Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
|Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer|
|Reviewer: Lesley Mason|
|Summary: In the latest instalment of the Twilight series, it is time for Edward to make good on his promises to Bella and to the Volturi....but can he bring himself to hurt Bella quite that much? Whatever his decision someone will be betrayed – the Vampires, the Wolves, or Bella – and none of them are going to take it lying down.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 768||Date: August 2008|
For those who were a little distracted by Meyer's excursion into more mainstream SciFi with The Host, fret not! With Breaking Dawn she is back in Forks and picking up the story of the star-crossed, species-crossed lovers Edward & Bella (vampire and human respectively) as only mildly complicated by Bella's friendship with the Quileute Wolves.
Of course you can drop in right here, in the middle of the series, but you'll be missing much of the fun and a lot of the references won't make a great deal of sense. As with all series, the deeper you get into it the harder it is for the author to keep back-referring without ruining the pace. Meyer is now sure enough of her fan base not to need to do that.
A certainty she's entitled to.
Teenage gothic is not to everyone's taste, but shows like Buffy prove that it is a genre that cuts across a few more demographic boundaries than you might imagine. Meyer continues to pull it off with all the understated panache of a true Cullen.
Her vampires are sleek, sophisticated, elegant, witty, charming, and only as unbelievably evil as they feel they have cause to be. Of course they have the mansion on the hill and drive the best cars in the state. Her wolves are huge, powerful, gloriously wild, and as soppy as your average Irish Hound. In human form… what could they be but bikers to the core! She takes all of the conventions, plays them for all they are worth…and twists them with a wry smile and a hint at morality.
So. Edward & Bella. Teenage romance has to grow up sometime. With Bella getting old (she's over 18 already) and Edward remaining transfixed at the 17 of his transformation, they could only grow apart. The time is fast approaching for the promises to be kept. There must be a wedding, and a honeymoon.
Then…to keep the promises made to the elders, keepers of the Vampire secret, and to Bella… there must be a kind of dying.
Edward & Bella being fairly typical American teenagers, despite their rather unusual circumstances: things do not go entirely according to plan. You can visualise the film without my help. Glorious wedding, secretive honeymoon too wonderful to contemplate for those of us looking forward to a couple of days on a British beach, virginal sex of the kind that (oh, go on, make it up! You won't be far out). And that's round about where it all starts to go awry.
It is known that Vampires and Humans cannot consummate a relationship. Their mismatched strengths and passions would have only one outcome: one involving a dead human and no children.
It is known that vampire children cannot be controlled, they are a risk to the secret and therefore to the race. They cannot be allowed to live.
It is known that should Edward make good on his promise to create another Vampire by taking Bella he would be breaking the Cullen treaty with the Wolves.
It is known that should he not do so, the elders, the Volturi, would seek his and his family's extermination. (Not to mention the minor detail that Bella herself will never forgive him.)
If he stays true to the elders and to Bella's stated wish, would she survive the agonies of conversion? And if so, what then? Newborns as the vampires called the newly translated are notoriously vicious, unpredictable, uncontrollable – almost like children.
It can be assumed that not all of the rules will apply. The only real question is who gets to choose?
Breaking Dawn, for all its 750 pages, manages to keep up the pace and the tension despite that fact that little of the unfolding plot is truly unpredictable. If you've come this far with Meyer, you're hooked not so much on what's going to happen as how & why. There are a couple of neat twists that I hadn't (but possibly should have) foreseen, but much of the overarching plot plays out as one would expect of what are basically fairy stories. Morality tales. The good might lose a few in the battles, but they have to win the war.
How much you're affected by the losses, of course, depends upon whose side you're on. And within the enmities of Fork and La Paz, they're nearly all good guys, so it can be tricky to choose.
The real joys of this book are in the things it would be spoiling to tell of. The characters that come into the story and the changes that they wring. There is the usual level of tension, and bouts of violent conflict, but my overwhelming feeling reading this series remains one of utter delight.
Delight in the humour of interspecies interaction, which simply plays up interpersonal conflicts to the nth degree. Delight in the nature of myths and legends. Meyer continues to maintain control over her legendary backdrop and to develop it down both anticipated and unexpected avenues.
She continues to paint her characters vividly and acoustically in tones unmistakable. Landscapes are bare sketches, but sufficient for the sounds, scents, warmth or cold of each encounter. Above all, she keeps moving. As a writer, Meyer is clearly having fun, and as with the best live bands on stage: it shows. You can't help but have fun right along with her.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If you haven't already read the beginning of the series: do. Or for another equally fun take on the vamp possibilities check out Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong.
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