Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Series: Twilight #4
Also in this series: Eclipse, Eclipse, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, Twilight, Twilight, Twilight
Publication Date: August 2nd 2008
Genres: Young Adult
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When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?
To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife have led her to the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs.
Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating, and unfathomable, consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life-first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse-seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed... forever?
The astonishing, breathlessly anticipated conclusion to the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic that has entranced millions.
Below is a follow up to my review (you can also read Thea’s non-spoiler review at The Book Smugglers here) of Breaking Dawn, but with full spoilers (Thea’s full spoiler review here). Please beware, if you don’t want to know what happens in Breaking Dawn, don’t read any further.
Written from Bella’s narrative. Bella and Edward get married. She still has some concerns about going through with it, but she’s determined to just get it over with. She turned the whole thing over to Alice, so all she has to do is show up. The wedding itself was beautifully written and I like that Bella realized during the ceremony that she and Edward belong together and she was silly for worrying about the wedding.
During the reception, Jacob comes back and dances with Bella. She’s overjoyed to see him, as usual. She mentions something about her honeymoon with Edward and the fact that they plan to be physical and Jake freaks out, because he fears for Bella’s safety. He ends up storming off in a huff and they get back to it.
Edward has kept their honeymoon destination a secret from Bella. Directly after the wedding reception they leave and Edward reveals that they’re going to Esme Island. Apparently Carlisle had given Esme her own island and she graciously offered it to the newlyweds. Bella is anxious to begin their physical relationship, but Edward is still hesitant.
Eventually he gives into her and then immediately regrets it, because she’s bruised basically from head to toe. This part was kind of emotional. It was Bella’s first time. She doesn’t realize that anything bad happened (we all know the girl is oblivious) and she wakes up happier than she’s ever been, only to have Edward completely rain on her parade and ruin the moment for her. While I understood where Edward was coming from, I felt it was handled very, very badly on his part. And He never did apologize for making her feel bad and insecure.
Because he feels awful, Edward resolves to never be physical with Bella again. Or at least not until she’s immortal. Bella, as you can imagine, isn’t very happy with this and resolves to change his mind. Except he runs her into exhaustion so she’s too tired to press the issue. After a few days (maybe a week) of this, Bella decides to try a different tactic. She bargains with Edward, telling him she’ll go to college and put off becoming a vampire for another year if he agrees to resume their relationship. He eventually caves in.
Up until this point, I was really enjoying the story. Sure, it’s a bit..predictable and even kind of laughable how perfect everything is, but the writing was strong and Bella wasn’t at all annoying. She was just a young girl enjoying being married to the man of her dreams and on the perfect honeymoon. The dialogue between she and Edward was well done and I was mostly left with a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Then Bella got pregnant. Yes, I said pregnant. Now, this wasn’t a surprise to me. A huge disappointment, but not a surprise. I had a feeling from the way things happened in Eclipse and the conversations Bella had with Rosalie – and the way Edward acted about wanting Bella to have a child – that this was going to happen. It still made me very angry. But I’ll get into that later.
The problem with this is that Bella is less than three weeks along and already she’s moody, tired and suffering from morning sickness. Oh, and she’s already got a baby bump. Naturally this freaks her and Edward out – though for different reasons. Alice calls and puts Carlisle on the phone and Bella explains that she thinks she’s pregnant. Edward and Carlisle decide the best thing is to terminate the pregnancy, because it’s obvious something is wrong.
Bella isn’t happy with this and calls the one person she knows will help her keep the baby. Rosalie.
This is written from Jacob’s narrative. Having the novel broken up like this was an excellent call on Meyer’s part. Not only did I enjoy his “voice” but it also gave us a chance to breathe after the first part.
Jacob is home in La Push waiting for the news that Bella has died. The Cullen’s have been in touch with Charlie – Bella’s dad – and are claiming she contracted some dread disease while on her honeymoon and she now has to be quarantined. Jacob knows this is just some story they made up to cover the fact that she’s being turned into a vampire. He discusses it with his pack and they decide not to retaliate against the Cullen’s for breaking their pact. In a fit of rage, he rushes over to their house to kill them himself.
Only when he gets there things are not what they seem. Bella is, in fact, deathly ill. And not because she’s been turned or about to be turned. She’s now hugely pregnant. Hugely. Apparently the fetus is growing at 10x the normal rate. Even though she’s only a month or so along, she’s the size of a woman who’s 9 months pregnant.
The worst part is the baby is slowly killing her. It rejects all food and beverages, so she’s slowly wasting away as the baby steals from her body to nourish itself. The entire family – with the exception of Rosalie – is desperate to save Bella. But she refuses to allow them to take the baby early, knowing it will die. Rosalie has become her bodyguard, refusing to allow anyone to be alone with her and constantly by her side.
I can truly say I hated Rosalie during this part. She wanted the baby, and didn’t care what it did to Bella or anyone else to get it. At one point Jacob speculates that Bella is nothing more than a means to an end for Rosalie and Edward agrees. It was disturbing the way she was willing to do anything to ensure the life of the child, even if it meant taking Bella’s.
Edward is broken. To see Bella suffering so much, to know he’s the cause..well, he’s barely hanging on. He begs Jacob to talk to Bella, to convince her to save herself. Jacob knows it won’t do any good, but he reluctantly agrees. Edward, close to madness at this point, tells Jacob to offer her a child if that’s what she wants. Yes, Edward told Jacob he could get with Bella to give her a child if that would save her life.
I have to tell you, this is the most emotionally compelling part of the entire novel. Seeing just how broken Edward is, feeling the animosity the entire Cullen family (sans Rosalie) has toward the fetus, witnessing Jacob’s anger at how horribly sick Bella has become…this really got to me. I cried several times during this part. I also have to say..I truly hated that fetus right along with the rest of them. At the end of Part 1 my sympathies were entirely with Bella, but my tune changed.
While part of me understood Bella’s reasons for insisting on carrying the fetus to term, another part of me was furious with her for being so selfish. I have to give mad props to Meyer for this part of the novel. She did an amazing job of writing this so I, as a reader, was just as conflicted as the characters. Brilliant.
Jacob goes back to his pack and Sam (the alpha) decides they need to take out the Cullen’s, and Bella, to protect their families against this unknown abomination. Jacob disagrees. Though he wants the fetus dead, he doesn’t think all the Cullen’s should die because of it. Sam tries to force Jacob into obeying and Jacob ends up breaking from the pack because Jacob is the true Alpha. Seth and Leah join him.
The biggest concern at this point is how Bella will survive until the birth, since she isn’t able to keep anything down. At one point Jacob thinks to himself that the fetus is nothing but a “blood sucker”. Edward hears the thought and suggests that perhaps the baby needs blood, being that it’s half vampire. That ends up being the case. So Bella drinks blood. As a human. And likes it. Because that’s what her baby needs. Weird.
Anyway, they’ve decided Bella will be ok during/after the birth because Edward will immediately transform her. I have to tell you, this severely pisses me off. Throughout the entire series, Bella has waffled back and forth about whether or not to become a vampire. Sometimes she wants it, sometimes she doesn’t, but it’s always been one of the major conflicts of the story. For the choice to be taken from her, for her to be absolved of all guilt in the making of the choice..well, that was a cop out by Meyer, plain and simple.
Meyer had the opportunity to really delve deep into the psyche and build upon the morality of the choice between life and the living dead, and instead she chose the easy way out. Yes, I’m still pissed about this.
Of course, I’m even more pissed off about what happens next. This wasn’t a surprise to me. Not even a little bit. As soon as Bella turned up pregnant I knew the following was inevitable. That doesn’t mean I like it. So what happens?
Jacob imprints on Bella’s baby.
Yes folks, you read that correctly. The reason Bella and Jacob were so attached to each other was really because Jacob was destined to imprint with Bella’s daughter. Once again, Meyer takes the easy way out. What had become an interesting love triangle turned into something straight out of a soap opera.
Once again from Bella’s narrative. First, let me tell you about Bella’s daughter, Renesmee. Yes, Renesmee. you know, like Renee and Esme together. headesk She is not your average child. She grows at 5x the normal rate, is extremely intelligent and can communicate by touching your face and showing you her thoughts. She’s a miracle baby. Oh, and she has the ability to wrap every adult in a 100 mile radius around her little fingers.
Ok, so now you know that Bella had the perfect baby. Now let me tell you about Bella the perfect vampire. She was transformed (though it was touch and go there for a minute) directly after Renesmee was born and spent 3 days changing. She was doped up, so although she could feel every horrible second of it, she couldn’t make a sound. Then, she the morphine wore off, she refused to cause Edward more suffering by yelling out her pain, so she suffered in silence.
Once she was able to get up, she finds she can control the bloodlust and she isn’t really one of those newborns like she thought she was going to be. She’s graceful, beautiful and in complete control of herself. Oh, and she’s extremely powerful too. Even stronger than Edward. Wow, look at her go.
Then Irina (another vampire) sees Renesmee, Jacob and Bella out hunting and mistakes Nessie (as she’s called by everyone but Bella) for an illegal being called an immortal child. As it turns out, centuries ago, vampires were turning children and they were completely out of control, so now all immortal children are sentenced to death immediately. It’s one of those, “Kill first, ask questions later” type of things. The Cullen’s decide they need to gather reinforcements to witness for them that Nessie isn’t an immortal child, but Edward’s biological daughter.
They call on all their friends and the wolves and prepare to stand against the Volturi. Bella realizes that she has a super special “talent” and can actually create a protection shield that she can put around herself and anyone else who’s in danger. Do you see where this is going?
Actually, rather than going on any further, I think I can sum this up pretty quick:
Bella becomes the perfect vampire with the perfect husband and the perfect daughter who is perfectly content in her perfect little world because she’s friends with all the vampires and all the werewolves and she gets to keep in touch with her human family because she’s selfish like that.
Oh, and because Jacob and Nessie have imprinted, there’s no longer any tension between his pack and Sam’s pack, because they can’t endanger someone’s mate.
What I’m saying is: All the internal and external conflicts are resolved, quite easily and with as little fuss as possible. Bella becomes perfect. She’s able to keep her human family, her wolf family, her friends, her child, everything. Cheesy, neat, textbook, total cop out all the way around.
You know, I might have given this a higher grade than it deserved, looking back on it.
There you have it in a nutshell. Thoughts? Feelings? Agree or disagree?
On the other hand, this is marketed as a young adult novel. So perhaps things happened exactly as they should?