Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publication Year: 2007
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Source: Borrowed from my younger sister
This installment seemed to hit both the best and worst points of the series for me.
Most of the first two novels (Twilight and New Moon) focused on Bella’s relationships with either Edward or Jacob, mutually exclusive of each other. As the series progresses, Eclipse allows both of the men to share the spotlight, as well as showing Bella’s struggle to reconcile her feelings for both of them while they essentially hate each other. They also work through a lot of their problems with each other at Bella’s urging – well, forcing, since she basically makes them get along for her – and so that they can work together to protect her from Victoria, the mate of the vampire who tried to kill Bella in Twilight (and who the werewolves were tracking in New Moon).
I found it interesting to watch Bella try to get the boys to accept each other in the beginning, but their glares and threats against each other’s lives soon got irritating. It was also a perfect vehicle for seeing the true control-freak side of Edward, as he tried to force Bella not to see Jacob even though he was her best friend when Edward disappeared on her in the previous book.
The purpose of Eclipse also seemed partly to be as a showcase of the backstories of some of the other vampires. Meyer finally fleshed out the backstories for Rosalie and Jasper, allowing his to inform the immediate story arc (his experience as a warring vampire, mostly) and using Rosalie’s story to explain why she had never liked Bella and also why she doesn’t want Bella to become a vampire. By the end of the book, everyone seemed to be grudgingly getting along, the reader knows more about the histories and relationships between characters, myths, and motivations, and the “good guys” win over the evil. Edward even tells Bella that he’ll make her into a vampire herself, instead of letting her follow through with an agreement she made with Carlisle, if she meets his one condition – marriage.
Seriously? A virgin vampire around 110 years old is willing to turn his (also virgin) 18-year old girlfriend into a vampire, despite all of his moral objections about her losing her soul, and all she has to do is marry him?
This seems to be the one feminist bone that Bella has left in her body, as she tries to argue with him at first. She doesn’t want to get married so young, doesn’t want to be “that girl” who gets married right out of high school. But what exactly does she think she’s been doing for the remainder of the series? She’s been fawning over Edward for over a year in book-time at this point, doing anything and everything within her power to be his beautiful girlfriend, the perpetual damsel in distress. She forgives him (and Jacob) of pretty much anything, so long as they just keep loving her. How on earth is she not that girl?!?
It does definitely set things up for the next, and final, book. The bad vampire(ss) is gone, Bella and Edward are going to get married, Jacob is still talking to her – at least until she changes – and trying to fight Edward for her, and everything has sort of wound down. It seems like everything is going to be happy-go-lucky, and there’s no specific obstacle for them to hurdle in the next book.
But Breaking Dawn is the most controversial book in the series, at the least among the actual readers and fans of the books. So there’s definitely something coming up to dwarf the challenges there have already been for Bella and Edward to overcome.