When Hachette Book Group sent me a review copy of Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, I first had to read through books one through three in the Twilight series before I felt qualified to evaluate this fourth and final book. From the sheer volume of Meyer fans out there, with millions of copies sold, I imagine I'm one of the last on the planet to read Twilight, soon to be made into a major motion picture.
After reviewing Meyer's The Host, I was looking forward to delving into Meyer's work in more depth. I've read a geek-load of science fiction and fantasy fiction, and this phenomenon of fanatically popular young adult vampire novels intrigues me. I am thrilled to see teenagers eagerly anticipating all 756 pages worth of an author's next novel, preordering their copies so that they can have it in their hands on the date of the book's release, and then barely putting the book down until they have turned the final page.
I am pleased to report that I enjoyed the series — Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. The characters and carefully plotted alternate history were significantly developed. My main criticism was that the nature of the main character, Bella Swan, was a bit weak and whiny, almost a mundane stereotype of a teenage girl. While I grew attached to many of the characters around her, I had a hard time sympathizing with Bella herself, even though the stories are conveyed in the first person narrative from her perspective.
I have a few criticisms about some of the plot details included in Breaking Dawn, but I can not provide specific examples without spoilers. Please feel free to comment with your email if you'd like more detail.) There are a handful of finer points that I would change if I had the chance.
Ultimately though, I was relieved to discover that my biggest criticism, Bella's feeble character, found in earlier books was in fact resolved in Breaking Dawn. Avoiding any of those spoilers for those of you who have not yet read it, suffice it to say that Bella truly comes into her own in more ways than one in this final novel. She is a much stronger and more likable girl. The other characters — vampires and werewolves alike, who fans have grown to know and love through the first three books in the series — continued to develop in new ways, diverging from the anticipated plot line to include some new twists.