Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book review - Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn - Stephanie Meyer

When I decided to ignore everyone who slated the Twilight series and give the book a whirl, I was torn between agreeing with them and enjoying the book. Who would have thought weeks after I finished the third book, I would be eagerly eyeing the fourth and final book to see how it concluded. The release of the film and the subsequent wish to avoid spoilers, told me all I needed to know about how much I cared for the series.
The Blurb:
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 date of two tribes hangs.

Now 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 torn in New Moon and Eclipse--seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed...forever?
Breaking Dawn starts off with the same quality we saw in the third book. The writing is far more accomplished and flows in an easy read kind of fashion. Bella and Edward’s wedding at the start of the novel is actually enjoyable to read. I never thought I would say that after reading the maddening way Stephanie Meyer described the love the two shared in the first book in the series.
The wedding naturally progresses to the honeymoon and it is from there the real story begins. I will avoid spoilers but anyone that has seen the trailers to the final film will know what happens.
Needless to say, the resultant fallout is a brief shift to Jacob’s viewpoint. This adds a freshness to the series. Jake is clearly a character SM enjoys writing about and his interaction with Edward is fascinating as both characters struggle with their mixed feelings of respect and hatred towards the other.
The incident also causes fractions in the respective camps of both the pack of wolves and the clan of vampires. Again, it changes up the dynamics nicely and keeps the characters interesting. We also see alot more of Leah, who emerges as aanti-hero type figure.
This all leads to a twist in proceedings, which unfortunately I saw a mile off. To be fair I think a lot of readers saw it coming to. At first I was not too sure how I felt about it. I think I would have preferred events to transpire as they were before the twist as this would have made for a more intriguing scenario. Instead the twist allows a nice out for all the characters to be united, which is a shame.
The second half of the novel builds to the inevitable confrontation that has been escalating since the second book in the series. Before we get there however, we get to witness Bella experience her transformation. I had mixed feelings about this. It reads well but all of the foreshadowing that made me look forward (did I just say that) to the event never comes to pass. I wanted to see an out of control Bella turn psycho. Instead, she handles the transformation rather effortlessly.
We are then treated to several pages of a rapidly increasing cast and storytelling that verges on being padded. The final confrontation when it does arrive, sizzles with tension. Yet this too flatters to deceive. When all is said and done I could not help but feel disappointed with the showdown. Perhaps if Bella’s descent had not been so low key the ending would have been satisfactory.
New Moon then is a bit of a mixture. The storytelling continues to improve but the plot is slightly underwhelming compared to the third book. It is a shame, as there are many elements that you wished had gone in another direction to elevate this book into the very good category. Oh and Leah remember her? SM doesn't seem to in the second half.
My rating: 8.3