Monday, April 27, 2009

"Breaking Dawn" Book 4 of the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

"Breaking Dawn"
Book 4 of the Twilight Series
by Stephenie Meyer
Read by Ilyana Kadushin & Matt Walters
Produced by Listening Library
Approx 20.5 hours

I finally got around to listening to the final book in the "Twilight" Series by Stephenie Meyer. I kept putting it off because I really didn't want to put up with the whiney Bella. But I was drawn to it mainly because of the werewolves and not the vampires. When Stephenie Meyer writes about the werewolves, led (kinda sorta/ and even more so in this book) by Jacob Black, she seems to do better storytelling. And then again the werewolves aren't the whiney-pay-attention-to-me-I'm-so-smart-and-everything-should-be-handed-to-me Bella. I've also been thinking that maybe the werewolves tell the masculine side of the story and the vampires represent the feminine, but that would be another analysis all together.

This book is the one that brings a close (somewhat) to the "Twilight" series. It even gives everyone a happily-ever-after ending. Maybe not the one you were expecting but it seems to end the series on a positive note. It does however leave the author open to write more should she feel like revisiting the series. This final tome is broken down into 3 parts, the first and last as told by Bella and the second told by Jacob. This is the reason for the 2 vocal actors in the audiobook. I will say this; Ilyana Kadushin and Matt Walters do a great job acting out the reading. Ms. Kadushin captures the voice and character of Bella, and it may be due to her portrayal of a perfect teenage female that gets on my nerves. As for Matt Walters delivery as Jacob, the werewolf, he delivers the angst and anger of the character and even gets a good growl going in some of the scenes.

Okay here's where my problem in this book lies; Bella is always wanting attention but at the same time saying I don't want the attention. She acts as though here getting the "gift" of immortality is due her for no other reason than she says so. Some may say that her being in love with a vampire she should deserve to be one, but the way the character reads she seems very "snotty" about it. And with today's youth thinking everything should be handed them just because the demand it, Bella emphasizes that point.

Now to get off my soapbox and talk about the story. All in all the story is pretty captivating. Once you get to the middle of the book you are locked in for the ride.

The book begins with Bella finally marrying her vampire, Edward Cullen. Edward demande she marry him before she becomes a vampire. They then go off on their honeymoon off the coast of Brazil. As with any honeymooning couple they engage in days of sex. Although with Edward's vampire strength and desires he ends up bruising Bella and tries to steer her away from this human experience. It turns out Bella demands more time together and as can be expected she becomes pregnant. What? Pregnant? Yes and of course being a half human/half vampire baby this baby has some strange things going on. The strength is more than normal, causing damage to Bella's body, the appetite is draining Bella. This becomes too much for Edward and knowing the baby is killing Bella he flies her back home to his Doctor/Father Carlisle Cullen, to abort this birth. But Bella is having none of it.

The baby is born but before it is born it is found to be developing and growing at an alarming rate, eventually able to transfer its thoughts to Edward, to where Edward then knows the baby loves him and Bella. Jacob hates the baby because it is killing Bella and since Jacob who hasn't "imprinted" with a mate yet, he still loves Bella. Imprinting is a werewolf way of finding the perfect mate.

Once the baby is born she continues to grow at a very fast rate. And surprise of all surprises, Jacob imprints with baby Renesmee. Imprinting is not a sexual thing but more of a protective thing, and is not unusual to have a "quasi-immortal" werewolf imprint with a child. After all werewolves don't age.

Another vampire sees the baby and thinks Renesmee is an "immortal child." Immortal children is forbidden under vampire law set forth by the Volturi. The Volturi are a self appointed governing council over all vampires. Hearing of this law being broking the Volturi seek out to destroy the Cullen's.

The Cullen's seek out all the assistance they can in what seems to be a suicidal battle for the Cullen's but they believe strongly that the baby should live. Stephenie Meyer at this point brings in many vampire covens from around the world and gets very creative in the telling of the stories of the different covens. The fun point is hearing of the Romanian coven led by a vampire named Vladimir. I thought this was a nice nod to Bram Stoker.

All in all there is some good excitement especially during the buildup of the face-off between the Volturi and the Cullens. Also the middle section told by Jacob is captivating.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:22 PM Comments: 0

Monday, December 29, 2008

"New Moon" The Twilight Saga book 2 - by Stephenie Meyer

New Moon
The Twilight Saga book 2
by Stephenie Meyer
audiobook read by Ilyana Kadushin
Published by Little, Brown Young Readers (August 21, 2006)

As many of you know I'm a sucker for a good vampire story (ha, sucker...vampire). So I've decided to give this Twilight Saga series a read, and I can say that they aren't bad. I knew going into this reading adventure that I was diving into adolescent fiction, but hey, Harry Potter was very entertaining and Lemony Snicket's "Unfortunate Events" books kept me in stitches, so the adolescent fiction can sometimes be a real treat.

I'm still on the fence on this one but I will say that during the moments of tension and thrills the author kept me reading with a fervor that makes these books worth reading. BUT (I know everyone's got a big BUT), the main character, Bella Swan, is a typical mopey teenage girl, that uses her teenage girly wiles to get what she wants. At times I just wanted to slap this wanna be Emo girl. But she did represent a fairly large slice of the psyche of teen angst, especially in this installment of the Twilight Saga, "New Moon."

In this novel Bella (the mopey human girl) and Edward Cullen(the beautiful, moody vampire) compare and contrast their lives with Romeo and Juliet. Bella has to watch the movie for her English class and uses this as a stall tactic to keep from going to her birthday party the Cullen's (family of vampires) have planned for her. You see, Bella doesn't want to age any more she wants to be eternally 17 like Edward, but Edward does not want Bella to become a vampire. Edwards reasoning behind this is that he believes vampire's souls are damned and he doesn't want to damn Bella. At the end of the Romeo and Juliet movie Edward states he doesn't want to live in a world without Bella.

Eventually she goes to the party and is showered with gifts. As she opens one of the gifts she gets a paper cut. Typically not a problem, actually at most parties it would be a source of a joke, but in a house where the folks live off blood and the smell of blood can encourage an attack, this creates problems. One of the Cullen family is still trying to get used to the not feeding on humans and only animals (vegetarian vampires), and goes to attack Bella at the smell of her blood.

This fiasco shows the Cullen's that their living in the same town as her creates a constant danger to her life and decide it's time to move on. The family leaves and Bella is thrown into several months of depression in which her dad, who she refers to with his first name, Charley, rather than calling him dad, finally decides he doesn't know how to handle this depression and threatens to send her back to live with her mom. This motivates Bella a little so she becomes a little more active with her social life. During these months of depression she has also made herself a bit of an outcast with her friends at school, and surprises one by inviting her to go to a movie.

After the movie Bella comes to walk near a bar where some neighborhood ruffians are hanging out and being the target of constant danger and accidents, she walks too close to the guys and as she does she hears Edwards voice in her head warning her to watch out. After she clears what could have been danger she realizes that in order to hear the sweet voice of Edward the only thing she can do now is put herself in danger.

Within a few days she sees a school mate is giving away 2 motorcycles, she knows that Charley has always forbidden the riding of motorcycles and they potential danger they hold, so she takes them. In comes Jacob Black, a minor character in the first book and member of the Quileute Indian nation. Jacob has a talent for fixing vehicles so she gets him to fix up the bikes and show her to ride. Side note here; this is one of the areas that really ticked me off. Bella played on Jacob's emotions and crush on her to get him to do what she wanted, fix bikes and teach her to ride. Jacob is smitten with Bella and that is his weak spot with her. So thinking she likes him he does what she wants.

The nice turn in this part of the story is that Jacob, being a member of the Quileute nation, soon becomes a shapeshifter/werewolf. According to legend the werewolves protect the tribe from vampires.

Jacob and his pack of other werewolves rescue Bella from a rogue vampire, Laurent, who we met in book one. Laurent is out to find Bella so the other vampire in their pack, Victoria, can kill her. This is revenge for Edward killing Victoria's mate, James.

Victoria continues to hunt for Bella, which leads to many dead bodies and the community is out looking for large wolves. The wolves are seen leaving the kill sites as they try to track down the bloodsucker. Bella is kept on the reservation while the wolves hunt. During the boredom Bella decides to try to hear Edward's voice again (it's all in her head, by the way) so she decides cliff-diving is dangerous enough.

One of the Cullen's, Alice, has a talent for seeing the future and sees this dangerous activity as Bella committing suicide and succeeding. Word get's out to Edward about Bella's "death" and he heads to Italy to get an ancient family of vampires to kill him. Remember the Romeo and Juliet reference?

Bella must now hurry to Italy with Alice to prevent Edward's suicide.

The events in Italy create an interesting outcome that affects the remaining 2 books in the series, and honestly I can't wait to read them. Make sure you note I'm on Team Jacob and not Team Edward.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:37 PM Comments: 0