By Stephanie Meyer
The final book of the Twlight quartet. I forgot to mention that in the previous installment, Eclipse, Edward asks for Bella's hand in marriage. It’s kinda like, well, if I’m going to damn your soul to hell then the least you can be is my virtuous vamp. Despite their differences, they both have one thing in common, the mark of the V, and it has nothing to do with vampirism! The only catch is, Bella wants to consummate their love while she’s still human.
So Breaking Dawn starts off with Bella and Edward getting hitched, then going off to their Caribbean honeymoon in fantasy Isle Esme. This is probably what every faithful follower has been waiting for since Twilight - to see these two finally get it on! Meyer definitely spares no expense in depicting the corny PG-rated love scenes with, I kid you not, ripped-up feather-down pillows a-flying and destroyed headboards a-plenty.
Of course we all know that the honeymoon is going to end abruptly. I really should have seen it coming, with Bella's weird dreams about blood-suckling babies. Before I could even say “noooo… they’re not gonna have….they can’t possibly have….” Wham! Bella gets knocked up with vampire spawn! Nobody saw it coming, not even Edward’s foster dad, the eminent Dr Carlisle! This is where Meyer’s absurd attempt at a ‘scientific’ explanation doesn’t quite satisfy the WTF? reaction. Anyway, I’ve already made it this far with this preposterous love story, I can suspend my disbelief a little more!
So here we go. Bella and Edward return to Forks, where in the sanctity of the Cullen home, Bella undergoes an accelerated pregnancy (human-vampire hybrids being so rare, they simply can’t wait to come out and show themselves off). There is a surprisingly Cronenberg-esque segment where demon-spawn is practically torturing Mommy from the inside with its super bone-breaking fetal powers. When the big B-day occurs, Meyer delivers the ultimate birth/death motif: Bella dies giving birth and is reborn again as an immortal bloodsucker.
And during this whole ordeal, Jacob the werewolf has been hanging around like a sad masochistic puppy, even forsaking his beloved pack in order to protect Bella from them. When he finally sets eyes on hybrid-baby Renesmee, he discovers his true calling (you’ll have to read the books to find out about the imprinting thing -- it’s not quite as gross as it sounds). At least he finally gets over Bella and he becomes the leader of this own pack of motley mutineers!
So yes, many wonderful things happen to Bella in her new and improved life as a beautified vampire (immortality suits her so well, it’s no wonder she felt so dull being a drab human!). The once distant, difficult Rosalie is now Bella’s best friend through their love of cute demonic babies and motherhood. Bella’s prodigious self-control as a newborn allows her to keep in touch with her still human dad, while also inspiring vampires who have difficulty in weaning off humans to remain strong – if Bella can do it, you can too! Most importantly, being a vampire has greatly improved her and Edward’s sex life – they can both play rough now!
But life ain’t always wine n’ roses, even for vampires. A betrayal triggers the Volturi to come calling as they’re lead to believe that wee Renesmee is a full-blown vampire baby, which is totally forbidden. Since Alice can foresee their arrival, the Cullen family rush to assemble all the vampires of the world in -gulp- the wee town of Forks, in order to bear witness that Renesmee is unique. The vampires of the world can be a pretty fascinating and exotic bunch. There are human-friendly and nonhuman-friendly covens, nomads, and the ancient yet persecuted Romanians. Having an extra-sensory talent is rare and prized. So the original 7-member Cullen family with Edward, Jasper and Alice having special gifts is rather exceptional (and envied by the Volturi). So it comes as no surprise that Bella soon discovers that she has a rather unique power too. She can shield herself and others from malicious psychic attacks.
So in a very remote yet open field somewhere in the Olympic Peninsula, the Volturi finally come head to head against the Cullen clan, the assembled vampires, plus the Quileute shape-shifters (we learn finally that they’re not really true werewolves, aka Children of the Moon). Unlike the ending of Eclipse, we disappointingly don’t get delivered on much physical action and carnage, thought there’s a bit of psychic strategy at play.
What we do get is the message that even diabolical creatures like vampires can indeed rise above their bestial natures and become more civilized by abstaining from human blood. If they keep it up long enough, by jove, they can even forge bonds of love! One of the nomadic vampires named Garrett is so impressed, he makes a moving speech to the assembly:
I have witnessed the bonds within this family—I say family and not coven. These strange golden-eyed ones deny their very natures. But in return have they found something worth even more, perhaps, than mere gratification of desire? I’ve made a little study of them in my time here, and it seems to me that intrinsic to this intense family binding—that which makes them possible at all—is the peaceful character of this life of sacrifice. There is no aggression here like we all saw in the large southern clans that grew and diminished so quickly in their wild feuds. There is no thought for domination… Are the Volturi here to protect the safety of our secrecy, or to protect their own power? Did they come to destroy an illegal creation, or a way of life?
So love and respect all Mormons! Oops, did just I say that? Ultimately the Twilight Saga is one big modernized fairy tale and Meyer makes no pretension that it is anything else. The series ends so happily, you either want to hurl the book across the room, or cry tears of joy. I wanted to do both!
It was a place where anyone could believe magic existed. A place where you just expected Snow White to walk right in with her apple in hand, or a unicorn to stop and nibble at the rosebushes. Edward had always thought that he belonged to the world of horror stories. Of course, I’d known he was dead wrong. It was obvious that he belonged here. In a fairy tale. And now I was in the story with him.
I was caught between the awareness of reading something completely ridiculous, yet unable to stop myself in wanting to read more. That is the power of competently crafted populist fiction!