It ought to seem redundant to dismiss the fourth and final Twilight novel as escapist fantasy-but how else could anyone look at a romance about an ordinary, even clumsy teenager torn between a vampire and a werewolf, both of whom are willing to sacrifice their happiness for hers? Flaws and all, however, Meyer's first three novels touched on something powerful in their weird refraction of our culture's paradoxical messages about sex and sexuality. The conclusion is much thinner, despite its interminable length. Everygirl Bella achieves her wishes quickly (marriage and sex, in that order, are two, and becoming an immortal is another), and once she becomes a vampire it's almost impossible to identify with her. But that's not the main problem. Essentially, everyone gets everything they want, even if their desires necessitate an about-face in characterization or the messy introduction of some back story. Nobody has to renounce anything or suffer more than temporarily-in other words, grandeur is out. This isn't about happy endings; it's about gratification. A sign of the times? Ages 12-up.
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Praise for TWILIGHT:
A New York Times Editor's Choice
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
An Amazon Best Book of the Decade
An American Library Association Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults
In the fourth and purportedly final novel from the best-selling "Twilight" saga, main character Bella Swan must finally choose between her vampire love and her human life. As in the previous three novels, Bella's shyness and passivity, along with the remnant memories of Edward's Victorian human life, keep the love scenes fairly unobjectionable, though the results of such scenes are far from tame; some parents may even object to the earliest of these descriptions. Also, the novel's split perspective, in which readers oscillate from Bella's perspective to her werewolf best friend Jacob's and finally back to her own, may annoy both diehard fansbecause Jacob's perspective and internalizations at times mirror exactly what fans have come to expect of Bellaand any newcomers to the saga who start with this bookbecause they are not likely to be as invested in the character dynamics. Overall, the plot seems perhaps too convenient and often lacks the emotional tension and suspense of its predecessors in the series, but the ends are neatly tied in a way that should leaves fans of both Edward and Jacob satisfied. Especially in light of the forthcoming cinematic adaptation and film release of the saga's first book, which will likely only expand Meyer's popularity (and the number of discussions contrasting Meyer with J.K. Rowling), this may be one book that cannot be avoided or ignored. Reviewer: Jennifer Wood
Perpetually clumsy Bella is about to marry the very sexy and graceful vampire Edward Cullen. In exchange for Bella's hand in marriage, Edward agrees to turn her into a vampire shortly after the ceremony. Bella's shape-shifter, more-than-best friend, Jacob, is none too happy about her impending transformation, not only because she will become a nosferatu but also because it will violate the tenuous treaty between the vampires and werewolves of Forks. When her honeymoon takes a surprising turn, Bella decides to remain human a bit longer. Her decision threatens not only her life but also the lives of her new family and friends. Since Twilight's thrilling debut (Little, Brown, 2005/VOYA October 2005), readers have been waiting to find out how this addicting supernatural love triangle will play out. The series finale offers closure but certainly not satisfaction. It contains the elements that made Meyer's first two novels intoxicating reads but wraps them in an overly long and noxiously sappy package. Meyer writes pervasive angst like few other authors can so fans may rejoice in that aspect. She sacrifices the opening novel's brisk pacing for tedious inner monologues. The single mildly comic, and thereby least cloying portion, portrays Jacob's point of view. Alas, it is also the shortest section of the book. By the time readers arrive at the ridiculous conclusion, they will likely have thrown the entire novel across the room several times. Team Edward and Team Jacob will have fun race-reading and then commiserating over the less-than-stellar conclusion. Reviewer: Angelica Delgado
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up
Meyer closes her epic love story of a human, a vampire, and a werewolf in this, the final installment of the saga. The story opens with Bella and Edward's wedding, and relations between Jacob and Bella remain uneasy. On honeymoon and unshackled from any further concerns about premarital sex, Edward fulfills his promise to consummate their marriage before he changes Bella into a vampire. An unexpected conception throws their idyllic world back into chaos as factions (both wolf and vampire) battle over whether or not to destroy the potential monster that is killing Bella from within. The captivating angst, passions, and problems manage to satisfyingly fill pages where surprisingly little action takes place, even after the powerful child's birth brings the Cullen family under the scrutiny of the Volturi. The international cadre of vampires who come to the Cullens' aid are fascinating, but distract from the development of prime characters at a pivotal moment. The novel begins and ends with Bella's voice, while Jacob narrates the middle third of the tale, much like the final pages of Eclipse (Little, Brown 2007). While darker and more mature than the previous titles, Meyer's twists and turns are not out of character. Fans may distress as the happy ending for everyone, including a girl for Jacob, lessens the importance and pain of tough decisions and difficult self-sacrifices that caused great grief in previous books, but they will flock to it and enjoy it nonetheless.-Cara von Wrangel Kinsey, New York Public Library