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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer

As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob -- knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?

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.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review, and for the chance to sound off about the book. Self-delusion is a good way to describe Bella's M.O. I too can't figure out what Edward and Jacob see in Bella (whole chapters go by when I wish we, like Edward, were immune to knowing her thoughts) but I find their affection for her weirdly fascinating. I would gladly read anything written from Jacob or Edward's perspective--the Eclipse Epilogue was poignant--but will, like you, probably settle for picking up the next book and suffering through the further Sufferings of Bella. Perhaps the draining of her blood will give her the backbone--and, paradoxically, the heart--that will make her a mature and interesting character. (If such a transition isn't in Ms. Meyer's plans, I'd almost rather she ended the series with Jacob's epilogue. At least there's some dignity in that.)

August 9, 2007 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

If such a transition isn't in Ms. Meyer's plans, I'd almost rather she ended the series with Jacob's epilogue. At least there's some dignity in that.

I completely agree with you there.

I would really like to see Bella grow up, or at least realize there's a whole wide world out there that doesn't have her at the center, but eh, I don't I'll see that happen.

Thanks for visiting. ;)

August 13, 2007 at 7:29 PM  
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August 18, 2007 at 4:35 AM  
Blogger Kate Diamond said...

When I read the epilogue, I was actually hoping that Bella's portion in the series was over. I was hoping that she and Edward would melt off into bloodsuckers' paradise and we'd get to focus more on the werewolves.

I thought the next story might be from Jacob's POV, and have him imprinting on someone (please, God, NOT Leah Clearwater). If Bella was in it at all, it would probably be as a side character.

The thing that upset me most about this book was that I had no idea why she was making the choice for Edward. The clearest reason I could see was "I was totally depressed when he left last time."

That strikes me as rather stupid and teenage. And I realize Bella is teenage. But she's becoming a vampire here. And I don't like anyone shuffling off their mortal coil without good reason.

Maybe I just find the pack mentality more interesting, and I liked the idea that, with Jacob, she gets to keep in touch with her family and be part of a larger community.

And I absolutely LOVED Edward in the first book, but in this one he just seemed so... I don't know. Controlling in the first half and mind-bogglingly understanding in the second. I liked him much better when he was being a moody little bastard because he was so focused on trying not to kill her.

Um. Does that make sense?

August 22, 2007 at 9:52 PM  
Anonymous sarah said...

I just finished Eclipse in 3 days...completely awesome book, its really hard to believe that this is one of Stephanie Meyers early novels!(I think it takes a lot for an author to me so good!) But yea im trying to get my head out of it now. I cant think about anything else! By the way her site is back up, I believe its stephaniemeyer.com? somthing to that extent? (so is anyone else wishing she would come to south carolina!!!!???)

September 11, 2007 at 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I think that I like Bella for her flaws.

Shes not this perfect character that would probably in anyones opinion atract these two beautiful fantasy characters like Jake and Edward.

Shes clearly human and that makes her perfect. (for her part anyway)

I also love the irony in her character...she attracts danger... finds love(but in a way her love is dangerous??)

September 11, 2007 at 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Linda Esser said...

We are three romance fiction readers who are interested in finding out more about readers like ourselves. What began as a conversation over coffee has turned into a project that has taken on a life of its own. We’ve explored public librarians’ attitudes toward romance fiction and its readers on both state and national levels with research funded by a grant from Romance Writers of America (http://www.rwanational.org/cs/academic_research_grant/past_recipients).

Of course, the more we’ve found out, the more questions we have. We’ve reached the point where we need answers to several of these questions from romance readers. We are interested in romance fiction readers as both consumers and conservators of the genre. From what we’ve found, romance fiction readers do not depend on public libraries for their books. We would like to better understand where romance fiction readers acquire their books, why they prefer particular sources, and what they do with their books after reading them. We appreciate your time and consideration.

Our questions:
• What are your preferred sources for the romance fiction you read?
• Why do you choose these sources rather than or in addition to public libraries?
• Do you keep all or some of the books you read? How do you decide which books to keep?
• What do you see yourself doing with your personal library of romance fiction books in the future?

Informed Consent:
The University of Missouri requires that research involving human subjects include an informed consent to ensure that participants’ rights are protected. As is customary, pseudonyms will be substituted in all data for all names of persons, public libraries/public library systems, cities, towns and counties. Every effort will be made to adequately disguise the participants’ identities and specific geographic location in any published materials or presentations. The print-outs of any responses will remain in the direct physical possession of the researchers. Relevant portions of the transcripts will be deleted upon request of any participant who decides to withdraw from the study.

Participants have the right to withdraw from the study at any time, no questions asked.

Refusal to participate, or withdrawal from the research project, will have no impact on the participant.

Do not hesitate to call, write or e-mail a member of the research team if you have questions or concerns about this research study.

We ask that you give permission for the results of this research to be used in professional presentations at national conferences and printed in professional publications. If you have questions your rights as a research subject, you may contact the University of Missouri Institutional Review Board Office at (573)882-9585 .

Denice Adkins adkinsde@missouri.edu
Linda Esser esserl@missouri.edu
Diane Velasquez dvelasquez@dom.edu
303 Townsend Hall
School of Information Science & Learning Technologies
University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211

October 1, 2007 at 6:32 PM  
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Blogger naida said...

great review, I agree Bella is selfish. I dont like her character at all. I read all of the books in this series and the first was my favorite by far.

April 3, 2009 at 3:26 PM  
Anonymous JayJay said...

You people who agree with her are IDIOTS!!!!Bella is awsome and if you don't think so,don't read the series!!!!

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