THERE ARE “BREAKING DAWN” SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW. IF YOU DO NOT WANT THE NOVEL TO BE RUINED FOR YOU, PLEASE STOP READING.
There were certain things about “Twilight” and its sequels that made people love it. That made people say, â€˜Hey, it may say it’s about vampires, but it’s not. It’s about the most amazing love story ever told.’ There were certain aspects, like Bella’s relatability and her teenage confusions that made people of all ages adore her.
“Breaking Dawn” doesn’t tell that story.
There are mentions of Bella’s high school friends, and a handful of them even appear for a dialogue-less scene in the first 50 pages of the book, but they, like any anchor to the feel of the earlier novels, seem to disappear in the opening scenes. “Breaking Dawn” is a vampire novel in a series that really wasn’t.
When you go to hunt down a copy of Stephenie Meyer’s final installment to her (definitely going to be) on-going vampire saga, don’t worry about not having finished its second and third episodes; “New Moon” and “Eclipse”. Meyer once stated that “Breaking Dawn” was going to be very similar to her original and unpublished sequel to “Twilight”; “Forever Dawn”, and she was right. The events of “New Moon” and “Eclipse” have barely a paragraph of relevance to the entire 754-page giant that is “Breaking Dawn”.
It definitely draws one thing from its predecessors though, and that is the reader having to wait until the last 100 pages for a plot to appear. We saw this in “Twilight”, but the 400 pages of Bella and Edward falling in love was totally worth only the last fifth of the book being about the nomads. (Besides, there were two more books after that to finish off their story). In “Breaking Dawn”, it takes until page 360 for anything exciting to occur, until page 543 for a plot to emerge, and until page 679 for the battle scene that never actually happens. Oh, and then they live happily ever after.
With “Twilight”, I didn’t realize I was almost done with the book and nothing had happened because I cared. Bella and Edward? Amazing! Their chemistry and their passion and their confusion… I gobbled it up. Obviously. The biggest problem with “Breaking Dawn” is how hard it was to care about the characters that we all fell in love with.
The first and foremost (and previously mentioned) reason is that Bella is no longer a relatable character. She is 18 and she gets married. And then has a baby. And then becomes a vampire. I am 19. I am not married, nor pregnant, nor a vampire.
Therefore, I cannot empathize with Bella in Book 2 of “Breaking Dawn” (from Jacob’s perspective) when we watch Bella slowly killing herself while everyone sits around and watches her be a stubborn idiot. There are literally 200 pages of this! Bella has made decisions in previous installments that are hard to wrap the mind around, but at least then the story is from Bella’s perspective so the reader is slightly biased. But having to watch Bella make more seemingly stupid decisions from someone (Jacob) who sees them also as being stupid decisions… let’s just say I know quite a few people who put the book down then.
The driving force behind the success of the Twilight series is the relationship between Bella and Edward. It is beautiful – perfect in its imperfections. “Breaking Dawn” should have been the culmination of these feelings, but it wasn’t; its second big mistake. Here was Meyer’s perfect opportunity to have everything be perfect. We have a wedding, a honeymoon, and a baby.
The wedding was cute, but didn’t have much depth. There is some sign of the undeniable happiness between Edward and Bella as they both got the unbreakable union they so deeply craved for but it still felt like it was lacking. It seemed like Meyer was just racing through it until she could get to…
The honeymoon started off perfect. Bella and Edward, for lack of a better term, did it. Finally. But, of course, there is a problem. Although the passion is of course, breathtaking, Edwards, um, strength, leaves bruises all over Bella, which ruins his mood and makes him the emo-for-a-lame-reason-Edward that we have all learned to love. But even the honeymoon zips by as…
Bella discovers she is pregnant!
And then it’s Jacob being miserable, watching Bella make stupid decisions. This has been mentioned above, and then (we are half way through the book now), Jacob imprints and Bella has her baby/becomes a vampire.
Bella becoming a vampire was the surprising high point of the novel. She seems to be meant to be a vampire, which sort of explains why she has always been on the â€˜AM’ frequency. And, luckily for us all, her desire for Edward is greater than before, so we get treated to a few steamy scenes that had been missing during the first half of the novel. They still felt a little lackluster, though; Bella didn’t faint.
Oh, and her baby is adorable, but that’s for you the reader to discover.
The connection between Edward and Bella has always been deep; so deep, in fact, that the reader can feel its pulsing life throughout the entirety of the novels. “Breaking Dawn” suffered from the same affliction its heroine did: blood no longer pulses through its veins.
Another let-down is the hype of Team Edward versus Team Jacob. There was no fight. Jacob imprinted (which we all knew had to happen regardless), but then it was like poof – there was never another mention of Jacob’s two-and-a-half-books long unquenchable and unchangeable love for Bella. Come on, Stephenie Meyer.
Finally a plot emerges involving the only sort-of enemies from the previous two (ignored) books, the Volturi. There is way too much about vampires here, and in some parts I felt I was reading an Ann Rice fiction novel instead of one of Stephenie Meyer’s fluffy young adult romances. Things get interesting for a bit, and then “Breaking Dawn” ends the way it had to. Happily.
Part of the problem is that Meyer seems to have had a switch in focus as to who her favorite person is, much like Bella does. It’s no longer all about how perfect Edward is, but rather how amazing Bella and Edward’s daughter, Renesmee, is. It can only be assumed that the implied sequels-from-other-perspectives (excluding “Midnight Sun”, which is “Twilight” from Edward’s perspective) will be about her. There was way too much set up about her future to be ignored.
I too was convinced that Bella and Edward’s story is old news. The problem was, I was convinced that a little more than half way through “Breaking Dawn”. This was supposed to be their grand, final chapter, but if anything it was the worst of the entire series.
The amount of a letdown that “Breaking Dawn” was slightly overshadowed the fact that there were good parts to the book as well. Bella and Edward finally can be happy together. The angst is over. The love is complete. That was heart-warming.
And “Breaking Dawn” was a good book, it’s just that something better was expected. Something amazing. Something that took my breath away.
In the end, “Breaking Dawn” felt kind of like a muffin bottom. You don’t really want to eat it because you know it doesn’t taste as good as the muffin top, but you know if you don’t just finish it you’re going to stay hungry for a long, long time.