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PostSubject: Some reviews   Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:53 am

Okay, so now that I'm hooked on the book, I decided to check the reviews. Please NOTE: There are some spoilers in these. I drew these from my search through Amazon.com on these books. They do not resemble my own thoughts on the book. I will, however, put my own review of Twilight in here, in purple so you know my opinions from theirs. Just remember when you read these, that there are swarms of teens and adults alike who are waiting with bated breath for the first movie to come out. If you've looked at the video links, you'll see what a fan base this gal actually has!!!

The book that started the phenomenon is now available in a deluxe collector's edition! Featuring a ribbon bookmark, cloth cover, ragged edges, new chapter opener designs, and a beautiful protective slipcase, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike.

Bella Swan's move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Bella's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Bella, the person Edward holds most dear.

Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–When Bella Swan moves from sunny Phoenix to Forks, Washington, a damp and dreary town known for the most rainfall in the United States, to live with her dad, she isnt expecting to like it. But the level of hostility displayed by her standoffish high school biology lab partner, Edward Cullen, surprises her. After several strange interactions, his preternatural beauty, strength, and speed have her intrigued. Edward is just as fascinated with Bella, and their attraction to one another grows. As Bella discovers more about Edwards nature and his family, she is thrown headlong into a dangerous adventure that has her making a desperate sacrifice to save her one true love. One of the more original vampire constructs around, this recording of Stephenie Meyers debut novel (Megan Tingley Books, 2005) is narrated with great style by Ilyana Kadushin, who makes the infinitely romantic tale of star-crossed lovers resonate with a bittersweet edge. Although Edward and Bellas romance and subsequent danger develops slowly, the pacing is appropriate for teens who want learn all the details in this suspenseful tale. An excellent purchase for both school and public libraries.–Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI

I wasn't going to review the novel at all because I simply hated it too much and, well, why spend more time dwelling on it than necessary? But the amount of people who claim her writing is flawless, the story is original and perfect, and the book appeals to all ages just drove me crazy. No, her writing is not flawless. In fact, it's very juvenile for someone who has had as much schooling as Stephenie Meyer. The story itself is completely predictable from the drab and ridiculous Preface, to the very last sentence. And the overall plot of the series? Well, I'm not actually sure there is one.

Don't get me wrong. I understand why this book appeals to young readers. It has every girl's fantasy, doesn't it? A handsome boy falling madly in love with the supposedly plain new girl. The story is so simplistic and so centered on this love story that, frankly, it can become addicting whether you like what you are reading or not (and I will freely admit to reading it in about six hours). I would not shy away from giving this book to preteen friends of mine.

However, I think the bias has to end somewhere. This book makes Harry Potter a literary masterpiece. This book makes Anne Rice's novels appear well-constructed. This book does not do anything new for the genre--which is not wrong. No one needs to set out and create a new precedent. No one is under that obligation. That doesn't negate the fact that the entire story was very tired. I had no interest in Bella's questions. I had no interest in the long blocks of explanations. There is a good reason Jo Rowling left most of her explanations scattered through seven books of varying length, and not all at once in every chapter. For someone who is hanging on the fence, boring descriptions and Q&A sessions are a killer.

Additionally, and perhaps the real reason I disliked the book, Bella Swan made for one of the worst protagonists I've ever read. Reading Meyer's website, I was amazed that someone who loves her characters so dearly manages to create such lifeless, flat personifications of them on paper. Bella is your typical self-insert of the author. She shares the author's hometown. She has a beautiful name--Isabella Swan! She's so clumsy that you figure she probably has an inner ear problem. She's constantly miserable, irritatingly oblivious to the world she's describing to us, and overdramatic.

And none of these are endearing traits.

Handled differently, they could be. Handled differently, they would be. Third person would have been preferable, rather than first. In a romance story where the author is not quite sophisticated enough to actually provide realism instead of fanfiction, first person kills the narrative. One moment, Bella is weeping over how horrible her life is. The next moment, she's discussing how unattractive she is while rebuffing three invitations to the dance in one day--after having no relationships at home. These are not endearing. These are the hopes and wishes of very young teenage girls, and perhaps a few older ones. But it makes for a very ridiculous read through. Personally, I believe Meyer should have worked on reading a bit more structured works before sitting down. She ought to have researched fiction writing and the dynamics of creating a proper heroine, because she has managed to make someone that is very unrealistic to the point of frustration.

You see, it's frustrating because I know Meyer is trying to make Bella realistic instead of perfect. What girl doesn't think she's ugly sometimes? What girl doesn't stumble gracelessly over her own feet? The only difference is, in a novel, these traits are the superficial flaws of a Mary Sue. Simply, they aren't flaws at all. They are excuses to make Bella "less perfect" while achieving the exact opposite. Had Bella been genuinely shy (she so wasn't shy!), genuinely unhappy, genuinely boring, it might have been less irritating. But she was clearly outgoing. She was clearly beautiful. She stumbled into horrible situations only to be saved by a gaggle of boys. And all the while, she remained oblivious to all of it. That isn't a flaw--that's convenience. And it's very immature writing.

I also think all of the Prefaces should have been removed. Upon reading Twilight's, I burst out laughing. Coming forward to kill her, eh? The writing couldn't handle the suspense or drama the author was attempting to create--it left no room for either. This is where first person kills the narrative completely. This preface then set the tone for the entire book, and I laughed similarly at about half of the descriptions she used.

There is no need to reiterate that Edward is perfect. If you trust your reader, you should trust them to remember that Edward is, apparently, a Greek god or adonis with an angel's face and runway model physique with black eyes sometimes, topaz eyes sometimes, ocher eyes sometimes, and golden hair, and that he drives fast, has a lot of money, is a musical savant, sparkles in the sun, dresses impeccably, etc., etc. You only need to say someone is perfect a couple of times over the course of the novel for anyone to understand.

All the overdesigning of Edward's appearance ended up feeling like was the author relishing in this personal fantasy. And that's great. We all have personal fantasies! But this book doesn't quite deserve the enormous praise it's receiving from all corners. Dissect the writing. Look at the ridiculous romance novelesque style of it all. Don't tell me writing doesn't matter when it's Young Adult. The YA genre is expanding. Teenagers are writing exquisite pieces of literature and not publishing them anywhere. There is no excuse for poor writing.

If I wanted to read a romance novel, I would have picked one up. At least romance novels have plot. Meyer all-too-frequently used 'scowling' and 'glaring' as the only method of communication between people. And Edward's behavior was indecisive to the point insanity. His constant 'please go away I can't love you I'll kill you but don't go away I love you please go away' would drive any sane human being into a psychological tailspin. If you made the movie exactly how she wrote the book, Bella and Edward would be consistently scowling at one another and arguing over everything. And there would be no plot until the last fifteen minutes.

Because, frankly, there was no plot. After the lust between Edward and Bella was reconciled, my interest left completely. After the relationship became whole, I was done. Everything else Meyer threw in seemed very, very half-hearted. And that's a shame, because I know she dedicated as many years into her characters. I only wish her results were better.

May your writing improve in the future, Stephenie Meyer. You have serious potential, but you probably jumped on writing and publishing these novels too soon. You definitely needed more time in Washington, as well.

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Last edited by Skye on Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:35 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Some reviews   Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:56 am

NOTE: I'm adding, rather late, apparently, that there's a bit of a spoiler in this review. So, read with caution. That said, if you paid attention while reading Twilight, I'm puzzled as to how my spoiler could possibly be a spoiler. Myers spelled it out, in the book and interviews, almost as clearly as she spells out Bella's awed perception of Edward.

**********

In my review of Twilight, I said that the book had more in common with "Catcher in the Rye" and "Pride and Prejudice" than it did with any vampire novels or stories. That still holds true, although be certain: I'm not comparing Twilight or New Moon to these books in terms of literary quality. There are few that match either.

In New Moon we miss the vampires for most of the story, and Bella spends time with her friend Jacob, an Indian fated with becoming a werewolf, and fated to hate all "bloodsuckers", regardless of whether or not the bloodsuckers took human lives. (Btw, that little bit is cleared up at the end...what exactly their treaty entails. It's interesting, kind of, but I have to wonder if the author thought of it as the story was being written, and that it wasn't planned when the "treaty" was first mentioned. I suppose it doesn't matter.)

If you're reading this story because you like vampire stories, you will be disappointed. Edward's only around for a bit less than 1/3 of the book. When he is around, however, his presence is appreciated. One thing that the author didn't do this time, and it was similarly appreciated, was to have Bella writing down every single thought that she had regarding his absolute perfection (remember, this is a first person narrative).

While spending time with "the wolves", Bella goes through some interesting growth patterns. I say interesting, because I'm not entirely certain that I followed them or that if I understood them that I agreed with them. That said, I've never been a teenage girl, and the author has been a teenage girl, so I have to bow to her experience in this.

Many readers will look at Bella's behavior during her "dalliance with wolves" as bizarre and entirely unbelievable. I don't think they were. For anyone that has had the absolute love of their life torn from them, with the *absolute* belief that this love would not return, and if you happen to be emotionally immature to top all of this off, your behavior wouldn't be too far off from Bella's. I'm not saying exactly like Bella's, just not too far off.

Again, this is not a vampire story. The fact that vampires were not around in this book as often as some may have liked did not lessen the quality of the story. What was missing, though, was the urgency, and the mystery. For example, we never knew why, in Twilight, Edward recoiled upon first seeing Bella until the very end. We had a reaction, and a resolution, and during that time we had lots of questions. That type of immediacy was missing here. Everything was rather straightforward.

When Edward lies to Bella, we know that he is lying, and we know that there will be resolution. The problem is that we know he's lying, and we know the resolution won't be too surprising.

I did enjoy the unique take on werewolves, but I felt that since we had seen so much of the vampires in the first book, that we should have seen and felt more of the werewolves in this book.

One thing that I found particularly frustrating was the similarity of emotion that both Jake and Edward have for Bella. Yes, Bella is a clutz, and she definitely needs protecting. But to have two main characters, in two separate books, respond to her in a nearly identical manner (both fearing for, and being vocal about, her need to be less careless), is tough to buy.

There were some hints of future issues between the Cullens and Jake's clan. I hope we see them. And I hope that this story can survive the necessary metamorphosis - at some point, it will need to be less about Bella's intense love for Edward, and more about the actual situations surrounding them.

This may sound like a negative review. It's not. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I've seen others that gave Twilight 5 stars give this 1 or 2 stars, and I've questioned that. I think that given the nature of this story, readers need to be more aware of what this story is really about. See the first paragraph of this review for that.

I'm anxiously awaiting the third book. There are a lot of possibilities, and I can't help but wonder which possibility the author will choose, and how she will resolve whatever roadblocks her choices give her.

went into New Moon wanting to like it, and in certain sections I will admit that I did. Naturally I am a fan of Meyer's previous book, Twilight, and was expecting to see at least a hearty attempt to recreate the magic that Twilight spun in excess. New Moon revolves like a flat tire; the story was trying to get somewhere, but the going was rough, uncomfortable, and by the ending all I could think of was the word "unsatisfactory".

In New Moon we are tossed into a story of separated lovers, and the book makes no attempt to tone down the obvious allusions to Shakespeare. This is Romeo and Juliet, Edward and Bella style. It gets so heavy handed that in more than a few places Bella is actively casting herself, Edward and Jacob into prominent roles in the play, and Edward takes the suicide plot and runs with it far beyond necessary. I appreciate the attempts by the author to explain just how deep the connection is between Bella and Edward, but the Romeo and Juliet plotline is a recycled one at best, and it quickly grows sour when layered so thickly over the narrative.

Besides Bella and Edward's love `til death or suicide drama, Jacob Black is a revitalizing breath of fresh air. The newly inherited ability to turn into a werewolf adds Jacob in as an interesting dynamic to Bella's life (and love life) and I sincerely hope Meyer continues to play with the meaning of what Jacob is to Bella besides a second option to Edward. It would be unfair to cast Jacob as a plainly obvious second fiddle to Edward when he has so much potential.

As far as Bella, while at first her clumsy antics were amusing they also fall flat in New Moon. Bella's accidental ability to injure herself flies off the chart in New Moon, so much so that I found myself skimming past her new and not so ingenious ways of torturing herself for the fleeting seconds when her subconscious summons up Edward's voice in order to tell her how to not act like a clumsy fool. There had to be a better way of passing her time without Edward. For one: growing up would have suited Bella nicely. She's 18, yet everyone in New Moon manages to treat her as either an invalid or an infant, either saving her from herself or actively carting, hauling, or carrying her around. The moment Bella stands up for herself and takes care of herself will be a landmark in this book series, because she spends so much time mourning Edward's loss and so much time trying to patch Jacob into the holes Edward previously filled you must wonder when Bella can fix herself rather than relying on her male friends to figure it out for her.

By the end of the book, the nature of Bella and Edward's relationship changes little. Edward comes back, scolds Bella for having acted so insane in his absence because of course he loves her, Bella is shocked that he does indeed love her (although I thought that was already established, and if not why was he trying to commit suicide if he didn't love her?) and Edward's still immaturely gung ho on suicide, no matter Bella's say in it.

Overall, New Moon is a disappointing follow-up. Things felt rushed and ultimately pointless, not to mention the numerous typos found in a first edition copy. Twilight is still a wonderful story, but I can't say that I'm liking where the story is going.

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PostSubject: Re: Some reviews   Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:07 am

Eclipse:
High school graduation looms for Bella, and conventional worries over college applications vie with her plans for immortality and marriage to a vampire classmate, Edward Cullen. In this sequel to Meyers TWILIGHT and NEW MOON, Ilyana Kadushins elegant voice again moves from scenes of typical teen angst to moments of horror, including an attack by newborn vampires on the Cullen family (who have forsaken traditional vampire fodder for big game). Kadushins growling tones and pace are terrific as she differentiates the star-crossed lovers, immersing listeners in the clandestine world that exists around us. D.P.D. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

This review is about the first chapter and preface of Breaking Dawn - sold in the special edition of Eclipse. Stephenie Meyer gives us a sneak peak into what looks to be another wonderful addition to the Twilight series. The preface is intriguing and makes us wonder who Bella is with while she is thinking such dark thoughts. Clearly, this is another book about obsession. The first chapter is awesome. We see Bella has matured and is walking toward her chosen path trying to keep her head held high. The first chapter was unexpected as well. What is great about the first chapter is that Bella is alone outside her house engaged in an activity. Bella hasn't been alone since the middle of New Moon so this was an interesting scene.

This sneak peak also gave us the reactions of Charlie and Renee to Bella and Edward's news and through Bella's memories we see how Charlie reacted when Bella and Edward told him of their plans. Unexpectedly, we see a friendship has formed between Esme and Renee amidst all the planning and Seth and Edward have remained friendly.

We also get a bit of information about what Jacob has been up to since receiving Edward's invitation at the end of Eclipse. For Jacob fans this might be upsetting. There is enough vagueness to make one think Jacob will have a pivotal role in the fourth book in the series and the last book from Bella's perspective.

It is disappointing that the publisher won't allow the author to post these chapters to her website which is seemingly related to them trying to get teenagers and adults to purchase Eclipse a second time. This marketing ploy is a tad upsetting. These books have sold very well on the first round and to try and get people to buy the book a second time because "we" are obsessed with these characters is a bit over the top and it appears a bit unethical. Actually, the behavior of the publishing company is a bit predatory. Personally, I went to the book store and read the chapters there and I recommend you all do the same. Breaking Dawn will be out soon enough and why pay for the first chapter twice and Eclipse twice?

I wasn't really sure how to rate these books, because in terms of literary quality they're certainly one star. Yet, they're so delightfully cheesy that in terms of entertainment value, they probably rate a 5-star review. Of course, I'm the girl that adores awful monster movies on the SciFi channel, so maybe you shouldn't trust my judgment. :)

But really folks these books are absolutely ridiculous. They're so over the top they read like parodies of supernatural romance novels. The characters' motivations and reactions defy any sort of real world logic. These books just don't make any sense. Like here's my main problem with the series: What in the world do all of these people see in Bella? And I'm not just talking about Edward and Jacob. That also includes Mike Newton, the entire Cullen family, Angela, and even Victoria and James from the first book. The entire Twilight universe revolves around Bella. Everyone is obsessed with this girl. Why? She's whiny, hypocritical, self-obsessed, co-dependent, moody, childish, sulky, I could go on, you get my drift. She has no goals, ambitions, hobbies, dreams, or talents. She shows no interest in the world around her. She basically shows disdain and/or contempt for anyone in her life who isn't impossibly beautiful or superpowered--including her own parents. Her one goal in life is to become a vampire so she can live forever, be impossibly beautiful and strong, and never age. Yes, this is our heroine, people. Was I the only one rooting for Victoria to knock the hell out of her?

Then of course there's Edward. I believe I've read in SM's own words that Edward is her idea of the perfect man. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on that one. And let me just say that I don't care how beautiful and gorgeous and perfect and wonderful a character is--NO ONE deserves to have 300 pages telling us these things. If a character is supposed to be beautiful then I only need to be told that once, and then I'm looking for their more interesting aspects. If their beauty is brought up more than once than I'm going to assume that it's signficant to the story somehow...it relates to the plot, it's an ironic contrast to their not so beautiful inside, it serves as commentary for cultural perspectives on beauty. I don't want to get the idea that I'm reading about Edward's crooked smile, or bronze hair, or perfect chiseled features, or muscular chest over and over again because the author is imagining herself as the object of his affection and likes reminding everyone of how gorgeous he is.

And Jacob...how did he go from a sweet kid to a rapist-in-training? And why is SM so convinced that we're all going to adore this twerp as much as she does? That said, as a character, he's still 1000 times more believable and better developed than Edward.

Basically this book had so many unintentionally hilarious moments that I was imagining it as an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. There was Charlie's utterly bizarre reaction to Bella's breaking her hand...(What's that? You tried to sexually assault my daughter? And she injured herself? Way to go tiger!) Bella's stupidity after Rosalie's backstory (Hmm...I think she's trying to tell me something about life and humanity and family, but all I can really focus on is that some hot vampire chick once came onto Edward..WAAAHHHH Edward!) Edward's rather psycho definition of love( He basically says "I don't care about anyone else. I only care about you. Only you matter.") And the vampires' reactions (or rather non reaction) to the murder of the new vampire Bree disturbed me. They basically do nothing and have no reaction when a teenage girl is ripped to pieces right in front of them. Six months ago she was probably a normal teenager and now she's a pile of ashes and not one of the saintly "good" vampires even bothers to say "Poor girl. I wonder if her family is looking for her?" And these are the people that Bella wants to hang with for eternity?

Hey I won't lie, I'll probably be buying the 4th book, but I have no expectations of quality or literary value, only that I'm going to entertained by more cheap melodrama and cheesy, pseudo-sensuality.

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PostSubject: Re: Some reviews   Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:08 am

Let me make myself clear that I am an avid reader and a HUGE fan of the Twilight series. I found the first novel, Twilight, to be a beautiful love story so inspiring and unusual that it blew me off my feet. The relationship between Bella and Edward seemed very different, and I found one chapter in particular in the first book allowed me to become entranced by the two lovers. Bella Swan comes to Forks leaving sunny Arizona to find herself on an alien green planet where it rains every day. At her new High School she finds herself perplexed by the Cullen family, which we then discover to be Vampires. Edward Cullen and Bella Swan fall madly in love. A love so passionate it could put Romeo and Juliet to the test.

Eclipse is the third novel in the series. After looking at a few reviews and acknowledging the rating of the novel I began to have my doubts. Many people found the book to be the best of the series or found it entrancing. While some reviewers were immensely disappointed. It is very difficult for an author to create a third novel that will live up to the first novel's expectations and in my opinion Stephanie Meyer did not truly deliver. This is understandable since many authors cannot even write a decent sequel, which Meyer managed to do. The second novel New Moon was almost as good as the first. The middle part, to be quite honest was a little boring, but none the less kept me going. But Stephanie Meyer had so many expectations to live up to it is understandable that it wouldn't be easy.

The third book begins with Bella and Edward discussing college with Charlie , who has just released Bella from the house. The novel continues to mention Bella's choice to join Edward forever and her relationship with Jacob Black. Stephanie Meyer has mentioned many times that she found Jacob to be her favorite character and after reading this novel I found myself disliking him more then I did in the second novel. The Edward-Jacob-Bella love triangle continues to play out through all the 626 pages in which the reader will want to throw the book on the floor because they are so annoyed with how stupid Bella truly is.

I have never personally liked how Bella is always portrayed as the damsel in distress and I found that part of her character a bad influence for young women who might otherwise look up to her. Many feminists would be appalled at how Bella reacts. She makes herself vulnerable and at one point in the book she even says, "IF YOU LEAVE ME I'LL DIE." Which I found to be silly and very sexist. I understand that the traditional love story is that the damsel is rescued by the man but at least one love story should not have that stupid shallow idea. This book was by far the most inappropriate in that sense since Bella is manipulated heavily by Jacob in such I cruel way I wanted to grab Stephanie Meyer and ask her why she took pleasure in writing such a sexist book.

The book is the poorest written of the three books. I have never considered Stephanie Meyer an excellent writer but she does tell a great story that makes the reader want to turn the page to see what is coming next in the story. The whole story seems rushed even though the novel is indeed 626 pages. It seems the publisher may have hurried her to write so it is a little sloppy. I also noticed many typos throughout the novel.

The characters are extremely one dimensional. Even Edward seemed too dramatic and fake with his passion for Bella. I cannot recall a single sentence he spoke to her that didn't have the word love, honey,sweet, darling or something sappy like that. Edward also lost his cocky sexy arrogance that I loved. He was obsessed with Bella in an unnatural way that disturbed me. His character was completely different. Jacob became such a nasty manipulator I was surprised that Edward didn't sink his teeth right into his neck. All Edward ever said was "If you're happy Bella, I'm happy." - please give me a break! Bella became a shallow even more selfish girl. She became so confused with her emotions I almost pitied her because Meyer had robbed Bella of the strength that made her such an interesting character in the first book. Rosalie, Alice, Emmett and Jasper were also turned into different characters all of which seemed out of character from the first two books.

The first two books were amazing and inspiring. The true love that possessed Bella and Edward left after book two. I feel this new book is incomplete. I do not think I will buy the fourth book. I'll borrow it from the library, and if I could I would go return this book. This book is no longer a love affair so deeply passionate between a Vampire and a human. It is now about having to make choices when you should already know what the right answer is.

I started this review with mixed opinions but now as I conclude I find myself so disappointed I shall try to remember the Edward and Bella I know from the first novel, Twilight, keeping those characters who are so deeply in love nothing could tear them apart.

Stephanie Meyer I'm afraid you disappointed a true Twilight fan till the very end. My only hope is that you can rekindle the beautiful story you had with Edward and Bella in Twilight. Good luck on the next book, I hope it's an improvement! If a movie is ever to be made may it only be the movie of Twilight.

Goodbye Edward and Bella. I'll miss you!

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PostSubject: Re: Some reviews   Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:11 am

Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4)

In Breaking Dawn, the fourth and final installment in the series, Bella’s story plays out in some unexpected ways. The ongoing conflicts that made this series so compelling--a human girl in love with a vampire, a werewolf in love with a human girl, the generations-long feud between werewolves and vampires--resolve pretty quickly, apparently so that Meyer could focus on Bella’s latest opportunity for self-sacrifice: giving her life for someone she loves even more than Edward. How close she comes to actually making that sacrifice is questionable, which is a big shift from the earlier books. Even though you knew Bella would make it through somehow, the threats to her life, and to her relationship with Edward, had previously always felt real. It’s as if Meyer was afraid of hurting her characters too much, which is unfortunate, because the pain Bella suffered at losing Edward in New Moon, and the pain Jacob suffered at losing Bella again and again, are the fire and the heart that drive the whole series. Diehard fans will stick with Bella, Edward, and Jacob for as many twists and turns as possible, but after most of the characters get what they want with little sacrifice, some readers may have a harder time caring what happens next. (Ages 12 and up) --Heidi Broadhead

From Publishers Weekly
It might seem redundant to dismiss the fourth and final Twilight novel as escapist fantasy--but how else could anyone look at a romance about an ordinary, even clumsy teenager torn between a vampire and a werewolf, both of whom are willing to sacrifice their happiness for hers? Flaws and all, however, Meyer's first three novels touched on something powerful in their weird refraction of our culture's paradoxical messages about sex and sexuality. The conclusion is much thinner, despite its interminable length. [...] But that's not the main problem. Essentially, everyone gets everything they want, even if their desires necessitate an about-face in characterization or the messy introduction of some back story. Nobody has to renounce anything or suffer more than temporarily--in other words, grandeur is out. This isn't about happy endings; it's about gratification. A sign of the times? Ages 12–up. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

After the fourth we've finally come to the conclusion in the Breaking Dawn series...or have we? I just can't see Step Meyer ending with this one. I'll try to write a review with as many spoil free moments as I can. We are all familiar with this series and with Step Meyer's writing - the series is full of break-neck twists and high-speed turns and the same holds true for book four....maybe even more so. So let's hop in the sports car and see where she takes us.

Throughout the series we've been given clues that let our imagination take us beyond the pages of the series without Step Meyers writing another book and this in turn has sparked a limitless supply of discussions.

The characters have always held for me a love/hate quality and I've found myself in past books saying "?" But whilst the three previous versions had me saying "?" by the end of the book, book four started out with me thinking "?" But just after the midway point everything starts to come into focus. You begin to understand the characters' decisions, their rationality toward relationship choices, and everything begins to make sense. I guess what I'm saying is: book four starts out on a rocky patch but a smooth drive is the end result.

A key scene between Bella and Edward happens early probably why the book starts out rocky. Does Bella finally turn into a vampire? Step Meyer has created a great series that has compelled thousands of readers and has turned Bella into a heroine for teens and adults alike. And while her books are well-written, book four did end-up reading like a b-rated romance. After finishing the book I'm left with the feeling if the series continues, book five will go back to the roots of the series and we'll continue through Edward's point of view.

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PostSubject: Re: Some reviews   Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:12 am

(spoilers below)

I have always taken these books for what they are: not particularly groundbreaking literature, but a nonetheless enjoyable, poofy read. They are hilariously bad in some parts and extremely engrossing in others. S. Meyer is what she is, a novice writer who happened to choose to write about pretty vampires. So with the release of Breaking Dawn, I didn't have any kind of grandiose notions that this book would change my life or alter my way of thinking about the world. I was expecting an enjoyable read that would hopefully tie up some loose ends in the series, leaving me satisfied and able to move on in my life after weaning myself off the crack that these books are obviously laced with.

Yes, Breaking Dawn tied things up. But satisfied is definitely NOT the word I would use to describe my mood upon completion.

Ultimately it's difficult for me to move beyond the insanely weird pregnancy plotline. I expected a happy wedding, a honeymoon full of just-hinted-at, ahem, relations, some Jake angst, some Volturi showdown. But throw in a half-vampire, half-human superchild and you're left with some very confused readers.

I was also annoyed with the total lack of attention paid to human characters who were, in other books, at least pretty vital secondary characters. Angela's pop performed the ceremony, Mike caught the garter, Bella disappears into her happy sunset and never speaks to her old friends again? Really? I know she can't stand wasting her time with lowly humans, but come on. We needed some resolution there. Renee was also, as always, totally neglected by the daughter who, we're told, used to have to remind her to breathe throughout the day. Does Bella really miss her at all?

The biggest disappointment, however, was the Volturi showdown. Half the book leads up to it, with the arrival of the new vampires (all interesting but, as usual, totally underdeveloped as characters), the preparations for the fight, the exploration of the different powers possessed by the new vampires, etc. Alice's leaving was a good surprise, Bella's preparing for her own death was intriguing, but when it came time for the ultimate battle, we were given... nothing. A peaceful resolution thanks to Alice's deus ex machina where everyone talked it out rationally and calmly and the Volturi retreated to their creepy towers in Italy.

Yes, it sends a good message: violence doesn't have to be the answer. But does it make for an interesting read? Absolutely not. I wanted a huge battle sequence to put Eclipse's newborn fight to shame. I wanted werewolves going at the Volturi like mad dogs, I wanted Emmett ripping things to pieces, I wanted Bella to use her newborn rage, I wanted to see all of these interesting powers put to use... but we got nothing. Alice popped in, offered up a random Brazillian kid, and the Volturi are all, "O nvm then. Our bad!"

And Bella lived happily ever after with her husband, baby, and baby's protector/brother/lover. This book was cop out after cop out after cop out.

Seriously, Stephenie Meyer. What the hell?

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PostSubject: Re: Some reviews   Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:15 am

My 21 year old daughter bought me the entire set of books. She is enamored with Edward. I understand. He's a very compelling character - he's beautiful, perfect, brilliant, protective, inhumanely strong and agile, enigmatic, the ultimate bad-boy with a heart of gold, and he has an amazing backstory and an inhumanly beautiful, loyal and loving adopted family. I get it - he's every adolescent girl's dream. And wonder of wonders, he never ages. The series is more or less about the inexplicable attraction of soul mates, inexplicable because I cannot for the life of me figure out what makes Bella attractive aside from the fact that Edward can't read her mind and she smells enticing.

Perhaps it's my age, but I believe three things - the first is regarding a work of fantasy - an author must stay true to his or her fantasy. You cannot break the your own rules to give the reader what you think the reader wants. A fantasy is exactly that, make-believe...a dream, but even so, as a writer you must stay true to the rules you establish for your own fantasy. Ms. Meyer breaks her own rules.

Second, characters must develop and mature. There must be a larger reason for events in a story and that larger reason cannot simply be so the hero can constantly save the heroine - which is the case here. It gets very old. Bella does not change and grow. From beginning to end she remains the same apathetic, cynical, whiny, helpless, martyred female she was when she arrived in Forks. Except when she's with Edward and then she superglues herself to his side in a manner that seems much more like the way a drug addict needs a fix than true love. She gets her happy ending but I'm left wondering what she will do with it. Anything redeeming? I very much doubt it.

Third, I want my characters fleshed out. In my opinion, Jacob was the most three-dimensional character in the entire series and at times he was written in such a way that he became almost repellent to me. Throughout all four books, the same superficial descriptive words, the same sappy love-sick-puppy feelings that are supposed to pass for mature, timeless love, the same scenes are repeated ad nauseam. I would have liked to see the Cullens, other than Carlisle, do more with the their eternal existence than simply repeating experiences and 'hunting'. Oh, and saving Bella for some unknown reason. I assume they became attached to Bella because they loved Edward and he loved her, so as Laurent said to Bella in the second book - she was kind of a pet of theirs. I expect more from my female leads. Through four books I wanted Bella to mature, to become more 'human' than she was when the series began. But I'm sorry to say she never did. Edward always seemed more human and more compassionate to me and his character was diminished as the series went on.

If you can get past the flawed writing, the concept works, especially in the first book. Other than Jacob Black, I was disappointed with the remainder of the story. Vampire world ain't all that exciting. From what I could tell, their larger society consisted of a bunch of overgrown, temper-tantrum prone, immature, super-powered children (I'm including the ancient vampires with the papery skin) who murder a lot of people. Their rules are simple - keep the secret. That's it folks. Would it be too much to expect that after living for millennia these vampires might develop some special perspective or philosophy greater than - we don't eat the neighbors?

Okay, rant finished.

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PostSubject: Re: Some reviews   Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:24 am

Okay, so now you've seen all the reviews for this, and are wondering "should I bother?"
Remember what I said at the beginning of this 'review'?

These books are made, I'm pretty positive, for teen-aged girls. As someone who actually WAS a teenage girl, I'm pretty sure that these would suit that age. An age where fantasy rules, and girls who are becoming women are confused about their own bodies, what way their lives will go, "Does he really like me?" among other questions.

Teens (and yes, adults) could very well understand, commiserate with these characters.

This is fantasy, a fantasy story, and it reads with the mindstream of a typical (or at least semi-typical) teen-age girl. We know most teens are insecure about their looks, their relationships, their passions, how they look to others, among other questions.

My niece has read the story a couple times so far, and is very excited about it!!! Still!!

I do agree, that Bella went on a little more than she should about how good looking Edward was, but again, that is the way a teen would think; and she Is a teen--so this would be appropriate for that

My review of this book was that it is pretty cool. I was excited about the characters and the story, and I could not put this book down--Twilight, that is. I have started the second book New Moon, with the same enthusiasm. Like I said in the first post, there is a reason there are leagues of fans in the gettogethers, not to mention many fansites and videos on youtube that feature this amazing story!

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