Breaking Dawn

Earlier this evening, I finished the final book in Stephenie Meyer’s vampire saga.  Breaking Dawn was not, in my estimation, as good as its predecessors.  I felt the book had a variety of problems that boil down to one main issue.  I expect books about the supernatural to stretch my credulity, but this book went over my credulity line.

Spoilers follow, so stop reading now if you intend to read the book and don’t want plot details revealed.

In this novel Bella, Meyer’s protagonist, marries her Edward (who was a little too bossy and controlling — and yes, he may be from a more patriarchal era, but I still don’t like it) and inexplicably gives birth to a half vampire/half human child.  The birth would have killed her except Edward is able to heal Bella’s injuries by making her into a vampire.  As a vampire, much of the quirks that make her personality accessible to teenage girls — her insecurity and clumsiness — fall away in the face of her superhuman powers.  And she defies the mold by displaying amazing self control and powers, considering she is a newborn vampire.  Meanwhile, Jacob inexplicably imprints on Edward and Bella’s daughter Renesmee.  Never mind she’s not part of the Quileute tribe.  See what I mean?  Finally, another vampire glimpses Renesmee and thinks Carlisle’s coven has done the unthinkable — created a vampire out of a child.  Supposedly it’s a crime to create child vampires because they have vampire strength and no control.  The Volturi — the guardians of the vampires’ secret — descend upon Bella and her family, but she’s not about to give up without a fight.

I believe the best book in the series remains the first, although I liked parts of each of the others, even this one.  However, Breaking Dawn was easy to put down for long periods of time, and it was difficult to pick up again sometimes.  I had eventually read through too much of it to put it down.  Once I invest in a book by a certain number of pages, I tend to plow through.  Overall, I was disappointed with this book, but the series as a whole is a satisfying, fun read.

New Moon

This evening, I finished reading New Moon, the second novel in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga.  I enjoyed it.

The novel picks up following Bella’s recovery from certain events at the end of the previous book.  Bella has just turned 18, and she is unhappy because her beloved Edward, a vampire, will never be older than 17.  The prospect of growing old while he remains perpetually youthful is distasteful to Bella.  The Cullens, Edward’s family throw Bella a birthday party, and an accident makes Edward decide Bella is not safe with the Cullens.  When Edward leaves Bella, she makes friends with the enigmatic Jacob Black, only to discover that he, too, harbors a dark secret.  Will he help her forget Edward and heal the hole left by Edward’s absence?  Or will Edward return to challenge his rival?

Meyer has the gift for creating a plot that will engage the reader — a real page-turner.  To me, a good test is whether I can keep from turning ahead to see what the future holds — something I consider cheating.  And I have to cheat with Meyer’s books.  Her characters are believable and likable.  If her vampires are a bit too perfect, well, it’s because they’re supposed to be.

I do wish Bella, Meyer’s main character, had a bit more self-confidence.  I think the Cullens treat her like a pet, and it’s somewhat demeaning.  She feels unworthy of their attention, so it’s a vicious cycle.  I like Jacob Black, who Meyer introduced in the first book, but fleshed out in this second book.  Meyer’s allusions to Romeo and Juliet, woven throughout the text, worked well.

I can definitely see why these books are so popular with teens.  I really enjoyed going to Stephenie Meyer’s book signing in September, and if she comes back to sign copies of Breaking Dawn, I will be there!