Books: 'Breaking Dawn' is a satisfying bite
"Breaking Dawn" by Stephenie Meyer
$ 22.99 768 pages
Sexual tension is one thread woven through Stephenie Meyer's "Breaking Dawn," the fourth and final book in the Arizona author's young-adult vampire series.
Another thread is the notion that love is stronger than any challenge, broader than any rift, greater than any evil, more fulfilling than any pleasure. It conquers all.
Despite a few weak plot contrivances and editing flaws, the book is a great read, the best of Meyer's five in print. It tells a story with twists, titillation, heartfelt emotion and symbolism, and each chapter leaves you wanting more.
Wait: If you haven't read Meyer's books because they're popular, get over yourself and pick up a copy. Start with "Twilight," the first in the series, so you can track the saga's growth, and Meyer's evolving writing style, through the sequels.
New vampires and werewolves are introduced in "Breaking Dawn" to complement Edward Cullen and his family, which now includes his human love, Bella Swan. Her challenge is to control her sexual desire; his is to resist her and his own thirst to drink her sweet blood.
Bella and her best friend, Jacob Black, a werewolf - or is he? - are the two strongest characters in the book. Because they're created with realistic human traits, such as anger, insecurity, stubbornness, longing and sarcasm, they're easy to identify with.
The weakest character (brace yourselves, female readers) is Edward: He's strong, mature, sensitive, protective, noble, remorseful, sexy, endowed with divine ability and willing to sacrifice all for love. Yet after spending 768 pages with him, you'd be hard-pressed to describe his inner thoughts, predilections or what makes him tick. He's more fictional, more perfect, than any other main character. (Perhaps "Midnight Sun," to be written from Edward's perspective, will reveal more of the character's interiority.)
That aside, "Breaking Dawn" is a worthy read. On a scale of 1 to 5, the book ranks 4.5 highly recommended for hopeful romantics.
Things that work:
* Well-developed, suspenseful storytelling
* Unexpected twists
* More horror than Meyer's prior books
Things that don't work:
* Misspelled and missing words
* Transparent setups of doom and betrayal
* A too-convenient plot device
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