Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Eclipse" by Stephenie Meyer

I've never been so reluctant to read a book in all my life! I loved "Twilight" and "New Moon", the first two books in this Young Adult series by Meyer, a star-crossed romance between Bella, a human teenage girl, and Edward, a hundred+ year old vampire. Granted, it's a tale that's been told before, but never quite like this. First, Edward's "family" of vampires are vegetarians of a sort - they only drink from animals, never from people. Second, they can and do go out in the sunlight, just not very often, and not because it will burn them. In a move that puts a complete spin on the old sunlight myth, Meyer has her vamps sparkle in sunshine, literally becoming so bright they are almost blinding. That is why they avoid the daylight; it would be much too hard to hide what they are.

Now comes the third volume, "Eclipse", furthering the tale. I was very hesitant for different reasons, but mostly because I did like the other two books so much. Let's face it, when an author writes a series, there comes a time when things start to head downhill, either in the quality of the writing or in the plot line itself. I blame most of my issues on a certain author who is still writing about a certain vampire hunter, one who totally went off the rails about 3 books ago into what I consider soft porn territory. That whole fiasco has tainted my enthusiasm somewhat for the series-type writing, especially when it's a series that I've been enjoying. I finally finished this book last night after having it for almost 6 weeks, something that rarely happens.

Were my fears justified? Not in the least. BUT... I find myself completely torn where the characters are concerned. I was so wrapped up in the love story of Bella and Edward that her friend Jacob, a werewolf and another possible suitor, snuck up on me as much as he did Bella. By the end of the book, I found my loyalties had shifted - I now want Bella to recognize that Edward might not be the best option for her. I really have come to prefer Jake, and I'm not entirely sure why. That's good though because it puts me pretty much right where Bella finds herself, in love with two different men, both of which would be good choices.

The story is great for the YA crowd as well as us hopelessly romantic adults. There's no sex in any of these books, but there is plenty of sexual tension. There's danger, too, in the form of other vampires, ones that don't practice the sort of dietary restrictions that the Cullens do. There's teen angst, but it's not written in such a way that it feels childish. Anyone should be able to relate to Bella's wanting to please her divorced parents, to her not wanting to hurt the ones she loves. Simply put, Stephenie Meyer has a hit series on her hands because she has written the type of story that appeals to all ages, a timeless love story. Start with "Twilight" and get caught up in Bella's world, too.

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