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Book Review: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

November 21st, 2008

I finished Breaking Dawn, the 4th installment of the Twilight series, at the beginning of the month. I haven’t had a chance to read much this year aside from book club selections! I was glad to be able to make time to read Breaking Dawn. I am still not sure how I’m going to complete this challenge! Currently, I’m reading The Red Tent for both the challenge and book club. I’ve been trying to write a book reviews for every book that I read, but sometimes I find it hard to come up with what I’d like to say. I debated whether to write a review for this one, even though I enjoyed it quite a bit! I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this series when I read it last year (it’s been over a year since I had read book 3). I have heard that it has received mixed reviews, but I guess I am pretty easy to please and not too critical when it comes to this type of book. Our book club is reading the series as an optional selection, so I will have to brush up by the time we have our meeting in late February.

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

REALLY, I MEAN IT, BIG SPOILERS BELOW

It took me a little while to remember what was happening in the series, but Meyer did a good job of reintroducing me to the characters and plot without being too redundant (though I might feel differently if I had just read the first three books recently?). I have enjoyed reading about strong, female lead characters. In the first 3 books, Bella was quite the opposite – weak, helpless, always in danger, and in constant need of someone to save her. For the first part of Breaking Dawn, she becomes even weaker. Bella and Edward get married, and she soon finds herself pregnant. This is no ordinary pregnancy, and it progresses very quickly. The baby is strong and nearly kills her. She has a mother’s need to protect and preserve the child and insists on continuing the pregnancy. They determine that she could survive the pregnancy if Edward turns her into a vampire (and therefore making good on the pact with the Volturi).

It’s hard to believe that the previously weak human Bella does not suffer the same out of control tendancies as all other newborn vampires. This seems like an odd thing to classify as a “power,” but it definitely makes the story easier to tell. I’m not upset that she’s not going on a killing spree, but I’m not sure how well it fits Meyer’s vampire lore. I was glad to finally see a strong Bella, and I was somewhat surprised that she was actually turned into a vampire. I kept thinking that they would be able to get out of the Volturi pact somehow. Bella’s life as a vampire starts out without the crazed newborn stage, but with all the power and strength. She literally changed overnight from the weakest of the group to the strongest. In addition to physical strength, she is able to shield herself and eventually others with practice from other vampire’s special powers. This proves to be key in defending themselves from the Volturi towards the end of the book.

Jacob finally found his soul mate in the form of Bella’s daughter, which I can’t decide whether that makes sense or completely does not make sense. Either way, I kinda liked the idea. While I want Bella to be with Edward, I still liked Jacob and was sad that Bella and Jacob couldn’t somehow also be together. I enjoy Bella’s point of view, but it was interesting to read from Jacob’s point of view for a while. I especially liked the dynamic of the pack and how they communicate with each other.

Bella’s daughter, Renesmee (it really is a dumb name), continues to grow rapidly as a half-breed vampire/human. The Volturi learn of her existence and assume that Renesmee is an “immortal child” created by the Cullens, and this violates one of the vampire laws set by the Volturi. Quite a bit of the rest of the book is focused on the Cullens gathering an army of witnesses and preparing for the arrival of the Volturi who plan to destroy Renesmee and whoever else gets in their way.

The ending is a bit anticlimatic after all the building up to the conflict. I enjoyed how Bella used her defenses, but we didn’t really enjoy much action after all the hype. The Volturi are finally convinced that Renesmee is not an immortal child and that she poses no threat as a half-breed.

Overall, I was happy to immerse myself into the Twilight world for another installment. I hope that this isn’t the end of the series (I hear that more may be planned for other points of view).

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