Late because anybody who REALLY cares has already read and/or reviewed it.
I finished it yesterday. And, just like the previous three, I finished it in roughly two days. In other words, even the volumes I haven't been crazy about, I just can't put down.
My first general impression was that, of the four, this one was the best written. I really liked the Jacob chapters, particularly since Bella was in her own personal hell during that portion of the book. I especially liked Jacob's chapter titles. Very snarky. I also like how she resolved the Jacob-Edward-Bella love triangle. I think I saw it coming as well, despite Meyer's best efforts to divert her readers with Jacob getting closer to Leah and Bella's visions of a boy baby. Her description of how Jacob felt about the baby as he imprinted was quite tender. Another great descriptive moment was the birth. I felt completely sick afterward and had that iron-metallic blood taste in my mouth. Very vivid: it made regular childbirth seem like a piece of cake. The third portion of writing really worth mentioning, in my mind, was Bella's transformation, particularly that first day. I've never really thought about what a resurrected body might feel like, but Meyer's descriptions make that perfect, immortal body sound wonderful. I mean, other than the burning thirst for human blood.
I really liked that there was a specific purpose for making Bella a vampire. Even at the end of the third book, I couldn't believe it was actually going to happen. I was still holding out for Edward to become human--even he says at the first of this last volume that he wishes there was a way for that very outcome. She'd made up so many other myths I thought this would work too. The whole baby-thing was a nice twist and she redeemed Bella's annoying attitude toward marriage and motherhood very well. I thought the other books really bagged on both pretty thoroughly.
Bella's instantaneous bond to her child was a lot like how I felt after having #2. I could see that, as much as she loved Edward, much of her focus re-aligned the baby's welfare. I thought that the baby's gift was particularly sweet. How often have your own children touched your face in that tender way before they could talk as a way of communicating with you? What pictures would they show us if they could? Cool stuff.
I was pleasantly surprised with how well she handled the whole sex thing. She slightly backed off from physical details (I think the word "marble" was only mentioned a few times) She gave just enough for it to be definitely a romance novel, but not enough to be totally tacky or disgusting. Maybe the physical-ness of their relationship simply bothered me less because they were actually married? Still, I have to stand by the fact that I wouldn't want my teenage daughter reading these unless she was closer to Bella's age than middle school.
With all that I liked, however, I did not like the end. As usual, Meyer spends way too much time in conversation. (Don't even get me started on the shmoopy I-love-you-more war right after their first night of wedded bruising, I mean bliss.) She builds some really great suspense for the big vamp war and then. . . . nothing. By avoiding the war she acutally left a lot of characters around for another book even though she says that she is done. Everything got sewn up a little bit too neatly for my taste. Bella's life turned out, in the end, absolutely perfect. Nobody that she ever loved even got a scratch, or I guess a nibble in this case. Enemies vanquished. A perfect, beautiful and gifted child that she never has to diaper, rock half the night, bribe to behave or watch melt down at Target during lunch time. Money, gobs and gobs of money coupled with an adoring husband who never has to work. The most gorgeous husband and generous lover a woman ever was blessed with. Latent magic powers that can bless anyone she cares to help. A best friend who didn't rip her lovely throat out even though she was cruel beyond cruel to him. Perfect, never-ending beauty . . . .
Let's just say that as each book progressed, particularly this one, I had more and more trouble identifying with Bella. She is, well, a goddess and Meyer's readers are well, mortals. Except for Meyer herself whose best-selling writing has now made her immortal.
Any suggestions about the meaning of the book jacket? I found pictures of two alternatives as well:
I started posting my not-best-selling writing today.