Thursday, May 24, 2012

Okay, So Enough with Vampires Already

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: an eclipse novella
Stephenie Meyer
178 pages

I promise, for those readers who are sick of reading about vampires, this will be the last post about them for quite awhile. For those of you who are enjoying the last month of paranormal posting, well, you just have to wait until November when we can revisit them again. The release for the movie Breaking Dawn: Part 2 is scheduled to be November 16th. After this date, I can finally write a The Movies vs. The Books review.

The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner is a short story whose main character is a newborn vampire who appeared in Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse. In Eclipse the reader was only given a glimpse of Bree, as they read the final moments of her second life. So even though we know how her story ends, this novella gives the reader a look into the more wild side of the vampire world.

Not only will the reader learn more about Bree, but the stories behind Riley, and Victoria as well.

The story is told through the eyes of Bree Tanner, a vampire with the uncontrollable thirst for human blood. She and other newborns are part of the secret army created by Victoria. This story only interlaces with Bella and Edward's in the final scenes. She speaks of them at one point as: "The vampire had both his arms around the human girl, and she had both hands pressed to his chest. She didn't look frightened of him at all. I had tried to wrap my head around the idea of a coven with a pet human...if she'd been a vampire, I would have guessed they were together."

Any Twilight fan who is still craving a little more vampire action, will find this short story quite satisfying. It will definitely quench your thirst.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Making Connections...Continued

As I promised, this post will continue to analyze the themes behind The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. I completed the series about a week ago, so I can now think about the themes in Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.

Again, please take caution when reading this post if you have not completed the books below. *Spoilers included*

Eclipse and Robert Frost
~ Fire and Ice ~
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

I instantly fell in love with this poem after I read it. And I can totally see why Meyer chose this to get the reader thinking at the beginning of the book.

Meyer took this poem, and practically created two characters out of it. Jacob Black, Bella's werewolf friend whose skin is hot, fits the role of "fire" and Edward Cullen, Bella's vampire boyfriend who can easily turn his body as hard as stone, and skin is cold, takes on the part of "ice".

In the end of the book, Bella agrees to marry Edward, therefore choosing ice over fire. The line "but if I had to perish twice" comes into play in the sense that Bella decides to leave her human life behind, in order to become a vampire and stay with Edward forever. Therefore, she has lived two lives or "perish[ed] twice".

Breaking Dawn and Famous Works of Literature

Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.
Edna St. Vincent Millay

This poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay appears as the opening to Book One of Breaking Dawn. The first connection the reader should make is the last line of the poem. Edward, who became an immortal vampire at the age of 17, is frozen as a child forever. When Bella becomes a vampire in the third part of the book, she also directly relates to the line "Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies."

On a more indirect note, Edward and Bella's child Renesmee is half human, half vampire. In that case, she grew up very quickly, as she was only a few weeks old, and already walking. Like her parents, she is also immortal, but only after she is fully grown.

And yet, to say the truth,
reason and love keep little company together nowadays.
William Shakespeare
A Midsummer's Night's Dream
Act III, Scene i

This quote from A Midsummer's Night's Dream heads off Jacob's section of the fourth and final Twilight book.

When Jacob comes to see Bella at the Cullen's house, she is always so excited to see him, although she is already married to Edward. Jacob explains that this reaction only makes it harder for him to forget about her and accept the fact that she has chosen someone else. He knows he needs to stay away (his reason or common sense tells him so) but his love is too strong for her. 

Personal affection is a luxury you can have only after
all your enemies are eliminated. Until then, everyone
you love is a hostage, sapping your courage
and corrupting your judgement.
Orson Scott Card

This section of Card's Empire is found upon turning to the first page of Book Three. The reader will find a direct connection between this quote and the last few pages of the book. After escaping the Voulturi, Bella, Edward and Renesmee can now live a "happily ever after" in their cottage for all of eternity.

Until they escaped the Voulturi, they were all in danger or a "hostage" as Card likes to put it. Throughout the entire series, Bella often told the reader that Edward was the best kind of distraction. She said that in kissing him, she forgot everything, even her own name. In a sense, Edward was "sapping [her] courage and corrupting [her] judgement."

Have more thoughts on the themes and connections between the Twilight books? Post your comments below!
To read my thoughts on the first two books click here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The End

Breaking Dawn
Stephenie Meyer
754 pages

I didn't realize I was crying until it was time to say the binding words.

"I do," I managed to choke out in a nearly unintelligible whisper, blinking my eyes so I could see his face.

"I do," he vowed.

And then Edward's hands were reaching up to cradle my face, carefully, as if it were as delicate as the white pearls swaying above our heads. He bent his head toward mine , and I stretched up on the tips of my toes  - bouquet and all - around his neck.

He kissed me tenderly, adoringly; I forgot the crowd, the place, the time, the reason... only remembering that he loved me, that he wanted me, that I was his.

These words from the wedding scene were probably the most anticipated by the entranced readers of Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse. Stephenie Meyer delivered them perfectly with poise and drama.

Breaking Dawn is broken up into three separate "books". Book One is written from Bella's perspective, Two from Jacob's (which I personally did not care for), and Three back to Bella's. Each "book" begins with a brief preface which is an introduction to a scene later in the story, but the reader does not know that. This is quite an effective way to draw the reader in, without giving the plot away.

Bella changes drastically throughout this novel. Not only in the way readers who have read the first three books expect, but in an emotional and mental way as well. She grows up, yet in an ironic way.

Unlike the previous books in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn had several climatic scenes, giving the story more dimension. That is one of the reasons I liked this book the best. Another reason this was my favorite, was simply the depth of Bella's emotions in this book. She comes alive, in ways not guessed at by the reader.

I believe readers will find the ending to this finale quite satisfying. It is completely a finished piece, with no unanswered questions. The last sentence truly will leave the reader sighing at its beauty. The ending does not hint at a fifth book, which does sadden me, but then again, every good story must end at some point.

Breaking Dawn is so captivating, so enthralling, with its suspenseful plot, and romantic content; Meyer has again crafted a novel that will leave readers truly breathless.

To read my reviews of the other books in The Twilight Saga click on the links below.
New Moon

To read my analysis on the themes of the first two books click on the link below.
Making Connections

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Making Connections

In reading The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, I'm finding the books have individual themes much deeper than I originally thought. I figured I would post my thoughts and discoveries here.

This post is with regards to the first two books. The last two will be discussed in a post to follow at a later date. I also would not suggest reading this post unless you have read both books. *Spoilers are included*

Twilight and The Garden of Eden
"But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil,
thou shalt not eat of it:
for in the day that thou eatest thereof
thou shalt surely die."

Genesis 2:17

This is the quote found upon turning to page one in the book. Right away, you notice it connects with the cover of the book, two pale, out-stretched hands holding an apple, but you might not understand the quote's true meaning until after completing the entire series. I surely didn't.
The story of The Garden of Eden, for those with a fuzzy memory, is the beginning of life on Earth. Adam and Eve, are the first man and women, and are told to pick their fruit off of any tree but the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. A snake persuades them to pick an apple off of this tree, and thus sin is exposed to the future generations on Earth.

Throughout the book, and the entire series for that matter, Edward is often talking about right and wrong, about what he wants, and what is moral. Whether you realize it or not as you read, this directly relates to the story from the Bible. Other connections I made were that the meadow in which Bella and Edward hiked to was described to sound just like a garden - "meadow [that] was small, perfectly round, and filled with wildflowers". The largest, and most profound connection in both stories though is temptation. As Edward is a vampire, the more time he spends with Bella, the more he wants to drink her blood. Bella answers that temptation with wanting to be with him more and more, therefore putting herself at risk for death.

New Moon and Romeo and Juliet
"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which, as they kiss, consume."
Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene VI

Upon turning to page one of this book, you will find this quote from the famous Shakespearean tragedy. I can honestly say they I do not fully understand what is being said here, but I do have a clear idea of how this play relates to the novel New Moon.

Romeo and Juliet takes place in Verona, Italy. The play starts out with a brawl between Montague and Capulet, before it is broken up by the Prince of Verona. Count Paris then asks Capulet for his daughter, Juliet's, hand in marriage. Capulet asks Paris to wait just two years, as his daughter is only thirteen, but invites him to the Capulet Ball later that evening. At the ball, Juliet meets Romeo, and they instantly fall in love, and are married secretly the next day. At the wedding, Juliet's cousin Tybalt is present, and after an argument, Romeo slays him. After Romeo is exiled from Verona for his crime, Juliet is in such a state of depression, she asks Friar Laurence for a drug to put her into a "death like-coma". When Romeo returns, he believes she is dead, and kills himself with poison. Juliet finally wakes up, and when she finds her true love dead, she kills herself in order to join him.

As you can see, this is not a happy ending at all, and although the ending to New Moon is just the opposite, the two stories do have some parallels. For example, when Bella and Edward watch the 1960s movie version of Romeo and Juliet Edward explains to her that he doesn't have much patience for Romeo. He criticises him for killing Juliet's cousin on their wedding day. On page 17, he says “Could he have destroyed his own happiness any more thoroughly?” After a comment on Romeo's own death, a conversation is started about the suicides of vampires and Edward explains how close he was to committing his own after Bella almost died at the end of book one. Later in the book, after Edward leaves her, Bella goes cliff jumping with her friend Jacob, which whom she once compares to Paris. After seeing this, Edward believes she has committed suicide, and therefore heads to the Volteri in Italy in order to die as well. In the end, the most dramatic scene is when Bella runs across the Italian plaza during the St. Marcus Day celebration to save him.

In these brief summaries of both books, one can clearly see the similarities in love, passion, and dedication they both share.

After writing this, I discovered two articles that echo what I've said here. Check them out to read more about the themes in these books:
Theme of New Moon