Friday, January 8, 2010

Review: Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer

Welcome to my first unfinished book review. I know some of you Twilight-heads (does this expression even exist?) will not enjoy this, but I was unable to get through the third installment in Stephanie Meyer's uber-popular Twilight saga. And that isn't to say I haven't tried. I carried that book around for weeks in my bag, which is a huge effort if I do say so myself, since the book is so huge. I tried reading it for periods of varying length - nothing. And here's why.

If there is a lesson Meyer should learn from more experienced (and acclaimed!) authors, is that withholding information is not a good thing. Sure, there's a lot we didn't know about Snape or Dumbledore until The Deathly Hallows, but the journey has never been tedious and pointless. Even more importantly, the Harry Potter books (and I know these are not the only books Twilight can be compared to, but are probably the most popular fantasy books ever written) always felt planned inside and out. The author always seemed to know exactly where she was going with this or that, and not one character or plot point was included without a reason.

Eclipse starts pretty much where New Moon left off. Now, if you, like me, felt that New Moon was uneventful and unnecessary, prepare for more of that this time around. Bella and Edward are madly in love (of course), there are incredibly non-interesting flashbacks to the pasts of most major characters and a danger lurking in behind that is as dangerous as it is dull. The problem is we never know what the hell is going on. Being put in Bella's point of view is a rather dismal affair, since no one seems to care to explain to her what everything that is going on in the book actually means, to the point that one inevitably stops caring at one point.

Secondly, the series' most interesting character, Edward, is ridiculously underused this time around. It seems like somewhere along writing New Moon, Stephenie suddenly decided to switch to Team Jacob, making her male protagonist an incredible bore. Edward is only interested in marrying Bella, he is so concerned about her safety and what not, he doesn't even respond to her frequent attacks of horniness, he becomes a silent know-it-all and finally, he pales in comparison to Bella's other suitor, the bad-boy werewolf Jacob, who even kisses her sloppily at one point. And if you think this might be just the exposition of the novel, you're wrong. This is what's going on for more than half of this overlong affair.

If you write a popular, thrilling and fun debut novel such as Twilight, you might think again before you choose to clumsily build upon a story that was so effective and almost stand-alone. New Moon had its moments, but it was mostly a way to introduce a new plot development for the third book. And now that the third book has arrived, I just wish none of it had ever happened.