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[personal profile] keilexandra
Breaking Dawn
by Stephenie Meyer
756 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/YA

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 [ profile] 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.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-19 01:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You can probably imagine my reaction to just reading the words BREAKING DAWN. If you can't, my thought process goes pretty much like this: AHHH TWILIGHT HATE KILL DIE.

Besides that, the first thing that comes to mind reading your notes on the TWILIGHT series's conservatism is the whole CHRONICLES OF NARNIA versus THE GOLDEN COMPASS "thing". You've undoubtedly read about it somewhere, how THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA movies have done ridiculously better than THE GOLDEN COMPASS in theaters, probably due in no small part to the different roles that religion plays in each of them, and the general bashing of THE GOLDEN COMPASS by the religious community.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-19 08:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It was made into a fairly bad, dumbed-down movie for kids. If they’d actually made a good movie, it’s possible that those figures would have been entirely different.

I think that if they had actually done justice to the source material, the ideological differences wouldn’t have weighed as much.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-19 04:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That’s part of it, yes, and I think the director even admitted to that. But more than that, they seemed determined to make it into a happy little kid’s adventure with lots of cuddly animals and sparkly lights and happy endings, when the book was so dark and complex. They aimed it at entirely the wrong audience.

Narnia had atmosphere and style, where The Golden Compass just had gobs of cheesy CG nonsense. It’s really a pity – they had an excellent cast as well as a great story to work from, but they pretty much threw it away and made a forgettable fireworks show.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-19 06:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
[ profile] raecarson had a post the other day on the Twilight series as fundie-girl fantasy, which I thought was particularly on-target.

My sister is about your age and she loves the books. I still haven't asked her what she thought of Breaking Dawn; she's been oddly quiet on the subject since she finished it, so it looks like I might have to bring it up. *g* As for me, I read 2/3 of it and picked up the rest from [ profile] cleolinda's summary... I think "horrified fascination" would be the phrase. Like watching a #1 bestselling trainwreck.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-20 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In a world of rapidly liberalizing children's literature - it is listed for "young readers" - I see no problem in there being a few popular books out there for the kids (and older readers) who like the idea of saving themselves for a white wedding, and like the idea that being a mother is something that could be the single proudest achievement of their lives. I don't see that it changes Bella's personality, either (she remains a consistently whiny, annoying twit imo). This is a character, an opinion, and Stephenie Meyers is certainly entitled to it, just as you're entitled express a disagreement with that stance. Conservatives are not all the complete nuts you see on television, as I'm sure you've noticed - same as not all Liberals are running around screaming obscenities and ass-fucking in the streets. I'm in no way saying that this book is the be all end all - it's absolutely got flaws and a number of loose ends that she seems to have tied together with colorful, but not very effective, fluffy yarn. If you get too wrapped up in that, though, you kind of miss out on the magic of the story, and nobody wants to forget why we read fantasy in the first place, do we?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-08-20 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Meyer*, sorry. ^^;


keilexandra: Adorable panda with various Chinese overlays. (Default)

January 2011


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