Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

DISCLAIMER: I decided to review this book here since all the other books in the series are reviewed on Deliciously Clean Reads. However, I do not consider Breaking Dawn a Clean Read. It's full of vampire sex and talk about sex. Every family, of course, must make their own decisions about what books to read, but since a find myself a bit of an advisor when it comes to what is clean...I don't think this book is appropriate for anyone younger than 18. That is my personal opinion.
For the purpose of this site, I have set strict guidelines on what is clean and what is not. Breaking Dawn would not make this cut, but I wanted to discuss it here since I was such a huge fan of the saga until this book and I know many others who were as well.

So, let's be casual here for a minute. What did you think about Breaking Dawn, the latest installment in the Twilight Saga? Did you read it?

There will be spoilers here, so you know, GO AWAY if you don't want to see them. Consider yourself warned.

Let me first remind you that I am one of Stephenie Meyer's biggest fans. I obsessed over Twilight which is reviewed here. I thoroughly enjoyed New Moon, reading it almost as obsessively...although I truly felt the torture Bella was going through being separated from Edward for so long. Eclipse wasn't quite clean read material, but kept me going on the series.

I was one of the thousands of people at Borders on the night of August 1st. I waited in line for nearly three hours before finally holding my very own copy of Breaking Dawn.

And...I enjoyed it...but I'll be the first to admit it was out-there and a bit too wacky at times. I didn't read it obsessively. I claimed that I was trying to be a normal human and not lock myself up for three days, but the truth is, I didn't find it as compelling as the others.

The first three Twilight books drew me in with their promise of passionate, forbidden love. In Breaking Dawn, love is no longer forbidden. It comes easily for Edward and Bella.

Of course, that doesn't mean Stephenie Meyer wrote a 750 page book without conflict. Plenty happens. It just isn't pulling Edward and Bella's epic love apart.

(Big spoiler here...) The whole pregnant thing was so weird. Maybe because I am pregnant and that is just not how pregnancy works. Then, as if it couldn't get weirder, Jacob imprinted on the baby! I think I screamed out loud when I read that part.

Finally, Meyer built up for the greatest battle scene yet in the Twilight books and then just let it fizzle out without an ounce of vamp action. I admit, though I'm into the series for the mushiness, I was disappointed not to see a battle.

Anyway, I know there are a lot of mixed reactions on-line. Maybe we have built the series up so much in our hearts that nothing would satisfy.

I liked the book. I'd still recommend the series to upper YA and adults. As for being clean read material, Breaking Dawn does include a honeymoon. It gets a bit steamy as it has before, but it certainly doesn't go into detail. I wouldn't recommend this book to young teens, though. It's just too mature.

Let me know what you think. On Goodreads, I gave Twilight 5 stars, New Moon and Eclipse got 4, and Breaking Dawn will have 3.


YGL said...

My thoughts were rather similar... I'm not sure how much of it was that nothing can compare to Twilight and to portions of Eclipse...how much was my adversion to what I felt was a bit of a "fanfic cliche"... and how much was just that its over, and we've all gotten so accustomed to stories that end with the wedding and we don't get anything more... (I think I would have oddly enough been most happy with just the wedding and then having her become a vampire on the honeymoon or something...yes no plot - but maybe added into the end of Eclipse? I don't know what I want!) I think that was my problem - I don't know what I was expecting out of Breaking Dawn - I just know it wasn't what we got... Not that it dampens my love of the other volumes any (nor does it keep me from wanting to know when Midnight Sun is ever going to be released - I think thats my biggest fear - that Breaking Dawn will be taken badly by those who aren't fans, and that the publishers won't publish Midnight Sun... We've GOT to have Midnight Sun!!! (especially since its the opposite point of view of the first and best book of the series)

Julie said...

I felt the same--in fact, while trying to explain to my friend how I could stop mid-book and put it aside for an entire day without going crazy, I wasn't sure if it was just me or if the book just wasn't as captivating as the others. And the fight scene was horribly anti-climactic. And throughout the whole book, the focus didn't seem to be that much on Edward, which, admit it, is what we love best about the series. On the plus side, Bella wasn't as obnoxiously annoying as she was in Eclipse. But still...it felt so calculated, like Meyer was just setting everything up for the next series, featuring "Nessie" and Jacob and the Amazon vampires. I was glad that Bella and Edward got their happy ending, but I didn't feel an emotional attachment to their story.

Anonymous said...

Although my thoughts tend to be similar to those already expressed, I think I have finally figured out why I didn't love Breaking Dawn. I read three rather long books all building up to the answers to two questions. Two big climaxes-- 1) Is Bella going to become a vampire? 2) Are Edward and Bella going to get married? They get married in the second chapter-- no big deal, no real excitement, it just happens. She becomes a vampire halfway through the book, and again it is really not that big of a deal. She had been living on blood for quite a while before that. To me there was no real reason for the rest of the book. The big things I had been waiting for to finish off the series had happened.

Liz&Meg said...

anon, those were definitely two of the big conflicts to be resolved but I loved that Bella turned into a vampire early. We got to see her transform and become graceful and gain powers that she never had before, so I'm glad it happened earlier in the book. I agree with the review though. I enjoyed it but didn't obsess over it and thought there were some strange/shallow parts. I mean, really, who names their child Renesmee????

Mandy said...

I actually enjoyed the fact that there is a love story out there that shows a happy, healthy married relationship without tons of "drama." Sure there was no push and pull passion like the first couple of books, but I felt like it was more "real" in terms of relationships. I thought this was the best book of the series because it explored other types of love besides teenage angst. I was also glad that Jacob got his happy ending by imprinting, even if it was on the baby. I think the author set this up early in the series as she discussed that it was like a protective Uncle, someone that would play for hours with the child and never get tired of the game (I know my son would love it if I never tired of tag and bubbles).

Lindsay said...

I agree that at least Edward and Bella's relationship became a little healthier and more realistic after they got married, rather than so obsessive. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I wanted to love Breaking Dawn. I did obsess over it, devouring it in less then 3 days. I kept waiting for it to get better, but, it really never did. Here's my list of complaints: (yes, complaints!)
** I didn't understand some of the threads Stephenie introduced (ie the maid on Esme's Island who figured out what Edward was.) What was the point? For that matter, the whole point of the document forger and his fear of the Cullens was, what exactly?
** Alice? Where are you? We got to know her so much, and love her bubbly enthusiasm. She was just "there" in Breaking Dawn without any real interaction.
** Bella didn't have to give up anything, her friendship with Jacob, her love for Edward, her relationship with her father. Everything was tied up so neatly. But, really, Charlie is just suddenly ok with Jacob being a wolf and his daughter being... something... that he just accepts everything?
** The ending! Finally, I thought, now this book is going somewhere. A great battle will take place. Something exciting, possibly horrific, and potentially life altering will take place. Then.... oh.... nothing. All the other vampires we were introduced to, with a look at their powers, was for what reason? To bring the one character into the story that was like Renesme?
** Edward loved Bella human. Her scent, everything, drew him to her, tormented him. When Bella became a vampire, she commented to Edward that she didn't understand how much he was holding back, how wonderfuly their love would be once she was changed. Edward seemed to agree and referenced the human Bella nearly encountered in the forest. Edward commented that she should try "kissing that." What? He misses nothing of her as a human?
** Oh, and Leah. Why did we get closer to her. To what end?
** Jacob imprinting on Renesme? Stranger then strange.
** Quill and Embry joining Jacob's pack with no real explanation.
** Bella suddenly graceful as a vampire? Wouldn't it have been more interesting if she was the first clumsy vampire?
The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, I think Stephenie introduced a complex love story involving choices and sacrifice. For the ending, no choices were made (Bella had to become a vampire or die) and nothing was sacrificed. Don't get me wrong, I love a happy ending. But, this one did not fit the story we were drawn into.

Julie and Joe said...

Before the release, Stephenie hinted that her publicists warned her not to be too violent because her reading audience was 8-80 yr. olds (mostly girls). My husband and I felt the odd pregnancy and horrific labor scene in the beginning portion of the book would affect young girls negatively for childbirth. (I am a mother of four...we lost a baby to miscarriage right before reading New Moon and it was emotional for me). Our last baby, a girl, came placenta abruptio (same as Reneseme...sort of). I think CHAPTERS could have been classically summed up in two paragraphs and the end with the vampires could have had more action!
I enjoyed reading 70/30 of this book.
Why was Leah brought up and put into Jacob's pack and then left unmentioned after that?

Jessica said...

I agree. This book was SO frustrating! What the heck?????

It was definitely my least favorite. It focused too much on that dang wacked-out baby and not enough on Edward and Bella's relationship.

Plus, the climax was just kinda crappy. The Volturi came ALL the way over from Italy to....TALK about it???

The baby was weird. I thought it would have been so touching if Jacob had died saving Edward's life or something...then they'd all be connected and ...well, ya. We all have the way we want it to turn out :)

Can't wait for the movie!!

A said...

Personally, I hated the book. I'm not an obsessive fan. I only heard about the series 2 months ago, and I didn't like the first two books at all. Book 3 saved the series for me, and then the last book ruined it again.
My biggest complaint is all the repetition. Here we have Bella being worried. Now she's being worried with Edward. Now they are both being worried with the Cullens. Now Bella is worrying about the same stuff on her own again. Repeat 50 times. It got to be completely infuriating for me as a reader. Meyer would enter into these long angsting cycles that would bring the story to a screaching halt. I finally gave up and started skimming once I saw Bella start worrying about something (so, every 3rd page or so) until something else happened. I don't know what it is about editors these days. Are they intimidated by their starlet authors and afriad to offend by cutting out all the redundancies? JK Rowling's novels suffered in this way, too, as the HP series progressed.
I also agree with the posters above who thought that it was all a little too easy for her once she made the change. She lost nothing. And the big climax that I kept reading to get to because I thought it would finally get interesting again completely fizzled out.
I gave it 2 stars on GoodReads, just because I liked to story itself. The execution of the tale ruined it for me, though.

Jeremy said...

I liked the book. I did not have any expectations - only hopes. I hoped she would have children - and she did. I hoped she'd become a vampire - and she did. Lastly, I hoped there could be some resolution for the Jacob/Bella relationship - and there was. I am happy as a clam. The end was not as climactic as I thought it might be, but still, it was a great way to end the story. I gave all the other books 5 stars out of 5. This one will get only 4 - it just wasn't as enticing after I got everything I'd hoped for.

jennifer said...

That last comment was from me, Jennifer, not my husband Jeremy. How embarrassing! He'll be mortified if he ever sees his face on this romantic/womanly book review page!

Arianne said...

Oh my gosh! I'm so glad to finally find people who did NOT love this book. I agree with so much that has already been said but my biggest complaint is the WAY too happy and perfect ending. I mean, come on! There has to be some tragedy to make a saga like this really good. Like someone else said, I thought Jacob should have died saving Bella and Edward somehow. His imprinting on the baby (I can't even repeat that name it's so horrible) was just so disturbing. I also thought she focused way to much on sex...especially considering her prominent teen aged audience. I just hope that all the Mothers out there were doing their jobs and having some good talks with their daughters. I will say, though, that it was WONDERFUL that they (bella and edward) waited until after they got married.

Imprinted Pens said...

"I have extremely mixed feelings on Breaking Dawn. Probably the biggest problem with the novel is that it defies logic. And I'm not just talking because they're werewolves and vampires. In the first three novels, Meyer has created--for the most part--a very realistic accounting. Yes, there are vampires and other supernatural beings, but they're written in such a way that they feel real. It reads like typical realistic fiction. It's not hard to swallow, to suspend your disbelief. Yes, Meyer's fictional world doesn't quite match up with reality, but it has its own set of rules to go by. Its own logic. Not in Breaking Dawn.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I do agree. I really liked it but it isn't my favorite, and I am 13, but very mature compared to my fellow 13 year olds. As for the ending. I quite enjoyed it. It was kind of like a crime scene investigation. Love your Blog

Anonymous said...

I'm a little surprised that you felt the "mature" content was strictly about the sex. My sentiment was that for a MARRIED COUPLE who let their love steam for as long as it did, what Bella and Edward did was both natural and predictable! This is not what I would shield from my kids, since I hope for them to have a healthy attitude about sex when they get older!

My objections were to the gratuitous gore in the birth scene and the lack of personal self-worth that Bella frequently exhibited. THIS is why I find BD to be 'unclean' and 'questionable'. I don't want my daughter thinking that it's romantic for girls to sacrifice their identity for a boyfriend, or think that there is something noble about severing ties with family and friends for some man. I have girlfriends who have lived by the protagonist's example, and the results have been (predictably) disastrous. 

Unfortunately, many people who are weighing the "appropriateness" of the content for YA readers are basing their judgement on an act that our culture already holds an unhealthy attitude toward. This means they're completely skimming over the negative personality traits which Bella exhibits, and what is worse is that "concerned" adults don't seem to care that Bella is richly rewarded (both literally and figuratively) for her flaws, i.e. SELFISHNESS, VANITY, LUST (what else does she see in Edward, really?), WEAKNESS, STUPIDITY, and yes, CRUELTY (because what kind of 'friend' flirts with her pal and then viciously rejects him?)

Call me weird, but the capitalized traits are the ones I'd be concerned about exposing to my kids, not scenes of consensual sex between people who make each other happy. I guess that's what makes us different.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed to see this on a "deliciously" clean read site as well -
I must confess, I haven't read past the first volume - but excerpts I have read in reviews lead me to think this is anything but appropriate reading - gory, violenet, unnecessary discussion of marital intimacy including unintended physcial harm to the heroine - and YES - terrible issues with Bella's personality in the first volume seem to escalate through the series. NO THANKS.

Camille Ewell said...

I will probably never read this book for a second time. It is enough for me to know that Bella becomes a vampire and that Edward and Bella end up married.
That's all that matters.
This book was disappointing.

Melissa said...

I definitely agree with your review. I felt it was okay for me (although, like you say, not "clean read material," and I am married and an adult. I remember talking with a medical assistant at the doctor's office who was asking my opinion on the book, and she talked about the struggle she was having in whether or not to let her 13 year old daughter read the book. I certainly empathized I mean, who wants to start a series only to be told they can't finish is until they are 18 or older? But, I told her that I definitely didn't think it was suitable for a 13 year old to read.
When I saw the movie I was appalled at how many families were there with YOUNG children. Not even teenagers, we're talking 8 years old and YOUNGER. I seriously wondered what they could be thinking.
Anyway, ditto ditto ditto. You're review put into words exactly how I felt about the book.

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