Saturday, October 13, 2007

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

At the end of New Moon, I was certain that Bella had some kind of mystical power of her own - something that had to do with her parents and that would be revealed in Eclipse. Why can't Edward read her mind? Why can't the Volturi? Why does her blood smell different? I was hoping that she'd be some kind of magic creature: witch, hobgoblin, something! I was very disappointed that we learn essentially nothing new in Eclipse. There has to be a reason why Bella is so special. Something! I just don't understand this voodoo pull she has on people/non-humans. Who knows, maybe those questions about Bella will be answered in the next book. I just hope I'm still interested. I really hope people start dying in the next book. Three books and no vampire or werewolf deaths? No fair. I say less wooing, more gore.

I'm getting ahead of myself. Book 3, Eclipse. When I was about 14 I was into reading the classics. I received a college prep reading list and was determined to work through it. Wuthering Heights looked good so I must have checked it out of the library. I hated that book. I didn't get it at all. Granted, at 14 I didn't "get" many of the classics (Catch-22 was another) but I couldn't figure out why in the world anyone would like Heathcliff or Catherine. So when I got to page 9 and Bella picks up her "much-abused copy" a light went off in my head. Then, on page 29, Edward nails it: "Well, I hope you're smart enough to stay away from someone so selfish. Catherine is really the source of all the trouble, not Heathcliff." Dude. Dude. Actually, Edward, you shouldn't be pointing fingers.

Eclipse trudges through the last few weeks of school before Bella graduates and possibly gets to go to Dartmouth, courtesy of Edward who bribed her way in and is essentially forcing her. Bella cares less about school and more about sex. It's rather refreshing. Edward throws in a wrench: they must get married first. Which is his same rule for waiting to turn her into a vampire. He's so tricky! But again there's the problem of Jacob, who loves Bella, too, and who makes several clumsy (and not clumsy) attempts to woo her and turn her affections. He never had a chance. One of the better dialogue parts:

"But I would have been healthier for you. Not a drug; I would have been the air, the sun."
The corner of my mouth turned up in a wistful half-smile.
"I used to think of you that way, you know. Like the sun. My personal sun. You balanced out the clouds nicely for
He sighed. "The clouds I can handle. But I can't fight with an eclipse."

The big story here is that some bloodsucker stole some clothes out of Bella's room and that means someone is out to kill Bella, FOR THE THIRD BOOK IN A ROW.
"Yeah," he agreed. "Bunch of vampires trying to kill you, the usual." - Jacob
The big battle at the end between Victoria and the Newborns and the Werewolves and the Cullens was way too short for a 629 page book. That was the good stuff, because it involved the Quileutes, and they far more interesting to me. My heart did a little skip at the connection of the Third Wife legend and Bella. All for naught. My favorite part, and it's really nothing in the scheme of things, but Stephenie Meyer mentions Anne of Green Gables twice, and to good effect. I snickered. Fun!

I know that many adults have problems with this series. They criticize the writing ability of the author, they are underwhelmed by the repetitive storyline, and they just have no empathy for Bella. As an adult, I agree with this, but I cannot deny the teen factor - the rabid, emotionally attached teens who prowl through these pages with lusty desire. I do see why they love it. The forbidden love of two "teens" who constantly think they are not thinking of themselves but are thinking of the best interests of each other or others even though, yes, they are just thinking of themselves. The drama of dueling lovers for the beautiful, sensitive outsider. The secrets. The danger. The legends. (OT: I would bet that Jacob imprints on Leah, once he returns from his tantrum.)

So maybe in Book 4 (Breaking Dawn), we won't have Bella and Edward get married. Bella worries that she won't be the same person if she becomes a vampire and that she won't love Edward like she does now. That might be super refreshing. (For some of us.) I just can't imagine Stephenie Meyer penning a sex scene even if they are married. Or there is a wedding, but then it's crashed! By things out to kill Bella! The Volturi? Tanya's clan who totally rejected the Cullens and is totally on their shit list? Or both together! And the werewolves have to save the bloodsuckers AGAIN! And then Edward DIES defending her because he looooves her! And she stays human! And she stays a virgin! But then ... if Bella goes all Newborn on us in the next book, that could be really fun, too, if she's all crazy and killing humans. Heh. So it's anyone's guess. What we do know is that we have anther 600+ book coming our way next fall and a rabid following of teens who are already counting the days.


Patti said...

I used to see the draw for teens. The first book had a fantastic story, the second...was a step down to say the least, but the third is totally awful.

Now I know Bella rages on and on about how there is so much more to their relationship than just how Edward looks, but she can't ever seem to say anything about him that doesn't include how amazingly beautiful he is and how she doesn't deserve him. Why is this even entertaining to anyone? It is SOOOO annoying and completely pathetic. What exactly is it keeping these two together? I don't see anything that would be a basis for any sort of healthy relationship. The only thing they want to do is get busy...and they never ever do it. What a let down. Edward has been alive for how long and never had a sexual relationship? Not only is that sort of sad, but he's a vampire...the whole biting thing = sex!!!

This book isn't even sexy. And if you are writing about vampires you have to bring the sexy or you might as well just stay home. They can be completely evil, they can have hearts of gold, but damn it, they've got to be sexy. You know what's not sexy? A 100 year old vampire virgin.

I'm done. These books make me see red.

I'm glad you liked it more than me and that makes me wish you were running the book club this month ;)

joanna said...

No no. You've listed so many spot-on problems. You're a much more careful reader than I am. I wasn't as frustrated as you were by it, but it's such a disappointment. I remember feeling totally freaked out at the climatic scene in Twilight - at the dance studio. WHERE is that excitement? Was that the end of what the author can do? The fight scene in this one was boring, and it was one of the more interesting bits in the book. You'll have to give a report after book club - I'm curious as to what they will say.

Patti said...

Oh I don't think that's true at all. I think its more that once i get annoyed I can't get over it :)

joanna said...

I actually had a conversation about these books with a teen girl yesterday. I told her I just finished Eclipse and she asked if I loved it. I said that it was a disappointment, that it's the same story as before and it's not exciting. I kinda felt bad telling her like it is.

Rebekah said...

I agree.
Kind of.
I am still a teen (fourteen, actually, and into reading the classics - so. I can..empathise? That's not the right word but I'm tired of thinking of words)
The books, as you said, in and off themselves just aren't very good.
But they're addictive, especially, for fourteen year old girls. Most of us aren't particularly smart, and we can't date and even if we could none of the boys we know are remotely worth wasting time lusting after (I love my friends (most of whom are teenage boys my age), but none of them are worth wasting time on- then again, I'm not really one to talk). The plotline is repetive and novice, but for teenagers it's a fun and unchallenging read that offers ... some break from the monotony of early American adolescence.
But Bella is completely pathetic. THAT annoyed me to no conceivable end.
Additionally, everyone at my high school (all the girls who have read Twilight, that is) ask if I loved it - in a way that implies that any alternative is completely inconceivable.