This is the much anticipated continuing first person story of Bella Swan, a 17-year-old girl who moved to Forks, Washington and fell in love with vampire Edward Cullen.
Graduation is fast approaching for Bella, and with it, her deadline for becoming a vampire. She's still on the outs with Jacob Black and she's starting to have second thoughts about being changed. Not to mention there are a spree of murders taking place in Seattle and Victoria, the crazed vampire who's been after Bella since Twilight, is still haunting Bella's dreams.
I've never been one for self-denial. I mean, I figure, you can lie to your friends, you can lie to your family, but ultimately, you cannot lie to yourself. Bella Swan takes "lying to yourself" to a whole new level in this book. So much that I was seriously tempted to stop reading.
Side Note: There will be spoilers included in my review. There's no way around it for me. If you are the type of person who doesn't want to know before you read it yourself, please don't read any further. :End Side Note
Once again we follow Bella's thoughts as she tries to deal with becoming a vampire, her overwhelming love for Edward, her constant worry for her family, and her despair at the gulf between her and Jacob.
I think my biggest problem with this novel is the way Bella constantly deludes herself. It started almost in the beginning. Alice has a vision at lunch while sitting with Bella and Edward. Bella is curious and wants to know what the vision was, but neither Edward or Alice will tell her. Edward then railroads her into going to visit her mom for the weekend in AZ, and then lies to Bella about the vision, telling her it was something much different than what it really is.
Prior to Edward telling her, Bella is sure she knows what the vision was about - Victoria - and has worked herself up into a nice fit of semi-panic. But when Edward tells her it was something inconsequential, she goes, "Oh. Good" and for the next 300 or so pages, she thinks to herself, "I'm just blowing this out of proportion again, just like I did with Alice's vision". She even does this after she finds out the truth of the vision and why Edward insisted she leave town for the weekend.
And that was the continuing trend throughout the book. She was in constant self-denial and always wanting to play the martyr. She finally makes amends with Jacob - who we know is totally in love with her - and she spends as much time with him as she can. But while she constantly thinks to herself, "I'm hurting him" she doesn't back away, and she doesn't make an effort to ease the pain he feels over her relationship with Edward.
I also had a very, very hard time with her developing relationship with Jacob. She finally agrees to marry Edward and then shortly after realizes she's IN love with Jacob. Yes, I said IN LOVE with him. Although she loves Edward more, she could envision a life with Jacob. A comfortable, human life. She tells Jacob all of this and then says, "but I'm going to stay with Edward". She even kisses him at one point (Jacob, I mean). Who does that? Naturally Edward found out right away because he can read Jacob's mind, but rather than being upset with Bella he tells her he understood her reasons, that Jacob doesn't fight fair, and that he loves her no matter what. Which, of course, just made Bella feel even worse.
At one point, I thought this was going to turn into another Love Triangle series, and I was sorely disappointed. I'm still not entirely sure that won't happen.
Eventually they (Bella, Edward and Alice) figure out that Victoria is creating her own little army of "Newborns" - vampires who have just been created and don't have any control over themselves but have tremendous power - with the intention of bringing them to Forks to wipe out the Cullens and kill Bella. They begin preparing to fight them, but Jasper, who has experience fighting Newborns, doesn't think they'll be able to win the fight, as they're all sadly outnumbered.
Until the werewolves get involved. Jacob and the rest of the gang from La Push agree to fight with the Cullens to save Bella. I have to say, despite how annoyed I was with the book in general and Bella in particular, that was pretty cool. Seeing the Vamps and Weres working together was great. Although I still say Bella isn't worth it.
Perhaps I'm not making much sense, or my frustration with the book is overshadowing the actual review of this book, but this is how I felt whilst reading..frustrated. And angry. And annoyed.
There were some good things. We find out more about Esme and Jasper and how they became Vampires. Learning about their pasts was very interesting. We found out more about the werewolves, too, and how they came to be and the legends they pass down. Of course, it was from these legends that Bella gets the idea into her head to sacrifice herself so everyone else can live, but at least it doesn't happen that way.
The fight scenes were cool, even though we saw them all from Bella's POV. And there's an extremely unguarded moment when Jacob and Edward are talking about Bella with each other - when they think she's asleep - that really touched me. Seeing where they both come from in regards to her..well, it was very sweet and touching. I could really feel the love they both have for her, although I am truly baffled by it. I'd just want to smack her myself, but that's just me.
I think, overall, I expected Bella to get stronger and more independent. To find herself, I suppose. And instead she seemed to get more co-dependent and more self-serving. She was just plain selfish, assuming the world revolves around her and only thinking of herself, never of the other people in her life.
The Epilogue was very well done, however. It's written from Jacob's POV and I found it to be very insightful. If SM writes Midnight Sun -Twilight from Edward's POV - or anything from Jacob's POV, I'd scoop them up in a heartbeat.
Anyway, despite my issues - and there were many - with the overall story and Bella, SM's writing still drew me in. She obviously has the talent and drive it takes to produce a constant page turner, and for that alone I cannot rate this in the "terrible" range.
3.0 out of 5
I honestly don't know how I feel about continuing on with the series. Prior to reading this one, I was excited to read more about Bella and the Cullens and Jacob. Now? I'm not sure I want to see where this train wreck leads us. Although, I will probably buy the next installment. What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment.
*I was going to include links in this post to SM's site and etc, but it appears to be down. If I remember, I'll update it later.