Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, Book 3) - Stephenie Meyer I finished Eclipse, the third installment of the godawful Twilight series, with a scowl on my face. At that point, I realized that I'd been scowling for the entire book, my eyebrows slammed together, my lips turned down, my face set in SMeyer's favorite word - chagrin. And while it's really easy to say, "Oh, it's just a book - nothing worth getting angry about," there's still the itsy bitsy annoying fact that I spent two days reading purple prose and NOTHING happened. Well, some things happened, but they were awful, so I don't want to count them. The Twilight series has its own stages of mental distress. There are four, one for each book:

1. Twilight - Boredom
2. New Moon - Concern
3. Eclipse - Anger
4. Breaking Dawn - Numb Horror

It's pretty bad when an entire cast of characters is so terrible that you can't help cheering for the villain. Let's get to it, then!

After Bella's crippling loss of a brain and Edward's thwarted suicide attempt in Italy, everyone's favorite star-crossed lovers are back in Forks. Graduation is looming, and Bella can't stand to age another day. You know how digustingly old 18-year-olds are and everything. She wants Edward to change her into a vampire before she starts collecting Social Security, and Eddie's all like, "Nuh-uh. Not til you marry me, you breakable and pathetic little thing." In the meantime, Bella wants to spend quality time with werewolf Jacob and his totes fun wolfpack, giving Jake the impression that he has a chance with the girl who loves a sparkly dead man. Edward disapproves of Bella hanging out with Jacob (too dangerous), and Bella's dad has a problem with Edward. He remembers how Bella totally lost her nuggets about his abandonment the year before and her subsequent disappearance to Italy to save him from the scary European vampires. Also, a new pack of vampires is after Bella. AND THEY WANT BLOOD.


So a lot of things went wrong in this book, even beyond the horrible writing. The plot remained stagnant until the very end. And then, as expected, we ended up exactly where we were before. The Twilight series is very similar to a humorless, angsty, vampire version of the movie "Groundhog Day." Meyer overused all of her favorite words, and the reader was treated to more endless descriptions of Edward's sparkly perfection and Jacob's sizzling hot abs. Blah, blah, blah. But let me list the things that made me irrationally angry.

1. Edward is an abusive boyfriend - I think this point has been covered in every corner of the Internet, so I'll keep this short. Telling one's girlfriend who she can hang out with is abusive. Disabling your girlfriend's car so she can't see her friend is abusive. Having one's family kidnap girlfriend because you don't trust her to stay away from the friend? Abusive and illegal. It's bad enough that he talks down to Bella all the time, calling her fragile and weak, insisting that she can't protect herself. Sure, I get that we're talking about supernatural creatures here (and Bella is pretty useless and pathetic), but Edward's such a douche about it. Also, getting the girl all revved up for sex and then saying she can't have it without marriage is controlling and rude. Worst boyfriend ever. And who wants to hang out with a granite hard ice cube all the time? Cuddling with Edward would be like cozying up with a frozen pack of ground beef, only less nutricious.

2. Jacob loses his bananas and becomes a sexual predator - Jake never had a chance with Bella. He should have figured that out by now, considering Bella's catatonic state when Edward left her in New Moon. Unfortunately, Jacob is about as bright as any other character in the book (not very) and pursues the living daylights out of Bella. At first, his pursuit is fair-minded. He attempts to persuade Bella that dating the living is far superior to dating the dead. But then, when he recognizes that he doesn't have a chance in hell of besting Edward, he forces a kiss on her and refuses to let go when she struggles to escape. Later, he manipulates her into kissing him again by threatening to run to his imminent death if Bella doesn't admit that she loves him. I don't understand how any of this is romantic.

3. The tent scene - While Bella's supposed to be "sleeping" in a tent before their big battle with Victoria, Jacob and Edward discuss her future. The boys discuss her future. They think they know what's best for her, and Bella just lays there silently. But of course! Who needs an opinion when there are boys to decide it for you?

4. Charlie's the worst dad ever - When Bella comes home with a BROKEN HAND from punching Jacob after he assaults her, Charlie thinks it's hilarious. He even congratulates Jacob for forcing himself on his daughter. This is ... this is the 21st century, right? A YA book? For crying out loud ...

5. Bella is an empty shell - All this girl thinks about are her dead boyfriend and the hot werewolf next door. That's it. Nada. She doesn't care about school, doesn't have any hopes or dreams for the future, doesn't care what her parents have to say, has no friends, and can't even WALK on her own for large portions of the novel. I couldn't believe the amount of times that Bella, an 18-year-old woman, was carried from one place to another. When she isn't being vapid, Bella focuses on being a selfish, whiny, manipulative brat with one goal in mind - sexin' up Eddie. That's it. She essentially tells Jacob, "I love you, I do. But I love Edward more. Sorry. Hope this doesn't make your already unstable mind explode in rage. K, bye." The Cullens throw Bella a graduation party, and she whines about it the whole time. Oh, well, god forbid someone does something nice for you, Bella. Worst person ever. The only time she comes close to growing a spine is when she tells Edward that she really doesn't want to get married right out of high school because she feels too young, and Boyfriend of the Year bullies her into accepting his proposal anyway. He uses sex as a bartering tool. Sex. YA book. Not to sound like Charlie Brown or anything, but good grief!

So by the end of the book, Bella and Edward are totally still together and engaged, a heartbroken Jacob runs around the forest and cries, no one dies in the "epic" battle, and Charlie Swan still has zero control over his daughter. But looking back on this now, I realize that compared to Breaking Dawn, Eclipse is almost a walk in the park. The final book in the series doesn't just play around the rabbit hole - it plunges in head first. But that's for another review.