Friday, September 12, 2008

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

I actually really liked the first two books in this series, Twilight and New Moon. I mean, they weren't like masterpieces of literature or anything, but I thought Stephenie Meyer created a really interesting world and I was extremely curious as to how she was going to resolve everything. But then with the third book, Eclipse, I started to get a little weary, and I was really glad to hear that the fourth book, Breaking Dawn was going to be the last.I didn't want to buy the book but I was dying to know what happened, so I read spoilers. And I was pretty shocked by how terrible it all sounded. I wasn't expecting much when I finally got around to reading it myself, but maybe because of that, it wasn't really as bad as the spoilers made it sound.

But here's my main problem with the Twilight books: I can't stand Bella.

I get that Meyer wanted Bella to be the ordinary girl that gets caught up in the extraordinary. But Bella's not just ordinary--she's BORING. I mean, what do we know about her? She doesn't like clothes or girly things, she's too klutzy to be athletic or into sports, she's not particularly good at school, she voluntarily left a life with her mother in Tucson and doesn't appear to miss anyone or anything from there, and she decides to become a vampire without much thought to her actual family and things that she might miss out on as a result of it. She really seems to have no interests in life except for Edward (and occasionally Jacob), and girls whose lives revolve around their boyfriends? Annoying. And girls who are annoying who get everything they want in the end? BEYOND IRRITATING.

Another problem I have is with Bella's narrative "voice." I guess this is kind of a problem with Meyer's writing, but I find Bella's descriptions of everything to be really...boring. The flowery language, the random details, the constant just doesn't keep my attention. And the section after Bella first turned should have been interesting, but instead I was just impatient for something else to happen. The part where Bella and Edward go out to test her abilities and hunt was just excruciating. Actually I kind of hated the whole first section of the book with the wedding and the honeymoon. Actually, I find any parts where it's just Bella and Edward and no one else to be pretty unbearable...

Which brings me to my last problem: I don't get why Bella and Edward are so obsessed with each other. I kind of think it's a good thing they have Renesmee now because I kind of wondered what the heck they were going to talk about for FOREVER. It seems like ever since Edward revealed he was a vampire all they've ever talked about is Bella becoming one. Now that she finally is, what is it about their personalities that make them a good couple?

So after all that complaining, why did I not think Breaking Dawn was all that bad? I think it was Jacob's section that saved it. I really like Jacob. Sure, he's stupid at times, and his obsession with Bella is yet another annoyance, but to me his character was just so much more fully developed, and I found the whole werewolf side of the story to be a lot more interesting. I liked how Jacob came around to deciding that he needed to protect Bella and the Cullens. I liked that Seth and Leah came to join his pack. I liked how we got to find out a little bit more about Leah and I liked her explanation of how she related to Rosalie. (I'm going to fanwank a happy ending for her too because, heck, everyone else got one.) And I even liked how Jacob and Edward came to be kind of friends. All throughout the series I was pretty neutral on Edward--I didn't like or dislike him particularly--but around Jacob he seemed much more real, and I could actually see what an honorable guy he really was.

So I guess you could say that I was on Team Jacob...sort of. Because I didn't really want Jacob and Bella together either. Jacob would always be second best and he didn't deserve that. The solution with him imprinting on Renesmee is maybe too convenient and definitely weird, but I guess it's the best Meyer could do without Bella having to lose anything. It reminds me a little bit of how I felt with the whole Jo-Laurie situation in Little Women. While I still groan whenever I think about Jo refusing Laurie's proposal, in the end I was ok with them not ending up together. But Laurie with Amy? I was so not ok with that for the longest time. The thing that changed my mind was this little TV show called Little Men from awhile back (based on the sequels to Little Women). I don't know if it was the casting or what but you could really see that Laurie and Amy were a good couple, and Jo and Laurie got to keep that great best friend relationship without any weirdness at all. So maybe I can be ok with this too, though who knows what Renesmee's going to be like as an adult. For some reason I imagine Dakota Fanning-like precociousness, which...ugh. Let's not think about that.

But you know, in general, for a vampire/werewolf/love saga, there's a pretty noticeable lack of loss and tragedy. No one important dies, and Bella gets everything she wants. She has Edward, she has Jacob, she has a daughter, she has immortality, she has a power, she even has Charlie (though for how long, who knows). And the lead-up to it all was SO anti-climactic. They got all those random assorted vampires to come from all over the world and there was no fight at all. All that time Bella spent learning how to fight and use her power and preparing to send off Jacob and Renesmee to South America and then...NOTHING. Since the very first book I've thought the Volturi were just lame and this only confirmed it. LAME.

Speaking of lame, Renesmee Carlie Cullen? I didn't think any fictional baby name could be worse than Albus Severus Potter but evidently I was wrong.

You know, after reading New Moon, I started to get worried about how the series could be resolved, and I came up with my own ending. It involved Edward getting killed, Bella eventually getting on with her life, finding out that Jacob imprinted on someone random, and then years later glimpsing the Cullens at some mall or something and meeting eyes with Rosalie. Okay, maybe that's a little melodramatic and just as cliched, and of course all the obsessed Bella-Edward fans out there would not have had it so, whatever. I'm just glad the series is over. I wonder why I get so into books and TV and things that I don't even really like that much...

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