Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Saga, Book 4)
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Short Review: Your patience is rewarded and the camera pulls back to show you the full picture of where we have been headed across the landscape of these 4 extravagant novels. For me this was a very satisfying conclusion to the Twilight Saga.
Long Review: If you read my review of the Eclipse audio book, you may recall my hesitation about Matt Waltersas a reader. I am here to tell you I take it all back. In Breaking Dawn, Walters reads a full third of the book – and I was honestly disappointed when his section was over. Part of this may be because I loved having Jacob’s point of view in contrast to only Bella’s, but whatever the reason – Walters is a great reader and gives a rich voice to Jacob’s side of the story.
There are so many things revealed in this book that it is hard to discuss very much without spilling spoilers left and right, but I will do my best. I will say that if you haven’t read the three previous books (Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse) you are likely to be very lost.
I like the choices that Meyer makes in how she tells the story. I enjoyed being pulled along for this roller coaster ride. I was very pleased to be surprised more than once by where the story went. I am usually hard to surprise, so it takes some deft storytelling (or at least major zigs when I was expecting zags) to catch me off guard. My favorite surprises are the ones that make me think or even say out loud “No – the author didn’t just do that, did she?” followed by my realization that she had been laying the groundwork for each surprise for years now. From the few interviews of Meyer that I have seen, I believe that many of the original seeds were planted before her characters had shown her the whys behind them all. I imagine them as mystery seeds that she planted on faith, following patiently along to tell her characters’ stories as they revealed them to her.
If you want not even the slightest spoilers – stop reading now, get yourself a copy and listen to it yourself.
For the rest of you, Meyer finds a way to pull all the threads together and leaves us with an ending that is satisfying. Meyer gives us a maturing Bella. A Bella who makes choices with her eyes open but with great faith in her chosen future. Not everyone agrees with Bella’s choices, but she is stubborn and optimistic and finds allies when she needs them.
We are given a rich tapestry of new vampire and werewolf lore, more back story on old characters and new characters to meet. While Edward has plenty of time on stage, to me he was mostly along for the ride in this story.
I have been a big Jacob fan since New Moon. As I mentioned earlier, a full third of this book is told through Jacob’s eyes. He too grows and matures in this story. I loved being given so much insight into his world, his challenges and his revelations. I have always hoped for a path for Jacob that I could be happy with and I was pleased, if surprised, with the one that Meyer chose for him.
I know that there are lots of Twilight fans who did not love this book – who were infuriated by the choices Meyer made for Bella, Edward and Jacob. Take that as the grain of salt on my cheery recommendation.
I just finished listening to it a 2nd time and I still like it. If you have read my reviews of the earlier books in the series, you will know that I felt that some of them were predominately laying out the foundation needed to tell the ‘real’ story. Some Twilight fans might not like it – but for me this is the story that had been hiding around the corner all this time.
Is Meyer the most talented writer on the planet? No. Are there more than ten other authors I would recommend ahead of her? Absolutely. That said, I am a sucker for rich characters who live on in my mind after the audiobook is silent. Bella, Edward, Jacob, Charlie, Leah, Seth, Alice and all the rest are vivid in my mind. Meyer, Kadushin and Walters have painted a world that lives on in my imagination, and for that I thank them all.