1,470 of 1,777 people found the following review helpful
So bad, I want to rewrite it myself,
This review is from: Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4) (Hardcover)
I started reading this series after I heard a rave review on NPR during their "Guilty Pleasures" segment. The middle-aged gentleman described Twilight with such enthusiasm that I couldn't resist temptation. I bought the four-book set and settled in for a long weekend of reading.
Three days and 2400 pages later, I'd finished the four novels. I adored Twilight, tried not to slap whiny Bella during New Moon, and mostly skimmed through Eclipse trying to get to something interesting. Finally, I got to Breaking Dawn. I have never been so let down by a book in my entire life. I don't even need to go into all the ways that this book was horrible - the other reviewers have done that well. But, here I go anyway:
Wedding - So, Bella's wedding to Edward was not what she wanted, but what she was willing to trade for sex and immortality. The wedding itself was not her vision and in no way represented their unique love, but was instead a fantasy created fully by Alice's vision.
Honeymoon - Meyer is telling us that sex is scary and awful. You will have a lot of pain your first time and your husband, who puts you up on a pedestal, will hate himself for "hurting" you, no matter how yummy delicious it is. Oh, and once you do get some, it's pretty much the only thing you'll want, and your new hubby will reject you, mercilessly, due to his own hang ups. Woo! I gotta get me some of that!
Also, how come it's either a little french kissing or sex? How come no one ever talks about alllll that space in between those two extremes? What a perfect place for her to talk about sex and the implications of it, especially given her target audience.
Pregnancy - You will get pregnant the very first time you have sex. Pregnancy is the most horrible state you will ever experience. It will be stunningly painful as your body is taken over by something that hurts you, and tries to kill you, and eventually chews its way out of you. The bloodbath of child birth is fine - but it says a lot, to me, about Meyer that she can't write the sex, but can write the gore. Or maybe it's about society, and not Meyer at all. Take your pick.
Renesmee - Say it out loud. I dare you. Look, I get what Meyer was trying to convey here about the beauty of having a child, the connection that a newborn's family feels to the child and how fleeting childhood is. But come on! The massive gaps in logic and leaps of faith it takes you to get here are stunning. Stunning. And impossible.
Jacob - Sigh. Poor Jacob. This boy never had an ounce of pride, he submitted it all to Bella, only to find himself a pedophile in the end. How utterly freaking awful. (and yeah, I tried to go with the whole "it's fiction, not pedophilia" but I just couldn't get there. It was creepy.)
The Cullens - Who? No seriously though, Edward had a family? Where were they after page 150?
Renee and Charlie - So, while Renee has been the primary parent and the person that Bella is closest to for the entire series, suddenly she's just...absent. Laaaame. And suddenly Charlie is Bella's first concern, but we've been given absolutely nothing by way of character development to buy into this. Again, I say: Come on!
Editing: Look, I don't know who edited this book, but ZOMG! fire that person. There were so many errors it was distracting. Dialog tagging: use it. Also, adverbs are not your friends. If Bella "shyly" does one more thing, I'm going beat her with her own arm. If you have to tell us that people are chuckling, giggling, that their eyes are "tightening" (wth does that even mean?) then you're failing at description. If you must tell and not show, read some Willa Cather. She gets away with it. You don't. So stop.
Tone: I'm guessing that Meyer took a break from Twilight land to write "The Host" and that's why the entire tone of this novel is off. It just doesn't even sound like it was written by the same person.
At the end of this novel, I wanted to rewrite the whole thing myself. I wanted to see why Bella decided that she would marry Edward. I wanted her to give a damn about the wedding and see some reverence in it. I wanted to see a real deepening in her relationship with Alice. I wanted Esme to be more than just a paper doll mother figure. I wanted a real, honest to goodness sex scene that lived up to three freaking novels worth of some of the steamiest kisses ever. I wanted Bella to pay a price for some of her choices. I wanted that epic battle with the Volturi to actually happen. I wanted someone to die. Meyer cheated us out of the thoughtful endings that we get when good triumphs over evil. That's what makes life sweet, and makes us appreciate what we have - working for it, sacrificing for it.
Bella would have actually wanted to marry Edward. She would have cared about the decorations and Alice would have developed into a real sister, and not some overblown party planner. There would have been real sex - not smutty, but real, nonetheless. Pregnancy would have disappeared. Bella would have had to make the choice - between having babies and having Edward. She would have been cruel to be kind and given Jacob his freedom. Jacob would have grown and gotten over her, and moved on and found real love with someone who loved him back - maybe even Leah, since that ground was laid pretty well. Bella would have spent months being a newborn, filled with nothing but bloodlust. Jessica would be her first victim. The Cullens would have worked tirelessly to help her transform, and we could have gotten to know them all so much better. Rosalie might have died, doing something selfless for once in her life. That would have been doubly meaningful if Meyer rewrites the whole series from Edward's POV (ala Midnight Sun, which in rough draft form is head and shoulders better than Breaking Dawn.) Bella would have to give up Charlie and Renee for a while, but eventually they would be able to be in her life, altho in a much more limited way. There are a million possibilities that could have had a very nice happy ending, with a bit of bitter thrown in with the sweet.
Meyer is a great storyteller and an okay writer. If she gets a better editor and learns some discipline, she could be very good. I found this particular book to be a total betrayal of the earlier books, which is why my review is so harsh. Overall, I hope she keeps going, and I *really* hope she keeps going with Midnight Sun, which so far, I love.
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Showing 1-10 of 231 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 10, 2009 12:36:52 PM PDT
Arthur Dent says:
Willa Cather! A+ reference.
Posted on Jul 11, 2009 11:03:00 AM PDT
hahh hah so true i can't believe you made it the 4th book i could only make it past the second and it took me awhile.
Posted on Jul 12, 2009 8:17:50 AM PDT
Chicklet you hit the nail on the head. Everything in your review was exactly how I felt. So Disappionting! I hope the movie is totally different then the book.
Posted on Jul 12, 2009 8:17:45 PM PDT
Texan Vegan says:
I cannot agree more with Chicklet's spot-on review. I stayed up til 2 a.m. for a straight week soaking up SM's first three books (better late than never, right?), but "Breaking Dawn" was a *colossal* disappointment. I want my $20 back. I weep for the movie & can only hope SM isn't holding the reins on that project.
Posted on Jul 14, 2009 5:24:44 PM PDT
T. Lapointe says:
I couldn't agree more - I actually liked chicklet's version of what should have happened in Breaking Dawn - so much more exciting than what Stephanie gave us. I actually wished she would re-write the darn thing just so we could get something with a little more substance than what we got... NO baby - some decent struggles with being a newborn, which was what I was waiting for all along ... I didn't mind if she was better at it than most, but come on ... what is interesting about her not having any struggles at all??? I was very excited to see the Cullen's in action in helping her get through it.
Posted on Jul 19, 2009 1:57:07 PM PDT
Cherie Starry says:
What a beautifully written and well-conceived review! If you aren't (or weren't) an English major, you should have been!
I agree with your analysis completely. However, my purpose in reading the series was to gain knowledge of what the pre-teen and teen culture espouses to its members. Because I work with teens, I feel I need to know their cultural icons. One of the best ways to do this is to read what they are reading and then talk with them about it. I find that sex is still a mystery for teens (and adults for that matter!), but they don't admit it readily. I actually thought that Meyer handled the sex issue well for both teen and pre-teen groups. But, I think you are very perceptive in criticizing Ms. Meyer for not showing the positive side of love when you ask why no one every talks about the "in between" space. You are so, so right that this book was a perfect place to explore the issue safely with a "captive audience."
I'm not certain that the "honeymoon sex" and the "baby-making on first attemp" register with teens as you suggest, but I find both comments fascinating and would like to talk more with teens about your theories. What a minefield of teenage angst you've uncovered about sexual beliefs and taboos--
Thanks for taking the time to write your great review.
Cherie Renfrow Starry
Private Practice Counselor/Therapist
Posted on Jul 24, 2009 3:46:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 24, 2009 3:49:18 PM PDT
Beyang Kima-tabong says:
Perfect review. "Jessica would be her first victim." LOL Joke or not, that was an awesome suggestion. I also felt the dialogue (especially Edward's) could have been improved. I mean "Jacob... my son". WTF, Stephanie. That creeped out of nowhere. And I absolutely love your comments on her editing. I have had HUGE issues with Meyers on her vocab choices and trivial overuse of adverbs (seriously who really needs adverbs describing every verb and adjective). The editor felt that the first three books were money-makers and just let everything go, I guess. Your review and insights were very refreshing to read and I too dream that someday Meyers will either rewrite this book, or get her butt over to her computer and write that all-too-desired Midnight Sun already.
Posted on Aug 2, 2009 3:46:33 PM PDT
Kara Sue says:
This is an excellent review. I was sooo disappointed by this novel. I devoured the first three novels in the series and loved them. I especially liked New Moon and I really look forward to the movie in Fall 09. I do hope it lives up to the previews and hype. I think it will be better than Twilight.
But in regards to Breaking Dawn, I think your paragraph on what should have happened is perfect (or nearly)! I hope that is how the movie will play out (or some similar revision of the book). Breaking Dawn on the big screen would be an absolute disaster. If they do not change the storyline drastically, they should NOT even make this movie!!! I love Jacob but how do you have a grown man "imprint" on a baby without it looking just gross. And Bella's whole pregnancy thing will just be stupid, gory and not the least bit entertaining. I also agree with your analysis that this book was a betrayal of the earlier books.
By the way, you need to write more reviews! I would be curious to see what books you do (and even more you don't) like!!!
Posted on Aug 7, 2009 6:34:49 PM PDT
C. Eagle says:
Loved your rewrite. Your short paragraph was more interesting than the book and your comment about Jessica made me laugh out loud. Thank you!
Posted on Aug 10, 2009 4:35:44 PM PDT