Reviewed in the United States on October 10, 2009
If you haven't read my previous Twilight series reviews, it may benefit you to read them so you know where I stand with this series.
As with all of the other Twilight books, I didn't enjoy this one. However, this fourth and final installment in the Twilight series was definitely the most interesting. In this book, Bella officially joins the Cullen family. This book is definitely aimed towards an older audience than before. Sex scenes and allusions to sex occur in various parts of the book. From the beginning, it was obvious that this book would be even weirder than the rest. I don't want to give anything away, but suffice it to say unnatural surprises and the formation of bizarre relationships were the groundwork of the final novel in the series.
The book had a painfully slow start, and for the first 138 pages I had to fight off immense boredom and force myself to read through. Most thankfully, the book is then interjected with a section told from the perspective of Jacob. In a series of books where you are constantly stuck listening to the insane blathering of Bella's mind, Jacob's rational thought processes offer a refreshing reprieve.
Had this book been written by any other author, I feel that it would have been relatively enjoyable. Unfortunately, we are stuck with Stephanie Meyer, who possesses the writing skills of a fourteen year old girl. Stephanie Meyer's books would be about 10 pages long if she didn't repeat herself as much as she does. As I said in my review of The Host, there is something in her writing style that reminds me of students who write term papers and add adjectives and repeat themselves a dozen times in an effort to make their papers longer. I could sum up her entire series, not just a single book, in less than a paragraph:
Bella loves Edward. Edward loves Bella. Jacob loves Bella. Bella loves Jacob. Vampires are beautiful. Bella can't live without Edward. Bella has a near death experience in every book.
I mean, seriously... in this book, when Bella becomes a vamp, Meyer goes on for pages upon pages about how Bella's senses are heightened and the Cullens are even more beautiful than ever. She then goes into describing just how beautiful each individual Cullen is with her new vampire eyes. Would it not suffice to just say something to the effect of, "If it were possible, the Cullens were even more beautiful with my new vision than they were when I was a human."? Perhaps not that cheesy, but just about anything else would work! How many times does Bella have to tell us she's freakishly strong, or that she has incredible self control before Meyer trusts that we've got the point? The answer: the entire book. To the end, she continues to repeat such details.
As if repeating herself a hundred times weren't enough, Meyer turned to redundancy in this book! Not only can you learn every five pages that Edward is beautiful, but you also get to experience statements such as this one
"I'm laughing because I am in shock. And I am in shock because I am completely amazed."
Let's pull a thesaurus on this one
Main Entry: shocked
Part of Speech: adjective
Synonyms: aghast, amazed, appalled, astonished, astounded, dismayed, offended, stunned, upset
At one point in the book, Meyer tries to subtly provide an excuse to mention the index at the end of the book so the reader can follow who is who. Many books have means for the reader to follow along, so I'm not knocking the index. My issue is with her feeling the need to add a line in the book. Why not provide the index at the beginning, as most books do? The addition of the line "[Jacob] grumbled to Renesmee that someone was going to have to provide an index if anyone expected him to keep all the new bloodsuckers' names straight.* (The * leading to a footnote regarding the page you could find the index on)" The line almost seems like an afterthought, as though she decided to randomly drop in a paragraph about Jake as an excuse to mention the index (or perhaps an editor commented that it was too confusing).
The end of the book was relatively exciting, but couldn't make up for the slow start or poor writing. As with every other book in the series, danger is always averted and the "Happily Ever After" ending was painfully predictable. I am happy things worked out for Jacob, who was in my opinion one of the only tolerable characters in the series. In the end, the reading was not enjoyable enough for this book to be considered a "good read" in my honest opinion. I was hoping the series would pull it out in the end, but alas, it was a dud!