Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Just a little more

There isn't too much left to discuss about Breaking Dawn. Sarah pretty much covered everything. :) I'm glad she was able to put her thoughts into words so well; she and I are pretty much on the same wavelength when it comes to things Twilight related. Saved me a lot of work. Here are just a few other thoughts rattling around in my head.

*I liked how so many of the characters matured in this book. Jacob and Bella were forced to change the most, but I really felt they came into their own. Bella became a wife, mother, and vampire – things that she really was meant to be. Jacob became the Alpha, what he was born to be, and imprinted. The centers of their worlds changed to be something more important.

*I loved that the wolves, Seth and Jacob in particular, and the Cullens began to look beyond what their “enemies” were and learned to see who they were. They let go of the hatred that had been taught them – not a hatred born from experience or certain events but one simply from tradition. Jacob began to see that Carlisle, and the rest of the Cullens as well, is truly good. Yes, there are bad vampires and the wolves need to protect the people, but being a vampire does not make them bad. It is their choices that determine whether they are good or bad. I was happy when Jacob could see that Carlisle and Esme were good, courteous, loyal, loving…And when he and Edward were able to put aside their previous dislike in order to protect their common loves, Bella and Renesmee, I inwardly cheered. (Thank goodness Renesmee took care of that messy love triangle!) Similarly, I was happy when Edward accepted Jacob as part of his family. When Edward called him “my son,” I burst into tears. (Not the first time the book made me cry, mind you. I’m an emotional reader.)

*I have to admit that at first I was among those who felt the end was slightly anti-climactic. Like Sarah, I was geared up for a physical fight but it never came. After I was able to think about, though, I realized that I really couldn’t have handled a physical fight. It would have meant so much loss. So even though I would have loved for Edward or Emmett to get a swipe at Demetri (don’t you think he deserved to get taken down a notch? Jane and Alec too?), I was happy that there the “hearing” did not escalate to physical violence. Luckily Bella was able to protect everyone when Jane and Alec were trying to play dirty by starting to fight early.

*Randomly, I loved that Charlie and Sue began seeing each other. Charlie deserves some happiness and companionship after loving Renee all these years, and Sue now has someone to lean on after Harry and help her with her kids. That leaves Billy out though; hopefully he and Charlie can patch up their relationship soon.

*Oh, Sarah and I discussed this, but for the rest of you who might have been confused like me - I wondered how Bella was able to drink the human blood for her baby. I mean, I know that mothers will do just about anything for their children, but I had trouble wrapping my head around Bella drinking blood, especially since before just the smell alone would make her so physically ill. Sarah reminded me that many women have changes in appetites and what they like or dislike to eat during pregnancy. We pretty much decided that this was why Bella went from getting sick at the smell of blood to liking the taste of it. (I've had three kids but the change in appetite thing didn't occur to me at all. I guess because I never had cravings for food or anything like that. I was just hungry and ate a lot. Of anything.)

All in all, I absolutely loved the book. Now I need to find a new obsession.

- Carly

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Book for August

Well, since no one but Carly responded when I asked what book we wanted to be reading for August (see here) ... besides Breaking Dawn, of course ... and I figured it's going to be a very busy month for pretty much everyone ... I've decided we are going to do Eragon. I'm reading it anyways and I'd love to have some people to discuss it with. So if you want to join in, then get your hands on Eragon ... if not, then take the month off and we'll find something else to read for next month, when everything might be a little calmer for everyone (here's to hoping, anyways). If anyone is reading this and thinking to yourself "hey, I don't want to read Eragon, but I really do want to read ____" then say something. I'm game for another book, if someone has something in mind. Cory & I are driving down to Boston and up to Maine in a few weeks, and I'm lucky enough that I can read in the car and not get sick ... so I'll be needing some reading material. Again, just leave a comment if you have a suggestion. Happy August!! :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Breaking Dawn - I'm in love!! Part 2

Yep lots of *spoilers* are found below:

I’ve finished the book a second time, giving me lots of time to “digest” everything. And I have spent lots of time on the fansites, reading what other people thought. There’s some people who didn’t like it, which baffles me. I thought it was perfect. The more I think about it, the more I love the book. So bare with me as I have some more thoughts on the book …

I felt the characters all progressed naturally. I loved how the characters grew - Bella became so much more mature in this book (her character developed from an infatuated teen to a loving mother and mature adult). Edward grew and embraced fatherhood – something he never dreamed possible. Even Jacob grew (more on him later …)

I also loved the few Edward and Bella bits in this. I was so happy they were finally married. I didn't think there was too much "honeymoon-y" parts in the book, or that there was too must “lust”. I thought it was perfect. Honestly, they just got married; of course they are going to "be together" a lot. They’ve never had that before, and that's part of being married. Those of us who follow the law of chastity should understand this more than anyone else. Sex is a really beautiful part of being married. That doesn’t make the book all about lust or un-romantic. I thought the book was still incredibly romantic. And I appreciated that all the sex stuff was very tastefully written. And I also loved that Bella realized that it was right for them to bind themselves together in every possible way before they had sex.

The love between Bella and Edward is beyond wonderful, but there's so much more to life than that. This may be difficult for some younger fans to comprehend right now. True, some of the focus was taken away from Bella and Edward. There were fewer moments between just the two of them; but their love was stronger than ever. Their little addition brought more happiness than they could have ever comprehended. Their relationship became more refined and mature, making it just that much stronger.

I’ve seen a lot of people talking about a lack of plot, but really these books are character driven; they don't really revolve around a certain plot, and that's one of the things I like about them.

People are saying that Breaking Dawn didn’t jive with the other 3 in the series. Her transformation was much too easy, etc. etc. From the very beginning it's been obvious that Bella is far from a normal human. Most humans are naturally avoidant of vampires; but rather than being repelled by a world beyond her own, she's drawn to it. It fascinates her. The only people she can seem to connect with on any deep level just aren't human. I think Bella was born to be a vampire. She says at one point that she feels that way. She never fit in anywhere because she hadn't found where she belonged. Everything falls into place when she takes on the form destiny intended for her. To put it simply, she really was always on a different wavelength than most people.

I was 99% sure she was going to transform into a vampire before I started Breaking Dawn … and I’m very glad she did. I didn't want to see her as a newborn because that would have to go on for at least a year, more time for Edward to spend protecting her and her being helpless (and I think we’ve all had enough of that). The fact that she was able to control herself was a good idea. Didn't Edward and the Cullens always find it odd that Bella was able to face their lifestyle, the Volturi and the supernatural world, without her brain exploding from stress? She was always able to survive the best considering the circumstances, and her new life would be no different.

There are people who actually loathe Nessie because she “takes away from Bella and Edward’s romance”. If anything, she adds to it. She's the most amazing kind of symbol of the love they have for each other.

Bella has always been selfless to an insane degree. This is apparent from the beginning when she sacrifices her own happiness for the sake of her mother's by moving to Forks. Is it so difficult so believe she would risk her life for her child's? Her seemingly sudden protective nature over the baby required little explanation. It's Bella's instinct to put another's life before her own. I also feel this protectiveness is natural given the circumstances. Nessie isn't just a stranger. A normal amount of time for her to form a connection isn't necessary. Nessie's her baby, her little nudger. She's already a part of her and a part of Edward. How could she not instantly love Edward's child?

Nessie's role actually made sense to me. Anyone remember Bella's lucid dreams? She always had them ... you know, it was hard to miss in all the previous books. Her love for Jacob, those dreams even, were all being channeled from Nessie. I loved how Bella had mentioned (in Eclipse, I think) that she felt a need to be a part of Jacob's life for some reason. And to think, she would be the reason for Jacob's eternal happiness all along ... just in a different way than he was thinking. So cool.

Speaking of Jacob – well, I said I always liked him, but he annoyed me, and I felt that he was in the way, blah, blah, blah. However, in this book I actually grew to love his character. The transition from Bella's point of view to his was flawless in my opinion, and I'm glad to have read through Bella's pregnancy from his POV rather than hers (she was suffering, no one understood her choice, she was going to fight for it, repeat for several chapters, you get the idea …) plus seeing the pregnancy through Jacob’s eyes was … well, icky. And perfect. I wanted a happy resolution for Jacob's pain (that didn’t involve him getting in the way of Bella and Edward). And we got that. Only we got so much more. We got ten whole chapters of Jacob's mind. With every snip, snip, snip of the imprinting Jacob finally became free. Free from his pain, his sorrow, his loneliness and now he has a purpose and a future. Call me a hopeless romantic – I don’t care! :)

Lots of people thought the ending was “anti-climactic.” Well, I won’t lie to you – I was definitely bracing for a fight, and freaking out the whole time (you can ask Cory if you don’t believe me). BUT when one didn’t happen, I wasn’t disappointed. Pat & I discussed (at length) what we thought the cover would mean (before the book was released). We thought it would all be about strategy. It’s a chess board with chess pieces … and when I think of chess, I think of a mental game. The point of chess is to play a mental game, designed to outthink and outmaneuver your opponent. I had all this in the back of my head when reading Breaking Dawn. I found the ending to be very climactic – because, in our opinion, there was a fight. It just wasn’t a physical fight – but man, there was a lot of mental fighting going on! And let’s face it … the books have always been about a mental fight – yes, there’s always been a physical component to the fight, but it’s always thought out meticulously first. So it makes perfect sense to me that the “big fight” we were all bracing for at the end of Breaking Dawn was a mental one. It was about strategy – Bella, Edward, Carlisle, Garrett, Alice – all outthinking their opponents, and leveling the physical playing field with Bella’s amazing shield. No wonder the Volturi ran off with their tales between their legs – they’d never had a fair fight and they weren’t about to start– they had been mentally outmaneuvered. Loved it!

I loved the last 2 pages. Loved them! It made me cry when Edward finally got to read Bella’s mind. No matter how many times I read it, it never fails to make me feel so good inside. Edward finally got what he wanted (almost more than anything else in the whole world) - a look into what Bella was thinking. Plus, I thought it was very fitting that Bella saved her best memories for that moment. Very special. He finally could see just how much he means to her … after squabbling over it for 4 books :) He always thought he loved her more than she loved him … and he could finally see that they were equal in their love for each other.

Oh and the humor! I LOVED the chapter titles and the sarcastic dialog. From Leah and Jake talking about Seth being dropped on his and chewing on a crib with lead paint, to blonde jokes and dog bowl with FIDO scratched in … I laughed, a lot! Out loud!

I just think it took amazing imagination to weave all these loose ends together. Everyone got their happily ever after ... YEA! That's why I loved this series in the first place. I enjoyed the way she wrapped things up - I never read this story as a lesson in reality. People are upset because all the characters get to live “happily ever after” and that’s not what happens in real life. Is all of this happiness unrealistic? I don't think so. The whole series has been full of struggle. Edward and Bella have been through the ringer time and time again. When they're finally rewarded for their dedication, people complain. I, personally, don't think there's anything wrong with the fact that after surviving so much hardship, they've become confident in their love. This isn't to say they'll never have another trial in their eternal lives, but the confidence they have provides a certain level of happiness that will always be there. I don't think that's too far fetched. Besides, the only kind of real ending there can be is a happy one. This isn't the end of their lives. It's simply the ending of this part of their lives. This journey is finally over because a resolution has been reached. Everyone can live happily ever after if they want to! (Besides, who actually reads these books as reality? They are fantasy.) I loved the ending. I love fairy-tale endings and happily-ever-afters. Like I said before – Breaking Dawn was perfect.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"Chat" with Stephenie

Don't read this if you haven't finished Breaking Dawn, 'cause it definitely gives some stuff away. It's a fun read - Stephenie answering questions, so the readers can "get inside" her head.
Interview with Stephenie on Twilight Lexixcon

Oh and some reviews for the book, in case anyone else wants to read them:

Monday, August 4, 2008

Breaking Dawn

Hi, I'm Pat. I work with Sarah and I am as obessed with the Twilight series as Sarah. I loved Breaking Dawn, WOW!

I was wondering what others thought about the book cover and what it represented. So here are my thoughts....SPOILER!

The white queen is Bella transformed, assuming her full and rightful power. The red pawn is the old Bella, weak and easily captured. I loved in the book how everyone feels that Bella is a natural at being a vampire, kind of destiny. Anyway these are my thoughts. I really looking forward to discussing this book.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Breaking Dawn - I'm in love!!

I’m finished. And wow, what a ride! The book was fantastic. Perfect, perfect, perfect! I began reading Breaking Dawn around 9 am on Saturday morning, and I finished around 11:30 pm (with some breaks for lunch, dinner and a walk with Cory, since I was starting to lose feeling in my legs). I tried going to bed as soon as I finished, but I had so many thoughts swirling around in my head that I had to get up and write some of them down – then I could finally get some sleep. Still, I had some weird dreams (which you can probably guess at, if you’ve finished the book).

Sheesh, where to start? Ü So many of my theories came true, which made me very happy. So here are my thoughts, in no real order.

Warning: if you haven’t read the book, then you are about to read some spoilers. Major spoilers!! You should stop reading now, and come back when you are done with the book.

Seriously – did I mention some MAJOR spoilers? You’ve been warned …

I originally had the idea that Bella would somehow get pregnant. I loved how this would tie the immortal and mortal world together – and bind Bella & Edward together in one more way. I dismissed my theory because I thought vampires didn’t have any, um, fluids. So it would be impossible for Edward to father a child. Guess I was wrong Ü. I actually loved the twist of Bella getting pregnant. She was born to be a mother – she had all the instinctual qualities that made her a perfect mother. Plus, it was something she didn’t have to give up so she could become a vampire. She got the best of both worlds.

I’ve always liked Jacob. Yeah I thought he was a moronic teenager sometimes (hello, why did he invite Charlie to the house when Bella had just barely turned vampire? Such a moron!! Ü) I loved the twist of him imprinting on Nessie (and I did see it coming, just a little bit). Of course, it makes perfect sense that he would imprint on Bella’s daughter. Did he ever even stand a chance? It’s Bella’s daughter. He could forever be a part of Bella’s family, without the weird love triangle thing going on.

I loved how almost effortless it was for Bella to skip the bloodthirsty part of being a “newborn” vampire. Of course, I’m sure her aversion to blood as a human helped the transition, but I think it was her excellent sense of self control and discipline that made the transition easier. Incredible. She has a spotless record when it comes to drinking human blood (that she hunted and killed for - I don't think bought blood counts). I also loved how Bella’s personality traits came with her when she became a vampire – she didn’t lose any of her innate Bella-ness.

The one thing I was happiest about getting right was Bella's cool new vampire power. This is what I wrote in one of my emails to Carly, discussing our theories for Breaking Dawn: “Bella will be more immune to human blood than what is "normal" for a newborn vampire. Her "power" is her private mind - she will be able to exert that influence over others, when they are with her, making their minds also private. Like if Bella is with Edward, Jane would not be able to use her power on Edward or Bella - her mind will protect his.” And … I was RIGHT!! (very small moment of gloating for me!) Bella’s power was in being a shield. When I read that word for the first time, I thought it was perfect. A shield. Bella’s power was a defensive one, which was also fitting. Her love for her family, and friends, overtook everything and she shielded them all from danger. So perfect. Bella was always the “weak link” in the previous 3 books. It was absolutely proper to see her standing side by side with Edward, defending her family. In the end, she saved everyone, making her truly an equal. She was born to be a vampire, since she did it with ease, and saved the day.

Other things I loved in, in random order:
· Bella beating Emmett at arm wrestling (so sweet!)
· Seth Clearwater – need I say more?
· The reference to Florida football, when Charlie comes to the Cullen house for the first time – Go Gators!
· Alice coming through at the very end (I never doubted her, ever).
· The cottage Esme decorated for Bella & Edward – perfect for the 2 of them. I love Esme!
· That Bella continued to see Charlie, on a “need to know” basis. Charlie’s got guts, that’s for sure.
· Bella attacking Jake, after learning he nicknamed her daughter after the Loch Ness Monster Ü. Too bad Edward got in the way … I would have liked to see her get in one good swipe at Jake … you know, even things up from the other books.
· Jane’s inability to hurt Bella – or those she loved – and how Bella was so smug about it, and she smiled smugly right at Jane. Take that, you sadistic *****
· Bella & Rosalie’s improved relationship, and giving Rosalie a kind of surrogate of what she always wanted.
· Renee’s reaction to the news that Bella was getting married
· And last, but not least, I loved that Bella was able to remove the shield from her own mind, so she could let Edward see her thoughts, just for a minute. I found that incredibly touching (and romantic, too).

In my opinion, it was the perfect ending. I was so anxious about how it was all going to turn out that I found myself reading ahead of myself all the time. My accelerated heartbeat could be heard (by Cory) in the silence of our bedroom. I thought my poor heart was going to beat right out of my chest. Luckily, it didn’t, and I’m doing much better Ü. I’m definitely reading it again, since I’m sure I missed some minor details in my haste to get to the end. Brilliant book – thanks Stephenie, for creating such an excellent read. I'm in love!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Everybody is welcome!

For any of you guys that have friends who would like to be a part of our online book club blog (or just need a place to discuss Twilight) - everybody is welcome. If they have a gmail address, send it to: bookclubfriends@gmail.com and then I can issue them an invite to become an author on the blog (or leave your email address in the comments section, if you are comfortable doing that). The more, the merrier, so invite your friends!

Books for August

I can't believe it's already August! Seriously, where did July go?!?! Or June, for that matter. It's time again to pick a new book for the month of August, and I want some feedback. Of course, we are going to be reading Breaking Dawn (the 4th installment of the Twilight series). That really goes almost without saying. Ü Personally, I am hoping for lots and lots of discussion. I want in-depth discussion of all the details, plot-by-plot analysis ... then hopefully it will salve my thirst for all things Twilight and I can go back to being a somewhat normal person. Ü

In the meantime, do you guys want to read any other book for the month of August? Just Breaking Dawn? Another one also? I have a couple of ideas for other books, but I'd love some input. Me, I am going to be reading the Eragon series over again, and I'd love to have some company, if anyone else has time for another big book (well, 2 and soon to be 3 big books). Thoughts? Suggestions?

Harry Potter 6

This has nothing really to do with any books, except that the movie is based on the book. I'm posting it 'cause it's simply stunning and I'm so excited that I had to share.

It's the trailer for the sixth Harry Potter book, and it looks sweet!!!