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Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

If you're a long time reader, you know that I've reviewed the first three books in the Twilight series...  Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse.  If you've read those reviews, you know that I'm not exactly a fan.  I have found the books in this series to be one-dimensional, silly, and just plain terrible.  TERRIBLE.  Yet, I'd found all of them to at least be engaging enough for me to get through them.

Until now.

Breaking Dawn is the final book in the series, and it took me a whopping FOURTEEN MONTHS to get through it.  You see, I started it around May of 2010, at the insistence of several friends who said that I HAD to finish the series.  I wasn't going to read them at all, but these friends persisted and said that I MUST.  Then, my friend Dannielle gave me her copy, since I was refusing to spend my own money on it and the friend who had loaned me Eclipse was refusing to loan me any more Twilight books if I was just going to make fun of them.  So, I had a copy.  And it was bad.  Really bad.  I ended up starting it, getting through the first section and them putting it down because I couldn't take it anymore.  And gradually, people asked and wondered when I would post a review, and I said never, and they said NO!  So, in June I decided to pick the book up again (it helped that I had acquired a Kindle version), and I finished the darn thing while I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago (vacation post coming).

As you continue to read my review, you should note that about 10 different people sent me spoilers of this book and/or flat out told me what was going to happen.  Much of this was to convince me to read it and to later write this very post, so I can't say I can blame them.  I mean, this book was a huge steaming cup of WTF, so I can understand given my attitude about the first 3 that people would want to see what I had to say about this.  BUT, the fact that I already knew the plot did change my reactions to the plot, most likely.

You should note that the rest of this post will contain spoilers and lots of them, so if you want to read this terrible book and haven't yet done so, this is a good place to stop reading.  But, frankly, if you haven't read the Twilight series by now, you're probably not going to.  I'd advise against it anyway.

If you've read my previous reviews, you know that I care nothing about Bella Swan.  She is whiny to no end, and has absolutely no ambition or hobbies besides Edward the Vampire and stringing along poor Jacob the Werewolf.  (I should note here that upon a re-watch of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban this weekend, I know for certain that Jacob is a Potter-style animagus and not a werewolf, and this was even mentioned late in Breaking Dawn, so there).   Bella sucks, plain and simple.

So, we start out with a wedding because Bella wants to have sex with Edward, and has been begging him for sex for the entire last novel.  Edward won't do it unless she marries him, and since she's graduated from high school and all, she figures it's fine and they get married.  Alice, Edward's sister, plans the wedding.

Now, I know everyone loves Alice and that she is the little darling of these books, but starting with Eclipse, I really started to hate her.  I mean HATE her.  She turns out to be so shallow and superficial, what is up with her insisting that every event has to be done HER WAY?  Alice plans a wedding that Bella doesn't want and does it all her way, period.  If she were my sister in law, I would smack her silly.  But, then again, I'm sort of anti-large wedding anyway, I guess.

And then Bella's parents - OMG, her parents.  WTF????  WTF WTF WTF!  You are the WORST PARENTS EVER.  EVER!  There is not one single person besides JACOB who objects to this wedding??  Your kid is EIGHTEEN!  She is marrying a VAMPIRE!  Ok, you don't know he's a vampire but he's had some amazingly bizarre behaviors since you've met him!  He left her for a while and she moped around for nearly an entire year!  He is creepy!  He stalks her!  He is a WEIRDO!  WTF!  Face-palm.  This entire book should have been about Bella convincing people that this wedding was ok.

So, Edward and Bella go off on their honeymoon.  OMG.  I'd been waiting for three novels now to find out what vampire sex would be like (side note: If you want to know, watch True Blood).  I thought, "Yay!  Finally gonna get a good sex scene!  Bring it on!!".  Um, no.  It was one of those sex scenes where they kiss and then the end of the chapter comes and in the next chapter Edward has broken the headboard.  That's right, Bella was all bruised and the bed was broken.  It was the kind of sex scene that a teenager would write.  Sure, teenagers are the audience of this particular book, but what I mean is, no one who has actually had real sex would write this nonsense, right?  Has Stephenie Meyer actually had sex?  She has kids and stuff, so I guess, but, Huh?  Why is that even close to romantic?  All of that build up for THIS?  Seriously?  She wrote this while she was still in junior high, that is my guess.  I mean, she couldn't have really written this?  ... Ugh.

So, then Bella is pregnant after having sex this one time.  You know, with a vampire.  This was the point where I banged myself in the head with Dannielle's book so hard that I practically knocked myself unconscious and vowed not to finish.

But, then I picked it up again on Kindle and Jacob was telling the story.  Jacob telling the story made it better, but to be honest, Jacob is just as irritating as Bella was in Twilight.  Ok, he wasn't THAT annoying.  But, his continuing torch-holding for Bella was just unbearable.  Dude, not only is she married, but she is also not at all worth it.  Get over her!!

Bella's vampire fetus starts growing abnormally fast, and pretty soon it's clear that it's going to kill her.  She's bruised and all kinds of messed up and eventually had to drink human blood in order to feed the fetus.  Of course, she wants this baby, no matter what.  I've seen some pretty heavy criticism of this, so it might surprise you that I didn't really care about the whole "must have a baby" thing.  I guess I sort of slogged through the pregnancy chapters with a bunch of "come on, let's get to this freakish birth scene already!" kind of attitude.  What, Stephenie Meyer can't give us a good sex scene, but she can bore us with a million details of the vampire fetus?

I'd been warned about a million times about the birth scene, and I was actually expecting more.  I KNOW, right?  I'm going to be the only one that says this, but yeah, people gave me so much warning about how gross it was that it actually failed to meet my expectations of blood and gore.  I will say this though - it was STILL written like a teenager would have written about pregnancy and child birth.  Like, from the viewpoint of someone who hasn't lived through a pregnancy or birth themselves (and I haven't, but still).

Did I mention that Edward chewed the fetus out of Bella?  Do I really need to comment on that?

Edward had to change Bella before she died, which was crazy-predictable.  Then came a chapter where Bella was like "Ow, this hurts" over and over again...  Oh, yeah, we're back in Bella's head again, great.

Then, what will Bella be like?  Over and over, through every single book we've heard that newborn vampires are difficult to control and require a year of growing up before they're even close to being able to be around humans.  And Bella?  She's remarkable, of course, and gets the hang of being a vampire in a DAY.   With all of this, Bella also kept all of the human traits that she loved about herself, and lost the ones that she didn't (she is no longer clumsy, she is graceful!).  She is suddenly beautiful, and we get to sit through page after page of her talking about how great she looks.  We also get to hear about how Edward looks EVEN MORE BEAUTIFUL now that she can see him through vampire eyes.

Oh, she named the baby Renesmee (combination of Renee and Esme).  When I hear a complaint about this book, it's almost always about the baby's name.  Now that I have read the book, I'm thinking REALLY?  THAT is your issue?  I can shrug that one off.  Anyway, Renesmee actually becomes my favorite Twilight character because she doesn't talk much.

Bella, of course, has no issue being around Renesmee because she is a perfect vampire and has total control all of the sudden.  Everyone built them a beautiful cottage in the woods, and Alice throws a tantrum because Bella won't wear the clothes that she wants Bella to wear (again, WTF Alice?).  Jacob imprints (kind of a love at first sight thing) on Renesmee, which of course wraps the whole love triangle up into a neat little bow.

Bella even gets to remain in her father's life, and spends time with him and introduces him to Renesmee.  Charlie was like "weird, you look different and you have a toddler when you didn't have one only a couple of months ago...  Eh, whatever."  WORST PARENT EVER.

At the end of the book, the Volturi (the crazy old Italian vampires) come to kill off the Cullens because they are led to believe that the Cullens  have created a vampire child, which is a total no-no.  There's this HUGE build up and when the Volturi finally show up - they stand around for a while and talk and then leave.  And then the book ends.  I kid you not.

That's right, this book was full of weird.  It did NOT include a racy sex scene, it DID include a bizarre birth scene, and there was NO CONFLICT.  Nothing.  Lost potential opportunities for conflict:

  • Bella's parents should have taken issue with the wedding and Bella should have had to fight to demonstrate why she was getting married and why it was a good idea.  Did this happen?  No.  
  • Not to mention that Bella should have fought a little harder to NOT marry Edward in the first place, since she really didn't want to and the only reason she was doing it was to have sex.  Is this the message we want to send to today's teens???
  • Bella wasn't really supposed to stay in contact with her parents, and this should have been a bit more of conflict as well.  
  • She should have tried to eat Renesmee.  Just sayin'.
  • She definitely should have tried to eat SOMEONE.
  • She's perfect?  Really?
  • After three books, Jacob just easily moves on from Bella just like that.  How easy for everyone.
  • The Volturi should have at least fought some sort of "Battle of Hogwarts" like battle and SOMEBODY should have died.  Preferably Alice.
I don't know.  It was just weird and contrived.  I don't even have the same complaints as with the rest of the series - this was just such a departure from what the rest of the books were.  Why aren't more Twilight fans upset about this??

Anyway, it will definitely be interesting to see how we go about making a movie out of this one.  I just finally caught the Eclipse movie on HBO, so I'm all caught up on the movies  (well, unless you count the fact that I fell asleep through New Moon and didn't really watch most of it).

Thank goodness these books are over.


Kandi said...

I felt much the same way you did about the entire series but yet I did continue to read them all. It took me just as long, if not longer, to read Breaking Dawn also. I don't think I've seen the Eclipse movie but I have seen the other two. I'm a little interested in how they will make the Breaking Dawn movie though because it was just so weird and like you said, very little actual conflict. Such horrible writing! I can't believe how many people rave about these books!! Enjoyed your reviews thoroughly.

Black Knight said...

A great and interesting review, thank you.

Mary said...

I like your Twilight book reviews almost as much as I like Cleolinda's. And from me, you know that is high praise!

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