And here we are, kids, the end of the journey. The last two hundred or so pages. Day 3 was about two hundred pages and this one is about the same length of book-time, so with it’s pretty much universal theme of “OHGODOHGODWE’REALLGOINGTODIE!” shouldn’t be too hard to sum up.
So, where did we leave off? Oh yeah, that’s right. OHGODOHGODWE’REALLGOINGTODIE!
Everything was peaches and cream in supernatural Forks-ville until one day Alice gets a vision. While the happy family of Edward, Bella, and Renesmee were out hunting Irina, from the Alaskan group, spotted them. Already pissed at the Cullens for their part in the death of Laurent, who was kind of her honey, she thinks that Renesmee is an immortal child, a sparklepire kid banned by the Volturi for breaching the
Masquerade secrecy (and being pretty much an uncontrollable killing machine), and so she runs off to tell the Volturi. Which gets the Volturi pissed. As in all of them. Including a group called “the wives” who I’m going to assume are like Dracula’s wives, sparklepire babes who lay around in white dresses all day, feasting on British solicitors. Edward picks up on her vision with his brain scanning and then everything goes pear-shaped quickly.
In all of their panicked thinking they come up with a couple of theories about what to do, like fight back, which are quickly thrown out before they light on the idea they hope will save them all: talking. They want to talk to the Volturi, show that they haven’t broken the law after all (because while they did create what is technically an immortal child, they didn’t create an immortal child…right? Right). Considering how well talking worked for Bree Tanner (spoiler alert: it didn’t), how would you get a group of ancient, powerful, totally vicious sparklepires to pause long enough in the burninating to listen to the truth?
By gathering together a group of sparklepire witnesses in the hopes that Volturi, seeing that their actions will be seen by others (who may then tell about what happened), might pause long enough for you to scream “WAITWAITIT’SNOTWHATYOUTHINK!”
This, of course, assumes that A) the Volturi would pause and B) the Volturi would care enough about witnesses to not just melt the lot of them as well.
During all of this Alice and Jasper say, “We’ll be right back!” Hours later they’re still not BRB and Bella and Edward go looking for them, fearing the worst, and find Sam, who tells them that a few hours back Alice and Jasper asked to cross over into wolfpack territory before jumping in the ocean and swimming away after giving him a note. The note essentially reads “We’re out. It’s been real but we’re going to get gone before it gets too real, know what I’m saying? Don’t forget, go find your
fellow victims patsies suckers witnesses. PEACE!” Everyone is understandably upset, seeing as how they thought they were all friends.
The rest of the Cullens, however, go about with the plan, splitting up to meet up with their friends as best as they are able, and leave Edward and Bella in Forks to greet the
fellow victims patsies suckers witnesses as they arrive and fill them in on Renesmee’s true nature.
We get some info on some of the other members of the Volturi’s guard, such as Alec and his ability to completely shut off your senses, and then we get out first scene of Edward and Bella convincing visitors (in this case the Alaskan sparklepires) that Renesmee is still living if not completely human. This pretty much goes well without any misunderstandings or real difficulty (I mean, it’s not hard to disprove the immortal child accusation due to Renesmee’s heart beating) which meant that any drama or possible conflict in this scene was going to be minimal; if the characters are rational then they’d understand and be on the Cullens’ side. Which makes for a boring story.
We get some back history on some of the Alaskan vampires, particularly Eleazar who used to be with the Volturi, Bella unsuccessfully tries to get Edward to train her how to fight (because it’s too painful to think of her fighting, which I assume would be less painful than her standing around unable to defend herself but who knows what happens inside Edward’s head), and more visitors show up.
The thing that gets me is that there is never any real issue with showing these vampires Renesmee. The worst reaction we get is Amun, the leader of an Egyptian coven, who saw her and then wanted no part in the shenanigans (but was later convinced to stay by a member of his group). No one sides with the Volturi, no one flips out and leaves. The conversations are, when you get down to it, pretty much simply and easily done. Boring.
Speaking of boring, we also learn that the reason why Bella is able to block sparklepire abilities used on her is that she is a special sparklepire too and that her gift is called a “shield”, which nullifies certain abilities that have to do with her mind (but, oddly enough, not her emotions). With practice she’s able to project this ability to other people. You can probably see what’s coming later at this point.
So, the Cullens (minus Alice and Jasper) return and bring with them covens from all over the world. They spend a month working together to get the story straight, those who intend to fight practice, and Bella
works on her ability to be the special savior of the day finds a friend of Jasper’s to get false documents made for Jacob and Renesmee so they can hide in the event the Cullens are wiped out root and branch.
The most interesting thing to come out of all of this, IMO, was the addition of two pieces of Meyer supernatural lore: the first being the Romanians, one of whom is, I’m sure you’ll be shocked, named Vladimir. Yes, that Vladimir. It seems that before the Volturi the Romanians, who used to number more than just the two here, ruled sparklepire kind and were overthrown by the Italians, who the Romanians still hate. Vlad and Stefan are your typical Nosferatu types, all hate and what not and it was at least a little interesting to see some further backstory into sparklepire kind.
Eventually the Volturi show up with pomp, majesty, and terror. Lots and lots of terror.
Right from the beginning it’s clear that the whole thing is just pretense, that the Volturi come with the intent to, as Edward says, destroy and acquire, keep those sparklepires with special gifts the Volturi would find useful (i.e. Alice and Edward) and get rid of the rest (which was Eleazar said was Aro’s MO in previous purges), regardless of what’s really going on. The true intent of the Volturi showing up is evident in the way they go about their questioning. They frame the witnesses as a force brought together to challenge the Volturi’s rule, they go with the initial claim that Renesmee is an immortal child. When those two claims don’t work they switch tactics. They kill Irina in front of her sisters in an attempt to provoke a fight that way and then “defend” themselves. They try to insinuate that even if she’s not an immortal child, Renesmee is still a threat in that it is unknown if she can be trusted in the future to keep the
However, at no point did I really have any concern for the characters. For one, all of the Volturi’s lines of questioning, accusations and insinuations were all easily dealt with. She’s an immortal child? No she’s not, she’s still alive. You raised an army to try to fight us? No we didn’t, they’re just here to watch. She’s possibly untrustworthy down the line and maybe a threat? Let’s ask the sparklepire who can see the future if that’s the case (spoiler alert: Alice and Jasper come back and save the day). Well, she’s unique, right, and therefore an unknown, and who knows what’ll happen then. No, she’s not, we conveniently found this clutch of other human-sparklepire hybrids in the deep forest who can tell you all about their experiences. You’ve sided with the Children of the Moon (who, by description, sound more like the traditional ideas of werewolves than the La Push pack)! These aren’t those kinds of werewolves, they aren’t even really werewolves! (The Children of the Moon was the second bit of neat backstory we were fed in this section.)
Even when it looks like things are going to get physical there was no real threat. Bella blocks all the supernatural abilities the Volturi sparklepires throw at them and with the witnesses’ numbers, in addition to the two large packs of werewolves at their back, the Volturi are nervous about getting into a fight they can’t win without suffering (possibly large) losses on their side even if they do end up the victors. The whole thing ends with them pretty much slinking back to Italy looking worse in the eyes of their subjects for the attempt.
Alice and Jasper didn’t really abandon their family, they just had to make them think that so they could be free to go hunt down the other human-sparklepire hybrids, who, of course, were totally willing to help out strange and foreign sparklepires out of a potentially life-threatening situation.
The book ends as you might expect, happily ever after. Unfortunately. And there’s no real reason to go into any more detail than that.
My final thoughts?
This is a crap series. For its content it’s overly long. As I’ve said before here in the posts and on the podcast, so much of what is written could’ve been pared down and condensed in a way that would’ve distilled and improved the story. New Moon and Eclipse especially, with the common thread of Victoria’s threat, could have been combined and having the arch of Edward and Bella’s break-up, reconciliation, and engagement in one book would’ve worked well. Similarly, while there’s a lot of stuff I skipped over in these write-ups (like Renesmee’s first Christmas) a lot of the details in Breaking Dawn just didn’t need to be there for the story to work; it’s just filler to tack on more word count.
But it’s also a crap series in the way it handles conflict. James and Victoria felt like the biggest threats but, when it came down to it, the only one that really seemed like a true danger was James for his trickery and when he got Bella alone. Not once did I really feel like Bella was in actual danger (from anyone but herself) at any other point in the other three books after Twilight. Victoria’s attack, even her solo mission to hunt down Bella, didn’t feel that threatening because not only were the Cullens/werewolves always confidant of their ability, it was written in such a way that practically stated “Yes, new sparklepires are very strong and quick but they’re stupid so we win”. And then there were the Volturi in this book but I’ve already spoken to that.
The story, in so many other ways, was boring. If it wasn’t an emotional/interpersonal conflict then the resolution of it was usually handled off screen and when it was an emotional/interpersonal conflict, we had to sit through that conflict three or four times before it was resolved. Characters didn’t really fundamentally grow or change when you get down to it; there were a few exceptions, one of which is Edward not being such a jerk (Jacob, while nicer, is arguably just as inconsiderate and thoughtless as he was in Eclispe), but by and large the main characters are still the same people, they’ve just stopped hiding who those people are.
Was there anything that I liked? As Tyler said on Your Book is Why Daddy Drinks, the backstory and history of the universe Meyer created was the most interesting, both the stories about the werewolf pack’s history and some of the peeks into sparklepire society’s past.
Who did I dislike the most? Bella. Always Bella. For so, so many reasons I think I’ve expressed at this point.
Would I recommend this series? No, not in any way shape or form. There are better vampire stories for people who want them, better YA series for people who want them, better books about young love out there for people who want them, all of which, I’d hope, would be better written in a technical sense. I’d recommend finding those instead.
And, finally, with great relish, we reach the end.
Now to write about other bad books.