Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (2007)

Book review: Twilight #3: Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown, 2007)

eclipseReaders captivated by Twilight and New Moon will eagerly devour Eclipse, the much anticipated third book in Stephenie Meyer’s riveting vampire love saga.

As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob — knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf.

The difficulty of writing this review now that it’s been a few months since I finished it, is that memory has become a bit iffy in recalling any details. Normally, this isn’t much of a problem, but considering I’ve now both read the book and seen the film and still have difficulty saying what it’s about … Erm, well, let’s just say that as far as being memorable goes … this isn’t it.

Snarky spoilers ahoy.

In Eclipse, the third book of the Twilight saga (which is inspired by Wuthering Heights, oh yay), Bella Swan broods between her TWU WUV for Edward the Gorgeous Awesome Sparkly Vampire and her attraction to Jacob the Hunky Native American Boy-Next-Door Werewolf. Sparkles has asked her to marry him, and Bella is freaking out about this. Marriage, it would seem, scares her more than becoming an undead. Good to know.

Meanwhile, people are apparently murdered by the bucketload up in Seattle, which of course has nothing to do with Bella whatsoever. Nor has the breaking into her house by someone unfamiliar, because the two couldn’t possibly be related. OR COULD THEY?

Of course they could. They are. It just takes Bella 70% through the book to realise it, because apparently, she’s thick as shit. Good to know. Not that it should come as any sort of surprise after the first two books.

Oh, and because Team Sparkles and Team Jacob have a common goal – protecting Bella – they find themselves in a position neither wanted: having to set their differences aside and join forces. Team Bella is go.

On the plus side, let’s note that it’s nice to finally get some background on a few of the other characters. On the negative side … the book is just so incredibly bland. And when it isn’t bland, it’s full of nasty people who any girl would do best to run the hell away from. But instead, naww, their douchebaggery is charming and mean they wuv her. Awww. But which man should Bella choose?

Either way, she’s not going to lift a finger to try and help the situation. Bella has things happen to her, she doesn’t get involved herself. Why should she get to kick some butt and be a good role-model for young girls when she can just sit around and play Damsel in Distress until her knights in shining flesh/fur can save the day?

Anyway, I’m already bored by talking about the book, so let’s move on to commenting on specific passages instead, highlighted when reading:

“You know it’s out of the question for you to be around a werewolf unprotected, Bella.”

Wear a condom! Or at least start questioning your boyfriend when he tells you which friends you can hang out with or not. Not like those werewolves are half as dangerous to her as his bloody family is. The werewolves don’t attack people, unlike vampires have been known to do throughout the series.

“Photographic memory or not, I don’t understand why you like [Wuthering Heights]. The characters are ghastly people who ruin each others’ lives. I don’t know how Heathcliff and Cathy ended up being ranked with couples like Romeo and Juliet or Eliabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. It isn’t a love story, it’s a hate story.”

For once, I actually agree with Sparkles, as much as it pains me to admit it.

“I hope you have better sense than that – to fall in love with someone so … malignant.”
“It’s a bit late for me to worry about who I fall in love with,” I pointed out. “But even without the warning, I seem to have managed fairly well.”
He laughed quietly. “I’m glad you think so.”
“Well, I hope you’re smart enough to stay away from someone so selfish. Catherine is really the source of all the trouble, not Heathcliff.”

Can’t remember if Bella is talking to Jacob or Sparkles here, but that last line is a killer. Yes, Cathy is selfish and a source of trouble, but it’s not as if Heathcliff didn’t help. And also, Cathy and Heathcliff both had personalities. These characters do not.

“Okay,” he challenged acidly. // the road that shimmered wetly in the sun.

Really? How do you manage to challenge someone acidly by using the word “okay” anyhow? And a phrase that describes a road as “shimmered wetly” makes me die a little inside.

“Alice, don’t you think this is just a little bit controlling? Just a tiny but psychotic, maybe?” (Bella, I think)

You can spot Alice being both controlling and psychotic but not your boyfriend? Good for you, Bella. Good for you.

He said my eyes were like violets, and then those started showing up alongside the roses.

The what now? That sentence doesn’t even make sense.

“He told me what he was, what I was becoming. I didn’t believe him. He apologized every time I screamed.” (Rosalie)

Oh yeah, the Cullens are charming people. I wish I had a daughter so I could forbid her to marry one. I mean, what with all the turning people into vampires to live forever with mental scars from vicious rape attacks … instead of just letting them die and rest in peace. You need to sort out your priorities, as Ron Weasley would say.

He made a noise in the back of his throat. “Is he your warden, now, too? You know, I saw this story on the news last week about controlling, abusive teenage relationships and -“

Yeah, because you’re now the authority on healthy, teenage relationships, Jacob? Asshole.

“I’m discovering ways that I can sympathise with Heathcliff in ways I didn’t think possible before.”

That’s not exactly a good thing …

“I don’t think you realize how much easier it will be for me, Bella,” he said, the echo of his humor still there in his voice, “when I don’t have to concentrate all the time on not killing you.”

Why hello there, Mr. Psychopath! How nice of you to threaten to murder your girlfriend like that. Bitch had better keep the hell in line now, if she knows what’s good for her.

“You kissed me back.” (…)
“I did not.”
“I think I can tell the difference.”
“Obviously you can’t – that was not kissing back, that was trying to get you the hell off me, you idiot.”

Yup, Jacob actually assaults Bella sexually in this book. “Oh but it’s just a kiss, that’s not a sexual assault!” you might say. No, it’s a sexual act, and it’s done against her will. She says no, he doesn’t listen and does it anyway. If it hadn’t just been a kiss, but actual intercourse, that’s a rape right there. And to think I previuosly thought Jacob was the more sympathetic of Bella’s two love interests.

“Listen, Alice, don’t you see? It’s the same! The one who broke in and stole my things, and the new vampires in Seattle. They’re together!” (…) “And he didn’t take my things to prove he’d found me. He stole my scent … so that others could find me.”

Yup, took Bella 70% of the book before she realised what was blatantly obvious  for the rest of us right when it originally happened. Or a bit before. If you didn’t get it before Bella did … then … you probably think Twilight is an awesome series. Good for you.

The two trees at the entry weren’t the only ones lit. Every twenty feet or so, another shining beacon guided us toward the big white house. All the way – all three miles of the way.

Three miles worth of lit-up trees? Wouldn’t that require enough power to black out half the town, not to mention a crapload worth of cables? Sorry, but knowing how awkward it is to put up lights in a Christmas tree doesn’t make me believe vampires have it much easier donning every bloody tree along a three-mile (roughly 4.8 km) stretch of road, even if they can do it a lot quicker. You just botched your Reality check, didn’t you?

“Charlie will be home in fifteen minutes, and if you look this ragged he’s not going to want to let you out again.”
Wow, I’d really lost the whole day. It felt like such a waste. I was glad I wouldn’t always have to squander my time with sleeping.
I was entirely presentable when Charlie got home – fully dressed, hair decent, and in the kitchen putting his dinner on the table.

Right. 1: She sleeps an entire day, even though she had a good night’s sleep in the tent the night before, snuggled up to Mr. Radiator. (Personally, if I had to choose between those two, I would have gone with Jacob just because of the heat he radiates. I get cold very easily.) 2: Yeah, re-enacting Brokeback Mountain up there with your boyfriends and nearly freezing to death sure ain’t no excuse for not putting food on her daddy-o’s table in time for his getting home from work. Let’s all party like it’s 1955!

“But I don’t count that as a kiss, Jacob. I think of it more as an assault.”

THAT’S BECAUSE HE FORCED HIMSELF ON YOU, YOU MUPPET!!

“Sometimes I think you like me better as a wolf.”

We all do, Jacob, we all do. You can’t speak when you’re a wolf, which means as a wolf, you’re less of a douche. (Also, wolves are cute and fluffy.)

“How could anyone not be aware of you physically, Jacob?” I demanded. “You’re an enormous monster who refuses to respect anyone else’s personal space.”

Especially yours, Bella. And the second sentence should read, “You have abs made of awesome and you keep flashing them, makin’ me kinda hot under the collar there, woah boy.” Because she totally ogles that sixpack every chance she gets.

I grabbed the canteen hanging beside the tent door and shook it. It sloshed wetly

Again, I die a little inside. I mean, seriously, if a canteen sloshes, that’s enough of a description. Sloshing means there’s a liquid inside, or it can’t make a sloshing sound. Liquid is wet, we already know this. It’s the first thing we ever learn about water. WHEN WE’RE BABIES. If the canteen was empty, it wouldn’t make a sound, let alone a sloshing one. Easy on them adverbs there, Meyer.

“I won’t let you claim all the blame here, Bella. Or all the glory either. I know how to redeem myself.”
“What are you talking about?” I demanded. The sudden, frenzied light in his eyes frightened me.
He glanced up at the sun and then smiled at me.
“There’s a pretty serious fight brewing down there. I don’t think it will be that difficult to take myself out of the picture.”

Oh, what charming young men Bella has the hots for! Here’s Jacob, threatening to kill himself if she doesn’t choose him over Sparkles. Again, any sane woman should run the other way. One’s a psychopath threatening to kill her at any time but he chooses not to, and the other one threatens to commit suicide by combat if she doesn’t choose him. And these are the books the young women of tomorrow grow up with? Bella is not a role-model, kids!

“First, because you are bizarrely moral for a vampire.”
He chuckled.
“All right, I’ll give you that. The cold is second. And thirdly … well, you do actually stink, love.”
He wrinkled his nose. I sighed.
“Fourthly” / Fifthly

What American actually uses the word “love” like that, even if they’re 100+ years old? It’s a British thing, and then it’s pronounced “luv”. I can only hope the whole thirdly/fourthly/fifthly was a joke, rather than being used seriously, because … I’m not even going to finish that sentence. You know what I mean.

“Bella I just” – he hesitated and then forced the words out – “I just beheaded and dismembered a sentient creature not twenty yards from you. That doesn’t bother you?”

To any normal person, it would. But no. She’s more bothered about her precious Sparkles being okay. Oh, and maybe her werewolf buddy, but that’s a big maybe. An engagement ring freaks her out more than a beheading and dismemberment, not to mention the prospect of becoming a vampire herself after graduation. I mean, she’s freaking out about marrying Sparkles because there’s so much she wants to do in her life and a marriage is so final, but … becoming a vampire isn’t a problem, and it’s apparently not final, dying and all. Umm, WTF? You can get divorced if you change your mind about the marriage. The only way to back out of being a vampire is to get killed. But, y’know, dying is apparently less abhorrent than divorcing. So yeah.

Also: In the first book, it was established that Bella can’t stand neither sight nor smell of blood. In fact, she becomes really nauseous and struggles not to pass out. But beheadings are bloodless, apparently. So yeah.

“Then Leah has to be an idiot trying to prove she’s as tough as the rest of us and I have to be the idiot who saves her.”

Because even a female werewolf can’t take care of herself, but has to rely on a man to save her hide. Yeah. Setting great examples for females everywhere, Meyer. Well done.

So, to summarise, Jacob turns out to be a potential rapist who threatens to kill himself if Bella won’t have him, and Sparkles needs to get married and uses the fact that he chooses not to kill her as an implicit threat to get her to do what he wants her to do. Twilight is awesome.

1.5 out of 5 snowstorms in June, because while it was forgettable drivel, at least it had a consistent threat of the Seattle vampires running through the whole book, as opposed to something added to the last fifty or so pages to give the characters some sense of danger. Like, oh, the previous two books.

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