When I finally read Breaking Dawn, the much anticipated finale to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga, I did so with a mixture of eagerness and cynicism. I enjoyed the first three novels of the series, almost in spite of myself, devouring them in a matter of days (see my review here) and I was eager to see how the story would end. Like many other readers, I found myself drawn into the story of Bella and Edward (and Jacob—don’t forget Jacob!) and all the complexities inherent in a tale of vampires and werewolves. My cynicism was due to the mixed bag of reviews I’d seen prior to reading the novel for myself.
In the Twilight saga, Bella, a human teenager, meets Edward when she moves to Forks, Washington to live with her dad, Charlie. Bella instantly and immediately falls head over heels for Edward with an all consuming passion bordering on worship. Eventually she learns Edward is a vampire, one of a vegetarian vampire community which chooses to drink only animal blood over that of humans. To further complicate matters, and provide an interesting love triangle, Bella’s best friend Jacob is a werewolf, a sworn enemy of the “cold ones,” the vampires. It is Bella’s greatest desire to become a vampire herself and so belong to Edward forever in the youthfulness of a teenage body.
And so Breaking Dawn begins days before Bella’s wedding to Edward. Will Bella finally become a vampire? Will she regret the loss of family and friends? Will she become a murderer in her thirst for blood as a newborn vampire? And what about Jacob? (which to me was the most pressing question of all—Jacob was by far my favorite character)
I’ll be honest. I had a clear opinion of what I’d hoped Bella’s fate would be and, well, let’s just say Meyer had something else in mind. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just tell you Bella’s and Edward’s story takes several surprising turns, some steamy, some sweet, some disappointing, and some just plain creepy.
That’s right, steamy. Though certainly not graphic, sex is more than a mere allusion. I’ll admit to being uncomfortable with the thought of my fourteen year old son reading about a couple swimming naked in the ocean, headboards being broken, and bruises resulting from engaging the super human strength of a vampire. Parents of young teenagers will want to check the appropriateness of the novel for their child.
Meyers tells a compelling love story, no doubt about it. Teenagers, girls especially, will no doubt be enthralled with the dreamy romance of the novel, though my middle aged self found the gooey intensity to grow a little tiresome at times.
*Small spoiler alert*
I also cringed at the romantic portrayal of marriage and motherhood at eighteen years old.
Despite my occasional roll of the eye, there is much to enjoy, such as the timeless themes of love, sacrifice, and honor. And, as I said, Jacob is my favorite character. He tells the middle portion of the story and his chapter titles alone are worth the read. For example: “Why Didn’t I Just Walk Away? Oh Right, Because I’m An Idiot” and the poignant “What Do I Look Like? The Wizard of Oz? You Need a Brain? You Need a Heart? Go Ahead. Take Mine. Take Everything I Have.”
All in all, it was one wild ride.
Are you interested in taking your own ride through Forks, Washington with Bella, Edward, and Jacob as your guides in this series finale? Leave a comment here to win one of two copies of Breaking Dawn. We’ll post the winners next Wednesday, August 27.
Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes….