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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Breaking Dawn



Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
Publisher: Little, Brown Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, YA
Length: Full
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 Books
Review by Xeranthemum

When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife have led her to the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating, and unfathomable, consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life-first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse-seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed... forever?

The astonishing, breathlessly anticipated conclusion to the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic that has entranced millions.

This, the eagerly awaited final chapter of the Twilight Series was better than I’d thought it would be by virtue of being nothing like I expected.

This story did what I knew it was going to do -- finally let us in on Bella’s choice. The difference is that the choice is anti-climactic. It was not the main focus of the story at all but the means for another character driven plot to surface and carry the story arc to its conclusion.

I’m not too sure what the general consensus is on how Ms. Meyer resolved the push/pull relationship with Jacob but I thought it was a stroke of genius. But how do I explain without filling this with spoilers?

There was a richness to this story, a tying up of lose ends that satisfied me well enough to close the book at the end with a sigh. That being said, I found the technique used to resolve the issue of Jacob’s love for Bella similar to another book I’ve read in the past. The difference is the other story took place in a sci-fi fantasy book and this was earthbound. I can see the value of its use however because I grew to care for Jacob and I wanted him to be happy, too. Ms. Meyer took that similar conflict and added her own personal touches of which are completely unique to this story so I guess I’m pretty cool with it. I am still left confused as to the future and how it will evolve based on a few things Jacob said but perhaps that will be for another book, another story about Jacob in the future.

The event I’d been waiting for, Bella’s change to vampire, didn’t happen the time or the way I expected. How could I? It was a masterful stroke to introduce a wrinkle in their plans which set them on a journey riddled with questions, doubts and uncertainty about what is the right thing to do. Every marriage has to work out the details of who they are as individuals versus their new united family. Vampires obviously aren’t immune to the same issues that test a couple when two personalities become one. The realization that what they decide won’t only affect themselves but all of those they love added a more emotional depth.

Bella and Edward’s relationship is complicated by an addition to the Cullen family. It has the potential to tear them apart or save them and it kept me turning the pages. Another dilemma is Jacob’s decision to tell someone about the paranormal community. If you’ve been following the series you know that is a major no-no and if you remember, there are other interested parties waiting for just such a moment to pounce. The anticipation of a show-down is rewarded. There is a finale which pits the powerful against my favorite family. The resulting revelations were amazing to me and shocking to everyone else. Bella isn’t as weak as we know she thought herself to be.

I want to give credit to Ms. Meyer for the terrific way she wrote Bella’s change. Most books remain ambiguous and they gloss over the change only to focus on the story that comes after. Reading how it affected Bella, what she felt and what it was like was an incredible reading experience. I can’t remember ever seeing that done before.

The characters are written with zest and fullness, and enriched with believable dialogue that captures why I have followed this series ever since my librarian recommended Twilight to me. She brought the first book to my notice but it’s Ms. Meyer’s gift of writing that kept me coming back for more.

The happily ever after is everything I hoped for and beyond. After much anguish, suffering and soul searching, after watching Bella grow into a confident woman, Breaking Dawn ends with her being a loved wife who sees those she loves the most end up happy and/or satisfied. She is also looking forward to a future that at one time seemed impossible. With true love, everything is possible, even love after death. Now that’s romance.