Sunday, May 04, 2008

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Years ago, Bella left her mom because her divorced mother was remarrying and there was no room at home for her with her new Stepfather. So, she moved away from sunny Florida to cloudy, rainy Washington, near Seattle. There, she met a boy named Edward Cullen, whom most of the school thought was a freak. Bella was intrigued, and soon fell in love with the enigmatic young man, who she soon found out, was a vampire.

Actually, his whole family were vampires, and rather unusual among vampires, as they subsist on animal blood rather than human blood. Then, Edward went away, believing that Bella would be better off living life without him. Bella's whole world disintegrated, and she became extremely depressed, almost suicidal. During that black period, Bella met Jacob, a member of the local Indian tribe who was very much into motorcycles.

Then Edward came back, and Jacob *changed*. It turned out that Jacob had secrets of his own. He was a member of a tribe of werewolves, and the werewolves *hated* all vampires. But Bella couldn't live without Edward, and she went back to him, which Jacob didn't understand.

Now, it's Bella's last year of High School, but more trouble is ahead for her before she graduates. For one thing, Edward wants to marry her, but Bella is shy of marriage because of the example of her parents. She also wants to be turned into a vampire so that she and Edward don't look far apart in age. He became a vampire at 17, and Bella will soon be 18. She doesn't want to look like she's robbing the cradle. But Edward and his family want her to wait and have more experiences as a human before she goes ahead and turns into a vampire. Also, she's frustrated because Edward won't have sex with her until after she becomes a vampire, because otherwise she's too fragile to survive the experience.

And she can't help but see grief coming between her friend Jacob and his pack, and Edward and his family. As she has feelings for both of them now, she can't choose between them. And her father is muddying the waters, as he doesn't approve of Edward and keeps trying to throw Jacob and Bella together, which Bella hates and resists. But Jacob is her friend, and she feels guilty about leaving him behind. Jacob is carrying a lot of resentment himself, and doesn't know if he can deal with loving Bella and her not loving him back.

Outside forces, too, are moving against them. A Serial Killer in Seattle is cutting a swath through the city, and the Cullens believe that whoever it is is a vampire that is creating an army of newborn vampires to attack them. Bella becomes heir to secrets from both the Cullens and Jacob and his pack as they prepare for the fight against the vampires bent on destroying them.

Bella must make a choice, Jacob and a "normal" life, or Edward and the life she thinks she wants. With all the problems and decisions pulling her in different directions, how will she choose, and more importantly, *who* will she choose?

I really liked this book. Although I get rather annoyed with the High School hijinks and problems that I felt detracted from the main story, I realize it was there to show *all* the stresses Bella was under. High School is a stressful time, especially when it is almost your entire world, and then, Bella had problems on top of that!

The main conflict of the book is over Bella's heart, and it is fought by Bella, Edward and Jacob. Jacob loves Bella, and she does love him, but resists admitting it. Bella truly does love Edward, but Jacob is her friend, and she finds it hard to realize that becoming a vampire will lose her Jacob's friendship forever. A lot of the book felt like going in circles, but Bella seems to gain a little ground each time.

The end of the book felt a little rushed, strangely enough, and I would have liked to have seen Bella's wedding. It's possible that Stephenie Meyer could write a sequel to "Eclipse", either from Bella's viewpoint, or Jacob, because the ending seemed to lack any kind of closure. Yes, the story ends, but I found the ending somewhat unsatisfying. It just seemed to need a sequel.

I hope she is writing a sequel, because the story doesn't seem done.

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