REVIEW: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Dear Ms. Meyer:
My overriding thought when I was reading Breaking Dawn was that it was a good thing this wasn’t the first book because I wonder how many people would have glommed onto the series after reading this mess of a story.
I totally loved Twilight, was less than enthralled with New Moon, watched the wheels fall off the bus in Eclipse, and now have come to this sad and somewhat crazy conclusion.
I confess that when I first started reading this I wondered what fan had ghost written it because it reads like total fan fiction. The first section is told by Bella and relates her marriage in great detail. Of course Bella does not like pretty dresses or pretty decorations or being the center of attention. Despite that, we readers are treated to pages and pages of descriptions about the wedding. And some strange info dump in the beginning that is randomly inserted about immortal children and how turning them is a danger.
The first section was very difficult for me to follow. The transitions from one scene to another to a flashback weren’t clearly denoted and half the time I hadn’t realized that I was switching times and scenes until a quarter or half the way through. For example, in the first “chapter” Bella is in the present talking to her friend. Then she is thinking about telling Charlie about getting married which happened sometime in the past and this immediately segues into Bella telling her mother sometime after telling Charlie but sometime before the present time.
“But you have to tell your mom! I’m not saying one word to Renee! That’s all yours!” He busted into loud guffaws.
I paused with my hand on the doorknob, smiling. Sure, at the time, Charlie’s words had terrified me. The ultimate doom: telling Renee. Early marriage was higher up on her blacklist than boiling live puppies.
Who could have foreseen her response? Not me. Certainly not Charlie. Maybe Alice, but I hadn’t thought to ask her.
“Well, Bella,” Renee had said after I’d choked and stuttered out the impossible words: Mom, I’m marrying Edward. “I’m a little miffed that you waited so long to tell me. Plane tickets only get more expensive. Oooh,” she’d fretted. “Do you think Phil’s cast will be off by then? It will spoil the pictures if he’s not in a tux?”
The first section meanders from the wedding to the honeymoon where Bella begs for sex and I assume that Edward gives it to her. It’s very stream of consciousness storytelling. Oh, and in true romance style, the first time was fantastic. Utterly divine which is par for the course in the book. Even minor issues of pain and suffering are rewarded with perfection.
I talked to Robin about this and she pointed out that is Freud’s theory of omnipotence. Basically Bella wishes for things to come into fruition and they do. She has utter control over herself and her surroundings. There is no conflict, suspense or urgency because the reader knows that Bella’s wishes will ultimately triumph in her favor. The voices of the narrators and their actions are very immature. They show no forethought, planning or reasoning. It’s response, reaction, act. In fact, I thought the voice of the characters (their maturity level) is shown by the name of Bella’s daughter: Reneesme, a combo of both Bella and Edward’s mother’s names. Because Renee Esme Cullen is not as good as Reneesme. After all, who is going to mock a vampire on the playground, right?
There was an interesting theme that was brought up: Is it better to rule through free will or subjugation? There is no resolution to the theme, no showing that free will is better. There’s discussion but no action. Any resolution comes not because one concept is superior to the other but because Bella wishes that the resolution would end and it does.
I’m not even sure what the conflict was/is anymore. I think that Edward didn’t want to make Bella a vampire but agreed to do so if she married him. This was explained because Edward was old fashioned. (Apparently in the Victorian period, it was only okay to change someone after you married them. WTF?). During the honeymoon, Edward’s strength leaves bruises on Bella’s body and so he refuses to make love to her again until she is changed. But does he change her? Of course not because where would the artificial tension come from?
The faux conflicts were wall bangers in and of themselves but when Bella becomes pregnant (yes, this is just like fan fiction), the story really hits the wall. Any semblance of world building that was created in the past is just thrown out the window. Humans and vampires can mate! They can have children! You can see your old family! You can have more than one gift! Throw out the rules! We need conflict!
I think the most disappointing thing about this book was the lack of organic conflict. Everything seemed so manufactured from Edward not wanting to turn Bella into vampire which we know he ultimately will otherwise why the marriage, to Bella becoming pregnant, to the ultimate resolution to the baby issue. Some deem this a dark book? How so? She gets pregnant, lives forever with the most perfect man, everyone lives to serve her, she has uber riches, and suffers hardly at all. She has ultimate control over her vampire urges, as if she had been a vampire for centuries. Her child is the most perfect individual. Bella herself even has two gifts while every other vampire has one.
There were parts of the story that were interesting. I found Jacob’s section, the middle one, to be the best told. His struggle with his role in the Pack and his feelings for Bella and the concepts of free will and domination were probably the most compelling part of the story. In his eyes, through his voice, the story was the most authentic. But, the whole concept of free will is undermined by imprinting. Imprinting is when one shapeshifter finds its fated mate. Where’s the free will there?
I’m pretty sure I would have been better off stopping with Twilight as each book has successively gone down the hill for me. It’s entire purpose is to provide the most happy ending of all time for everyone. And I do mean everyone. D