Book Review: Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer

I’m a sucker for a good vampire novel and Meyer makes monsters romantic again in this third episode of the Twilight series. The passion colored ribbon snaking across the cover of Eclipse is a harbringer of rift and bloodshed to come. Bella Swan, ordinary high school student, is still madly in love with beautiful vampire Edward Cullen, but it’s complicating her friendship with Jacob Black (the one who was there to pick up the pieces when Edward removed himself from her life). Jacob just happens to be a werewolf, and werewolves and vampires are sworn enemies. In addition to the “which boy will she pick” dilemma, a parallel conflict is created when a series of brutal murders in the northwest indicates a rogue vampire pack is on the move, and the Cullens are going to be facing a major showdown soon. Per usual, Bella is wrapped up in the middle of it, and in mortal danger.

The best parts of the book are a long storytelling session in which Billy Black tells the myth of the Third Wife. The attention to detail and careful styling are excellent. A scene in which the love triangle are forced to spend a night in a tent together reveals more character than the previous 500 pages. The allusions to Wuthering Heights elevate the plot and are a nod to the tradition of gothic literature, and may even inspire some teens to pick up a classic.

Frustratingly, Bella remains little more than a pawn in this book, trying to please everyone but herself. Much of this tome is taken up with her obsessing over the events of the backstory, and looking to her future, and whether or not she wants to be married, deflowered, turned, or all three, and when. Although she is a terrible role model for young women (marry young, girls are possessions, let your mate control your life, there is only One True Love, etc), the palpable (and chaste) longing will keep fans of the series swooning.

Eclipse is a must-have for YA collections, in spite of the fact that I personally wanted to throw the book across the room when I finished it. See, I’m holding out hope that in the next book, Breaking Dawn, slated for release next year, Bella snaps out of it and ends up with the RIGHT guy — for the right reasons. The debate on WHICH guy that will be rages over at Amazon. If you do comment on this post, please note if your comment contains a SPOILER, in case folks may not have finished the book yet.

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Beth Gallaway

Beth Gallaway was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2006 for her work in advocating for videogames in libraries. She is an independent library trainer/consultant specializing in gaming, technology, and youth services, and is a YALSA certified Serving the Underserved (SUS) trainer.

16 thoughts on “Book Review: Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer”

  1. I absolutely love the series, I read each in a couple of days. I have to admit though, the 2nd and 3rd didn’t make me feel like the first did but I still loved them and I am no YA, I’m closer to 30. It’s really hard to decide who I would like Bella to stay with, the right guy or THE RIGHT GUY?!? But I do think she is so childish sometimes, its annoying. Poor Edward doesn’t deserve to go through all that suffering. It seems so long for fall of 08 to come, I cant wait for the next book, I want to know whats going to happen!!

  2. “Although she is a terrible role model for young women (marry young, girls are possessions, let your mate control your life, there is only One True Love, etc)”

    If I could have physically hurt this webpage, I would have. Bella is a WONDERFUL rolemodel to young women.

  3. Okay. I’m a reader of the series, have been since Twilight came out, and I think you guys are missing one major thing about Bella.

    Like Beth Gallaway said she is “trying to please everyone but herself”. Bella seems selfless to me. She’s constantly concerned about how she’s affecting Edward, Jacob and others. If being caring isn’t advisable for young women today, then what is up with the world?

    On another note, I absolutely love Stephenie Meyer’s writing and can’t wait to read Breaking Dawn, The Host, and Midnight Sun.

  4. i love this series! esp edward. i really do not like Jacob very much. Thank God she chose edward. i dont think i could handle it if she didnt. my fav book is the 1st and i reall dont like the 2nd. The 3rd one was very good also.

  5. I’ve been reading the books and although I like them b/c they are pure teen drama/angst, I’m really mad at Bella right now, b/c she has absolutely no backbone. I keep waiting for her to do something other than be a big wimp. I mean, Edward and Jacob are pretty swoon-worthy (I’m a Jacob fan myself) but I haven’t yet discovered why they would be interested in her, b/c she doesn’t have much personality. I mean, if we think about it, what do we know about Bella that isn’t defined by other people? Only that she’s clumsy.
    If I had a daughter, I would not want her to behave like Bella. Although reading about it is fun.

    I know about five people who have read the books and also loved them, but frankly, most of them think Bella’s pretty lame too.

  6. I love this series, but I don’t think the second and third are as good as the first. Bella’s selfless in some ways but still selfish. How in the world did she fall in love with Jacob? she has a boyfriend and she kisses him??

  7. “Like Beth Gallaway said she is “trying to please everyone but herself”. Bella seems selfless to me. She’s constantly concerned about how she’s affecting Edward, Jacob and others. If being caring isn’t advisable for young women today, then what is up with the world?”

    Caring about others is fine and dandy, but u have to leave room to care about ur self too. And I’m sorry i do like the stories but Bella is way too much of a damsel! If only she could toughen up a bit, and yeah Edward sounds perfect in every way, dream guy hello! But if he left me like he did in new moon i would smack him while waiting for the sun to go down, and get all my answers then. And also Bella is waaayyyy too dumb i mean COME on who didn’t know that he was faking that he didn’t want her!!! Shes sooo weak too, how many times do we have to read about her fainting, or hyperventilating?

  8. I think shes shelfless and selfish at the same time without meaning to be she is sort of trying to make everyone feel good and happy about everything so she doesnt fell bad about the decisions that she makes for herself and not haviong to worry what others are thinking about her.

    Just to add i dont think she was dumb to think edward to think he didnt want in her mind she sometimes still thinks she doesnt deserve him (in which i have no oponion) and when he starts acting distant she worries it onli natural to assume the worst and thats what she did.

    ps.lily your right way to much hyperventilating wee bit repetative

  9. If Bella were selfless she would have stopped being friends with Jacob and grown a spine as soon as she confirmed that he liked her as more than a friend. Bella kept Jake around because she was too weak (and rather stupid) to even think about getting over Edward and starting a human life and needed Jake to support her. That was selfish, there is nothing selfless about Jake/Bella in New Moon. In Eclipse, Bella does stay with Jake because he will be hurt if she leaves him but she still keeps him around, avoiding the issue until it is painfully forced upon them and she isn’t given a choice since the Volturi know she is still human. Bella rarely ever thinks about her human friends or family beyond physical dangers to them such as the vampires, she is too consumed in her own life to give thought to her supposed loved ones unless someone mentions them. Let us not forget Bella’s disgusting reaction to Rosalie’s story, rather than learn anything from Rosalie about being mortal, Bella is only concerned with the fact that a vampire showed interest in Edward; even as she goes to sleep she doesn’t think about it beyond her dream which revolved around her and a vengeful Rosalie. Bella thinks after Rosalie’s speech “But so much more to gain in return”. What, your true love- and vampire existence? That’s all! How stupid is she!? Oh no, she isn’t as stupid as the others because she is the only one to think Victoria was responsible for the newborns. I KNEW it was Victoria as soon as I read the excerpt in the New Moon Special Edition the first day it was sold and yet Bella takes about 3 months to stumble onto this.
    Then of course, there is Edward whom Bella pledges her love to yet still keeps Jake and then purposefully brings up a very sore subject for the sake of keeping Ed with her. Bella doesn’t even seem to be able to trust the Cullens or she is so cowardly she can’t even consider that six experienced- 3 of them gifted- vampires as well as a surprise attack by 10 werewolves could be enough to defeat 20 crazed and slightly more powerful vampires. If Bella has been strong for once and trusted the Cullens enough to camp alone with Seth then Victoria would never have stumbled onto her- then again she may have escaped but I think that’s doubtful. Are we supposed to believe that since Bella is so scared that means she truly cares? She actually wanted to throw a pine cone at Seth because he was growling at an approaching person (that may have been paranoia but it didn’t seem like it).
    Back in Twilight, Bella was much cooler, sure she was caught up in an unhealthy romance but it was her first love and it was perfect, true love so I can understand. But she only becomes more whiny- not even bothering to argue with reason- and purposefully strings guys along (even poor Mike Newton for his brief cameo) until she is forced to make a choice.
    I don’t buy it. Twilight, I miss you, bless Breaking Dawn with your magic so as to salvage this series.

  10. eclipse is the most mesmorizing book i have ever read. it had me both crying and laughing constantly and i hope that bella ends up the the right guy in the next book. Namely Jacob Black. can’t wait for the sequel!!!!!!

  11. I love the series. They all made me cry, I guess because I know how Bella feels. I’ve been stuck between two people I love and had to choose. Although it wasn’t two guys, it was more of my boyfriend and my father, but still it was very hard. I don’t really agree with anyone about Bella. I think she is a perfect role model for teenage girls, I mean I’m sixteen and in love with a boy so I know how it is. If I found out my boyfriend was a vampire I would probably do the same as Bella and want to change into a vampire too. It’s all about true love. I think Bella will choose the right guy for her, the one she can’t live without. Although Edward did leave Bella, he only did it so he wouldn’t hurt her. Yeah, I mean it hurt her when he left, but he thought in time she would move on. And she was moving on, but always had Edward’s voice still in the back of her mind. I know how it feels to have lost someone you really cared for, and just as she was moving on he comes back and everything is back like it was before he left. I know how that is. And I know some people may say “your only sixteen you don’t know what true love is.” Yeah that may be true, but I know when someone is in love and Bella and Edward are in love. So I think in Breaking Dawn, Bella will choose Edward.

    P.S.

    When is Breaking Dawn coming out?

  12. I also agree that the first book was by far the best. But i think the main reason nobody (including me) enjoyed the second as much was because it had you feeling what bella was going through the entire book, and that is by far less exciting. The fact that the author can do that though, is amazing. I havent quite made up my mind either. Sometimes i wish she would just forget about edward and date jacob. but then as soon as edward is around i know that they are good together too. I have never been so obsessed with a book series in my life! im doing a book report on eclipse right now. i cant wait until the 4th book comes out the suspense has been killing me!

  13. I stumbled upon the book Eclipse before reading the first two of the series at the bookstore and I started reading the book, which I fell in love with it. It made me feel like I was Bella, except my boyfriend wasn’t a vampire and my best friend wasn’t a werewolf; she had to choose between her boyfriend and her best friend, which is something one one (especially a young woman) shouldn’t have to do in their lives. Though I found some parts of the book to be a little less interesting than most parts, I would recommend this book to any and all young adults to read if they have a good interest in both vampires and werewolves. In my personal opinion after reading Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse for the second time, Stephenie Meyer does an excellent job on writing about a young lady making the most difficult decisions in her life.

  14. Hi. I really enjoyed the book. I am a late comer to the series. I really enjoyed Billy Black telling the myth of the Third Wife. And I loved the Triangle In tent at night.. what a hoot. Jacob was too funny! Great review.

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