I was a bit on the shelf (as was the book for a while!) about this novel. I’d heard both extremely good and bad things and it was very dependant on who was talking to me about it. It’s a terrible cliche, but I wondered if Breaking Dawn was a Marmite type of book – maybe you either loved it or you hated it.
I finally decided to read it with the film coming out and while I won’t watch it until it’s released on DVD, I still wanted to know how the series ended. I’d read the previous books some time before but hadn’t really found myself in the right mood to read this one until now.
Having finished it, I’m surprised to say… its not terrible. That’s not to say it’s a great book either, just my expectations were low and it surprised me. If anything, it was the book I enjoyed the most in the series; less angst, more signs of Bella taking control of her ‘life’, Edward being less of an idiot and Jacob becoming less selfish.
I felt the writing in this book was a lot better than the previous novels, whether that was down to a different editor or Meyer getting better at her craft I can’t say but it was a much smoother read. It could have done with being shorter in my opinion but there weren’t many scenes that I felt could or should have been cut completely so that was a big plus for me.
The plot was decent and I liked how some story threads from previous books had prepared the reader for a big one here. That it got straight down to the story without preamble was another positive for me, I didn’t have to force myself to keep reading until it caught my interest. I did have to suspend disbelief on a few major events but in the context of the book, they fit and I could accept them. The pace was well judged by Stephenie Meyer and unlike previous books wasn’t stop/start and that was some of what kept me reading.
The characterisations seemed much stronger and less annoying, and perhaps that is because the cast have matured from big decisions and events previously, but I just liked them a lot more. There was humour to balance any angst and I found new respect for Bella in the decisions she made in this story, likewise the antagonism between Edward and Jake lost its childish and hard edge and became almost a familiar teasing thing. The Cullen family as a whole I’d always liked, and their role in Breaking Dawn didn’t change that opinion, if anything, it cemented it. Alice was a star and her part in it all was really well thought out and planned. The end results of her actions were a bit ‘TA-DA!’ but I liked it all the same.
The big finale didn’t ruin the series for me but I did feel after all the build up and preparation that had gone on, it fizzled out a bit like a damp squib. Since the book wasn’t just about that moment, the rest of the story carried it through and when I finished I was surprised to find not only had I enjoyed it but I was happy with the outcome (yes I am a hopeless romantic!).
Not an amazing book but a decent fantastical read and while I now understand why some people either love it or hate it, I find myself in the middle – I just liked it.