a year for movies that I really want to see on the big screen. The last was Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Nothing in the Twilight series would ever get me to pay to sit in a theatre with a bunch of teenie boppers, so no. But, I am excited that Twilight should finally be coming out on HBO soon, so that I can torture Todd with it. That sounds like fun!


Lacey Nicole said...

WOW ! I am really impressed with your thorough review. it's interesting to read because i read all the books and loved them... but i didn't think about them quite so much. in my mind i was enjoying them purely b/c of how they made me feel and i got into the relationship triangle. i was rooting for jacob in the books but then when i saw new moon the movie it made me prefer edward.weird, right?

anyway... great to read your thoughts! thank you:)

Laura said...

Aaaaamen. :0

Kim said...

And you know, I review books pretty infrequently. I don't read as often as I used to, I am now reading at a rate of about 3-4 books a year, which is the same amount I used to read in a single vacation! I don't review every book I read, but I've had a lot to say about this series.

Definitely rooting for Jacob, but I probably won't see the New Moon movie until it's on DVD, and then I'll have to watch it when Todd isn't around (which is just about never).

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