Sunday, August 3, 2008

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer - review, pics, and SPOILERS!

Just as a warning, this post will contain tons of spoilers for the book, so if you haven't read it yet, continue at your own risk.On the night of August 1st, I stayed up with one of my friends for the release of the highly anticipated book, Breaking Dawn. We headed over to our local Barnes and Noble at around 11 and much to our surprise, there were very few people there. You'd think that with as big a following as the Twilight saga has, there'd be more people camped out in line. I think there were maybe 15 people there before us. I'm assuming there were more at the stores hosting parties, like the Mall of America Barnes and Noble. I'm sure that there were a ton of people there. So after we've been sitting for around a half an hour, an announcement comes that there will be very few copies available if you haven't preordered the book. I hadn't. Urgh. We sit for a little while more and then it's midnight. The line moves pretty quickly even though around 30 more people showed up after we did. When my friend and I get up to the registers and buy our books, the lady says there are only two un-preordered copies left after ours. You can imagine how relieved I was feeling. I was two spots in line away from not being able to have a copy of Breaking Dawn to read. Yikes. I walk out of the store with my free stickers and pin in triumph and head over to my friend's house. We had been planning to stay up to read and chat about the book. We had two of those 4-packs of Starbucks bottled coffee, Reese's Pieces, and Twizzlers and once we got to her house, we sat down to read, caffeinate ourselves, and eat sugar. I lasted until about 5, and then even the coffee had no effect. I slept for four hours and then started reading again at 9. I went back to my own house at 2, but I didn't actually finish the book until this afternoon. I know, I'm pathetic. Before Breaking Dawn, I had never actually stayed up for the midnight release of a book before. It's cool now to say that I've done it, although slightly nerdy. Not completely though, because I wasn't dolled up in heavy eye shadow and wearing a Team Edward or Team Jacob homemade t-shirt like some of the people at the store. I tried to look as normal as possible. :P What were some of your Breaking Dawn experiences?

Summary from jacket flap: When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?
To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife to reach the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fate of two tribes hangs.
Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life - first discovered in Twilight, the scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse - seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed...forever?

Amazingly long review: I have so much to say about this book. Let's start at the beginning. I think the first "book" (it's divided into 3) of the novel was my favorite. It was the classic Twilight saga style that we all know and love. And since Bella and Edward get married in the first couple chapters, it left me wondering what else could possible happen in the rest of the book. The anticipated wedding scene did not disappoint. It was lavish, emotional, and what everyone expected. I thought the whole bit with Jacob showing up at last and then running away again was a little cliched as we had already seen so many scenes like that in the earlier books. I also got a little annoyed with Bella when she was so ecstatic to see him right after her marriage had taken place. I was also a little disappointed with Bella and Edward's "wedding night". All the earlier books had been leading up to the imminent sex scene and nothing happened. Edward hurt her a little bit, he bit some pillows (which was rather hilarious), but other than that, nothing was detailed. I wanted a little more than that. And then the ending of this first book. Bella, pregnant? That totally goes against everything any one's ever thought about that topic, and although I liked that there was a big twist like that, it just didn't seem plausible. Overall though, it was an acceptable start to the book. Maybe a little slow, but acceptable nonetheless.
The second book in Breaking Dawn was a complete surprise to me. I thought the Twilight saga was going to be told completely from Bella's perspective but then we have a random section from Jacob's point of view thrown into the middle of the last book. It's not consistent. I did like hearing some things from Jacob, but I didn't really think it added to much to the story. I also think that Stephenie wasn't able to differentiate Bella and Jacob's narration from the other enough. They don't have distinct, individual voices which made it confusing for me, because as I was reading Jacob's part, I'd kind of lapse back into Bella land and forget whose perspective I was reading from. Which shows that there needed to be more distinction between the two. The only new aspect of the novel that Jacob's point of view added was the wolf pack mental communication and the last page of the section. The mental communication was actually really interesting to read about and for that one reason, I'm glad that the Jacob section was put in. The part where Jacob reclaims his alpha-ness probably couldn't have been told as well from Bella's perspective either. And the last paragraph of the second book made it semi-worthwhile because we actually get to see Jacob imprinting on Renesmee. But even if you add all those things together, it's not enough to justify adding a completely different aspect to the book that wasn't present in any of the other books. I'd rather it had been entirely from Bella's perspective. It would've been interesting to see her thoughts on her pregnancy; like when she first drank blood, or when her bones started breaking, or things like that.
The third book started out good but then got worse. I loved hearing about the changes that Bella was going through as she got changed into a vampire. I think that that whole section was something a lot of Twilight fans had been waiting to read for quite a while and it didn't disappoint. We got to read in detail what the pain was like, what her bloodthirstiness was like (what little of it there was), and what her new abilities were like which was all very cool. We've read about the vampires from a human's perspective but we've never before read about them from the eyes of one. The thing that annoyed me about this part though, was how Bella wasn't like other newborn vamps in that she wasn't entirely overcome by thirst. That aspect was never explained fully which was disappointing. The book never really told why she wasn't normal, it only speculated. Another thing that I didn't like about this section was Bella's daughter's name. Renesmee Carlie as in Renee Esmee, Carlisle Charlie. Blech. I think this is probably the worst name in book history. It's so horribly obnoxious and I just about screamed when I found out about the name. It doesn't even sound like a real name. And now the poor kid has to grow into that heavy name. Maybe it's just me overreacting, but did anyone else feel that way about *shudders* Renesmee? And yet another thing I didn't like about the third section is that we never heard from Bella's human friends at all. They were at the wedding in the beginning and then we never see them again. We don't get to see what their reactions to Bella's vampire-ness are. Would Bella really just ditch Jessica and Angela to live with her vampire friends? At least she could've called them or something like that. And I personally would've been excited to see their reactions but that's one loose end that isn't tied up in this book. The writing style also gets a little rushed and choppy in this section, like Stephenie is trying to fit too much action into too little pages. This book could've been longer, or even been divided into two so we could get all the details, but instead, the most exciting part of the book, the last confrontation with the Volturi is squished in to 150 pages. They were the best 150 pages of the book though. We got to meet a slew of new vamps with cool powers and personalities and we were introduced to Bella's power. She's a "shield". She can shield herself and people around her from mental onslaught. It doesn't protect people physically though. Even so, I think that's a pretty kick-butt power. It might be one of the things Stephenie got absolutely right in the book. I also liked how Alice's disappearance and Renesmee's true nature were wrapped up neatly and convincingly. The final standoff was really addictive too. But Jacob's whole imprint thing bugged the crap out of me. Is it right/moral that after he'd been helplessly in love with Bella that he get stuck with her daughter. I think he's definitely getting stuck with the short end of the stick. And it just doesn't sit well with me. It helps that Renesmee's going to mature in 7 short years, but it still feels entirely wrong.
After stewing over the book for a few hours, I've concluded that even though I wasn't satisfied or impressed by Breaking Dawn in the least, it was as good of an ending to the Twilight saga as could be formed. Stephenie had too many open ends to tie off in too little space and the resulting book was squished, confused, but still semi-satisfactory. I guess, looking back, it was an okay last book but it definitely deviated from the first three books in ways that it shouldn't have. Breaking Dawn was more scientific and not as emotional. Also, I didn't feel any attraction to Edward in this book. While reading the first three, I was hopelessly in love with him, but in this one, not so much. The characters weren't as in depth and the prose wasn't as addictive or gripping. It just wasn't as good; as the first books, or as it could've been. I'm accepting it and moving on to new things though. Like the movie. Hopefully that will turn out well!
What were your thoughts on Breaking Dawn?


  1. Ed...bit some pillows? Interesting...

  2. Yeah.. It was a good book, but there were some things as I was reading that I thought were a bit iffy. Renesmee.. I still can't grasp it. Poor kid. xD!
    Plus, I was a bit surprised at Charlie's reaction. I'd be a little bit more panicked If I were him.
    Bella's power was pretty kick-butt I must agree and the bit where the Volturi came in was awesome!
    Loved the review (:

  3. I didn't mention the Renesmee thing in my review, but that drove me nuts, too. I couldn't like a kid with a name like that, no matter how unbratlike they tried to make her.

  4. I think I'm one of like 5 people on earth that thought this book was perfect lol. I just loved every part of it and I really can't understand why people don't like it. I've read tons of reviews and I'll write one of my own sooner or later. I can't say that I LIKE the name Renesmee but I think it's very original and there isn't a name out there like it. That's what Stephenie was going for so I do like that about it. But yeah, I actually thought this book was amazing lol.

  5. I loved the book :)

  6. After reading a lot of reviews of this book, I wasn't really sure I would like it. All everyone was saying was that Bella n Edward lost their innocence. To me that's what made it even better.. they got a life every one wants. Immoral or not they found happiness and made a family.
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