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'Twilight': A snap judgment on 'Breaking Dawn'

Bd (This is spoiler-heavy. Consider yourself warned.)

It’s virtually impossible not to draw parallels between "Breaking Dawn," the concluding installment in the “Twilight” series, and the final “Harry Potter” book. Both involve revolve around mythic worlds and young, ill-prepared protagonists headed toward a supernatural showdown between good and evil. 

The problem is Stephenie Meyer is no J.K. Rowling. We who’ve enjoyed the work of both authors have known this since we picked up “Twilight.” (I like Edward too, but there’s only so many times I can read how “beautiful,” “perfect” and “dazzling” he is.) But with these final chapters, in which both authors really swung for the epic, Meyer’s bunted.

Things looked promising at first. The pace is swift and the curve balls surprising and frequent: Bella and Edward finally get busy, we get inside Jacob’s head, Bella joins the Cullens in immortality, Jacob finds his mate.

But all the while, a larger story arc is missing. The love triangle is, sadly, summarily dealt with, and once the romance is over we’re left only with Edward and Bella’s child Renesmee -- even the name, well, it’s no Hermione is it -- and all the conflicts she so quickly and disappointingly resolves. Edward versus Jacob? Over and done with. Vampires versus werewolves? One big happy family. Bella being a ravenous newborn? She’s not going to eat her kid!

So what to when you’ve written yourself into a corner? Meyer is forced to more or less start over and she spends the second half of “Breaking Dawn” going for outright thriller. The second half of the book singularly involves the mystery of Renesmee and shielding her from the threat of the Volturi, an enemy initially so full of literary potential. Bella, Jacob, Edward and the rest of the “Twilight” characters become little more than Renesmee’s anxious protectors. 

Bogged down in the new, too convenient mythology -- Bella’s new power is the only one that will matter -- the book winds up faltering under its own weighty aspirations. Bella’s covert operation, the additions to the Cullen camp, the unique powers of the new vampires are explained so thoroughly yet serve so little dramatic effect that “Breaking Dawn” could easily have trimmed off 200 pages and reached the same anticlimactic ending. What’s worse, the new guys are there merely to populate the side of good for a battle that -- the big spoiler -- never happens. That's right. No blood shed. No deaths of loved ones to kill readers in the gripping way Rowling did in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

At least when you get to page 735 -- where you’ll find the resolution neatly tied up -- it’s more a confirmation of what you saw coming rather than simply a letdown. And as for the final scene, Meyer writes this one like she's already imagined it on the big screen, with the swelling of sappy love song and a fade to black.

We would have much preferred the whole thing to end in book three, "Eclipse," with yes, some happiness for Bella, but also some angst, some heartbreak, and a dark, ominous future looming.

-- Denise Martin


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Comments () | Archives (291)

Honestly, I think that people need to stop comparing Twilight to the Harry Potter books. Sure there may be similarities ,but Harry Potter isn't the only Fantasy YA novel out there to be compare to and people need to realize that. Also every author has their own writing style and it should not be forgotten that the essence of the story can be applied to any others. The story contains star-crossed lover; so does Romeo and Juliet, it talks about supernatural beings; so does The Silver Kiss and Lord of the Rings. Plus one could relate to the Twilight books, just minus the werewolf and vampires. Harry Potter is also a good read however, its focus on magic is more pronounced that in the Twilight books.

I couldn't agree more, the it ended all questions in the first third of the book. Renesmee is a terrible name and I coudln't believe when they introduced it, I was like Oh rily?!?!
Seriously though, no epic battle? That's one big thing as a male fan I was looking forward too, the Volturi shoulda got handled but didn't...

(spoiler warning below!)

I'm a huge fan of the series, but I kind of feel the same way about "Breaking Dawn". Explaining all about the visiting covens was a little unnecessary. And maybe Bella's parents should have found out what she did - not just "halfway".

I hate to see "Breaking Dawn" not do as brilliantly as "Eclipse" or the other books. Overall, it was good - and pretty funny. But there was definetly *something* missing...

I still love the saga though :)

I liked the ending. It's happy just like any girl reading the book would want it to be. So I definately disagree with this above assumption

I liked the over all book, but agree there should have been an epic battle scene.
Additionally, I agree.. stop comparing it to Harry Potter!

so ya i desagree..yes it was a bit of letdown...but most important i found it satisfying.....i really hope she does another book...i dodnt want it to end there.....yes eclispe was the best but breading dawn wasnt bad......but i do see your point of view

To all those who say "WHAAAAAA! Stooooooop comparing it to 'Arrryyy Puhterrrrrr!, please shut your traps. Harry Potter set the standard. If it wasn't for JK Rowling, your beloved Stephenie wouldn't have had the chance to be successful. Neither would have Lemony Snicket, Christopher Paolini or others currently in the genre. I think that Twilight fans really need to get their crap together and realize that Twilight would just be another hokey teen anthology just collecting dust on store shelves if it wasn't for Harry Potter. Actually, on second thought, why don't you also thank RL Stine. If it weren't for him, this fantasy/supernatural/horror YA genre wouldn't have legs to stand on!

I just wrote a really long post about my complaints with the ridiculousness of the story in Breaking Dawn, but decided to delete it and just state a few things;

Bella and Edward's child, a half-human half-vampire with a warewolf partner (who used to love her mother), is called Renesmee Carlie Cullen. She is called Nessie for short.

You reaction to that name is probably going to be your reaction to most of the book, where you can be treated to vampire/human sex so energetic headboards break and bruises occur, and where uterus' are eaten through to ensure the safe delivery of baby/immortal Nessie.

The anticlimax is also a let down, we spend a good 200 pages building up to the BIG BATTLE SCENE, but instead the enemy run away once comfronted with Bella (the new vampire who has noooooo trouble adjusting) and her Protective Shield Of Doom.

Despite what I've written I did enjoy the book, although I don't know why... I think it's my love of the characters more than anything, despite many of them behaving like morons throught the book, or having nothing to say.

The book as with the rest of the series, is strangley addictive; Stephenie Meyer does what few authors can do, she tells a story. Well. The way she decides to tell it may be unsatisfactory for some, but for me, at least I can say I didn't see anything coming.

breaking dawn was alright, but it could have been a hUNDRED TIMES BETTER.
easily, i'm a huge twilight fan, i got to the book store as soon as it opened to pick up my pre ordered copy of breaking dawn, read it in one night, and didnt find myself wanting more...but...wanting to cry because it was just so not what I was expecting.

I agree. I was looking forward to some bloodshed, maybe some kind of fight, but it all just ended a little too perfect. Don't get me wrong, I still love the Saga and loved Breaking Dawn, however. Overall, though, the entire book was too happy, and a lot of the characters weren't the way they were supposed to be.

I would just like to say that I really liked the book! It wasn't the best and I don't particularly like the name Renesmee but I think that SM saw that some people wouldn't like that and that is the whole point of "Nessie" (Sorry If I spelled it wrong) I am also a fan of Harry Potter and I don't really see the things that people are comparing it with. I am GLAD that none of the Cullen’s died. And I think Irena will be happy with Laurent somewhere else. So PLEASE stop criticizing the book. I think that SM did a GREAT job!!!

I loved the 'Breaking Dawn' Book SOOOOOO!!!!! much. I finished in less than 2 days. I cannot believe that bella has a kid. I never imagined that would happen.

Why do you guys always compare Twilight from Harry Potter? Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling are bothe gifted writers and they can do whatever the hell they want with their novels.

Rowling wants death, Meyer didn't make Bella kill her child. So what?

If some of you think that there should be an angsty thing will happen in Twilight, well, write your own novel and express whatever you want.

Both Harry Potter and Twilight are great books and there is nothing to compare between them.

I completely agree with the article. The reason that Meyer's readers kept coming back for more, was issue with the Bella-Edward-Jacob love triangle. But NOPE, that is fixed up nice and tidy a third of the way through the book.

PLUS: did anyone else find it a little creepy that Jake imprinted on Bella's DAUGHTER? ew.

I got seriously tired of hearing about how wonderful Edward was.

There was very little PHYSICAL action... a suspensful pre-battle argument, but no bloodhsed, none. nada.

and I KNOW that no one wants to compare Breaking Dawn to Harry Potter: but if Meyer was worried about killing off characters and keeping the reverence of the book... J.K. did that nicely. It was tragic losing a Weasley twin, Tonks, Lupin, and the other beloved characters who were killed off...but it was done with a certain grace that kept the series alive for so many readers, as opposed to dying with a *thunk* on the final book.

In Meyer's defense though, there was a TON of hype about this book. Big shoes to fill.

End of the day, my personal opinion: she should have ended with Eclipse. There was still personal agony about Jacob, but she still had that ever connected bond with "her Edward" ....

"Breaking Dawn" was somewhat a let-down. I mean, Bella, getting pregnant? What the hell is that about? She's 18, dating a vampire who is a century older than her, claims she is so in love, marries, has a damn kid that nearly kills her, the kid grows "way too fast" for her age, talks perfectly fine for not even a year old etc etc..

Stephanie spent 250 pages on Bella preparing for this major "catastrophy" bound to happen. I will be honest, I skipped a couple pages in the vampires/coven part. It was boring.. People want to hear about Edward and Bella's love for eachother. The book was too.. happy. I wouldn't even say there was a climax. For those who have not read "Breaking Dawn", let me tell you this, it IS overrated.

I want to come to conclusions, I think Stephanie was running out of lines on what to write- therefore, she rants on Bella being a vampire, and how she was "nothing like the Cullens' have ever seen." Oh, please, what a coincidence! Who knew, right?

What shall I give this book? 2.5 stars out of 5.

I honestly agree with the review. I love the Twilight Saga by heart, but Beaking Dawn wasn't do it for me. For some reason when I read the book, it kind of remind me of the "The Underworld" and "Blade." Plus, I don't know if anyone ever read the fan fiction versions of the story on the Internet, mainly the one that Meyer come up with is very similar to the ones on fan fiction. Same story plot: Bella get pregnant, Jacob imprints on Bella's kid, the Cullen fights against the Volteri. However Meyer missing out on all of the actions: from the love's triangle between Bella, Edward, and Jacob; Bella's transformation; and last but not least, the battle agains't the Volteri. One common, " this could been better because there are a lot of holes in the book. It doesn't bend together very well."

I have to say that I loved breaking dawn. It upsets me how people feel like it's not a good story just because nobody was killed!?
Are you serious?
It just goes to show that our culture feels that everything needs to be a huge drawn out battle edning in bloodshed. Wouldn't it be nice if everything didn't have to be that way?
I admit some things were predictable, but you can't tell me you saw Bella getting Pregnant. I was just like WHOA. And thought it was a great twist. Stephanie is an amazing story teller and did her job spectacularly. She drew everyone in on her first book, made you want to read through the entire series, and then had a happy ending that left you feeling satisfied and happy for the characters.
This is a love story. Wouldn't you want your love story to have a happy ending?

I also thought it ended the love triangle well. Everyone knew from the beggining that Jacob would imprint and not want to be with Bella anymore. Remember Sam & Leah? What better then it to be sombody close to Bella?

I believe everybody is entitled to their opinions but I feel Stephanie is not getting the reconition she deserves. Thanks Steph for a great series that leaves us all hoping that everything will fit together, and it is possible to be happy.

Ok if there had been a big battle than everyone would have compared it Deathly Hallows. They are 2 completely different types of stories. Get over it and enjoy HP for what it is and Twilight for what it is.

What is so wrong with a happy ending? It is more of a love story that just happens to include vampires and shape shifters.

Okay, first off, if Stephenie made Bella kill off cute little Renesmee, where would the story have gone afterwards? Nessie was the reason the Volturi even showed up in the book, and besides, isn't it gratifying that vampires CAN have children? I thought that was a great relief, considering none of us thought it possible. As for the name ' Renesmee' I actually ADORED it! It has a great ring to it, and if you think about it, your name wouldn't sound as great if you heard it for the first time ever, or even said it a couple of hundred times over and over again. Stephenie Meyer might just have created a name parents will be naming their kids in a few years.

Overall, yes i agree the story could have been a bit better, but we are all HUMAN ( unfortunately), and even though J.K Rowling is being viewed as the greatest writer alive (according to some people, not me) she probably isn't! In my opinion, books are things that people take time to write in order to get an important message across in a way that both entertains and sheds some intelligence. BOTH authors did those things in different ways, but I have to say I've read better than on both accounts. Regardless, we have to understand that not all great minds think alike, despite whatever people may say. That is why I believe both authors should not be compared, their works are different and so are the standards. You can't expect everyone to be capable of the same great things, because in the gist of things Stephenie Meyer and JK Rowling are EXTRAORDINARY people.

First of I love the HP series! I think there will never be anything like it! However, it's not fair to compare the two stories they are different.

I disagree with some posts that the story should have ended at Eclipse. Who wants to read a series or story that is never resolved in someway or another? It's like watch a long tv series after years and then the show just getting canceled without explanation. I am glad she wrote Breaking Dawn.

I will agree the first two books of breaking dawn were much more interesting to me than the last. I also agree there should have been some sort of battle. She could have had a battle and still had the happy ending I liked and wanted. I really never warmed to the character or renesmee... she kinda creeped me out. Plus the name really is awful.

All in all I was happy with the way the series ended minus the things I have already mentioned. Bella was with Edward... Check! Jacob found someone to love of his own... Check! Bella became a vampire... check! She didnt try to make the story all romeo and juliet in the end... Check!

Cant wait for her next books!

First things first, I wish people would get over this ridiculous comparison. Twilight isn't Harry Potter (Many thanks to God for that). In my opinion, it's a hundred times better. As for the "let-down" Mrs. Martin spoke of, she isn't taking into account just how intelligent the Volturi are. They won't fight a fight they can't win. It would have been out of their character for Stephenie Meyer to allow the fight to happen. You have to understand that Mrs. Meyer wrote Breaking Dawn (and all of her books) according to what the characters would do. If she strayed from the characters natural actions, she wouldn't be being true to the characters she loves so much, that we all love so much. So really, the only let-down I can see is that this is it. It's over. We won't find out what happens next. Incontestably, that is the most depressing thing. Trust me, I'm feeling it.

I completely and utterly agree. Meyer hands down cannot touch Rowling. Even when not comparing the two the book and series lack. Breaking Dawn tiring and uneventful. It was full of the same amount of action any fan writer can produce in the amount of a day. this book wasn't a let down it was an eye opener for those who couldn't see the faulty plot line foreshadowing within the first couple of pages. It had potential but it didn't make. I hope it's the end and she doesn't attempt anymore with this series. It has been laid to rest for the best.

well, yea, i liked the book a whole lot, and did enjoy the ending, but i think stephenie meyer could have twisted it up a bit more, like maybe, the vampires vs werewolves (actually, shapeshifters) could have happened but everyone healed from it, and the wereolves showed up unexpectedly to support them, and she threw in alot of information that you didnt really need, i kept thinking of how that could make a turn in the book as i read it, but none happened, she could have thrown something else in there to support it better, or she could have not put it in there at all,
but over all it was still a good book, but it could have been much better.

Sorry Steph, I have great respect for you, but what you did for your characters in this novel was atrocious.

Bella goes all manipulative (I mean, come on, crying so Edward will sleep with her?!), Edward goes all psycho (although I do admit I felt so sorry for him, he didnt want this in the first place) and Jake gets mushy feelings (paedophilia anyone?).

What was meant to be complications set up in the first three books is gone (yes, I agree with you people). The love triangle, the massive war, Bella and Edward running off to university (which is forgotten for the first and second parts of the book, and is only mentioned when Bella is blackmailing Edward to sleep with her!)

Overall, I think some parts are fantastic (any parts with NO Bella in them anyway), but I'm so disappointed that Stephenie felt the need to bring in a Bandaid Baby to solve a lot of the problems. What she has implied from the start as impossible (i.e- VAMPIRE BABY) is explained in a way that carefully folds in all the corners. Bah humbug!

Steph, please come forward and say this book is a hoax, and that it was written by an overzealous fan. Please say there will be a release date for the REAL Breaking Dawn.

Well i think that breaking dawn was a great book ,but i think that the ending was kinda stupid just have a happy ever after. I cant deal with that the saga is done , i could deal with it if someone died i think . so i think the saga shouldnt be over its so addictive. Even though its nice to have a happy ending but i think that it shouldnt be over. beacuse i want to know what reneseme would be like when she's older and also what is edward and bella doing like did they go to college also what are they doing forever,and also that the voltrie said they were maybe going to check on reneseme . also wat about her and jacob????? so their is alot of unanswered questions. so hopefully mrs meyer will write about it a new book or saga???

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