Ah, Breaking Dawn. The long anticipated end to Stephenie Meyer's hugely successful series that began with Twilight finally landed in stores last Saturday at 12:01 a.m. but I wasn't there. I did, however, take my happy self to Borders early (okay, early for me--11:00 a.m.) to pick up my very own copy. Is it wrong to admit that I immediately sneaked a peak at the last page just to ensure that my two lovers would be together? Nope, won't answer that. I headed home, determined to finish the 752 page book over two days.
Two days past my deadline for finishing, I closed the book and put it gently on the shelf near the others. It's taken me all day to think of the review I want to do for Breaking Dawn; it's very obvious that it's a polarizing novel, judging by the often incoherent reviews posted on Amazon. I've decided to forego posting a review there, at least for now; I have a feeling that a traditional review would be trashed at the moment. Anyway, back to the book and my thoughts on it.
I liked it.
What did I like specifically? I like that Meyer took us where we didn't think we'd go. I like that she took chances with her characters, making them step outside their own comfort zones and find things within themselves worth fighting for. I loved that she devoted an entire section to Jacob, a character I'll admit I never felt overly sympathetic for; seeing events from his point of view was the absolute perfect way to move the story along at a crucial point and give us reasons why Jacob was acting as he did. I love the titles for those chapters from Jacob's point of view!
I like that Meyer was able to have Bella incorporate her old family into her new one, and I like how Bella's insecurity was challenged once she moved onto her destiny. (How's that for being vague so as not to give away spoilers--unlike the bajillion teens on Amazon?). I looooved the transition piece; it could not have been done any better, in my opinion. I was there in the room with Edward, Bella, and Jacob and I was breathing with Bella every step of the way. I loved the developing relationship between the vampires and the wolves, and I loved how Jacob felt about Renesmee. I think it was realistically done since Meyer *had* set us up for the possibility earlier. I do believe she'd planned the whole thing out early on.
I suppose it's a spoiler to say I love the happy ending, but I do believe in happy endings. I loved that through it all I could feel the commitment between Edward and Bella. That's what drove me into the story in the first place, and that never changed.
Now for what I didn't like. Even though I feel that Meyer made a courageous and interesting choice in taking her characters into a phase of life they hadn't expected, I felt it was all a bit too sci-fi (I posted earlier that I kept being reminded of Star Trek TNG and Troi's rushed pregnancy). I still don't understand the need for Renesemee to grow so rapidly other than the prove a point in the end to the Volturi (okay, I know that one's a spoiler). I got tired of all the hand-wringing waiting, and the surprise appearance at the end was a little too convenient. I didn't care for all the vampire support turning up at the end, though I understand the *why* of it. I also felt that Bella discovering her gift and then fully realizing it just when it was most needed was a bit much.
There were parts I loved and parts I didn't care for, but I think Meyer is to be commended for not just writing the pat final installment that would have pleased the masses. There was a definite maturing in the characters that I found surprisingly appealing, and a strong undercurrent of emotion that has always been the basis for the stories. I am sure that I will be thinking of this final novel in the series for a very long time, and finding that I am looking very favorably on it. The good outweighs the bad; I closed the last page and smiled. That's what any good book should do: crawl inside you and make you feel. Goal accomplished.