163 of 193 people found the following review helpful
Sadly, such a disappointment,
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This review is from: Eclipse (Twilight) (Audio CD)
I adored both Twilight and New Moon (gave them both 5 star ratings) and was happily anticipating loving Eclipse as much as I did the first 2 in this series. Unfortunately, the bad things really overshadowed the good for me in this installment.
I think Stephenie Meyer has an amazingly readable writing style; she's definitely one of 3 writers that I budget time to read their latest books in one sitting (Rowling, Charlaine Harris and Meyer). Eclipse was no exception in terms of being a page-turner. This novel really showcases Meyer's great sense of humor as well. Obviously from the amount of time and emotional energy I've invested into the series over the last couple of years, I care very intensely for her characters, and I think having your readers care so much for the characters should be a real tribute to any writer.
I was very pleased that Edward and Bella finally confronted the issue of their sexual relationship. It was tastefully depicted in my judgment, and it was long overdue. I also think it makes perfect sense for Bella to realize that having human sexual experience before sacrificing her humanity is worth exploring.
While I agree with so many other reviewers that the action plot in this book was only ho-hum at best, I did cheer that Bella (and we readers) at long last got to see Edward the Vampire in action. Now she has a better idea what she'll become, and he understands that she doesn't think him a monster for having witnessed him being a full-fledged vampire.
I didn't like the concept of imprinting (which is limited to the werewolves). It eliminates free will entirely, which I found very unsettling. I also found the similarities between imprinting and Bella's relationship with Edward to be more than a bit disturbing (more on that below).
The Cullens and the Wolves are no closer to understanding the core of humanity that resides in each of them. Jacob acknowledges that Edward loves Bella, but he still doesn't understand their love at all and hasn't made any attempt to understand the Cullens generally. Same, of course, holds true for the Cullens not being keen on the wolves at all. I really thought this would have to be the central theme, but I would have expected more progress in Eclipse.
Now for the Ugly .....
I'm shocked and appalled that Ms. Meyer could believe that many of us who disliked or were on the fence about Jacob in previous books would suddenly convert to pro-Jacob fans after reading Eclipse. I'm truly shocked.
After her book-signing tour for Eclipse, Meyer updated her website with some FAQs about Eclipse, and she has this to say about Jacob: "Those who are upset by some of his tactics should consider his youth and the fact that he is, after all, right. Bella is in love with him."
I thought Jacob was absolutely horrid as a person for the entirety of the novel, and it went beyond simple immaturity. Bella defends Edward (and her love of Edward) to Jacob at one point, emphasizing that Edward is decent. And Edward is decent. And good to the core.
Jacob, however, is not. He is so not decent. I truly despised him by the end of Eclipse and quite honestly, I wish he would just never return from his sojourn in the forest.
I've read enough reviews and talked to enough other readers to know that I'm not alone in being extremely upset and bothered by the Forced Kiss. No decent man would force himself on a woman, no matter what. His inexperience and immaturity don't excuse it. His goal of forcing Bella to acknowledge the connection between them is not sufficient reason for him to have done that. His apology might have ameliorated the wrong, if he had followed through and stopped trying to force or trick Bella into intimacy with him. I think the Forced Kiss sends a horrible message to Meyer's younger fans too. There are no repercussions from his forcing himself on her. Even Bella's father good-naturedly congratulates Jacob for having kissed Bella against her will! Yes, really.
The second later kiss (the one where he threatens to commit suicide since Bella doesn't care about him, provoking her to ask him to kiss her, henceforth the "Trickery Kiss") also proves unequivocally that Jacob is neither decent, nor a man. He's just a bitter, conniving, dishonorable and immature little boy who will apparently stop at nothing to try and get what he wants. I don't believe for one moment that Jacob is motivated solely by the lofty aspiration to save Bella from a fate worse than death (being turned into a vampire). Jacob wants what will make Jacob happy, and he makes absolutely no attempt to genuinely understand Bella's perspective.
Meyer clearly wants readers to feel Jacob's "pain," but honestly, he's 16 years old (which, remember, apparently gives him license to be a total jerk). But, if he's just an average immature 16 year old kid, then he'll just get over Bella and move on, right? I don't fundamentally understand why Jacob's broken heart is supposed to tug at my heart-strings. At the end of Eclipse, it is late June or perhaps mid-July. Jacob and Bella became best friends in January of the same year. He's really known her well for all of 6 months and he's 16 years old. It's a big shrug, isn't it? And if it isn't, why not? Hmmmm......might it be because Bella is turning into the biggest Mary Sue in all YA literature?
Bella frankly comes off worse than Jacob in this book. I've been a big Bella fan and defender in the prior books, but she left me cold in this one. I think she is selfish, whiny, indecisive, subservient to every male in her universe and generally a terrible role model for younger readers of these novels.
I think that Bella was portrayed in Twilight as an "old soul," and the love that she and Edward have (had?) was meant to transcend the normal love relationship that average teenagers might experience (or even that most adults might have). Their love was painted as something that was a cut above all other romance. Most average love affairs get tested by threats such as what Jacob poses. But, the Bella/Edward love story was, I thought, something different. If you take away the supernatural trappings of the two males, then you're left with a rather humdrum average love story, are you not? Again, what was the point of the New Moon epiphany if Bella just throws it all out the window in the next book and remains convinced that she's not good enough for Edward and starts to have romantic interest in another guy?
Bella did at last agree to marry Edward in this book. She made that promise to him, was engaged and then cheated on him. Just because she is only going through the formality of the wedding and an actual marriage because it's important to Edward is no excuse to treat it as though it isn't a promise. And it just kills me, absolutely breaks my heart, for her to be thinking "How soon can I give him back this ring without hurting his feelings?" when he's so suffused with joy and happiness at seeing it on her finger, at knowing that she's agreed to compromise and make him happy with a marriage that is clearly very important to him. That is heart-breaking. Edward deserves so much better.
Further, her objections to marriage are weak. Since we knew in New Moon that Bella had undefined "issues" with marriage, I expected Eclipse to reveal something more along the clichéd line of "child of divorced parents" than the reality. The "I don't want to be that girl" reasoning is really, really lame when you consider what Bella's ultimate plans are. Why the hell would she care what the kids she graduated with are saying about her, when she's never going to see any of them ever again? Since when did Bella Swan care about gossip or what other kids her own age thought about her? Charlie and Renee might be disappointed and encouraging her to wait until after college, but if Bella said the right things, her parents would accept her decision. I can understand the whole "that girl" argument, really I can -- but it makes no sense for Bella to be making that argument. It's weak and completely out-of-character. As one reviewer noted, it's a manufactured conflict designed to stretch out the storyline by another book.
I'm also growing very weary of Bella's self-esteem problems. I can't help wondering what happened to that great epiphany she had at the end of New Moon? The one where Bella and Edward both realized that they love each other completely and would always belong to each other --- what happened to that? In Eclipse, Bella is right back to viewing her relationship with Edward as "out of balance." As Edward noted once, "the way you regard me is ludicrous." I thought we were past all that, and yet Eclipse drags us right back down into the abyss of Bella's self-esteem issues. It's really growing tiresome and overdone (much like the continued repetitive emphasis on Edward's beauty). Grow up and grow a spine, will you, Bella? Please do us all a favor and get a backbone.
In literature (or movies), the author has an obligation to lay some clues that a love triangle is in the offing. Otherwise, it's just cheating. And I feel cheated, completely and utterly cheated. If Bella is resolute about anything, it's that she loves Edward and has only friendship feelings for Jacob. In her Eclipse FAQ again, Meyer insists that Bella fell in love with Jacob in New Moon and states: "Bella has only fallen in love one time, and it was a very sudden, dramatic, sweep-you-off-your-feet, change-your-world, magical, passionate, all-consuming thing (see: Twilight). Can you blame her for not recognizing a much more subtle kind of falling-in-love?" Well, Bella may not recognize it for what it is, but the readers darn sure should be able to see it. I know I'm not alone in finding no evidence of Bella falling for Jacob in New Moon. I think she grew to love him in New Moon, yes. But, it was always clearly a platonic, even sibling-like, love.
In Eclipse, Bella remains clear on this point when talking to Jacob ("I love you, but I'm not in love with you" - page 329) ..... and she's resolute on this point in her own thoughts. Yes, in New Moon, before Edward returns, Bella is debating internally whether she ought to consider giving Jacob what he wants (romance) in order to tie him to her more firmly than just through a friendship that he finds less than enough. But, once Edward is back and through the first ¾ of Eclipse, we don't see any signs that Bella is wavering, having doubts, etc. Jacob was, by the looks of it, her first real close friend in life, and I wrongly assumed that her determination to spend time with Jacob was because she missed her friend.
When Jacob accuses her of being overly defensive about insisting she only cares for him as a friend, we're set up to chalk that up as Jacob's usual cocky arrogance. We've seen nothing from our heroine to make us think that Jacob is onto something. Jacob himself doesn't seem to be consistent on this point either, Meyer's statement that he's "right about Bella being in love with him," notwithstanding. How about the whole "I know you don't feel the same, Bella, but I don't want to chance there being any confusion about how I feel about you." That serves to reinforce to the reader that Bella's feelings for Jacob are clearly not romantic.
What might happen in real life is that Bella could have one of those "Oh. My. God." moments when she is kissing Jacob. But, the author has an obligation to his/her readers to set up a grounding for the character's Oh My God moment so that the reader at least understands what is happening, whether the reader is cheering for said development or not being irrelevant. I won't lie and say that I would have been rooting for Jacob, under any circumstances. But, readers are not psychics. If Bella isn't communicating her inner angst to us in some way, we can't divine it out of thin air. Art imitates life, and in real life, sometimes these things happen out of the blue. But then again, I think that it's rarely completely out of the blue -- it's more that a person has been deluding themselves to some degree or another. But, most of us don't have thousands of bystanders trying to figure out what made us make certain decisions or take certain courses in life. Bella does have an audience though. Her audience deserved more preparation, more clues.
I think the whole angle would have been so much more palatable if Jacob had been portrayed as even remotely likeable. He was so cocky and conniving throughout the entire book, and he seemed completely unworthy of Bella. It would have been so much more bittersweet if Jacob had been persistent but the sweet and charming Jacob of Twilight. I cannot believe that I'm supposed to actually like this guy who forces himself on the heroine with his immense physical advantage, taunts her and her intended family in a steady stream of invective throughout the entire novel and then manipulates and tricks her into asking for a kiss by threatening to go get himself killed in a blaze of noble glory. He's still manipulating her emotions when she is telling him she is choosing Edward; he can't let it go even then. I thought he was absolutely rotten to the core, and I'm flabbergasted that he's supposed to be a "good guy" and that Stephenie honestly felt she'd written him sympathetically enough that fans would finally understand and embrace Jacob Black. I cannot for the life of me understand what she sees in Jacob Black that is so appealing!
I also think that the meat of this love triangle conflict was tossed out with too little build-up and aftermath. Bella changed from "I love you, but I'm not in love with you" to "Oh, I've been so wrong, I can totally see us married and with kids and growing old together" to "Oh well, that part of my heart just broke away" in the space of about 2 paragraphs. It would seem to me that one of the central themes ought to have been about Bella's growing attraction to Jacob (and denial thereof to herself). The reader should have been able to pick up on what she was denying to herself, and the whole crux of the conflict deserves more than a paragraph or two, doesn't it? She has this grand vision pass through her head while she's kissing him because he tricked her into it, and before she's even broken away from the kiss, her heart has severed off that part of itself. No angst, no self-evaluation, no consideration of what all of this means for her and Edward. Just nothing but "woe is me, I must give Jacob up."
I agree with Meyer that it is certainly possible for a person to love more than one person at the same time, and I think it was great for Bella to understand sacrificing her humanity meant more than giving up her parents. I think Bella's friendship love for Jacob would have worked just fine to illustrate this point, but I also would have been fine with Bella developing another romantic love for Jacob to make her choice of Edward that much more lasting, if that had been handled better from a stylistic standpoint. Again, if there's no foundation for the heroine having this revelation, the readers feel cheated.
So, in the end, Bella "chooses" Edward and agrees that they should tell her parents that they are engaged, moving forward with a wedding to be held by mid-August. I should be happy, right? That's what all the folks who loved Eclipse tell me. I got what I wanted in the end or so they say.
Unfortunately, the whole "I can't live without him" thing did nothing to restore my confidence that Bella and Edward are destined, that they are in fact soul-mates. Not being able to live without someone is really not quite the same thing as being in love with that person. I'm starting to wonder if Bella really is just obsessed with Edward, but not truly in love with him. She chose him in the end, yes. But was it a choice made happily and in exercise of her free will? To me, it read almost as if she feels compelled to stay with Edward, even though her heart is telling her something different. That may in fact be the biggest reason I dislike Eclipse so much -- it seems that all the characters are being manipulated by some other power other than their own free will. None of the wolves have any choice with this imprinting concept, and it almost seems as though we're meant to conclude that Edward and Bella have imprinted and therefore she has no choice left either. I don't like that. I want her to choose Edward because she's in love with him and because he makes her happier than anyone else. I don't think she has yet made that choice though, and I'm honestly not sure if choice is truly going to be available to her.
She also seems to be pushing ahead with the game-plan without pausing to think about whether she really does need some more time for reflection. And, Edward seemed a bit desperate at the end too, just to be honest. For all his understanding reaction to the whole debacle, it seemed to me that he was suddenly quite anxious to get her changed to a vampire. He's even willing to give up the wedding. It sounds like 2 people who are both plunging head-long into disaster if you ask me. And I hate that I feel that way about one of my favorite fictional couples! I wanted to be happy for them. On the surface, I should be, right? Bella has chosen Edward, they are engaged and planning a wedding and moving ahead with plans for her to change into a vampire. So, why do I feel so unsettled and sad about it all?
I will read Breaking Dawn next year, but I will try to go into it with lower expectations. I hope Meyer can return to the standard of Twilight and New Moon, but I am not confident given where things stand at the end of Eclipse. Sad.
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Showing 1-10 of 20 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 8, 2007 8:07:06 AM PDT
Nancy Harris says:
I had a miniature epiphany after reading your review. I suddenly realized that the "imprinting" concept was kind of like an analogy of Bella's love for Edward, and this sickens me. You're right about the whole love triangle thing being completely inethical and spur-of-the-moment. Perhaps if things had been worded differently, if the characters feelings were made more clear, it would have been more satsifying at the end. But Jacob was too cocky and egotistical, Bella was too whiney and self-consious, and Edward was too perfect, to the point where I felt bad for him, when the author's purpose was for the reader to feel sympathy for Jacob. Stephanie Meyer was too afraid to take any risks, and it was ultimately dissapointing.
Posted on Sep 10, 2007 1:27:18 AM PDT
La Coccinelle says:
I think that's the longest Amazon review I've ever read! I agree with much of what you said. I was disgusted by the forced kiss (and Charlie's reaction to it), too. And I didn't quite get the whole "imprinting" thing. It feels like we're being set up for something...
Who knows? Maybe Jacob will imprint on Edward. Then we'd have a really explosive end to the series!
Posted on Oct 10, 2007 11:02:26 PM PDT
mom to many says:
I agree with everything you said and I also wrote a very lengthy review a few days ago and it has not been published. It says many of the same things you did. I am feeling a little suspicious and find it odd so many give it a 5 star review. Oh how I worry about the message Jacobs character sends to young girls. No guy should ever force or trick a girl to kiss him. How low!
Posted on Nov 18, 2007 11:13:01 AM PST
WOW!! insanely long hahaha, but i agree with everything u said, but for me that just made me like the book more, although it wasn't as good as New Moon, and definitely not as good as Twilight, but still good, that forced kiss disgusted me, and so did Charlie's reaction, i hate Charlie for it. Edward-OMG- i don't know what to say, hes too perfect the the point that im angry at him for being so tolerant of Bella, i want him to get mad at her, just once, but not mad because hes trying to keep her safe and she goes against his word, angry at her, for hurting him, angry at her for having to think about Jacob, just once i wish Stephanie Meyer could make him at least a bit realistic, no guy, and i mean NO GUY is as perfect as Edward, its impossible to get to those expectation, inside and out, and i just want to see him get mad once, and actually show it, not just his eyes getting dark. Bella-don't get me started- she's winy and annoying the end. Jacob-I kind of get it- I know where he is coming from, not from personal experience, but i think that if i were in love, i would fight for him, even if he is in love with someone else, i know that it sounds low and shallow, but i think that that is what i would do, but without forced kisses or tricking my love, just showing him, and hoping he will go for me. Other then that Jacob was a real arrogant kid. But all in all, with this comment about how much the book annoyed me i enjoyed the book, and Stephanie Meyer was still able to keep me guessing-definitely a page turner.
Posted on Dec 16, 2007 1:54:35 PM PST
Deidre Huesmann says:
You hit on everything I hated about the Jacob/Bella angle perfectly.
Posted on Feb 17, 2008 6:19:50 AM PST
K. Branch says:
That was the best review EVER! I agreed with everything you said, but despite all that I still loved the series. I'm hoping that in Breaking Dawn the necessary character changes come. For example, Bella will become more confident and considerate. She's going to have to find some interests other than Edward or she's going to get really bored/boring (as you've already mentioned, she's already on the path to being a complete putz.) Edward will have to figure out how to not be so domineering. I have confidence that these changes are on their way.
Bella's character parallels Harry Potter in a way. They are both two ordinary kids-one of them a wizard, but not an extraordinary one. They both have one special "power" but throughout the whole series must rely on others for safety and comfort. The only thing keeping them alive is love. Which is to me the beauty of the stories. Finally in the last HP installment, Harry takes drastic measures which shows his character growth and maturity. He faces Voldamort on his own with happy results in the end. I think the conclusion of the Twilight series will show similar character growth and in the process clear up some of our grievances.
I really hope that Meyer will be able to develop the love between Bella and Edward that goes beyond his smoldering eyes and crooked smile and her beating heart. If none of that were there, how would she feel about Edward? As exciting as that was for me to read, the love needs to go deeper if it's really going to be lasting. And in the end Bella and Edward need to have some choice in the matter of whether or not they will be happy together. When the choice is taken away, the romance is spoiled as well.
I found Bella's charades with Jacob Black frustrating yet only natural. After their relationship in New Moon, I could understand that she didn't want to leave him hurt and broken like she had been. Although incredibly controlling, Edwards attempt to keep her from Jacob were understandable, and he thankfully backs off.
I've never been pulled into a series quite like this one and truly hope Breaking Dawn will depict the necessary character growth to make it a happy, believable and acceptable finale.
Posted on May 17, 2008 12:06:02 AM PDT
Posted on May 19, 2008 12:14:02 PM PDT
marc antony says:
i disagree with everything you said. if you think about choice and love, the two things are not mutually exclusive: you don't choose who you love, nor who you become attached to, and I think that's a point Meyer was/is trying to make. Bella couldn't simply say "oh, I'm going to be with Edward" or, "I'm going to be with Jacob," and just be happy with it because she has a connection with both of them, that, I don't care how old her soul is, she not going to be able to figure out at 17 or 18. Yeah, Jacob is a prick, and will probably get over Bella because he is only 16/17 by the end of this book, but his love for her is real to him, and being a jerk to her and everyone else is pobably the only way he knows how to protect his feelings.
Posted on May 22, 2008 2:09:50 AM PDT
I agree with some of the stuff that you said- I absolutely despised Jacob in this book. I despised him in New Moon, but in a way that was more annoyed that Edward was gone and Jacob and was there with Bella than actually not liking Jacob. That completely changed in Eclipse.
And I've always found Bella annoying. Honestly, I don't really understand how people are talking about Bella being a role model to young girls in the first place. Most of the people I know who enjoy the series don't view her as a role model at all, they're mostly just jealous of her relationship with Edward lol. But I can see how that could happen to young girls. I'm fifteen and I thought Eclipse was alright, but yeah the most annoying thing to me was Jacob and how they went back to the whole I'm-not-good-enough-for-you debate. And I disagree that Edward is "too perfect", I mean he definitely has flaws
Posted on May 31, 2008 6:06:24 PM PDT
Thank you for taking the time to write this review. You've pointed out some very interesting points in a new light that I've never really considered before.