July 12th, 2008

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Eclipse (Third book in Twilight series)
By Stephenie Meyer
            In Eclipse, the third book in the projected four-book Twilight series, Bella’s rapidly approaching graduation, and life could not be better. Edward is with her once again, perfect as ever, and as soon as she leaves high school behind she can also kiss her mortality goodbye and join him in bloodsucking bliss. Life is wonderful as Bella counts the days to her death.
            However, there are a few tiny shadows lurking in the corners of “Edward-is-my-boyfriend-again-YAY” heaven. Jacob, the best friend she loves like a brother, won’t see or even speak to her. A mysterious serial killer is killing indiscriminately in Seattle, and evidence points to an exceptional bloodthirsty vampire. But truly, these are minor details, until the Cullen family begins to suspect that the killer is actually killers, a team of newborn vampires being assembled by an unknown foe to attack and destroy the Cullen family. As the body count in Seattle grows Edward becomes so concerned that he reins in his jealousy and allows Bella to contact Jacob, who has finally decided to stop ignoring her. The werewolves and vampires team up to investigate and, if necessary, fight the growing horde in Seattle, while Bella is torn between the two supernatural boys who love her. (Again, why do they love her? I have no idea.)
            Oh, my. What to say? Well, the books in this series are definitely improving. I mean, they’re still several rungs beneath ‘excellent’ or even ‘good’ but Stephenie Meyer seems to be trying, at least, to improve her writing. For once, she steps out of Bella’s mind and writes a scene from the perspective of Jacob Black, and she seems to be trying to introduce more variety into her sentence structure.  
Bella’s finally showing some interest in her life (now that she is preparing to toss away her humanity) and when she isn’t dazzled by Edward’s perfection or worried about whether she’s good enough to look at him, she manages a few brief moments of introspection. She still suffers from a martyr complex and a complete ignorance of her own mind (how many times can a girl be surprised by what she says and does?) but the intense psychotic detachment from her own life seems to be weakening. 
            Edward is a douche bag. Yeah, I said it. Why? He’s a total control freak! Edward insists on making rules for Bella’s life (sans Bella’s input) and expects her to follow them (amazingly, she usually does) and seems to get a sick thrill out of denying her the things she wants most, namely sex, access to Jacob, and vampire immortality. A few times in the novel characters even point out his abusive nature to Bella, but she blithely ignores them. (It actually disturbs me, really bothers me, how popular Edward is with the teens. It isn’t the fact that he’s a vampire that makes him a monster. That, my friends, is all in his treatment of Bella.) Jacob, the fire to Edward’s icy glamour, alternates between violent warrior and puppy eager for Bella’s attention. Poor guy just can’t catch a break. Again and again he offers Bella his heart and she smashes it to bits, trampling it as she runs to Edward.
We learn a lot about the Cullens in this book, especially Rosalie and Jasper. Edward’s siblings are actually quite interesting.   It’s tragic, really. Meyer has managed to develop some entertaining side characters who could hold their own as narrators of their own novel, but for some reason she took the two blandest, dullest characters and made them the focus of her books.

                Honestly, if you've read this far into the series nothing I Say now is likely to deter you from it.  Either you love it or you just want to see how Stephenie Meyer cleans up the train wreck.  I've invested the time in three sub-par novels, and now I feel like I have to see if Jacob gets any sort of consolation prize, if Bella ever realizes how badly Edward treats her (she won't), and what will happen next time the Cullen family encounters the Volturi.  For all its technical flaws and 2-D protagonists, Eclipse is entertainment.