By: Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Publication Date: August 2008
Reviewed by: Emily LaBelle
Review Date: December 2008
Breaking Dawn, the fourth and final installment of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga, follows the story of 18 year old Bella Swan through her uncovnentional journey into newlywed life and motherhood with her gorgeous husband, Edward Cullen, who just happens to be a vampire. In this volume we rediscover Edward and Bella’s epic romance which was first told from Bella’s perspective in Twilight; then in New Moon, and again in Eclipse. Breaking Dawn however, which is divided into three books over its 754 pages, is told from two different points of view. The first and third books are told in the familiar voice of Bella, but in the second book we see the small town of Forks Washington through the eyes of a bratty teenage werewolf named Jacob Black. Jacob is Bella’s best friend who just happens to be harboring an all-consuming love for her.
The story begins shortly before Edward and Bella’s wedding day. Edward and Bella have an old-fashioned wedding before their friends and family, vampire and human alike. The happy couple then jets off to a private island for a picturesque honeymoon, where Edward makes good on his promise to make love to her before changing her into a vampire. Everything seems to be perfect, until Bella learns she’s pregnant, something believed impossible and dangerous for a vampire and human.
The story is then told from Jacob Black’s perspective. Through his telling we hear the minds of the rest of his werewolf pack as well as his own. Through Jacob’s eyes we also watch Bella essentially give up her life to have a baby who is already stronger than she, while still in the womb. Jacob is disgusted by this and because of that the reader is too. Despite his objections, Jacob is still drawn to Bella and stays with her through most of the process, even though she is surrounded by his mortal enemies -- vampires.
Bella has her baby in nothing less than gruesome fashion, with dramatic scenes of her baby ripping open her stomach. In the process of birth, Edward is forced to change Bella into a vampire in order to save her life. The third book, told by Bella, starts with her painful transformation from human to vampire and follows the relationship between her and her half-vampire, half- human daughter, Renesmee. The book ends with vampires and werewolves joining forces to fight for Renesmee’s life against the Volturi, a brutal group of Vampires who uphold the laws of their kind.
This installment is quite a departure from the rest of the Twilight saga. The previous three novels focused on the head over heels romance between the plain human and the dazzling vampire. Breaking Dawn is harder to identify with, much darker and at some points just plain bizarre. In the first three novels Bella was a normal clumsy girl but in Breaking Dawn, when she becomes a perfect vampire, it is harder for the reader to connect with her character.
While this may not be Stephenie Meyer at her best, Breaking Dawn is still well worth reading. Her polished use of language in depicting many situations from the steamy romantic to the horrifyingly gruesome will still have teenage readers ripping through the pages.
Quill says: Although it is flawed, Breaking Dawn will leave you satisfied and smiling at its finish.