Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow, there's a lot going on in this one.
Breaking Dawn wraps up the Twilight Saga in a rather epic way. This volume features three Books, two from Bella's perspective and one from Jacob's. Book One, Bella's perspective, covers Bella and Edward's wedding. Book Two, Jacob's perspective, covers the unexpected consequences of that wedding. Book Three, Bella again, picks up after Bella finally becomes a vampire and ties the unexpected consequence into the ongoing Volturi plot.
For the romatics, Book One is the reward for making it all the way through the first three books. Bella and Edward finally tie the knot and are off for their honeymoon. I thought this part was well done, though it gets a bit frustrating (for Bella and the reader) when Edward backs off yet again, no matter that his reasoning behind it is solid. Otherwise, it's like a dream come true for Bella, all the way up to the end when she makes her discovery.
Book Two is told by Jacob. The horror of what's happening to Bella is lightened by Jacob's personality quirks, the lengthy but humorous chapter titles, and the insight into living in a pack. Jacob, Seth and Leah share a pack mind when in wolf form, so Jacob will be thinking of something and Leah or Seth will pop up and say something back, much to his chagrin. There is a bit of dialog devoted to why Leah is the only female to have ever phased, but it's mostly Leah trying to come to terms with feelings of inadequacy prompted by Sam imprinting on Emily (pack drama first hinted upon in previous books).
Book Three begins with Bella's tortuous transformation into a vampire. When she awakens, she finds everything so much larger, more detailed, just more...everything. Her voice in these final chapters is much more confident, boosted in part with how well she takes to vampire life and in part with how happy she is with Edward and her family. But, again, the plot thickens when Alice has a devastating premonition that threatens to destroy everything and everyone Bella holds dear.
I'm not going to say this is the best book ever, but I will say that I enjoyed it immensely. I think that if you enjoyed the series up to this point, you'll likely enjoy this one, too, but some parts might throw you off. In particular, these are some of the things that I found shocking or disturbing. The end of Book One is incredibly bloody, maybe even more so than was portrayed in the movie (that's a lot, yes). The conversations in Book Two about being less than a woman (Leah) are kind of sad. And in Book Three, Jacob is shifted into an odd role in the family, though everyone is eventually fine with it. Not to mention that marriage (and becoming a vampire) seem to be all Bella needed to stop being a whiny, clumsy, two-timer.
Overall, I loved this book. Not everyone will, not even everyone who liked the first three if other reviews are any indication. I would say if you liked the first three and want to see what happens, then grab a copy of this one. If you didn't like them, or if paranormal romance isn't your thing, just pass.
Personally, I wasn't even planning to read the Twilight Saga at all. It actually took watching the movies to really pique my interest, and once I watched the last of them, I was hooked. I immediately started reading the books and was pleasantly surprised with how accurately the movies portrayed the books. However, I think that Breaking Dawn Part II (equivalent to Book Three in the book), had the most obvious break from the original story with it's climactic showdown that prety much came out of nowhere. I think this is one of those cases that reading the book first would have ruined if for me. Lucky for me, I did things backwards this time, so I liked it.
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