Friday, August 08, 2008

Breaking Dawn: The End of the Fairy Tale

On Friday, August second at midnight, the most anticipated book of the year was released. By the end of the week, close to four million copies will have been bought and read. As of Saturday at 7am, there were 21 reviews of Breaking Dawn on As of Friday night on August eighth, the reviews had grown to 1,800. What was it about this book that made people want to read it all through the night and quickly make it known how they felt?

By now there has been a mass posting of reviews on the internet and I for one tried very hard not to read any. The joy in reading a book like this is not knowing what will happen. I was excited for that surprise and unaware what would be in store for Bella, the human girl, and Edward, the beautiful vampire who loves her. Unfortunately that was not the case. I made the mistake of going to Amazon on that Saturday morning, only seven hours after Breaking Dawn was released and the very first review posted gave away everything. My surprise was ruined, the gift I had promised myself was no more. And what I found out was a bit shocking and appalling.

For those who have not had the chance to read Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, it is basically the story about a human girl and the love she has for her vampire boyfriend. The three books (Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse) before Breaking Dawn are about their bumpy road to love. These are two star crossed lovers who need each other desperately, but because of what they both are, that is virtually impossible. Edward longs to drain Bella dry because her blood is his food, the highest aphrodisiac he craves. The moral implications in their relationship is always utmost on their minds. When they are not busy trying to deny their own baser urges, Bella for sex and Edward for her blood, there are those who are trying to separate them either through death or that of another suitor trying to steal Bella away from Edward. Breaking Dawn is supposed to be their happily ever after. The road to their HEA is still very rough and not all that certain, but Meyer makes sure to give her readers a story they will never forget, no matter how strange it may seem.

Breaking Dawn is broken down into three parts. Part one begins where Bella and Edward are now engaged. This is told from Bella’s point of view. She may only be eighteen, but she knows what she wants, and that is to become Mrs. Cullen. Bella Swan has been waiting for years for Edward to make her his own, meaning sexual intercourse. The only way Edward will give in, is if they are married and soon after she will be turned into a vampire. If she is undead like Edward, she will no longer be in danger and they will be together for all eternity. And quite honestly, what young teenage girl wouldn’t want to be eighteen forever with the man she loves, always by her side? We see her planning the wedding, her marriage and finally her honeymoon with her new husband. The first one-hundred pages or so really shine here. This is what I have been waiting for. This is Stephenie Meyer at her best. But then something happens to Bella on her honeymoon because of the intimacies she and Edward share. What happens to Bella is not planned and throws both of them for a loop. Because of this, the whole tone of the book changes and enters in the Twilight Zone territory. *cue spooky theme music*

Part two is from Jacob Black, the werewolf’s view. Jacob was the other suitor vying for Bella’s affections. Bella and Jacob are not meant to be because werewolves have an imprinted mate, and Bella is not this mate. Jacob still cares deeply for Bella and when he finds out she is home and in danger, he rushes to her side. This is where he will come in contact with his own imprinted mate and that in itself stunned me speechless and made me more than a bit uncomfortable. Whereas in the past, Jacob was the enemy of Edward because he wanted Bella’s love and because werewolves and vampires are sworn enemies anyway, Jacob is now part of the family that is Bella and Edward because of this new character. This new character gives all three of them an unbreakable bond. (This new face is such a big spoiler. If you really want to know who it is e-mail me or go to Amazon. BAD AMAZON! :P)

Part three is back to Bella’s view where the action seems intense while Meyer begins to close things up into a happy little proverbial bow. The enemies we have read about in the past books come to reak havoc, but because understanding, acceptance and good prevails, all is right in this supernatural world that Meyer has created. Bella and Edward’s happily ever after is now set in stone. The fairy tale has come to an end.

Breaking Dawn is a fairy tale, much like a Grimm Brothers’ story. There is a character who is given a choice, a path they must take. This path will be dangerous and decisions must be along with sacrifices that they won’t see coming. Bella is this fairy tale character, who, because of her actions, decides on the outcome and the finality of the Twilight series. Everything she has done from her marriage, to the intimacy she shares with Edward to the cause and effect of that intimacy is what Breaking Dawn is about.

I really wish I could say this is a 5 star, A+ book that you all must run out and get as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I can't give that recommendation. Why? Well, the tone of this book is so very different from the last three books and a bit disappointing. I found the story to be too convoluted, the chemistry that I have grown to love between Bella and Edward is lacking. There are too many shocking twists that simply don’t make any sense to me. Everything is coming from all different directions and I honestly can’t say what Meyer’s ultimate plan was. Even though the tension and drama seem intense on the surface, it feels very stilted and a bit dull. Some things that that characters do seem so out of place, especially Charlie's reaction to Bella's new married life. And I can't find myself to agree with the mate Jacob has been given. That is bound to upset some readers and for a better lack of a phrase, a major WTF moment. I almost stopped reading and would have given Breaking Dawn a DNF (do not finish), but I waited way too long for this book and I was going to finish it!

As a thirty something reading a young adult novel meant for teenage girls, I must say Meyer handled the sexual intimacies between Edward and Bella very well. I remember what I used to read at thirteen and when these two engage in their lovemaking, it is well written. The fade to dark lovemaking is what I have been expecting. As for the violence, there is a bit too much for my tastes where I would be wary for a young girl to read. There is a lot of blood spilled within these pages.

The Twilight series is truly the end of a fairy tale, the likes I have never seen. It was a wonderful journey of love and devotion between two people I wanted to be together forever in my memories. I can’t help but compare Bella and Edward to Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights is a heartbreaking romance where two lovers are separated because of their own greed and obsession for one another, which ends in one of their deaths. The ending always gets to me where we see Heathcliff walking through the Moors looking for his beloved Catherine. When he does find her, they are reunited in death, to walk the Moors forever and at peace. Stephenie Meyer has done the same thing here with Bella and Edward. Both are together, and from all intensive purposes, now at peace. Breaking Dawn is certainly not the masterpiece I was looking forward to and I could say I wished Meyer would have taken her story in another direction, but at least she gave Bella and Edward their small, but perfect piece of forever.

Breaking Dawn may be a disappointment to some and not the best in the series, but Meyer finally ended the story of two lovers as it should be, with their arms around each other, staring into each other’s eyes, knowing they will never be separated.

2 stars of out 5 stars.

Katiebabs (KB)

**For those who were less than pleased with Breaking Dawn? Why not see what Edward thinks in this funny Live Journal review. (Thanks Ana!)**


Anonymous said...

Good review!
I haven't read this one yet, but I am #2 on the waiting list at the library for it.

I bought Twilight but checked out the others in the series at the library, because I had some issues with Twilight. I liked it, but it didn't seem well written ( no plot until last 2/3 of book) and was mostly Bella angst, and her self-esteem issues. Which, since this was YA, I cut it some slack, because srsly, what teenage girl doesn't deal with that, so it felt right to me, and I liked Bella and Edward. So I read New Moon when it came out.

New Moon...jeeze, what can I say except, is it really a good idea to have your teenage heroine want to commit suicide for the majority of the book because of a boy? Really?

Then Eclipse. This one I can't remember much except it seemed like Jacob was an abusive ass and Bella whined about parties, presents, sex and marriage.

My daughter was 15 when Twilight came out and after reading it, I decided not to let her read it until I had read the next one. I'm really glad I did that. Of course, now she is 18 and she can read whatever she wants, but I am still glad I didn't introduce the series to her when she was 15.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble. heh. I am looking forward to BD but I'm excited about Midnight Sun, because I think Edward is a more interesting character and want to see his POV during Twilight.

Renee said...

I'm finally coming up for air, after avoiding any mention of Breaking Dawn in the blogs I read. I, too, didn't want to ruin the surprise, and am glad I did so.

I really enjoyed the first three books, and was curious to see the direction she would take with the conclusion of the series. Today I've been catching up on what's been written about the books, and I have to say that you were really balanced in what you had to say. THANK YOU!

While I would never claim that the series is "great literature", I think it really captures that girl-angst most of us had during our teen years. All the self-absorbed concerns about being pretty (cool, thin, etc.) enough, totally crushing on the unattainable guy, and feeling like you're not fitting in, are Bella's preoccupations for a lot of the series. It seems like critics have been quick to criticize Bella for being a poor role-model for girls, yet really, I think the series is less about being a template for what a teen girl should be and more about the growth and development Bella goes thru over the course of the books.

That being said, Breaking Dawn was a bit of a disappointment. Part if it was that expectations were so high for it (at least mine were), that it would have been a miracle for me to have been completely satisfied with it. However, the larger part was to due to the strange place the story went to. The "consequences" of their island trip were just way too bizarre. And not in a cool creepy horror-movie kind of way but my reaction was more of an "ick."

The resolution with Jacob didn't creep me out as much as I would have thought. She prepares the reader well for it with the other imprinting example. I didn't feel Jacob's character project anything other than love (not luurve) and concern. However, boy did I laugh out loud at the moment I realized what had happened. I guess if I am willing to suspend belief and not be wierded out by an approx 110 yr old vampire with a 17 yr old, I can take the rest in stride.

My only criticism on the whole Bella/Edward relationship is the fact that in the first 3 books, her relationship with him was one that made her focus on her insecurities. I was always more of a Jacob fan, feeling like their relationship brought out her confidence and strength.

All in all though, it was a fun trip to Twilight-land, even if I wish it had concluded differently.


Ciara said...

I finished NEW MOON while hiking and now have to run out an find Eclipse. Do you think the airport will have it? I hope so. I'M NOW A TWILIGHT FANGIRL - SQUEEEEE! But jacob is better than edward. I just can't comprehend how Bella enjoys cuddling with someone who is freezing cold. Nuh-uh. Not attractive. once I finish the series we shall have to chat... soooon.

Anonymous said...

I finished BD today. It really was... a bit shocking I must admit. The expectations were huge and when I finally got the book in my hands, it wasn't what I expected. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't A+ either. Still, I am satisfied that the ending was a happy one and now I can sleep in peace ;)