Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer

I'm not going to worry about a preamble. If you don't know the background behind Breaking Dawn or the debacle surrounding it and it's author, Stephenie Meyer, then you must have been hiding in a outer Mongolia the past few months not to have been swept up in the sensation that is Stephenie Meyer's meteorotic climb to stardom in the world of amazing book sales.

I received my copy from Atom and couldn't wait to get stuck into it. Before I knew it, I was three hundred pages in, shouting at the characters. I had to put the book down and walk away. I was taking it too personally. I was wanting to write the book. I left it alone the whole weekend, not being able to go near it, giving myself time to cool off. Instead I read other books, but I dreamed Bella and Edward and Jacob. It was not healthy, to say the least.

The story concludes the three previous books, Twilight, Eclipse and New Moon in a way that the author clearly felt she wanted to end Bella and Edward's story. I've not read a single other review, but I know, from others telling me, that Breaking Dawn's received a very mixed response. Some loved it, some hated - there doesn't seem to be a middle ground. I suppose, it is, like the (dreaded HP analogy here) last book in the HP saga - JKR clearly felt that she needed to drawn a line under all these characters so many of her readers have come to love and share their lives with. It had to stop, no matter what! And she gave them closure.

I finished reading Breaking Dawn last night and put it aside. And cried. I cried because the book still spoke of that almost unattainable thing in real life: true love with someone you initially thought so completely unattainable you would never consider taking the chance. It spoke of the author's desire to tie up loose ends and make everyone happy.

We have Jacob who will now forever be part of Bella's life and Bella's father Charlie has to cope with a helluva lot of things that come his way but he gets through the trauma sufficiently to remain his usual dry self. The biggest change of course is in Bella but the story doesn't just centre on her change - we see it a lot of the story more clearly from Jacob's perspective and from some of the other vampires' perspectives and it gives you a feel of a bigger story being told.

Official MFB verdict: I loved it. I also hated it. Team Jacob did not win. Not in the way I wanted it to. But in the end, I could see why it was done this way and I chose (notice the choice of words here) to bow out with good grace, like Jacob, and to consider the impact of the story and the author's decision making process.

Breaking Dawn is a fitting end of this series. Everyone is happy. It all ends on a fairytale ending. The ending is bittersweet ... and yet, yet, I somehow can't shake the feeling that that's not all she wrote, to be honest. There is this feeling of lingering malice...because isn't that what fairytale endings are all about? The fact that the big bad wolf (or vampire) is lurking in the forest, ready to take advantage...or maybe it's wishful thinking on my part?

I apologise - this is not the type of review I usually write. I'm giving scant information about the storyline and am harping on about how it made me feel. Which, to be honest, is where the success in any book lies - how it makes you feel. I laughed, I cried, I sobbed, I tossed the book aside in anger and disgust and I picked it up again and I read it to the very end, because I loved it, irrevocably. This is what storytelling is about - taking a pack of cards, tossing 'em into the air and putting them back together again, to form the perfect package. I genuinely don't mind what other reviews say about BD - it has done what the author set out to do - it drew a line under Jacob, Bella and Edward.

There is a new generation now, afterall, in the Cullens household... who knows what's going to happen next?

1 comment:

Ailsa said...

I think I fall into the 'loved it' category. There were so many cool bits. So many bits that I know I will read over and over.

But to start with I didn't like it. I got to the end of the first section and had to put it down and go read a whole other book because I just hated what she'd done at that point. I was wondering what possessed her to write it.
Came back and read the second section almost in one sitting, and loved it, then had to stop and leave it alone again at the end of that bit.

But, I love this book. It is a good end to the series. Happy endings are good. *g*