4th book in the Twilight Saga
by Stephenie Meyer
Breaking Dawn is the much anticipated fourth and [in a sense] final installment in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. So many questions had arisen throughout the series, the most pressing of which revolving around the heroine’s love interest, whether or not she too would become a vampire, and the condition the treaty between the Cullens and the werewolves would be left in. Pressing issues that we, the readers, had all been dying to see answered. Please be advised, this review does contain some spoilers despite my attempts to keep them to a minimum.
Our lingering questions were certainly answered. The manner in which they were answered, however, left much to be desired. Throughout the series I had the distinct impression that Bella’s maturity had grown. While she was able to take care of herself, in a fashion, and acted much like an adult in a teenager’s body with regards to most aspects of a young adult’s life, she was an infant in matters of the heart. With this installment however, it was as though Bella did a horrendous backslide in terms of character growth and maturity. Not to mention, her actions did not seem at all inline with her personality.
In previous books, Edward tried to talk Bella out of becoming a vampire by dangling the benefits of mortality that she would loose. One of which being her ability to have children. Bella was supposedly not at all interested in having children and did not consider that a loss in the least. Yet, the moment she realizes she’s pregnant Bella immediately loves the child growing in her and wants to keep it. As someone who never wants children, let me just say that such a drastic turnaround in such a short amount of time really is not believable. This of course brings me to the second thing that confused me and detracted greatly from the reading experiance – keeping the child.
When it was known that Bella was pregnant I could not understand why she not only wanted to go through with it, but that others were supporting it. Especially given the information mentioned in the beginning of the book with regards to child-vampires. Why would Bella and the Cullens take the risk of being hunted and killed by the Volturi? Bella’s actions were completely at odd with her love for the Cullens, who she claimed to consider family, and put everyone at risk. Given that Bella’s character is one of self-sacrifice, the danger of keeping the child and the sheer number of lives the process would have “endangered” made the decision to keep the child completely selfish and just plain stupid.
At the point in time that Bella decided to keep the child she knew only that: child-vampires could not grasp the need for secrecy, thus endangering covens and all vampires alike; could wipe out whole villages due to their thirst; were outlawed by the Volturi and any coven that made or harbored a child-vampire would be executed immediately. Not to mention the fact that, for all accounts and purposes, Bella’s pregnancy should not have even been possible, which left them in unknown territory. Given this knowledge what logic was there for a self-sacrificing young woman who cares deeply for her loved ones and friends to put hundreds of people at risk? Based on the knowledge she had at the time, the Cullens would immediately become a target of the Volturi, the werewolves, or at least Jacob, would be dragged into it, not to mention the humans that might be munched on by her vampire-child. Granted, the book ended on a “happily ever after” note and the worst-case scenario didn’t come true. However, the choice of the heroine was, none the less, illogical and rash.
This of course raised questions and doubts over the level of Bella’s maturity and ability to be a mother. Bella spent her time during the beginning of the book focused only on her honeymoon and becoming a vampire – sex and immortality – with no real consideration to how her single mindedness was hurting Edward. Add in the purely selfish desire to keep the child and her inability to let Jacob be, after hearing from his own mouth how her clinging to him still hurt, and one really has to wonder if she, a child herself, has the right mentality and maturity to raise a child. This book sends out a very mixed messages and I couldn’t help but feel as though the author was trying to say “so long as you have a man everything will go alright” upon the conclusion of the book. Husband, money, baby, immortality, and she’ll never have to work a day in her life – Bella got it all and gave up nothing.
The change of point of view from Bella to Jacob was, initially, jarring. However, it did provide invaluable insight that would have otherwise been lost if the story had been told entirely from Bella and the Cullen’s point of view. I thought that Meyer did an excellent job of showcasing the fears of the pack as well as providing valuable insight into Jacob’s thoughts and feelings. After reading from his perspective it was became clear that there was much more to the angry and irrational Jacob that had been portrayed in Eclipse. I also thought that Meyer did an impeccable job of fleshing out her characters even more and giving us a much better understanding of them. Specifically I was surprised and pleased to see how Seth, Leah, and Rosalie were fleshed out so. I would have liked to seen more attention given to Emmet however, as he remained the only member of the Cullens that I never really got a feel for.
Breaking Dawn definately had a darker feel to it then any of the other books in the series, which was very appropriate given the book’s title, as it is always darkest right before the dawn after all. Now, while I will agree that the content was more mature and darker than the previous books in the series, I would not go so far as to say that it was too much. Rather it had just the right feel to it. Bella had reached a major turning point in her life and was shedding her adolescence as well her humanity in this book. Despite several aspects that detracted greatly from the believability of the characters and their choices, not to mention the mixed single this book sends, it was an enjoyable read. Meyer’s writing style manages to keep readers turning the pages regardless of the disappointments.
Followers of the series will definately want to read this final book to see how it all comes together. There is no question that this is an entertaining and gripping series that you will want to follow from start to finish. However, be prepared for a less than spectacular finale. The magic that first hooked me when I read Twilight remained throughout New Moon and Eclipse. With regards to Breaking Dawn however, I found the magic to be much diluted. It lingered on like the faint aroma of an enchanting fragrance in an empty room; the remnants of an alluring past.
Joana’s rating: (3 out of 5 stars)
- Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
- Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer [Now Reading]