Breaking Dawn (Review)

January 4, 2010

Book cover for "Breaking Dawn" by Stephenie Meyer.Title: Breaking Dawn

Author: Stephenie Meyer

Publication Year: 2008

Pages: 756

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Source: Borrowed from my younger sister

(This is the fourth and final book of the Twilight series, after TwilightNew Moon, and Eclipse.)

I had known even before I read the series that the last book, Breaking Dawn, had caused a whole lot of controversy among the Twilight fans, though I hadn’t really known why. Now that I’ve finished reading them, I decided to go looking to find out why people disliked it; here‘s a really good summary of most of the major “problems” that some readers have with Meyer’s ending to the story.

Honestly? I rather liked it.

For starters, Bella and Edward finally get laid. Sure, it was off-screen (off-page?), which was kind of annoying, but at least it finally happened. And hey, there’s a fairly large part of me that was really pleased with the fact that Bella woke up covered in hand-shaped bruises. Come on! That’s hot!

Yes, definitely, a lot of the book was predictable – but so is most young adult fiction in general. No, there didn’t end up being a huge fight at the end – at least not a physical one – but there was definitely a lot of tension heading into that scene, which was mostly dispersed by the end.

At first, I really disliked the way that this book is split up into sections told from different perspectives. Why should Jacob suddenly have a perspective of his own, this far into the series? It did make for some rather compelling viewpoints on a lot of things, though, and there really is no way that the story could have been told as completely otherwise, without Meyer having to rely on a third-person omniscient narrator. And that would have been even worse, and more awkward, than switching between the perspective of Bella and the perspective of Jacob.

It was good to see Bella finally grow into her own skin a bit, getting comfortable with her body and herself, even if it did take her becoming a mother and a vampire to do so. It was also nice to be able to see her actually protect herself and others, and not just relying on strong male characters to do it for her. Though it was couched in the idea of Bella as a mother and a wife, there was a tiny bit of feminism in there that really made me happy for her. It was a nice way to end the series. Most of the loose ends were tied up, though some connections were purposely left hazy – which works well with the rest of the books, where we as readers were privy to a lot of information, but not everything. The characters were ultimately given that same kind of some-but-not-all knowledge – definitely a plus for me.

All in all?

I definitely liked the series more than I thought I would. It wasn’t the most challenging thing I’ve read, by any means, but at least I know what all the fuss is about now. I can understand references that my students make, or be able to discuss things with them without always having to fall back on my (then-unfounded) criticisms. It wasn’t a book that made me think overly hard, but it was a good vacation read.

I’m still delving a bit more into Meyer’s world, reading a couple books that reference the books, but that’s definitely where my journey will end. I can understand the parallels drawn between Twilight and Harry Potter, at least in terms of the fandoms surrounding them, but I can say without a doubt that I have no interest in joining in.

Rating:

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