The short review:
If you'd like to read something from the Twilight
universe so you can feel culturally literate and cool, read online summaries of the first three books so you have a sense of what's going on, and then read this one.The longer review:
If you hadn't read the first three books, you'd never know from reading this one that Edward routinely treated Bella like an idiot (see my previous reviews and, oh, probably the entire freakin' Internet).
You'd certainly never know that Bella put up with being stalked, threatened, manipulated, controlled, and gaslighted because the alternative would be – oh, noes! – speaking up for herself.
Bella in this last Twilight
novel tells Edward to stop ruining her good time on their honeymoon when he tries to pull his usual "But I'm bad
for you, Bella" nonsense. "We're married and I want a sex life and it's called a honeymoon, so shut up and get over here, already," she (more or less) replies. And he does. (Eventually. There's still some brooding, but waaay
less than there would have been if Bella hadn't told him to put a sock in it.)
Bella makes her own decisions about her own body when Edward tries to arrange for her to have an abortion without even telling her.
Either he takes it as a given that she'll go along with whatever he says, or he doesn't care what she thinks – this is going to happen. Except it isn't. She rallies her troops and stands up to him when she's not even strong enough to literally physically stand up.
She eats her cake and has it, too (which is how the saying used to go, back when it made sense) by getting to have a baby with the vampire she loves and
getting to become a vampire herself. And thanks to how things work in this universe, she gets to be the baddest-ass vampire on the block – at least for a while.
Edward stops being such a condescending berk and treats her with respect, admiration, and utter trust. He has faith in her strength and is proud of her abilities. (Where the hell was all this good behavior back when she was human? Maybe it's not that these books are sexist so much as Edward is racist. Or speciesist. Or deadist. Whatever you'd call it.)
I liked that Bella got to have a lot of fun being powerful for once. She also enjoys her new supernatural good looks without letting them go to her head.
A friend of mine warned me that the climax of this book is a bit of a cock-tease (my words, not hers), and the surprise at the very very
end was a huge disappointment to her. I see her point, but I was actually fine with all of it. I even kind of liked the surprise, since I thought it reinforced the idea of Bella being in control. Conclusion:
This book was on top of my lunchtime reading material stack, and it didn't get demoted or shuffled down once. I found it an engaging and enjoyable read, and if the previous novels had been like this one, I'd have liked them just fine, even with the love triangle and insta-love. I mean, they wouldn't have been my Most Favoritest Books Of All Time Ever, but they wouldn't have made me scream.
So. There. I read all the Twilight
Now I just have to survive Fifty Shades of Grey
, and then I can finally read that stupid Chuck Palahniuk book and explain all the references to my friend.