Twilight series ends with Breaking Dawn

There comes a time when all good things must end. The trick with ending something, though, is to do it well and to leave the audience with fond memories. At the end of Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer’s final Twilight series book, readers will rejoice. This isn’t due to any particular merit of Breaking Dawn, but rather because they won’t have to slog through any more of it.

The last book in Meyer’s astoundingly popular teen romance series, Breaking Dawn also concludes the “vampire love saga” in which vampire Edward Cullen falls for and romances klutzy Bella Swan as she struggles to come to grips with her own mortality. Meyer’s books make a few alterations to vampire lore: sunlight holds no danger for them, they only become more beautiful; they kill humans, but some take blood from animals. Meyer’s vampires are honestly just eye candy, albeit slightly deadly eye candy.

Most appalling about Breaking Dawn is the lack of good role models in the series. Bella’s mother, Renee, who married at an extremely young age, warns Bella not to follow her example. Not only does Bella herself marry straight out of high school, but she also has a child shortly after her marriage, and is even dissuaded from attending college by Edward, her husband, on the grounds that it would be impossible to prevent college students from figuring out she’s a vampire. Is this a good life model for teenage girls: get married young, have kids before 20, and don’t attend college because the man in your life tells you not to? Probably not.

What really strikes the reader about the plot in Breaking Dawn is how unrealistic everything is. Granted, Bella is living in a world with vampires and werewolves. One cannot expect utter realism, and it would be silly to do so. However, all of Bella’s problems seem to be resolved for her. She faces the choice of becoming a vampire or living a full, human life. This is a relevant conflict for humans facing immortality: the decision between living in the human world with its ephemeral qualities, or living forever but without the experiences that make life meaningful. Bella never has to choose: With Meyer, she can have it all. She has a child before she’s turned into a vampire (something all the Cullen women seem to obsess about), so she gets the best of both worlds. Her family will live forever along with her, so she can enjoy eternity from the comfort of her own living room.

Meyer’s treatment of her characters also is unimpressive. After Bella is made into a vampire, she suddenly becomes more confident in herself, less clumsy, more beautiful: the epitome of the perfect girl. Suddenly, Bella can do anything: She’s physically stronger than the other Cullen men, she has the most powerful latent ability (read: vampire magic), and she doesn’t have to put up with uncontrollable bloodlust as all other newly made vampires in Meyer’s books do. It makes her character a lot less interesting. Even the angst-ridden werewolf Jacob, Bella’s slighted crush, from whose point of view a part of the story is told, doesn’t have to try hard to resolve his conflicts, because Meyer will do it for him. Jacob descends into an endless miasma of woe for about a hundred pages or so, until he falls head over heels for none other than Bella’s newborn child.

Even the climax of the novel, where Meyer typically excels, leaves something to be desired. There’s no battle, no epic race through the streets of Italy, as readers might have been led to expect. Despite the numerous allusions to a showdown, it never happens because Bella’s newfound vampire superpowers allow her to protect everyone she cares about from the Volturi, the villains of the piece. The Volturi simply walk in, talk a little, threaten a lot, find their threats ineffective due to Bella, give up, and walk out. The series ends.

In short, perhaps the fandom would have been a lot better off if Meyer had ended the series at Eclipse, instead of leading readers down the farce of a family drama that is Breaking Dawn. If something inside you desperately yearns to know what happens with vampire babies, unhappy werewolves, and not so much romance, by all means purchase it. It’ll be in stock somewhere. However, if you’re just curious about how bad it can be, check it out from Hunt or the public library. Then again, it may not even be worth the trip.