Eclipse (Twilight #3) by Stephenie Meyer
10-11-11 Edit: Now that I have the page of alphabetical book reviews and it's easier to find these old reviews than it used to be, I feel the need to add caveats. Now that the series is so popular, and given some of the fans, some of the things I said in these reviews make me cringe today. I am not a complete moron. I swear. I have good friends and people I highly respect who loathe the series with an abiding passion. I do not. But I can see why you do. I am not going to defend the series here and now, but I will say that I would have been more cautious and defensive in my praise if I had posted these reviews later than I did.
And so it continues. One more book to savor, er, gobble up, and then we have to wait a year for the next one to come out. It doesn't leave you hanging, though. It's just obvious that there's more story to tell.
Towards the end of this book I realized these are the most moral vampire books ever. It makes me happy. Heck, they're more moral than most non-vampire books. I think Stephenie Meyer is Mormon. The worldview does have some things in common with evangelical Christianity, I guess. I wish one's afterlife rested in more than a pair of giant scales, but I don't expect that from most books.
This book also fleshes out the love story quite a bit. It adds commitment and sacrifice to the ideal love, so it's not just attraction. There was some of that in the other books, especially the second one, but a choice in this one adds significantly. After you've read Eclipse, read Stephenie Meyer's thoughts on the subject. Scroll down to the fifth question, the one about true love. That made me appreciate it even more.
And here's a fairly negative review from a fan, well thought out. Again, read after reading Eclipse. She makes some interesting points. She also mentions one that practically everyone has said, that the characters don't make good role models. Yes. We've known that since day one. It disturbs us a bit, but we still like the books. Yes, they do need to be read intelligently, not blindly. With the extensive references to Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights (which I haven't read yet, but I've gathered a few things), it should be obvious these are not necessarily people you want teen kids to imitate. They did give me a little bit more sympathy than I'd previously had for Romeo and Juliet, but still. Meyer herself talks about the characters' fatal flaws. She doesn't list everything some of us would, but I'm okay with that too.
The review reminded me that I was going to mention the ironies in the werewolves' attitudes towards the vampires. I don't remember specifics at the moment, but it seemed like many things the werewolves said about the vampires was not true of those particular vampires, but was true of the werewolves. I'm assuming this was intentional on Stephenie Meyer's part and that it'll be more explicitly dealt with later.