Thursday, August 7, 2008

Breaking Dawn

I finished Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn yesterday. There are all sorts of reviews clogging up the Internet, but I couldn't avoid adding my thoughts here because I couldn't find a review that described how I felt now that the Twilight Saga is over (from Bella's point of view, anyway).


Ok, so. Before I get into the nitty-gritty, let me just say that I liked Breaking Dawn. A lot. I had mixed feelings while reading, but at the conclusion, I was satisfied.
Now the nitty-gritty. In skimming online reviews, I have found that there is a lot of uproar about Bella and Edward finally having sex and, subsequently, a half human/half vampire child. I find that Stephenie Meyer is being accused of condoning teenage sex and pregnancy. I say this is bullshit. The bargain was made in Eclipse that Edward wanted to marry Bella and then they would do the deed + love each other forever. Well, hello, they got married. And then they had (tastefully written and, in my opinion, hott) sex. They were both true to their word. To say that Meyer is suggesting that teenagers go get it on is absurd. Sure, Bella is a little young (ok, a lot young) to be getting married, but she is sure that Edward is right for her, and vice versa. She makes a commitment. In these times where twelve-year-olds are giving blowjobs on the school bus, Bella is honorable. Plus, I think that kids who are readers are probably better informed and more conscientious than kids who avoid reading like the plague, and therefore don't read Bella's actions as a blueprint for their own lives.
As a result of their actions, Bella gets unexpectedly pregnant. (Male vampires are able to father children, who knew?) While I was originally a bit surprised by this development, I looked at how many pages were left in the book and thought, ok, well SOMETHING has to happen, so this is it. Bella's decision to keep the baby despite Edward's protestations show her making the right choices for her. AGAIN. So tell me how that is a bad example? Personally, I think the right to choose is important. While I don't know what I would do given the same circumstances, I think that having the option is a good one. Meyer doesn't make Bella's decision into some big pro-life rally. She simply shows Bella taking responsibility and choosing what she thinks is best.
I was a bit disturbed by the parasitic, accelerated pregnancy that Bella endured. It was definitely macabre. I thought Meyer should've told that particular part of the story from Bella or Edward's point of view, not Jacob's. Also, I thought it a little silly that Bella didn't really flinch at the idea of drinking blood. In Twilight, she passes out in biology from a finger prick. She needed to show some aversion. Again, better achieved from her point of view. The delivery of the baby seemed like a scene out of Carrie or Alien to me. I suppose it couldn't be more tender since the child was draining Bella's life. However, I wanted Edward's changing her into a vampire to be more passionate and less frantic. Looking back, it falls in line with the rest of the story, but at the time I was disappointed.
Now, about Meyer condoning teen pregnancy. Again, I find that a silly accusation. Bella is married. She is not sleeping around with the football team or whatever, and oops, baby. It was unexpected, but again, there was a commitment between Bella and Edward and they were going to be together forever. And you know what? It's fiction. These are circumstances that will never happen in real life.
I am amused that there is a backlash against the name of the baby, Renesmee Carlie. In some reviews, it is being compared to the name of Harry Potter's child, Albus Severus, in atrocity. I don't love the name Renesmee but I like the sentiment behind it. I'm not wild about Albus Severus either, but it fits the story. It's better than all they Madisynne Meckenzee Cierra SueVanna kids that are walking around and will never learn to spell properly because their names are intentionally mispelled. Renesmee grew on me. Not loving the Carlie part, but again, it fits the story. Go here if you want to read a ton of hilarious, terrible baby names.
Next bit: Bella as a vampire. As soon as she became a vampire, she was much less real to me. Clearly, that was going to be the case. I like that she discovers her abilities and we discover them with her, but a teeny part of me wanted her to still be a little clumsy. Just at first. Her lack of bloodlust I found a little frustrating, though. Newborns are supposed to be vicious, and I had hoped she'd almost attack someone, namely, Jessica the fickle friend. I found it a little too convenient that she had so much self-control. There needed to be a little more action there for my taste. Maybe just the desire for blood explored a little more. However, the vampire sex drive I thoroughly enjoyed. It's true, I live vicariously through fictional characters, which is a little depressing. And I was feeling down on myself for still being a virgin while all the vampire love was happening. But I snapped out of it. Again, it is just a book. I like how Meyer makes me care so much. I forget that it is fantasy sometimes.
I do wish that there was a bit more mothering between Bella and Renesmee. It seemed a little forced. I do think it rocks that Jacob imprinted on Renesmee, though. I called that one, and I think it tied up Jacob's story well. Phew. And Renesmee sounds like the cutest child ever. But I wanted more mommy time between her and Bella. It was like, "Hey, I just had a baby and turned into a vampire. Let me go take down some elk!" Wouldn't you insist on seeing the baby, especially since you almost died carrying her?
The gigantic vampire gathering was interesting. I was expecting the Volturi to fight and not just off Irina. But maybe in the future?
The reunion with Charlie seemed a little forced as well, as did the obtaining of the forged documents. Hmm. I don't think they were out of place, but I do think they could've been blended in more smoothly.
So what's next? I have to lend out my copy of Twilight to my friend Eileen, so I can't reread the whole series right away. I am taking a break from the supernatural for now, but I do intend to read the saga all the way through. I am also looking forward to the movie version of Twilight in December. My final thoughts on Breaking Dawn: a bit contrived in a few spots, but in hindsight blends in very well with the series as a whole. Meyer has created some amazing characters and has left the door open just a tiny bit to continue if she chooses. I think continuing from Bella's perspective would be forced, but I look forward to Edward's story in Midnight Sun. I'd also like to see an Edward-centric version of Breaking Dawn. Meyer also does a good job indicating the commitment Bella and Edward have for each other. Again, not suggesting that everyone finds their soulmate at 17, but to wait until you are ready.
P.S. The release party I helped organize went really well! Yay, success.

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