My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Eclipse started out pretty good, and by the time I finished it, I was once again feeling the love glow that these books give me.
1.Bella. Bella was rather annoying in this book. I have decided that she must have the lowest self-esteem of any person alive. I just don't get why she doesn't like herself, doesn't think herself worthy of others' love. I think that everyone should love themselves, and with two parents that adore her, you think that would have instilled some degree of self esteem within her. But, no! Yes, we all see our flaws magnified, but still we should love ourselves as God made us. Unique creations, good part and areas in need of improvement, alike. And to make her more annoying, her self-esteem issues make others' lives more difficult. As much as I love Edward, Bella's attitude that he's so far above her, that he couldn't love her is frustrating. She doesn't think she should take anything from him more than his love. Like he shouldn't fight for her, or be willing to die for her. When she'd do it for him. That he can't give to her selflessly, when she gives all for him. In contrast, she seemed to take Jake's love for granted. The saving grace of Meyer's portrayal of Bella is that she's actually fairly self-aware. She can see her flaws clearly, her tendency to be selfish, despite her lack of self-love. She knows she's neurotic and grasping, and seems ungrateful at times. She wants to do better, and she tries. And in other ways, she's very giving, the way she cares for others. In the end, I still like her, but she's hard to swallow at times.
2. Bella and Jacob. I'm not sure how I feel about the way Bella and Jacob's relationship changes in this book.
3. Jacob. I started caring deeply for Jacob in New Moon. Even when he is annoying, he's so vibrant, and it's hard to dislike him. I can see why Bella felt like he was so necessary to her life. He has that way of bringing life and love to the lives of those around him. I see him maturing into quite a man. I think some of what he does to Bella and Edward was kind of low-down, but he playing to win Bella from Edward and a future as a vampire. He thought he was doing the right thing, and I could see that, even though I can see why Bella and Edward wanted to hit him. I appreciated the perspective I gained of Jacob by learning more about his tribe, their pasts, and the awful things the Cold Ones had done to them. I can totally see why Jacob feels such hatred for the Cullens. I can see why he seemed so mercurial and he shows some emotional cruelty in moments. He has a whole lot on his plate. Not only does he have his unrequited love for Bella to deal with, he has a several tons' weight of all his pack and tribal family's issues to carry around. That's a lot, even for a six-feet, seven, enormous guy like Jake. At the end of the day, flaws and all, I want to hug him. Even if I don't think he should be with Bella in the long run. He needs a more balanced, more emotionally healthy person than Bella to be his true soulmate.
4. Edward. I still love him as much as I did in the first two books. Yes, he's kind of bossy sometimes, but Bella does what Bella thinks is right, and he's pretty easy for her to manipulate. He's wrapped around her finger. I love that Edward's love for Bella isn't a selfish one. He really does want what's best for her, and much of what he does comes out of that. That doesn't mean he's perfect. There are times when he does want to be selfish, or when he tries to be controlling in her best interests, but he realizes that he's wrong and he makes up for it. And I can't stay mad at him. Really, I love this character. Everything about him. He's very courtly and decent. He's also tough and protective. His beauty isn't just skin deep. It goes to the heart and that shines out, and becomes part of his appeal for this reader. I like his interactions with Jacob, how they both do the territorial guy thing, and you see some of his more primal aspects in those moments. But at the end of the day, Edward is always going to be that decent, kind man who will do the right thing even if he doesn't like it. I hurt for Edward that he could see the draw between Bella and Jacob, and how he was hurt by some of the interactions between Bella and Jacob. Almost as though Bella's love for him was so sacred, he couldn't have the normal moments with her that she shared with Jacob. I think he shows his love for Bella that he tries very hard to allow her to have that, and not to mess that up for her. I can totally see why Bella loves him, although I don't think she should put him on a pedestal. Even Edward doesn't want that.
5. Edward and Jacob talking things out. As with the movie, which I saw first, this was one of my favorite moments in this book. I felt that it shows a lot about the two characters, and they come to realize that they aren't the enemies that they believe themselves to be. They are part of a triangle that has complemented their lives even as it's complicated them, but also one that has enriched each person. I think this is when they make peace on a deep level (even though things are a bit rough after this point). Jacob comes to see how Bella can love this 'cold one', and that Edward would never be selfish when it comes to Bella. He would give her up out of love, if he thought that was what Bella wanted and needed. And Edward comes to realize how important Jacob is to Bella, and how he can give her things that Edward can't. It's a painful thing for both to accept--the importance that the other guy has in Bella's life. This part was very well done, in my opinion.
6. The Cullens' stories. I loved reading about Rosalie and Jasper's stories. Rosalie in the movies annoys me. I like her more in the books, because you can see that her enmity with Bella isn't so much against Bella, but the desire for Bella to have the life that she couldn't, and for Bella to appreciate those choices better. What happened to Rosalie was shockingly dark. It's hard to believe that people can be so wretched to do something like that. But that's real. I can't say I regret that Rosalie was 'theatrical' in exacting her revenge. Jasper's story was one of my favorite parts of the book. I have to say that other than Edward and Jacob, Jasper is up there for me as a guy in this book. I like him almost as much as Jake. I liked seeing more of him, and how Meyer takes him from being the 'strange' brother to having a rich back story and a crucial role in the story in this book. As Rosalie's story is dark, Jasper's is equally so. Even though people hate how Meyer portrays vampires, thinking is all sparkling and light, that's clearly not the case. I like the constrast that Meyer draws between the luminous beauty of the vampires, to their dark, ravenous, grasping, cruel, destructive natures. I think in some ways, these vampires scare me more than the traditional lore, and that's coming from a girl who's read vampire stories for many years. Her vampires are formidable in a more scary way than some of the traditional vampires I've read about The typical nature of the Cold Ones strikes a sharp contrast to the decent, loving, humane natures of the Cullens. I don't want to be a vampire at all, but being a Cullen....I think I'd like that very much.
7.Victoria. I can't stand her! She's so selfish and cruel. I think she got just what she deserved.
8.The Volturi. I can see a major standoff between them and the Cullens looming on the horizon. They will realize that it's folly to take the Cullens for granted. I especially despise Jane!
Overall Verdict: After the emotional rollercoaster of New Moon, it took me a while to find my feet in this installment. However, Meyer worked her spell on me once again. There are some moments of pure brilliance in this novel. I think that she has a way with words, with painting powerful imagery in my head. I loved the line in which Jacob says he is Bella's sun, but he can't fight the eclipse (which is Edward). That one line pretty much conveys the essence of this series. I love this series because it strikes me at the heart. The idea of a love that great, something beyond understanding. When you love someone, you can't always dissect out the whys, and you can't change it. You can move on, sometimes. Live your life, but part of you is always going to be with that person, and you don't ever get it back. That's what I see with Edward and Bella, and with Bella and Jake. Although not on the same scope, as an inveterate booklover, when I finish these books, I feel like part of me stays with them after I read the last page. It echoes that powerful feeling of love in a small way in my life. And I like that!
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