Breaking Dawn

“My name is Ozymandias, King of kings;
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.”

Percy Shelley

And here we are, finally at the end of the whole sorry Twilight saga, and, incidentally, the reason for the Great Twilight Re-read. You see, a couple of years ago (back when I was still under the influence of the Twilight Madness) I was given a gorgeous special edition of Breaking Dawn, which is glossy and pretty and includes a poster of Bella and Edward and an interview with Stephenie Meyer and all sorts of extras which, unfortunately, I cannot appreciate any more.

Anyway, it’s taken me this long to get around to reading that special edition copy (my TBR list just keeps growing and growing), so I thought, “Why not just read the whole thing again?” And so here we are.

The first thing about Breaking Dawn: it is long, long, long, weighing in at a hefty 756 pages, about 500 of which are frankly unnecessary. Why do writers of series always feel the need to make the last book twice as long as the other books? If you can’t tie up all the threads you’ve started in 300 pages, you’ve started too many threads. To add insult to injury, Breaking Dawn is split up into three “books”, each with a preface (which should actually be called a prologue, if you think about it), effectively making the Twilight series not a quartet but a sextet. This, in my view, is a form of deception. “It’s all right, there are only four books to get through…oh wait, I’ve found TWO MORE! Muahahaha.”

Not dwelling too long on the crazy Meyer laughter, let us move on to the plot. I have one major problem with the plot, and it is the whole Bella-is-a-perfect-vampire-not-a-bloodthirsty-one-at-all thing, which just seems TOO convenient. It’s a get-out clause, is what it is, so that Meyer can give us a perfect, West-End-musical type ending. I half-expected all the characters to burst out in a rendition of “All You Need Is Love”. Breaking Dawn would have been a much more interesting novel if Bella had had to work through her bloodthirstiness instead of just ignoring it.

Did I just say that Breaking Dawn could have been interesting? What am I thinking?

Apparently, being a vampire is the best thing in the world. There are absolutely no downsides. Bella doesn’t fall over any more, she can wrestle mountain lions (Breaking Dawn lost me at the graphic description of a dying lion. I like cats.) and she can beat Emmett at arm-wrestling. She can even see “an eighth color I had no name for”. (Obviously octarine. Forks is, apparently, a suburb of Ankh-Morpork.) What happened to all the sacrifices that were supposed to come with vampirism? What was all the fuss about? Personally, I think the best thing about being immortal would be having enough time to read all those books you always meant to read but never got around to.

I find Breaking Dawn the least psychologically worrying of the Twilight novels, since Bella is at least married to a member of her own species, but the most contrived and unbelievable. The number of rules Meyer has to break to get her happy ending deprives her novels of all credibility, and Breaking Dawn also features the stupidest name in all of literary history: Renesmee. Honestly. Have some imagination, please.

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