Warning: Contains Spoilers!
The third book in Stephenie Meyer’s vampire series continues the tale of Edward, Bella and now Jacob Black as she approaches high school graduation. It picks up where New Moon left off with Bella’s father’s angry and sometimes rude reaction to her relationship with Edward. He spends much of the story trying to force her to spend time with Jacob, clearly feeling that he would be the better choice for Bella. She, of course, doesn’t agree.
It is in this book that we start to see the detriments to having relationships with two people who are sworn enemies. Edward does not want Bella spending time with Jacob – fearing for her safety, and the same thing is felt by Jacob. A good deal of the first half of the book passes with the two of them throwing species related insults at each other. This understandably infuriates Bella. In the end Edward relents and allows her to spend time with the Quileuetes. It is thanks to this that Bella learns the origins of the wolves in that culture.
Starting in the early part of the novel we also have another line running through the story – that is the vicious and increasing number of unsolved murders occurring in Seattle. In due course we come to learn that these are being perpetrated by newborn vampires who do not have a level of control over their thirst. As the story progresses so does the number of killings and we come to learn that there might be a vampire army loose in that city.
This vampire army is being bred for a single purpose – to kill Bella Swan. This idea forces the vampires and werewolves to form a truce and fight together to destroy the 20 vampires that show up. They are, naturally, successful – and Victoria – the vampire that has been hunting Bella since the start of the second book is finally killed by Edward.
Thereafter, the Volturi show up and kill the one remaining vampire that Victoria created and they leave without incident.
But the story is not yet over, there is one point that has not been settled. Jacob has told Bella he’s in love with her and she discovers she’s also in love with him. Who will she choose? Does that question really need an answer?
As is my standard here I must start off with the things that irked me about this book. The strongest one was Jacob. Bella, I found, was fairly tolerable in this book. Perhaps that was because Jacob took over in the annoyance department. I’m sure that it was a stylistic decision for Meyer to write it the way she did – to show the differences between Edward and jacob. And I suppose it does make sense when we take into account that Edward is about a hundred years old and Jacob is only 17 – there are bound to be some differences in the level of control they each have. And, of course, for a werewolf a certain level of emotion has to be there to phase whereas with a vampire if they lose control . . .
Another thing that’s driving me nuts about the series is that it is almost like a fairy tale. No one dies except the bad guys? Come on! Life is not really like that. I think that it would have been a much greater scene if Jacob had died in the end like she seemed to be leading up to. Or if not him, than one of the Cullens – maybe Jasper or Esme or someone.
Even though I find the history of the Quileutes fascinating, and the vampire army history somewhat frightening, the way they’re told almost seems too much like a plot device – which is of course what they are – but after the third sit down expository scene in a row its too much already. I think that with the Quileutes the campfire storytelling fit . . .
And the marriage thing? I will be the first to admit that I do not know much about Meyer’s history other than what’s on the book cover, but the behaviour of the characters seems to fall right in line with what we’d expect from someone educated at Brigham Young. Ultra-conservative, against pre-marital sex, and the like. It is true that I am generalizing here. I do not know if she actually does believe in these things herself . . . but given that she is writing them I cannot imagine that she doesn’t. As this is her story and her characters she is free to do as she chooses I am not faulting her for that. But I had to groan again with the lines about virtue. They just seem too text book American religion. They are all about abstinence – most American religious people, to the detriment of their children. But let me get off my soap box here – this is a book discussion not a rant.
What I did like about the book is that, like I said in my review of New Moon, it seems like her writing is getting better. I didn’t have so many groaning moments. It might be that Meyer is responding to her critics, or maybe she’s getting better as a writer, or maybe she’s more comfortable with her characters, whatever the reason they seem a lot more real to me now than they did in the first two books. Particularly at the end after Bella speaks to Jacob that last time – I almost cried. Almost!
I’m sure there’s a lot more that I liked about the book, but I can’t think of it right now because I read more than half of it in one sitting and it sort of blends together for me. But I’m off to read Breaking Dawn to find out were this child came from that I spoiled myself about when I was on wikipedia the other day.