Thursday, December 17, 2009

Eclipse & Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Eclipse -----------------Breaking Dawn
629 pages -------------------- 754 pages
Published 2007 ---- Published 2008
Little, Brown and Company
New York, NY

I've fallen quite behind in the posting of my reviews, so in order to save some time and avoid repetition I am combining the reviews for the last two books in the Twilight Saga, which I read in late November and early December. Please note I have made every attempt to avoid any unnecessary spoilers.

The Plots:
Eclipse: As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob -- knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which? (Summary courtesy of the publisher)

Breaking Dawn: 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, then scattered and tor in New Moon and Eclipse -- seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed... forever? (Summary courtesy of the publisher)

My Thoughts:
As I mentioned in my review of Twilight, until this past summer I had no plans to read this series. I just am not into the whole vampire thing. But then around the end of June while I was looking for something fast and easy to read (and after months of persistent recommendations by my sister and a sister-in-law) I changed my mind and decided to give the first book a chance. As is evident by my review I ended up liking Twilight (for the most part) and decided to continue reading the series. Next was New Moon, but I didn't like it as much. It had a much darker story plot... which was the intention of the author (hence the title). And so, because I'd started and the books are very fast reads I decided to finish up the saga. Almost back-to-back I read Eclipse and Breaking Dawn and now I'm done!

On a scale of 1-5, 1 being horrible and 5 being excellent I would rate Eclipse a 2.5 There were aspects of Eclipse that I liked, but for the most part I felt as though the story was just more of the same. While the reader gets more time to get to know the characters the reader also gets more time to know the same things they've already learned, which gets old. Edward loves Bella, Bella loves Edward, but she also cares a great deal for Jacob, who in turn loves Bella. What to do! Garr...

What I didn't like about the Twilight saga is that Stephenie Meyer's is just not a good writer. She's got a great story concept, but her writing is rather poor (i.e. poor sentence structure, repetitive phrases and sentences) and full of melodrama. And then there's the fact that the story really drags in Eclipse. I really believe Meyer's could have cut out about half of New Moon and half of Eclipse without damaging the core of her unique story plot.

On the other hand I actually liked most of Breaking Dawn and would rate it a 3 on a scale of 1-5. The first third of Breaking Dawn was pretty much the same as the two previous novels, albeit one major scene. (Again, I think this part could have been condensed a little better.) The second third of the book was interesting as it returned to Jacob's point of view (which was present in some of Eclipse) and this gave the reader more background and details about Jacob and his werewolf friends that proved interesting, but in the end I felt the best part of the book was the last third when at LONG LAST Bella becomes a vampire and the story reaches the long awaited drama and adventure. I won't go into any specifics (and any spoilers). Suffice it for me to say, the story finally gets interesting when this point of the story is reached and it also gets really far fetched.

Far fetched? Ok, so vampires and werewolves are fiction, so how can anything more be far fetched? I guess it's not really possible to be more so, but some how I felt as though Meyers did with the ending of the saga. By the time I reached the end of Breaking Dawn I had two opinions. First, I was glad that the characters I liked lived to "fight another day" (so to speak), but on the other hand I felt the big action scene was VERY anti-climactic and that Meyers made a mistake when she took extreme efforts to ensure everyone has a "happily ever after" ending. In my opinion, I think Meyers could have taken a few lessons from J. K. Rowling.

All in all I think of the four books I liked the first part of Twilight and the last part of Breaking Dawn the best. They are the beginning and ending of this unique story plot and the best because of that.

Yes, I admit I enjoyed the series, but I am no Twifhard or Twifan. If you haven't read the books but have seen the movies I will say, you should read the books. The movies just don't do the books or the story or even the characters justice. (Although the second movie was definitely better than the first.)

I chose to borrow the series from the library and would advise you borrow versus buy this series until you know if it's worth spending the money to add it to your collection.

In summary, I'm glad I read the Twilight saga because I've heard so much about them, but it is unlikely I will read anything else by Meyers. She is just not a great writer, which is a shame because she had a great idea in the whole Twilight concept.

Related reviews:
New Moon
Breaking Dawn


Carrie said...

It's interesting to hear your thoughts on this series and thanks for sharing. It's nice to hear a more balanced take on it than hearing the "rah! rah! rah!" it has been receiving all over the place, making it feel over inflated.

I want to read the series merely to make fun of it but Jonathan won't let me. =D

Noël De Vries said...

At first, I liked the story. Now, I hate it. Esp. Breaking Dawn. Uhg.

Doesn't help that I have to check out millions of copies every week. (okay, slight exaggeration)

But Meyer's Host is actually pretty interesting.