Saturday, August 9, 2008

Breaking Dawn...

I'm not trying to be cruel here, honestly I'm not. I am a huge Twilight fan, I made t-shirts for the release of Breaking Dawn for goodness sake, I love/loved good ol' Stephenie Meyer. So this is in no way an attempt to bash her...it's just a way to feel vindicated. I am not the only person dissatisfied with Breaking Dawn. After this post I will try not to think of it any longer. Breaking Dawn, the book responsible for breaking my tender heart, will be dead to me.

Washington Post

"This ick factor goes through the roof in Breaking Dawn, which is, frankly, dreadful. It's difficult to imagine teenage girls identifying with 18-year-old Bella's marriage to Edward shortly after her high school graduation, especially when the wedding is followed by an extended soft-focus honeymoon sequence, which is almost immediately followed by Bella's sudden loss of appetite and puking in the bathroom.

Yes, she's pregnant. And because conception occurred while Bella was still mortal, the fetus is a vampire-human hybrid, growing at an unnatural rate and gifted with such supernatural strength that when it kicks inside the womb, it breaks Bella's ribs.

It gets worse: Breaking Dawn has a childbirth sequence that may promote lifelong abstinence in sensitive types. And it becomes downright surreal when the lovelorn lycanthrope Jacob gets romantically imprinted on Bella's newborn daughter, Renesmee, a blood-slurping newborn nicknamed Nessie (for the Loch Ness monster). This imprinting is a werewolf thing: Jacob's 14-year-old friend earlier imprinted on a toddler, with the implication that she will eventually become his mate.

Reader, I hurled.

Breaking Dawn's last 100 pages attempt to create yet another epic showdown, this time with the ancient vampire hierarchy. But even this ends in a damp fizzle. The most devoted readers will no doubt try to make excuses for this botched novel, but Meyer has put a stake through the heart of her own beloved creation. "


Entertainment Weekly
"The series has always been grounded in Bella's human voice... As the masochistic teenage mother-to-be of a monster - a fetus that breaks her mother's ribs when it kicks - she is not only hard to identify with but positively horrifying, especially while guzzling human blood to nourish the infant. (She adamantly refuses an abortion, which even Edward begs her to consider.) By the time the feverish birth scene rolls around, you'll think Rosemary's Baby might make a suitable companion video to What to Expect When You're Expecting.
And this is just the beginning.
During the loonier stretches of the novel, Meyer wisely turns the narration over to Bella's old friend Jacob, a warmhearted werewolf who has always been sweet on her. He becomes our tenuous anchor to sanity, as outrageous new plot twists sprout like kudzu. "I felt like - like I don't know what. Like this wasn't real. Like I was in some Goth version of a bad sitcom," Jacob confides before he too is swept up in the narrative mayhem. So do we, Jacob. So do we."

From Publishers Weekly
It might seem redundant to dismiss the fourth and final Twilight novel as escapist fantasy--but how else could anyone look at a romance about an ordinary, even clumsy teenager torn between a vampire and a werewolf, both of whom are willing to sacrifice their happiness for hers? Flaws and all, however, Meyer's first three novels touched on something powerful in their weird refraction of our culture's paradoxical messages about sex and sexuality. The conclusion is much thinner, despite its interminable length. Everygirl Bella achieves her wishes quickly (marriage and sex, in that order, are two, and becoming an immortal is another), and once she becomes a vampire it's almost impossible to identify with her. But that's not the main problem. Essentially, everyone gets everything they want, even if their desires necessitate an about-face in characterization or the messy introduction of some back story. Nobody has to renounce anything or suffer more than temporarily--in other words, grandeur is out. This isn't about happy endings; it's about gratification. A sign of the times?

The LA Times
It’s virtually impossible not to draw parallels between "Breaking Dawn," the concluding installment in the “Twilight” series, and the final “Harry Potter” book. Both involve revolve around mythic worlds and young, ill-prepared protagonists headed toward a supernatural showdown between good and evil.

The problem is Stephenie Meyer is no J.K. Rowling. We who’ve enjoyed the work of both authors have known this since we picked up “Twilight.” (I like Edward too, but there’s only so many times I can read how “beautiful,” “perfect” and “dazzling” he is.) But with these final chapters, in which both authors really swung for the epic, Meyer’s bunted.

Things looked promising at first. The pace is swift and the curve balls surprising and frequent: Bella and Edward finally get busy, we get inside Jacob’s head, Bella joins the Cullens in immortality, Jacob finds his mate.

But all the while, a larger story arc is missing. The love triangle is, sadly, summarily dealt with, and once the romance is over we’re left only with Edward and Bella’s child Renesmee -- even the name, well, it’s no Hermione is it -- and all the conflicts she so quickly and disappointingly resolves. Edward versus Jacob? Over and done with. Vampires versus werewolves? One big happy family. Bella being a ravenous newborn? She’s not going to eat her kid!

So what to when you’ve written yourself into a corner? Meyer is forced to more or less start over and she spends the second half of “Breaking Dawn” going for outright thriller. The second half of the book singularly involves the mystery of Renesmee and shielding her from the threat of the Volturi, an enemy initially so full of literary potential. Bella, Jacob, Edward and the rest of the “Twilight” characters become little more than Renesmee’s anxious protectors.

Bogged down in the new, too convenient mythology -- Bella’s new power is the only one that will matter -- the book winds up faltering under its own weighty aspirations. Bella’s covert operation, the additions to the Cullen camp, the unique powers of the new vampires are explained so thoroughly yet serve so little dramatic effect that “Breaking Dawn” could easily have trimmed off 200 pages and reached the same anticlimactic ending. What’s worse, the new guys are there merely to populate the side of good for a battle that -- the big spoiler -- never happens. That's right. No blood shed. No deaths of loved ones to kill readers in the gripping way Rowling did in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

At least when you get to page 735 -- where you’ll find the resolution neatly tied up -- it’s more a confirmation of what you saw coming rather than simply a letdown. And as for the final scene, Meyer writes this one like she's already imagined it on the big screen, with the swelling of sappy love song and a fade to black.

We would have much preferred the whole thing to end in book three, "Eclipse," with yes, some happiness for Bella, but also some angst, some heartbreak, and a dark, ominous future looming.

16 comments:

jess said...

Complete Stranger here, but I just finished Breaking Dawn, and couldn't agree more with your opinions (and those of the reviews you published)... I'd say I was a 50% fan (I liked the series, but it wasn't Harry Potter...)
I'll let you know if I find anything more captivating and satisfactory in the way of books!

bensey said...

so it looks like you guys aren't the only ones! my other friends who read it and JUST LOVED it must be a bit delusional (but don't tell them that). at least you can see the forest from the trees. or the crap from the cake, whichever way you look at it. are you going to burn the shirt? are you sick of my husband yet? see you soon!

Rachel H. said...

Such a bummer...I have been so intrigued reading all sorts of reviews about it, and I haven't even picked up the first book of the series! :) This makes me doubt...

darn it!

Julie said...

I think you figured out how to solve all your problems (at least the ones related to little Miss Meyers) last night... Dump Edward for Batman (I will donate that adorable orange shirt to the cause) and take up sychronized swimming!!! Thanks for the fun time.

Marci Ward said...

I just finished Twilight...and I LOVED IT!!! I don't know why i waited so long to read it...i'm not a follower I guess...well in the end I must be. But I did love it and I am so sad to here that the last one is stinker. So I didn't read any of the reviews because I didn't want to spoil the other books. Thanks for the heads up and I'm sorry your little tender heart is broken!

campblondie said...

Vindication at it's finest!

Carlee said...

I'm sorry about the disappointment!! My sister was really sad too! Your blog is so fun to read!

KMitchell said...

It just shows that we really do know what we are talking about! We should be critics!

Emily said...

So, I still want to read it and maybe I am crazy...I just can't stand not knowing!

Charlotte said...

I loved the first book, was okay with the second, hoping the 3rd would end it all... so I'm not actually surprised to hear that book 4 is a flop. It's been heading downhill for me all along.

Still, I will read it- when I get around to it... my obsessive compulsive need to complete the series...

Thanks for the reviews though. Now I feel like I really can wait until I have the time- no urgency.

Pj or Kelly said...

I LOVED IT!!!
there were a few little things i didn't like but i still enjoyed the book. Its one of my favorites. All my friends loved it. Not being mean but I don't see how you couldn't like it. So andrea I love you to death i really do, but give me a good argument why you don't like it.
love you-kelly.

Sha said...

(Andrea, this is between you and me because I'm supposed to be on vacation from blogging while I'm in Utah.)

I couldn't help it, even after your advice, and I HAD to read Breaking Dawn. So I told myself it was just to pass the time on the planes and that I SHOULD NOT pick it up at all while I was here. Well, I don't have enough self-control to just STOP in the middle of the book; I finished it yesterday.

I find myself in a daze, not knowing WHAT to think. I was entertained, I guess, but something still nags at me. If you tell me why, specifically, you hated it, maybe your answer would help me "understand my confusion" with BD. Pretty please?

Sha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Marie said...

New here, and a stranger to your blog. I am from Utah. I had a friend tell me that you posted a " hater post " about the book and frankly.. It's fine because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, don't you think it would have been fair to post some good reviews of it rather than just the bad??

All of these " reviews " from big newspapers and such mean nothing to me. I am LDS like Meyer, and thought this book was FILLED with all sorts of religious aspects throughout it that still have me thinking about it. I can see why non-LDS people wouldn't like it, but someone like me ( in favor of team Edward )found it fastinating how she tied it all together, and made many of us happy..

* Warning.. Spoilers*

Sure it had a few flaws, but most books do. But, all that I hoped for came true... Edward and Bella are together forever, the Wolves and Vampires came together, Bella was able to experience Motherhood, and no one died in the end that was of any importance..

I am curious to know WHY this book was so devistating to you, and so worthy of pulling all bad articles written by worthless media people and posting them?? Do you do this on all books you despise?? Just a thought??

When the book first came out I heard about 50/50. But now, here in Utah, I am only hearing positive.

Be fair. ~ And nice to those who really " got " the whole story Stephenie so brilliantly wrote.

My review is on my blog if you would like to read it!! Loved it!

Lauren Horsley said...

Wow! I haven't read it yet and I probably still will (just to see for myself) but I've always respected you as a book reviewer so I'm sad to hear how disappointed you were!

On a happier note, I wondered if you ever got your Warm Biscuit gift cert. and how you spent it? I have a wish list there about a mile long!

I'm diong a whole week of awesome "Back to School" giveaways this week at SuperMom Central so come by again soon!

Rachel H. said...

Hey---you there?? I have been missing your posts. I hope you are doing well and enjoying the end of summer...

Hope the previous comment someone posted about your "hater post" didn't ruin you from wanting to blog ever again.

Can we get a little post?? A tiny one? With maybe one pic?? :)

Miss you!