I finished Eclipse the other day. It’s been difficult trying to narrow down what stuff to bitch about, because there’s so much wrong with everything.
Good stuff: They finally wrap up some plot lines that have been running since the start of the series. Also, the character of Jacob is almost three dimensional, since he has both good and bad qualities and usually says interesting things. When he’s around, the story is almost interesting.
Edward, on the other hand, totally loses any remaining Byronic qualities and becomes an insipid piece of female fantasy with absolutely no personality.
Bella remains an idiotic, martyring, moaning, boy-obsessed twatwaffle who is basically a bad person. Stephenie Meyer remains an astonishingly bad writer (never mind whether or not you like the story or the characters, the writing is bad. Just awful. Swifties and weird grammar and misapplications of the word “literally” everywhere).
The book starts off with a lot of angst, which I think should surprise absolutely no one.
Bella moans to us that while Edward is with her at school all day, spends every evening with her, and then sneaks into her room to watch her sleep every night, she has to go from the end of school to seven pm every night without Edward.
Though the afternoon was the only time I spent away from Edward, it was enough to make me restless, and the hours always dragged.
Bella seriously needs to get a hobby.
Anyway, she explains that she and Edward feel the need to play along with her Dad’s wacky whims (like grounding Bella for spending her college fun on a motorcycle, then jumping off a cliff, and disappearing to Italy for three days without telling him). Why is Bella so generous towards her father’s little fits of pique?
because I couldn’t bear to hurt my dad by moving out now, when a much more permanent separation hovered, invisible to Charlie, so close on my horizon.
“close on my horizon”. What a horrible piece of writing.
By the way, it irritates me that Bella always needs to give me the reasons, almost apologetically, for choosing to do as her father tells her. You can tell she doesn’t actually have any respect for him at all, and just decides to humour him from time to time.
Bella is looking forward to becoming a vampire and spending an eternity with Edward, but she is feeling very commitment-phobic about the fact that Edward wants to marry her.
I can understand. I mean, sure, giving up your life, your family, your friends, and possibly your soul so you can spend an eternity with your high school boyfriend, well, that’s an easy choice. But marriage is serious.
It put my teeth on edge to think about it. Fiancée. Ugh. I shuddered away from the thought.
She then goes on to moan about school, and how some of her friends are still pissed with her. She labels the people who don’t like the fact that she’s such a bitch as “evil”.
Evil? Seriously? I have a whole rant – actually, two whole rants – about this which I will save for later, if you guys want to hear them.
The first major plot point in Eclipse is that Jacob isn’t seeing Bella because he’s pissed off with her for getting back together with Edward. Bella is very upset about this and wants to go visit him and make up, but Edward won’t let her go because he hates werewolves.
Werewolves, supposedly, were specially designed to hunt and kill evil, bloodsucking, murderous vampires, so clearly they are dangerous creatures who want to eat Bella up yum yum. Edwards forbids her to go, and when she tries to sneak out, he removes part of her truck’s engine. Because that’s what good boyfriends do – save their girlfriends from hanging out with other guys.
“I’ll put your car back together in time for school, in case you’d like to drive yourself,” he assured me after a minute.
What a saint.
Just to be extra safe, when Edward goes out of town to hunt for food, he bribes his vampire friend, Alice, to put Bella under house arrest. Jacob shows up at her school and Bella jumps in and goes with him anyway because she’s all feisty and crap. By which I mean, willing to get in a vehicle with any guy who orders her to.
When Edward returns, Bella expects him to yell at her about sneaking off with Jacob. Instead, he has magically altered personalities and is suddenly totally fine with Bella visiting Jacob. For the rest of the book he is kind, understanding and courteous towards Bella’s werewolf pals. Jacob still thinks that Edward is bad news, seeing that he’s an undead creature with a lust for human blood, and also because he dumped Bella and made her cry.
As time passes with much Jacob vs Edward drama, the characters become aware of three things:
- Victoria, the pissed-off vampire who was hunting Bella in New Moon is still around and still trying to find and kill Bella. The Cullens and the werewolves chase her off.
- While Bella was out of the house one night, a mysterious vampire sneaked in and rifled through her things, stealing some of her clothes.
- A series of gruesome murders in Seattle lead the Cullens to believe that someone is building up a vampire army.
The Cullens hypothesize that the missing-clothes incident was a way of stealing a sample of Bella’s scent. They worry about what to do if a vampire army arrives on their doorstep, and how to keep Bella safe from Victoria.
It doesn’t seem to occur to any of them that they happen to have a handy truce with a pack of werewolves next door who would be all but delighted to go hunting for a vampire army in Seattle.
Honestly, the characters are all so obtuse that you just want to scream. Nothing is more boring in fiction than watching a bunch of characters struggle with a problem that has an obvious solution.
So while they flop around going “OMG what do we dooo?” Bella is getting ready to graduate high school, and Alice-the-party-throwing-vampire is throwing yet another party against Bella’s will (happily for Alice, Bella’s will has all of the immutability of a feather or dandelion spore).
Just hours before the graduation, Bella has a stroke of insight: maybe the vampire army in Seattle and the vampire shirt-stealer are connected!
As I processed the fact that someone had created an army of vampires -the army that had gruesomely murdered dozens of people in Seattle – for the express purpose of destroying me, I felt a spasm of relief.
(Yeah, Bella’s messed up. I may have mentioned that before. Later on, she actually begs Jacob to verbally abuse her. But maybe we’ll save that for a separate post, too.)
Her brilliant realization strikes among the Cullens like a bolt from the blue. They’re all like “Wow, you’re right, we NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT!”
I had assumed that they were connected. Wouldn’t you? I mean, come on – a vampire wants to kill Bella but keeps getting chased off by the local werewolves/the Cullens. A vampire is building up an army of new vampires. Someone stole a sample of Bella’s scent and took it… somewhere. WHO COULD IT BE?? I didn’t even realize until Bella’s Big Moment that the characters had not drawn the same connection.
Here is one of the biggest differences between J.K. Rowling as an author and Stephenie Meyer (although I could fill a book with all of their differences): In the Harry Potter books, the characters are constantly drawing obvious connections between events, and then Rowling surprises them (and us) with something totally unexpected instead. Meanwhile, in the Twilight Saga, people spend whole chapters trying to make simple 1+1=2 deductions while the readers start bashing the book against a wall.
The next big revelation comes when Jacob (crashing Bella’s grad party) overhears all the vampires worrying about what to do with this anti-Bella army of vampires, and finally the obvious solution is brought to light:
Jacob is like “hey, we werewolves will help you kill them. We love killing vampires.”
The vampires are like “WHAT A CRAZY IDEA, BUT IT JUST MIGHT WORK.”
Later that same night, Bella has another moment in the spotlight as resident genius extraordinaire. It occurs to her that if 1+1=2, maybe 1+1+1=3. In other words, maybe the whole vampire army is being conducted by Victoria, the Bella-hating vampire!
Wait, was that not part of the first connection?
“You know what I think?” I asked Edward.
He laughed. “No.”
I almost smiled.
“What do you think?”
“I think it’s all connected. Not just the two, but all three.”
“You’ve lost me.”
It amuses me that in order to make Bella look intelligent, Meyer has to seriously dumb-down her other characters.
“Three bad things have happened since you came back.” I ticked them off on my fingers. “The newborns in Seattle. The stranger in my room. And – first of all – Victoria came to look for me.”
His eyes narrows as he thought about it. “Why do you think so?”
SERIOUSLY, people! This is not exactly an Agatha Christie novel. OF COURSE it’s effing Victoria coming to kill Bella with a vampire army. The only other possible culprits are the vampires in Italy who basically rule the entire vampire world and have absolutely no need of building a brand-new army because they rule the entire vampire world.
The other ridiculous thing is that all of this vampires-murdering-everyone plotline takes a total backseat to the Jacob vs Edward drama. Jacob is convinced that he loves Bella, that Bella loves him, and that it would be better for Bella to marry him and have wolf babies with him, rather than turn into an undead demon and never see her family and friends again because she will have developed an insatiable lust for their blood.
Edward, on the whole, seems inclined to agree, but is confidant that Bella loves him best.
The whole thing culminates with Jacob giving Bella a really stellar kiss, and Bella realizing that she is in love with Jacob, but that she has to marry Edward and become a vampire because she can’t live without him. A whole future with Jacob and happy little black haired children flashes before her eyes and she’s all sad because now she can never have that.
If the world was the sane place it was supposed to be, Jacob and I would have been together, And we would have been happy. He was my soul mate in that world – would have been my soul mate still if his claim had not been overshadowed by something stronger, something so strong that it could not exist in a rational world.
Give me a break. Jacob is all understanding about it, too.
“He’s like a drug for you, Bella.” His voice was still gentle, not at all critical. “I see that you can’t live without him now. It’s too late. But I would have been healthier for you; not a drug. I would have been the air, the sun.”
Teens! Sometimes love is complicated. Sometimes it’s hard to separate your ego from someone you have been with and loved, but sometimes you have to do that because it is the healthy thing to do. You shouldn’t just say “oh, but I love him” and stay anyway. That’s what abused women do.
Sometimes you have to leave someone even though you love them and make the healthy choice. Because time will heal the wounds and once you’re free you’ll realize how messed up that relationship was anyway.
And the healthy choice, here, is going to college, and then settling down in a healthy relationship and having cute black haired babies and being happy. Not getting married at eighteen, which you don’t even want to do, and then leaving your family behind forever so that you can literally die for love.
Oh, and the werewolves tear the army of vampires apart, except for Victoria who comes for Bella and Edward decapitates her with his teeth and then rips apart her body and sets fire to it, while Bella sits around and thinks “argh, I love Jacob but I love Edward mooooaaaar…”
Because Bella knows how to prioritize her problems.
The book ends with Edward sending Jacob an invitation to the wedding.
For gawd’s sake.
You know what? BOTH of these male characters are too good for Bella, really. They should dump her and have some man love together or something, and Bella can frigging take up knitting or painting or learning the rules of grammar or something.
She is so not worth their time.
Anyway, I have so many rants I want to write and I don’t know what to do/where to start. I will poll you guys to see what would be of most interest to my readers.
Previous Twilight posts include: