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.



La Coccinelle said...

"... he doesn't even respond to her frequent attacks of horniness..."


You think this book is bad? Guess what happens after Bella has sex in the fourth book? She wants it all the time.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Breaking Dawn, but I don't want you to read it if you weren't going to anyway. To inflict that book upon someone is just cruel.

Amanda said...

I suppose I'm glad I never tried this one.

Jessica W. (Book Bound) said...

I must admit that I am with you on this one Nikola.

In truth, I wasn't able to even finish reading Twilight. And while I quite enjoyed the Twilight movie, I was very disappointed in New Moon.

Of course, I have a somewhat biased opinion, being that I am not a huge YA fan. I read a lot of YA books, but am usually quite critical of them.

Ladybug said...

I liked this book, but Breaking Dawn was a big disappointment. I felt like it was written just to squeeze the last drops out of the Twilight success(harsh words, I know).

I really like your new template btw!

Happy New Year!

Vivienne said...

Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy it. I have always said that the first and the last book of this series were the best.

Anonymous said...

I really dislike this book. Bella couldn't make up her mind and she really began to bother me. I did like New Moon though. A word of advice, if you haven't already, don't read the next one. It's B-A-D.

Nikola said...

Wow, I sure didn't expect this kind of feedback... Seems like very few people actually enjoyed Eclipse, and almost no one liked the forth one. And here I was expecting a public backlash!

Lisa said...

I really loved Twilight, and ran.. RAN, I TELL YOU... to buy the other THREE all in one visit to the bookstore. And BOY WAS I SORRY! New Moon was pretty boring, YAWN, but ECLIPSE stunk to high heaven. I did finish it, but really ended up hating it, and I thought I would never get my eyes back to the forward position after so much eye rolling. And then Breaking Dawn is chalked up there with B-R-U-T-A-L, and I never did finish it. Oh, I skipped to the end to see how it ended, and I skimmed thru most of it. But God what a waste of paper and time.


I wish I would have just ended it with Twilight and made up my own damn ending. :0) I love it when a blogger gives their totaly honest opinion! Good for you, Nikola!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I liked them all. :) Sure Bella was annoying.... I will give you that. It took me a while to get book two and I was angry about Edwards absence (and again there is wishy washy Bella...) but book two had to happen the way it did to establish the relationship between Bella and wolf boy.... I mean Jacob. If Edward would have been hanging around... it would not have worked as well.

I think for me the books worked because it was a refreshing and new way to view vampires. I tried to read Ann Rice before and just couldn't, but these books had a vampire that was actually enjoyable to read - well for me anyway.

great post!

Ryan G said...

I'm impressed you were able to get through the first two books. I coudln't finish the first one.

Come by and I have an award for you.

Anonymous said...

Love your review. Twilight was one of the most boring books I have read, it was like pulling teeth to get to the end of it. Near the end it was just starting to get good when Bella was nearly killed and my heart was crushed when she survived. I won't even venture to waste anymore brain cells and hours of my life I can't get back on the useless dribble that is what Stephenie Meyer pens in her books.

Anonymous said...

ha...this book is better compared to the heights of ridiculousness that is book 4.

All in all, these books to me are a big, fat, fail!

Laura's Reviews said...

I am in the minority here, but Eclipse was my favorite of the books. I loved the love triangle, and last part of the book was fantastic.

Breaking Dawn on the other hand was an unnecessary book.

Amy said...

After the first book I had enough and after reading your review I am glad I didn't continute with this series! I think it takes enormous talent to make a series work after a great first installment.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I read them - I enjoyed them, but I do know what you mean. These books, while I enjoyed them - do not even touch on the Harry Potter Series which I found beyond brilliant and will challenge anyone to a gae of Quiddich who thinks otherwise. :)