Thursday, August 14, 2008

Breaking Dawn

I'm sorry, I just can't hold my Breaking Dawn thoughts in anymore. So, if you haven't read the book for whatever reason, just go look at one of these websites instead: Kittenwar, Cats in Sinks or Mad Shark.

Some of you are probably still here, hoping to get spoilers. Or, I should say, one of you is. And so at this point I would like to remind you of a certain bargain we made and if you read the spoilers I will have to post about That Thing.

And here is the final deterrent. ZARDOZ!

I know what you're thinking and YES, that is Sean Connery. Sometimes I get the title mixed up with Xanadu, but I'm pretty sure there's no roller skating in Zardoz. There is, however, a pair of thigh-high black boots and what can only be called red underwear. I decided to spare you all from that.

And now, let us discuss Breaking Dawn.

Breaking Dawn Revelation #1: Vampires really like sex.

Obviously there has been a lot of talk about the *ahem* content (Esme's isle, anyone?). I expected a honeymoon scene, and until the pillow biting, I think it was handled pretty well. The bits that came later during their vampire honeymoon, if you will, were overkill for me. I wouldn't have thought twice about it if Stephenie Meyer weren't LDS and vocal about it, though. The fact that she is, apparently, an active member whose religion comes up in interviews and on her website should have made her think twice. I know Bella and Edward aren't Mormon, but that doesn't mean Meyer needs to make us aware of just how much sex they are having.

As for younger girls reading it, technically Twilight is a young adult book and they shouldn't be reading them anyway. So on the one hand, I don't think authors should feel a need to make their books suitable for all ages. But on the other hand, when you know that lot of young girls are reading them, it wouldn't hurt to keep it in mind. And since we didn't need or want to know about Emmett and Rosalie breaking houses down with their passion anyway, sex didn't need to come up at all after the honeymoon. Final note: Parents! Read some book reviews and give your kids Series of Unfortunate Events. They are better and more age-appropriate.

Breaking Dawn
Revelation #2: Dead people can have babies.

Bella and Edward have a honeymoon baby. I'll admit that this twist kept me up reading until 5 AM so it was intriguing to me. But that was partly because I thought it was some kind of horrible vampire spawn that would somehow turn into the book's villain (too much X-Files?). The truth was so much more ordinary. It's a girl! And she's perfect! Just enough vampire to keep her young and beautiful, just enough human to give her a rosy complexion! AND she has magical powers. Of course, who wants to read a book where the main characters have to deal with a teething child that throws tantrums and watches Teletubbies?

Did I mention her name is Renesmee? Renesmee. Renee+Esme. How about...Reme? Esne? Jill? Also I would to add that Meyer's three boys have the same names as three brothers that lived next door to us in California. Just saying.

Breaking Dawn Revelation #3: Nobody cares about Bella and Edward

Bella and Edward get married in the first few chapters and POOF! all the dramatic teen relationship angst that kept me glued to Twilight is gone. The love triangle with Jacob is a moot point, and all the fun of Bella and Edward being together is gone. They're like an old married couple. If this were a TV show, I would the wedding the moment BD jumped the shark. Since it's a book, I will say that is when it bit the pillow.

And while we're here, was it just me or was Edward hardly even in this book? It seemed like he did a lot of standing around looking concerned.

Breaking Dawn Revelation #3: There is such a thing as "Too Perfect"

OK, now we're getting to my real problem with the book: lack of conflict. As in, there was none. Meyer has said she likes happy endings, but there is a big difference between a happy ending and a satisfying ending. Sure, it all turned out great, but there was no cost, no sacrifice and not even much work. Everything happened so easily! Bella didn't have to give up anything to get everything she wanted, and neither did anyone else. If anything, they gave up nothing and got even more in return.

All of the conflicts that had been built up in the first three books--the love triangle, the wedding issue, the Bella-being-a-vampire issue, the Volturi, the soul issue--were not even issues at all. Or if they came up at all, they were fixed without a problem. Everything happened exactly like you'd think, except with no trials on the way.

And you know what happens when there's no conflict? Things get really boring. Kind of like the second half of this book. This book should have been all about tying up threads and weaving all the stories together to make a good ending to the story. Instead BD didn't address previous storylines and brought in completely new ones without resolving them either. Examples: vampires can have babies? Jasper knows a seedy lawyer in Seattle? The werewolves are shapeshifters? Leah is not such a pill after all? Jazz?

Breaking Dawn Revelation #5: I really kind of hated this book

I don't hate books or things in general very often. I can't even think of anything to give examples. Anyway, the more I think about BD, the more I despise it. I was going to read The Host next but I can't even look at it. Thinking about reading the other books in the series repulses me. It wasn't even enjoyably bad! It was just bad! It wasn't consistent or cohesive. It wasn't an ending. Eclipse had a better ending.
Did I mention that there's not really a plot? There's just stuff that happens, and a long conversation at the end where something exciting should be.

It's about at this point where I start banging my head on the table and throwing dirty looks at my copy of the book.

I guess I shouldn't get so worked up. After all, it's just a book. And it's just a series that I only liked halfheartedly besides Jacob! in the first place. Ohhhhh I haven't even started on the imprinting! Gahhhhhhh, imprinting! Seriously, the only way I can describe my feelings on imprinting is by angry exclamations. I don't understand it, I don't see why it was necessary at all, I think it's stupid, and it makes me angry. And it makes me so angry that it happened to Jacob. I knew it would happen, and I knew it would upset me and by golly, it did. Wouldn't it have been so much more satisfying if Jacob had had to work to overcome his feelings? Run off into the wilderness and dealt with it instead of seeing a baby and having all his Bella love disappear? It's not like he had anything to do the rest of the book anyway.

I guess you could say that if Jacob broke my brain, Breaking Dawn healed it. Now give me Harry Potter.



    *hem hem* Now that I have that out of the way... Sorry, but I feel like every negative review of this book deserves a childish rant in response, even if the book is just as much drivel as you say, and then some, and even if the review is right on the money, as yours is.

    You know how I feel (and those who don't can read my review on my own blog), but a couple responses to your great post: You make the perfect point--this book was boring and bland. Twilight is about teen romance, Breaking Dawn is about vampire sex and its resulting drama/house breakage.

    Jazz... Good heavens.

    And Zarodz is the biggest stud I have ever seen. Or the freakiest creep. One of the two.

  2. That's one crazy picture of Sean Connery; I almost didn't recognize him!

    Haha, it's hilarious that there's lots of sex in Breaking Dawn. You've almost given me enough morbid curiosity to read it, just to see how such an LDS author as Meyer handles sex scenes in her books. Plus, at least there's something interesting in these books, finally! Haha.

    I wondered about the body fluid thing, too. In fact, if it had been a non-LDS author, I bet Edward and Bella would have been doing it non-stop since they started dating, just because hey, there's no risk.

    As far as Renesmee, it could have been far worse. Utah Mormons are well known for their bad taste in names, as evidenced here:

    (Read "What's in a Utah Name," and "Cream of the Crop." It's a very good laugh. Believe it or not, but someone in Utah actually named their daughter Clitoris!)

    I'm glad you brought up conflict, a lot of people don't understand how important it is in stories; or if they do, they don't understand the difference between important and frivolous, empty conflict. To me this series was empty as early as Twilight, which is all I've read, and I still don't understand the appeal since there must be better-written chick books out there. But since she screwed up Breaking Dawn, people are finally put off by the writing as well (I may be a bit off, having not read past book one).

    Here's my theory. This whole series is Meyer's fantasy she's had since high school, and since she's very LDS, her sexual fantasies all involve being married to her partner. Add to that wanting someone perfect and extraordinary and strong, who can protect her but is also exciting and dangerous himself, and you get Twilight. Then she insists on savoring every moment of this fantasy, which is why each book, which has little more plot than a short story, is bloated and long. Then you top it off with the characters getting married and living happily ever after with lots of sex for 500 pages or so.

    You are literally reading Stephenie Meyer's daydreams, just like watching An Inconvenient Truth is literally watching Algore's daydreams of being the savior of the world. Like Algore's movie, these books take you deep (haha, as deep as you can get) into the minds of thier author.

    I'm glad your brain has been healed. Hopefully the literary world can be healed of this Twilight fad; I think it will be forgotten very soon. As much as Twilight deserves to be forgotten, though, I feel a little bit bad for Stephenie Meyer. Her ego was built up quite a bit by the success of these very mediocre books, and now it has been crushed. However deserved, I have to feel some pity.

  3. Wow, Zardoz! That is so disturbing on so many levels. But then, it's not quite as disturbing as a certain book I read was.

    Yes, I finally finished Breaking Dawn! And yes, I know it's a month after all of the hype. I actually dragged my feet a lot for reasons I won't get into now. Then I dragged my feet as I was reading the book, and that is what I will address here.

    I have never been a huge fan of the books, but I liked them. Every time I read them, I was surprised at how strong the pull of the book was. I couldn't put them down. I also couldn't figure out why this was so, because there were a lot of things about the book that I didn't like.

    Then Breaking Dawn happened. Breaking Dawn and its hugely drawn out plot. Kind of like this blog comment, but much much longer.

    While many things bothered me about the book, surprisingly, one of the main ones came in the form of a little girl with a horrible name. It's not the name (and yes, that bothers me too), but the idea. Renesmee isn't just a baby, she's mutant spawn. The normal nine month gestation period is reduced to one month, and she literally kills Bella in the process of being born. It was too much for me. But I got through it. Then I read the sentence: "You nicknamed my baby after the Loch Ness Monster?!"

    Seriously?! She decided to take a book filled with (teen?) angst and insert a running joke about the Loch Ness Monster?! I couldn't read the book for the next week. I like spoofs and comedy, but when you throw it into a book that takes itself so seriously (okay, seriously isn't the right word. Maybe intensely is, but the grammar's not right.), I just can't do it.

    Another reason why I stopped there and couldn't get started again was because I couldn't see any point. There, halfway through the book, everything was wrapped up snugly in a beautiful shiny bow. Like a warm, gooey kitty. (yes, I put that in for you, Ferskner). Edward and Bella were together forever. Jacob-the-now-shapeshifter had imprinted on the Loch Ness Monster. (Gah!) I couldn't see any reason for the next 400 pages to exist.

    When I finally started reading again, I realized that there really wasn't one.

    I kind of wish SM would have just added the first 50 pages to the end of Eclipse and called it good.

  4. I really liked this review of Breaking Dawn, though maybe any review that can discuss this series without the teen-fan incoherence presented at the beginning of Drew's comment (hilarious) is welcome.

    On revelations #3 & 4: EXACTLY. I hate that everything is now just okay throughout the book. It made me not care about the story anymore. When Twilight fans try to explain why they hated Breaking Dawn, THIS is why, whether or not they realize it. (Some will argue that it wasn't well-written, that Meyer got lazy, but frankly none of the books displayed particularly good writing abilities...)

    The other note I want to make is not to associate The Host with Twilight - it's a completely different story and, in my opinion, a much better one. I loved The Host - I hope you give it a chance!