Saturday, August 9, 2008

Breaking Dawn

Some thoughts on "Breaking Dawn"...since it's 1:00 in the morning and I'm not ready to put the computer away.

A lot of people seem to be somewhat dissatisfied with the plot twists. And I will warn you, Meyers breaks a LOT of rules in this book. Not moral rules (of course) but writing rules. Like letting your main characters get married when there are still 600 pages to go. *gasp*

Of course, anyone who knows me, knows that I love it when the hero and heroine actually manage to start married life before the story ends. It's so realistic. Young people can get such odd views of romance when "the wedding" is considered equivilant to "happily ever after" or "the end." Because, of course, neither is true. It's the beginning of a long and hard journey.

So I was thrilled when Bella and Edward- (oops, did I say that this was a spoilerific review?)

When Bella and Edward tied the knot right away. Lovely wedding scene...confrontation with Jacob...and then off on the honeymoon.

Ahem. A note needs to be said again that, though very tastefully written, (all things considered) this is still a book containing sections that are more appropriete for those over 18. Especially because Bella and Edward (surprise!) experiance an unexpected but natural effect of marriage.


Oooh! The other "forbidden" topic in young adult literature. Dont' let your heroine get pregnant- especially when there are 500 pages to go, and especially if she's married!

Huh. Wierd. Again, to me this seems like a totally natural thing to write about. Our grandmothers got married and had children by the time they were 15, 16 years old. Bella is already nearly 19. I was thrilled that despite the "vampires can't have children" thing, Meyers still managed to figure out a plausible way for Bella to get pregnant with Edward's child.

What was rather surprising, however, was Edward's reaction. Though by the end of the book I respected him again, his pressure on Bella to abort the child was disappointing.

Meyers, however, is pro-life, as becomes very obvious through Bella's passionate defense of her unborn baby. Indeed, Bella became much more endearing and admirable to me when I saw her love for her baby- even though her life was at risk.

It also explained many aspects of Bella's character that I think I missed previously. She really does care about other people- sometimes dangerously so. She's been accused of selfishness- but it's never something she's unaware of. She's simply human. In Breaking Dawn we see that her love for others far outshines her love of herself. We've had hints all along that such was the case, but I think a lot of us totally missed them. (She hates parties and gifts and having attention drawn to herself. We just thought she was being silly.)

Then of course there is the other Jacob-imprinting-on-Renesmee part that really we should have been much more prepared for. After all, didn't Meyers quote Wuthering Heights half a dozen times during Eclipse?

Renesmee herself is one of the most unexpectedly delightful elements of the book. She is such an endearing character- and provides the pivotal plot point for the confrontation with the Volturi. (why can I never spell that right? I'm much too tired to check, so have pity on me for once.)

In many ways I think Meyers has gone much further in plot progression than any of her previous books. Sure- the first book we had the "in love with a vampire" aspect, and in the second book we had "love triangle including a werewolf" aspect. Still, Meyers has never been able to manage the intricate plots of- say, J.K. Rowlings.

I say this because I have to be honest. Rowlings and Meyers have been compared a lot, but their writing is very, very differant. As it is, I think HP will be the series to go down in history as a great youth classic. The world it imagines, the characters it creates, and the plot it weaves are just a notch above most of what is out there.

Including Twilight. But that doesn't meant that Twilight isn't worth reading, or that I won't someday hand it down to my own mature daughters to read (whenever they appear). It just means that it probably wont' be included on school reading lists the way HP has been.

And, while I'm playing the critic, I must say that Meyer's biggest failing is the length of the books. Meyers, like most females, enjoys lots and lots of details. Breaking Dawn could have been at least 100 pages shorter without breaking a sweat (okay, maybe a little one). Most of the female readers won't mind it, but the guys and the adults will be a little bit annoyed by how many pages go by when nothing really important happens.

It is important- that's just the point- but it's hard to see. It's hard to understand how- even with vampires around, a book whose's most dramatic moment is a birthing scene could really be that fascinating.

And yet- it is. Which is why I'm rereading it now- without rereading the other books first. I will eventually, but Breaking Dawn will probably always be my favorite.

1 comment:

MJ said...

I love your review of breaking dawn. It was very long and I had to take breaks from it unlike harry potter but i enjoyed it. I liked the way married life was portrayed esp. the prolife message. This was truelly a prolife message instead of some movies are only partially prolife. THe ending was good but it felt like a lot of build up for nothing.