Just a heads-up, this review will contain spoilers. I am not a Stephenie Meyer junkie. I don't think she's the best writer, I don't think her books are the best ever written. And I find it interesting that while I didn't love the first three books, I did enjoy Breaking Dawn the best. If you look around the Twilight universe, though, you will find that many faithful Twilighters hated Breaking Dawn. It's been quite entertaining to read so many nasty reviews.
I had every intention of reading this book simply so I could write another snarky review. However, I liked Breaking Dawn. Meyer finally got it right. Her writing is much tighter here and the depth that I have missed from the other books has finally arrived. There was a hint of depth in Eclipse, so I had some hope that there would be more here.
Meyer's potential is terrific. Her writing, not so much. It has always been the big drawback for me. The writing in Twilight, especially, nearly made me quit reading. I've always wished that she had a better editor. It's as if Meyer bled all over her keyboard, never looked back and her editor (if you can call her that) simply liked the story and didn't actually do any editing. As an editor by trade, this has always bugged me. I've read Harlequin romance novels that were better written. What bothers me is so many people are thinking that it's great writing and it's not. I honestly can't believe that the books have been edited so poorly, if at all.
I have always hated Bella. I have made that clear in my other reviews. She was self-absorbed, stupid, single-minded and always needed to be protected. She complained about everything, even being forced to have a "wedding". She couldn't make her own decisions and let herself be controlled by Edward and his family.
I loved seeing her grow up, here. Marriage and pregnancy can do that to a person. And, the whole pregnancy thing was a surprise, especially given traditional vampire lore and Stephenie Meyer's own canon. Vampires are not able to reproduce. However, I found the explanation fascinating. Very creative. I liked that because of the pregnancy and love for her child, Bella became stronger and less selfish. I also liked Edward's realistic reaction. Normally, he is always in control. He loves Bella and suddenly there is a situation he can't explain, let alone control. He loses it and it was refreshing to see his "humanity." I also liked that Bella's turning was related to saving her from death, not simply to "make" her a vampire.
I enjoyed Jacob. Having the book split between his perspective and Bella's was an interesting angle. The whole werewolf imprinting thing is strange, and the imprinting on children is a bit disturbing. I realize it's a case of Jacob finding his "someday" partner and until then he simply is protector and friend. However, it's still a bit wiggy to me. I do see that by doing this, Meyer was able to keep everyone together and make them one nice, happy family. A bit of a cop-out? Maybe.
I'm sorry: Renesmee? It's a nice thought, but absolutely ridiculous and something an immature teenage mother might come up with. It could be argued that Bella is that immature teenager mother. I'm not sure what Meyer was thinking but Renesmee is awkward to pronounce and I even kept messing it up as I read. I did, however, prefer it over the nickname, Nessie. Sigh.
I like vampire Bella. I like that she finally gains some strength, both physically and emotionally. The vampiric qualities actually make her a nicer, more likeable person.
I found her relationship with Edward much more believable and enjoyable now that they are more of equals. Bella finally grows up and accepts her life: she is committed to Edward and Renesmee and their family. It was interesting that when she finally let go of herself and her own reservations and focused fully on her family, her "special quality" or supernatural talent finally manifested itself. It was only then, that she could use it to protect those she loved. Quite profound actually.
I was happy to see the end result of the "battle" with the Volturi. Bloodshed doesn't cure everything.
And maybe it's another cop-out, but I liked that Bella was still able to have her father in her life. Family is important and I'm glad Meyer made that work.
Overall, I thought it was an enjoyable read. Stellar? No. Compelling and entertaining? Yes.
So, while I haven't jumped on the Twilight bandwagon, I think that if you can read them for the fluffy, romantic, pop trash they are, they're fun. She does have a way of sucking you in and the whole way through (at least with Twilight and New Moon) I was thinking, "this is stupid why am I doing this?" And, yet, I kept on reading.
I think that all of these books would have been better if they weren't written in first person. Bella is so shallow through them that you don't get the character development from the others. In Twilight, especially, there would have been so much more depth to the story if it was told in third person, where we actually get Edward's reaction to Bella, rather than Bella's confusion.