by Stephenie Meyer
756 pages (hardcover)
What you've heard thus far about Breaking Dawn
? All true. I won't bother to repeat the criticisms. Meyer's prose is clunky but bearably so; in this book particularly, she invents way too many minor characters; and she doesn't understand the fundamentals of plot theory. The ending is a huge deus ex machina
, a perfectly happy ending with no price paid--but if you've been keeping up with the news, you know all that already. As did I. So why do I continue to read Meyer?
Well, I'm a masochist, and a completist. I thought Twilight
wasn't half-bad, especially for a first novel; but the series becomes steadily worse and builds to a climactic let-down in Breaking Dawn
. I'm also disturbed by the conservative undertones--abstinence until marriage, Bella's vehemence against abortion, the whole destiny vs. free will debate regarding werewolf imprints, and most of all, the central idea that motherhood will change your entire life, meaning, and personality. That happens for many people, I'm sure, (hopefully including kate_nepveu
!) but Meyer presents it as a fact of life. (Of course, these are my personal political views intruding as reader bias.)
Just a few days ago, I was reading David Wolverton's daily email column on writing, and his topic was religion in genre fiction (no link or quote, alas--but you should subscribe
! Say "Kick me" in the email), particularly fantasy. He talked about Christian roots and good vs. evil, all of which is true for epic fantasy (which I generally dislike for these same qualities, but that's a different issue). His point was that commercially successful fantasy writers avoid sex and obscenity in their fantasy, because otherwise the conservative religious readers will get offended. Magic-fearing evangelists notwithstanding, Twilight
is a very conservative work. And it has been hugely successful. Exceptions come to mind--George R.R. Martin and Jacqueline Carey, plus many others who are popular with experienced/jaded fantasy readership--but I do think that Dave's rule is true, albeit "selling out." I would never have thought of it because I skipped from Diana Wynne Jones and Tamora Pierce straight to Guy Gavriel Kay, et. al., but my reading tastes are unusual for my age group. Things to ponder.