Breaking Dawn

~by Stephenie Meyer
2009 British Book Award Winner

Having at one point made the decision to read the entire Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, I am finally able to report that I have successfully completed the series. There were parts that I enjoyed, and there were a lot of parts that I didn't; really, that's the case for most books. I'm not a Twilight devotee, but neither am I a Twilight hater. I certainly have some issues with the books, but there's a bit of fun to be had, too. I enjoyed Twilight more or less, struggled with New Moon, and waded through Eclipse. Understandably, I wasn't particularly looking forward to the final book, Breaking Dawn. Nonetheless, I felt it was my duty to follow through with my decision in order to honestly discuss the books with others.

Big changes are coming for Bella Swan (human) and Edward Cullen (vampire). First of all, they're getting married--something that was unheard of before their engagement. And eventually, Bella will be becoming a vampire herself--an event she has been preparing for and anticipating for years, much to the dismay of Edward. But when the unexpected happens, the lives of Bella and her new family are put into grave danger. Only by calling on all their allies, including Bella's best friend Jacob Black and the rest of the local werewolf pack, can they even hope to survive what's coming. By doing so however, they all will be put at risk.

I will admit, I actually kind of enjoyed Breaking Dawn--much more than I anticipated. I really wasn't expecting to, especially after making my way through the last two books. The writing has improved immensely since Eclipse (not to mention New Moon) and there's actually a bit of plot to match the book's length, something that didn't really happen in the previous books. The foreshadowing at the beginning of the book is so heavy handed that it can hardly be called foreshadowing--there's no question at all where Meyer and the plot is going. Bella's eventual transformation into a vampire is ultimately anticlimactic and rather disappointing. Thankfully, she is less annoying as a vampire than she was as a human (by a little bit anyway). This is a good thing, especially seeing as she's the narrator for most of the book. (Jacob gets a shot at telling the story for about a quarter of it, hooray!) From what I can tell, Breaking Dawn seems to be the most divisive book for fans of the series; I remember a huge brouhaha when it was initially released, though I forget what the arguments were all about.

Ultimately, I think I'm glad I read the series, even if it didn't turn out to be my favorite project in the world; one which I even considered abandoning after each installment was finished. If the books hadn't turned into such a huge cultural phenomenon, I probably would have, but I wanted to try to understand what the whole fuss was about. These definitely aren't great literature, and probably not even great books, but they are well loved by many and have their place. I'm certainly pleased that Meyer has gotten so many "non-readers" reading. While not utterly bad and occasionally entertaining, I probably won't be returning to the series. I'm done with Twilight, and that's okay.

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