Saturday, July 25, 2009

Review of Eclipse and Breaking Dawn

Beemused was right. It was impossible to not read the Twlight Series back to back. Although I was successful in reading at least one book in between, that was the extent of my ability to pace myself. Unfortunately, the rest of the series continued to falter, and neither Eclipse nor Breaking Dawn were as good as Twilight. However, despite their faults, I was still unable to put them down.

I finished both books over a month ago, and I am finding it difficult to recall the major plots points, twists and turns of each of them, not to mention distinguishing between the two. I think the Twilight Series is less about the plot itself and more about the experience of reading them. There is nothing quite like it when you find a book that completely takes you in and builds a metaphoric wall that separates you from the outside world. That is what happens when you read this series. This is not to say that any of the books are quality literature - they are not. In fact, as the series progresses it gets quite trashy.

Warning: spoiler alert if you read on.

Eclipse and Breaking Dawn center around Bella's desire to 1) have sex with Edward and 2) become a vampire. With a few battles against evil vampires thrown in between, she succeeds in both. However, I actually laughed out loud when I read about the birth of Bella and Edward's vampire-human hybrid baby. What annoyed me most wasn't the fact that they conceived and had a child, but that the name chosen was a combination of Bella's mother's (Renee) and Edward's mother's (Esme) names - Reneesme. Yes, Reneesme is the name of their child. Need I say more?

I'll close by saying that despite the downturns in plot, I had fun reading the books, and am glad that I experienced this latest phenomenon of popular culture.



Olman Feelyus said...

Your review encapsulates well this phenomenon, but I still really don't understand. How can a book be both so bad and yet so engrossing to its readers at the same time? It's almost like there is some qualitative difference between pure narrative and the actual technique of writing such that if the former is compelling enough, the latter is not relevant to enjoyment of the book. I find this hard to believe, I must admit. I wonder if people say the same thing about Dan Brown's books?

Amanda said...

Kate, I loved your reviews of the Twilight series, which quite accurately described my own experiences with the books. Olman, I think there indeed can be a difference between a narrative and writing technique, the Twilight books are a perfect example. The Twilight narrative - and associated romance and tension - was so powerful, compelling, and absorbing that I barely noticed not only the bad writing (which seemed to improve a little as the series went on, I'm thinking the editing got better) but also some of the weird social implications of the books. There was a disturbing emphasis on Bella's vulnerability and need for male protection, not to mention the obscene focus on physical beauty. Then there's the fact that the entire focus of Bella's existence is Edward and also that they "had" to get married in order to have sex. None of these persistent elements of the story can be very good for impressionable young readers (especially females), but I was way too absorbed in the narrative to give a damn!!! BTW, there's a video montage that someone put together where Buffy the vampire slayer meets Edward Cullen. It's superb and hilarious satire - look it up on youtube if you haven't see it! xoxo

Barbara said...

I was so disappointed by the way the series ended! The central tension of Bella's story -- was she really willing to give up all she cherished most about human existence to be with Edward -- was rendered moot. She got it all! She became a vampire, but she still got to carry on her relationships with her dad and best friend, she skipped the whole dangerous-killer-newborn thing, and she had her freakish baby with the freakish name. Plus she had extra special vampire skills and got to have sex ALL NIGHT EVERY NIGHT. What the hell?!? I felt like this rosy ending was an insult to the intelligence of thirteen-year-old girls everywhere. They deserve some REAL tragedy mixed in with their smut. (And I'm curious how the movie will deal with ALL THAT SEX.)