Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Reviewer’s note: Please have read the previous three, Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse before you dive into this novel. Regardless of what you have heard, if you do not have the background of the others, Breaking Dawn will be disappointing and confusing. Caution, this review has spoiler potential.

Breaking Dawn, the final chapter in the Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, treats the reader to a whirlwind of emotions: heartbreak, loyalty, family bonds, fears, grief, and hope but to name a few. The story is definitely one of Bella’s and Edward’s eternal love. It is clear that nothing can break the bond between the two. Oh, yes, did I mention that Bella became pregnant with Edwards’ child after marriage but pre-vampire change? This child (you have to read yourself to see if the half-human/half-vampire is a boy or a girl) will frankly take you on a roller coaster ride, both during and after the pregnancy.

And what about Jacob, that pesky werewolf who haunts Bella in the previous entries in this series? Fear not, Jacob plays a part, nay; he plays a pivotal part, one I defy you to try to guess.

Bella, our dear Bella, finally comes to realize that she does in fact have a power all to her own. Having lived in the shadow of both Edward’s and Jacob’s supernatural powers, her gift, alluded to and quite frankly a large part of previous volumes comes to the front to the amazement of all parties. Even the Volturi, who we met in Italy, have to come to grips with Bella’s gift in Breaking Dawn. No more will Bella be viewed, as some have stated, as a woman who lacks an independent spirit or power of her own.

The final confrontation brings you face to face with an amazing cast of characters: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hang on, dear reader.

And least I forget: Shaman alert… Jacob and his fellow tribal pack mates turn out to NOT be werewolves.

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

If by some chance you have not already read Twilight and New Moon, the first two installments in the Twilight saga, you best go back and study up a bit, at the minimum. Author Stephenie Meyer, in Eclipse, the third book, doesn’t “catch you up” on the ongoing storyline. Without some background, you will be thinking “What?” if you read this vampire novel first.

That said, and assuming you have read the first two novels, here goes my take on Eclipse. Ok, Edward and the Cullens are back in Forks, Bella’s high school graduation is coming up, Bella is planning on becoming a vampire after graduation, Jacob is now a werewolf, Edward loves Bella, Bella loves Edward, Jacob loves Bella, Bella loves Jacob as a brother (much to Jacob’s chagrin), the vampires hate the werewolves, the werewolves hate the vampires and well, you get the idea. Oh yes, there are now bloodthirsty vampires running amok in nearby Seattle, with a rising toll in violent human deaths.

A large portion of the book follows the tumultuous triangle of relationships between Bella, Edward and Jacob. Bella wants to be changed into a vampire after graduation, even though it will mean a self-imposed quarantine from all human contact for, uh, years. If a new vampire wants to become “vegetarian” they must get over their lust for human blood, we are told. Well, as you can imagine, Jacob is going berserk over Bella’s desire, and Edward’s insistence that Bella marry him before she is changed adds fuel to Jacob’s fire. Suffice to say that the emotions run high, and are dealt with in agonizing detail by the author. Keep in mind that this series was written with a teen/young adult target audience.

Remember the mob of vampires running amok in Seattle? You guessed it; here they come to Forks, driven by a vampire out for revenge, with Bella as the target. Can it be that the Jacob and his family of werewolves and Edward and his family of vampires can become uneasy allies in a battle of supernatural proportions?

Eclipse is both a romantic novel, bordering on soap opera, and vampire/werewolf adventure novel. You will want to read the final book after you are done with Eclipse. You won’t be able to help yourself.

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer, continues the saga of Bella Swan and her ‘star-crossed’ love for Edward Cullen, mysterious and gorgeous vampire with whom she is hopelessly in love. The serious nature of her desire to be with Edward, and by proxy, his family of vampires, becomes evident in the second of the series. A lavish party to celebrate her 18th birthday is hosted by the Cullens. Bella, known for her clumsiness, manages to break glass, cut herself, and bleed profusely. This triggers a feeding frenzy in Jasper, one of Edward’s family.

Soon after this narrow escape from disaster, Edward, in his need to protect Bella, leaves Forks to keep Bella from continuing a life around vampires. His rather harsh pronouncement of his decision to never want to see Bella again, coupled with the entire Cullen family departing, crushes Bella.

Bella’s withdrawal into a lonely and heartbroken existence soon takes its toll on her friendships with her human friends. She begins to follow a path that leads to dangerous activities. Still haunted by her love for Edward, she imagines that she hears his voice as she partakes of activities best described as dangerous.

Enter Jacob Black, her friend from the Quileute tribe nearby. Jacob gleefully assists Bella in her new adventures. He is a co-conspirator in her quest to repair and ride a motorcycle, something that Bella’s dad Charlie frowns upon. As if involvement with a vampire isn’t enough, we soon learn that members of Jacob’s tribe have a history of becoming werewolves. And, of course, Jacob is one who is cursed with this heritage. Bella once again is thrust into a relationship with one who loves her, and is supernatural as well. Bella’s first person narrative reveals her anguish, and she even refers directly to her perceived life as a parallel to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Did I mention that werewolves hate vampires, and vice versa?

New Moon somewhat drags along, without the continuous fast pace of Twilight. However, Alice Cullen returns near the end bringing news of Edward’s impending doom. Only Bella can save his life, a daunting and virtually impossible task that must be played out in Italy. Meyer does not disappoint the reader with the fast-paced climax of this, the second in the Twilight series.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Twilight by Stephenie Meyers

Well, I finished Twilight. Here is my “formal” Review:

The story is of one Bella Swan, a 17 year old who moves from her mother’s home in desert Arizona to her dad’s place in Forks, a small, gloomy and boring town in the ridiculously rainy Pacific Northwest. A new school must be attended, new friends must be made, and she must rebuild a relationship with her dad, Charlie, the local police chief. Enter Edward Cullen, who, with his family, also are considered “outsiders’, two years after moving to Forks as well.

You probably know or have guessed the storyline: Edward is a Vampire. So is his “family”. Bella falls in love with Edward. Intermixed are all of the interpersonal relations that Bella builds (and sometimes resists) with her school mates. Edward, knowing that his interest in Bella is star-crossed, valiantly tries to resist to no avail.

Bella learns of the history of the “cold ones” from a local member of a nearby Native American tribe. Jacob, her tribal friend, tells the story of the feeding habits of the Cullens. Politically correct, the Cullens only hunt animals, not humans. “Vegetarian” vampires! Now that’s a twist, enabling the Cullens to be good guys, and to have a shaky treaty with the tribe. You will also be introduced to ‘bad’ vampires as well, not to worry!

This romp into the world of teen love, vampires, supernatural abilities, and Native American lore will keep you fascinated. The 1st person presentation through Bella’s eyes is sometimes frustrating, as you will long for more details from other characters’ viewpoints. You will learn more in the other three books in the series. I am glad my daughter recommended this novel to me.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What I'm Reading

I am reading "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer, the New York Times best seller which has been into a movie. I have already seen the movie, don't worry, it doesn't spoil reading the book. While I enjoyed the movie, the book is much more detailed and explains more about the powers of the Vampire's. I'm only half way thru the book and am enjoying it. I'm to that can't put it down point.

The book is good for any age that likes to read. My 14 year old grandson really liked it. My 21 year old daughter liked it. Hubby couldn't put it down. I'm listing it as a good read, may change as I get further into it.