Adventures in Reading

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
August 7, 2008, 9:57 am
Filed under: book reviews, fiction | Tags: , , , , , ,

A co-worker asked me to define my Stephenie Meyer experience up through the initial three books and the only way I could aptly describe it was by pointedly saying the series starts at a high point and proceeds to steeply decline. Meyer’s pumps Twilight full of teen angst and heartbreak that many people seem to relate with, but it has now been two additional novels and more than one thousand pages that she’s trying to string this out on.

Come on Meyer, I need more than that.

In Eclipse the reader delves into the drama of Bella’s love for both Edward (a vampire) and Jacob (a werewolf). Of course they’re arch-nemesis because of species but are now drawn into a selfish and long drawn out love triangle. Over these three books Bella has proven she is more than willing to alienate nearly everyone around her for her drug-like addiction of Edward. Eclipse is another book without a great deal of plot. Yes, Victoria reappears with a herd of newly turned vampires to kill Bella and you think this would be sensational but it’s not. In fact, it’s almost an afterthought tossed into the text. Once again Meyer produces a book highly dependent on pathos and one that barely responds to all of the questions produced in New Moon.

It’s also becoming more apparent that while Meyer is by no means a poor writer, her writing reads as stilted and she seems overly dependent on certain style techniques. For example, you’ll be hard-pressed to pages in her series not highly decorated with dashes. Often what Meyer is dashing off are unimportant asides that would be better suited for parentheses or commas, but the dashes help add qualities of emergency and excitement for the reader. However, I’m not sure if these aspects of the book would be as strong without them.

While I did not read Eclipse nearly as quickly as I read the previous two novels in the series (it actually took me about three days), I did still finish it and intend on reading the final book of the series Breaking Dawn. I confess my excitement is flagging. Despite this increasing lull in the books and Meyer’s exhausting abuse of emotions, I still admit I like it and found myself in an Edward versus Jacob (versus Mike) conversation at work. The series has started to dally into more philosophical themes of souls and existence as well as more commonplace issue such as sex, but I Meyer’s does not explore any of these issues to a great enough extent to compensate for what the books lack.

Perhaps my favorite part of Eclipse and what kept me going were Meyer’s references to Wuthering Heights. Now there is a real heart-throbbing book and that is well-written and with conviction.

What other bloggers have to say: Kay’s Shelf, American Bibliophile, The Ax For the Frozen Sea, In the Shadow of Mt. TBR, and Book Nut.

One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey

“…Champions were who you turned to when all was lost. Champions were the rescuers of the hopeless, the protectors of the innocent and, above all, the warriors no amount of money could buy.”

My curiosity was peeked with The Fairy Godmother and I quickly found myself scanning the library shelves to pick up the next title in Mercedes Lackey’s Five Hundred Kingdoms series One Good Knight. The second title of this series takes the reader into another of the Five Hundred Kingdoms to watch how The Tradition interacts with the inhabitants.

What is an academic princess supposed to do when dragons attack? Andromeda – also known as Andie – gets to experience this question when the kingdom of Acadia is attacked by a dragon. Resulting from the questionable motives of her mother Queen Cassiopeia, Andie is offered up as dragon fodder and must rely on the help of a mysterious Champion to save her and the kingdom.

I enjoyed One Good Knight as much as I enjoyed The Fairy Godmother. It was a fun read, an enjoyable re-exploration of various fairy tales, though the introduction of it was somewhat more transparent. Lackey does explore some interesting territory though with magical gender bias, a female Champion, and a lovesick dragon. These are more then compensation to make up for the weaker beginning.

It was interesting having a hero wearing glasses (or “oculars”) and desiring to keep her nose in a book. Lackey continues with a virgin princess emphasis (the Unicorn jokes are becoming slightly stale, but still funny in the same way that I can’t help occasionally laugh at Saturday Night Live when I tune in), but Andie is significantly different from the helpless or overly prepared oft seen alternatives.

However, once again I found myself scanning the last quarter or so of the book. From the two Lackey books I have read, she seems to favor and rely very much on a plot line that depends on the rising action and as a result the climax has too much to live up to and the epilogue is very much an easy way to escape a more well-constructed resolution. [1] Lackey is definitely an author where the journey is the meaningful and engaging aspect of the novel rather than the conclusion.

Overall, an okay and entertaining read for a rainy day. I did find this one reminiscent of Jane Gaskell’s The Serpent.

[1] (1) The introduction, (2) the rising action, (3) the climax, (4) and the epilogue.

My review of The Fairy Godmother.

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