Okay, let me be honest: I didn't hate Twilight(the first book) when I first read it. It read like someone took one of those stories from Quizilla where girl romances a couple of supernatural cretures written relatively well (in comparison) and published it. I was hit with nostalgia.
I didn't like the second book that much, and third even less; they felt like pointless filler. Turns out, they were. Meyer originally wrote Twilight and what will become Breaking Dawn, and was then advised to write something in-between.
I was a complete idiot and pre-ordered this book. In hardcover. (Other three were ebooks.) I was looking forward to final conclusion. The transition. The problems of becoming a beast. The sacrifice.
We all know how that went down.
No, I haven't returned it. It sits on my shelf, sacrilegiously wedged between Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Silmarillion. It sits there as a reminder and warning, so I never do something like that again.
Yes, this book romanticises abusive behaviour, but frankly, over 50% of romance, from YA to erotica, does - and many of those male leads are much worse than Edward. Twilight Saga's "main fault" is probably its popularity - not unlike what happens with Justin Bieber, rabid fans produce rabid backlash. While it's a good idea to point out abusive behaviour, I do wish detailed analysis would shift to other works as well. Also, why this book when same tropes existed long before in...like, every other bodice ripper? At least Bella chooses; many of other heroines do not have the opportunity. At least she is warned, not seduced. Or is that what provokes anger? That she was offered a choice and she choose Edward, despite all warnings, as opposed to...resisting until sexed by alpha male, consent being very relative, then going along with everything because his penis is so good, she cannot live without it anymore?
But if that's what it took for people to become aware of the problem, great! Now how about widening focus a little and beginning to criticise romance novels in general, regardless of target age and rating?
But I digress.
If Twilight ended at that one volume, it might have remained a guilty pleasure. If it was kept at trilogy, it might have worked out for me.
But this book. This bloody book.
As you can see from the ratings, it retroactively ruined the rest of Twilight Saga for me. Because it made me realise some very ugly truths about authorial intent.
I hated the complete lack of any consequences. I hated the writing; if not stellar, it was readable in previous three books, but here, it's disjointed. I hated that we had three books in Bella's POV, and yet this one suddenly introduces another. I hated the speshul baby.(show spoiler)
Okay, Bella was a special snowflake to begin with, but this book took it one step too far with baby and lack of urge to attack humans. And then the imprinting. It wasn't even created to give Jacob a HEA. It was created so Bella could be faultless.(show spoiler)
It was created so everyone could be one big, happy family.
But what about Leah?
She got shafted by everyone and everything in this book. Everyone gets a happily ever after, except her. Why? If anyone deserved a reward, it's her. Why do Volturi end up better off? Why couldn't she have gotten Jacob? They could have still stayed linked to Cullens, maybe even travelling with them.
Why couldn't have Jacob gone off into his own spinoff series?
The reason is the thing I hated the most about this book and, in retrospect, the entire series.
Stephenie Meyer does not give a damn.
Stephenie Meyer does not care about any supporting characters, despite giving many of them fascinating background, way more interesting than both leads combined, that could have spawned spinoffs. (Seriously? She wrote a novella about random newborn who was never named in the original, instead of Carlisle's days among Volturi, any of other Cullen's past, or heck, even a novella about some of other vampires that got introduced for the final battle?)
Stephenie Meyer cares only about Edward and Bella. Nothing else matters in the slightest.
And that is the greatest flaw of Twilight Saga.