Format: Hardcover, 629pp
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
I remember the first time I saw a copy of Twilight at the bookstore. I picked it up and read the jacket but set it down. I ended up walking to the counter with some other book that had caught my eye. But I got home and I realized that I had made a mistake; I should have bought Twilight. It haunted me, there is no other way to describe the feeling and I went to sleep that night thinking about it. The next day I went out and bought a copy.
I didn’t read it right away. It sat on my bedside, waiting. I knew that as soon as I cracked the spine I would not be able to put it down until I had finished. And I was right. Once I finally did pick it up I couldn’t put it down. I was glued to the story of a high school girl, Bella, falling in love with a vampire, Edward. It sounds so simple, diluted into one line like that - but it wasn’t.
The story continued with New Moon, and Stephenie Meyer introduced a werewolf, Jacob -- a childhood friend of Bella‘s — into the equation. The simple romance of before had been replaced with something much darker. Edward was absent for most of the book and whereas before Stephenie Meyer had shown us a sweet first love she now showed us the first broken heart. The action from before was there. Bella was still facing a danger from Twilight in the form of a vindictive vampire by the name of Victoria, a threat that follows her into Eclipse.
Which picks up with the final months before Bella’s high school graduation. We are reminded of Carlisle’s promise to turn Bella into a vampire after the big event. Bella does not only want this transformation in order to stay with Edward forever, but must become a vampire because if she isn't Bella faces death at the hands of the Volturi, the ruling group of vampires from Italy. Edward of course is still against her changing; desperate for her to have as normal a human life as possible, he promises to protect her at whatever cost.
Bella also finally forgives Jacob for telling her dad about her motorcycle, something he did in New Moon. She tries to bring together Edward and Jacob — mortal enemies and the two most important people in her life — and in the end they form a sort of truce. Bella gets to spend time down in La Push with Jacob and the rest of the pack. But Jacob isn’t willing just to be Bella’s friend and chooses to fight to make her realize that deep down she loves him just as much as he loves her.
Meanwhile, in Seattle there has been a rash of unexplainable murders that soon the Cullen family links with vampire activity. As the murder toll goes higher, the Volturi are more likely to make the trip from Italy to investigate - and while they are there check up on Bella as well. But the situation suddenly changes when Bella realizes that the activity in Seattle is linked to her.
In the end Bella must make choices about who she is and who she loves, and with what sacrifices can she make and still live with herself. The tension flows through the book and in the end bursts with both a physical and emotional battle.
One of the things I really enjoyed about Eclipse is the background of the Cullen family. We find out about both Rosalie’s and Jasper’s pasts. The history that formed them and their reactions towards Bella become clear and the characters much more solid because of this knowledge. I think that is part of the appeal of these books - the fact that you do become so wrapped up in the characters, that they touch places deep inside yourself. It isn’t just Bella and Edward that capture your attention but Charlie, Bella’s dad, Jacob, Alice, and the rest.
Stephenie Meyer is so good at painting the emotional image. Not only are you living Bella’s heartbreak - but your own, too. So good at putting into words the fuzzy over powering feeling of that first heartbreak, and of the second, that you are left breathless in the wake of its passing. It is gripping fiction, and Meyer is much more than just a young adult author; she draws from her reader such an emotional reaction, writes so fluidly and propels the reader forward so effortlessly, she truly is a great author for any age range.
I hit a wide array of emotions while reading Eclipse and once I closed the book I felt emotionally exhausted. When you pick up Twilight, New Moon — and now Eclipse — you must be prepared for the emotional rollercoaster ride of not only being a teenager but a person, with all the thrilling highs and depressing lows that fill everyday life. So, full of trepidation, I’m waiting for the next book and wondering what the future holds for Bella and Edward.