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Thursday, August 16, 2007

My Plea to Stephenie Meyer: Get on With the Story!

Wow. I just finished reading Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer, and that is all I can say about the book. Well, it's probably not all I can say (I can always be persuaded to say more) ... but I have
to warn you that further musings will contain plot spoilers. If you haven't finished the book, don't read on!

I loved Eclipse almost as much as I loved the two previous books in the series; I say almost because there were a few things in this story that bugged me to no end. We'll get to that later, but first, a plot summary: This story continues the saga of loveable, accident-prone Bella Swan and her vampire-boyfriend, Edward Cullen. Bella is finishing up her senior year in high school, looking forward to graduation with equal parts excitement and dread. She has been dutifully filling out college applications, but it's not higher education that has her stomach in knots - it's the Cullens' promise to turn her into a vampire as soon as she receives her high school diploma. Although Bella trusts the peace-loving, "vegetarian" (they suck animal blood, not human) Cullens, she's a little nervous about becoming one of them. If she can't resist the scent of mortal blood, how can she sustain her relationships with her human family and friends? And what of her best friend, Jacob Black? He's a werewolf, an ancient enemy of the "bloodsuckers." If she becomes a vampire, she will have to leave him behind forever. Although she desperately wants to join the Cullens, she fears losing her humanity. As she ponders her impossible decision and all its consequences, a new horror rears its ugly head: an unprecedented number of violent murders are occurring in nearby Seattle. The Cullens fear they are the result of a coven of "newborns," reckless and bloodthirsty in their youth. Worse yet, they are led by Bella's worst nightmare, the vengeful Victoria, a vampire out to hurt Edward by drinking Bella's blood. As the violence escalates in Seattle, the Cullens reluctantly agree to challenge Victoria's clan. When other local vampires refuse to join the fight, the Cullens are forced to accept the help of Jacob and his pack. The uneasy alliance forces Bella into a tough spot - smack dab in the middle of two exquisite creatures who hate each other almost as much as they both love her. As the newborns creep ever closer, Bella finds her heart tearing for two men offering two very different futures, and the possiblity that Victoria may leave them no future at all. The heart-pounding finale pits vampire against werewolf, vampire against vampire, with the irrepressible Bella in the middle of it all.

As you can tell, the plot teems with action and suspense. It had me mesmerized, literally unable to stop reading until I reached the end. Meyer has drawn the characters so skillfully that they are real and sympathetic (vampires and werewolves though they may be), so sympathetic that I couldn't not care about what happened to all of them. I also thought the idea of Victoria and her gang was interesting - the idea of power-hungry vampires creating armies of "newborns" was something that made me shudder. I also admired the way Meyer handled the issue of physical intimacy in this book, a topic she has hinted at in the previous volumes, but not dealt with head on. She's not afraid to make Bella a normal (read that, hormonal) teenager, willing to trade her virginity for a night with her soul mate, but she's also brave enough to make Edward take an honest, unflinching stand in the defense of marriage. I've often wondered how - and if - Meyer would have written her novels differently if she wasn't LDS. I'm certainly glad she does know how to pen exciting, passionate novels that stay strictly within a PG rating (although she does throw in a few "hells" and "damns," just to prove she can get dicey when needed).

Okay, back to the things that irritate me about the novel. First, I think it lags a bit in the middle. It was around there that I told my husband I was tired of the whole Bella-Edward-Jacob love triangle. I was tired of Bella flying between the two of them, tired of Edward and Jacob's acceptance of her fickleness, and absolutely exhausted from her constant indecision. I couldn't understand why she didn't forget about Jacob, marry Edward, and accept her new life as a vampire. Bella's excuses that she can't get married at 18 because she's "not that kind of girl" and "what would people think?" seem weak and out-of-character. Thankfully, just when I was getting really annoyed, Jacob decided to be a real man (er, were-man) and fight for what he wanted. I also noticed a lot of typos in this book, which is a huge pet peeve of mine. Errors in the text yank me out of the story, interrupting the rhythm of my reading. I hate that. The biggest annoyance in the story, however, is the whole issue of Bella's transformation into a vampire. Meyer has dragged out the issue for three (large) books now, and I'm getting impatient. Prolonging plot elements just to ensure that sequels will follow is a tactic I associate with writers less skilled than Meyer. Since I love this series so much, I can't say I'm not glad to see Bella's story continue, but I really wish Meyer would stop dragging things out and just get on with the story!


  1. Although I loved the book, I was frustrated by Bella throwing herself at Edward. I was glad she changed her tune at the end, but disappointed that Edward suddenly didn't care anymore.

    Susan, thanks for your comment at Deliciously Clean Reads. I also felt uncomfortable when I read A Great and Terrible Beauty. After reading that you felt the same way, I decided to remove the review.

    Thanks again!

  2. I was really annoyed with Bella in this book. The whole Edward v. Jacob thing just drove me nuts!

    I didn't mean to make you take your review of A Great and Terrible Beauty off your website :( I was just surprised to see it labeled a "clean read." It's so hard to find books that don't have any "ick" in them, so thanks for your site! I enjoy looking at it.

  3. Hey Susan, I just got done with this series and I actually threw this book, mid-sentence! When she called Jacob back to kiss her after edward had just left to go save her stupid life, it was all I could do not to burn it so I threw it at the wall instead. I have never been so upset by a book like this before (blatant betrayal of a Soul Mate for pete's sake!) Ugh... At least Breaking dawn (half way through) resolves the love triangle and lets everyone involve have a 'normal' relationship. BTW have you read Breaking dawn? I hope to see a review on that in the near future!

  4. Hey Tobin - I'm so glad you decided to comment! You're so funny. This one did really annoy me, which is probably why I haven't read Breaking Dawn yet. I pre-ordered it so I would have it the day it came out, but it's still sitting on my shelf gathering dust. I will read it eventually ... What did you think of Breaking Dawn?

  5. Breaking dawn was good, it did tie up loose ends and I did to an extent enjoy the part where stephenie changes character and narrates from Jacobs perspective. I also liked (sorry to spoil it) bella's transformation and her first few experiences as a vampire - especially for the fact that it resolved the love triangle completely - which I too was over at the end of new moon. My complaint is regarding the 'battle' scene - huge build up - literally chapters of bella thinking its all over and then its resolved with very little 'bloodshed' - har har. But although it left me a little wanting, I was glad that none of the primary cast was sacrificed. Additionally I loved the last three pages. Also there is some agitation circulating about Jacob and his imprinting and to be truthful I couldn't be happier for the guy- really he get exactly what he wants, and not just because of the whole freaky-force-of-nature thing. Well I hope that I haven't ruined it for you if you haven't read it yet, because I sure would like to know what you think of it - I have this blog bookmarked, you are such a fabulous writer!! BTW have you read the uglies series? My sister in law recommended it and ugh - I have a mouthful to say about that.

  6. Tobin - I really need to read BREAKING DAWN - I just haven't gotten around to it. Now that you told me the whole plot, I guess I don't need to! LOL. No, I will read it, I just haven't gotten around to it. I'll let you know what I think when I finish.

    You found my reviews on the Uglies series. I liked the idea of these, but not so much the execution. The last book especially bugged. I still thought they were interesting, just not that great, you know?

    BTW: Cute new profile pic. The kids are getting so big!


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