Great love stories thrive on sacrifice. Throughout The Twilight Saga
, New Moon
, and Eclipse
), Stephenie Meyer has emulated great love stories--Romeo and Juliet
, Wuthering Heights
--with the fated, yet perpetually doomed love of Bella (the human girl) and Edward (the vampire who feeds on animals instead of humans). In Breaking Dawn
, the fourth and final installment in the series, Bella’s story plays out in some unexpected ways. The ongoing conflicts that made this series so compelling--a human girl in love with a vampire, a werewolf in love with a human girl, the generations-long feud between werewolves and vampires--resolve pretty quickly, apparently so that Meyer could focus on Bella’s latest opportunity for self-sacrifice: giving her life for someone she loves even more than Edward. How close she comes to actually making that sacrifice is questionable, which is a big shift from the earlier books. Even though you knew Bella would make it through somehow, the threats to her life, and to her relationship with Edward, had previously always felt real. It’s as if Meyer was afraid of hurting her characters too much, which is unfortunate, because the pain Bella suffered at losing Edward in New Moon
, and the pain Jacob suffered at losing Bella again and again, are the fire and the heart that drive the whole series. Diehard fans will stick with Bella, Edward, and Jacob for as many twists and turns as possible, but after most of the characters get what they want with little sacrifice, some readers may have a harder time caring what happens next. (Ages 12 and up) --Heidi Broadhead
From Publishers Weekly
It might seem redundant to dismiss the fourth and final Twilight novel as escapist fantasy--but how else could anyone look at a romance about an ordinary, even clumsy teenager torn between a vampire and a werewolf, both of whom are willing to sacrifice their happiness for hers? Flaws and all, however, Meyer's first three novels touched on something powerful in their weird refraction of our culture's paradoxical messages about sex and sexuality. The conclusion is much thinner, despite its interminable length. [...] But that's not the main problem. Essentially, everyone gets everything they want, even if their desires necessitate an about-face in characterization or the messy introduction of some back story. Nobody has to renounce anything or suffer more than temporarily--in other words, grandeur is out. This isn't about happy endings; it's about gratification. A sign of the times? Ages 12–up. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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