Published 2007 628 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Edward's soft voice came from behind me. I turned to see him spring lightly up the porch steps, his hair windblown from running. He pulled me into his arms at once, just like he had in the parking lot, and kissed me again.
This kiss frightened me. There was too much tension, too strong an edge to the way his lips crushed mine—like he was afraid we had only so much time left to us.
As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob—knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?
Eclipse is the third novel in Stephenie Meyer’s popular Twilight series. You really want to have read Twilight and New Moon (in that order) first before reading Eclipse, because the author doesn’t spend too much time expounding the story-lines of the previous novels but rather drops the reader straight in to the story. You also want to read Twilight and New Moon because they are both excellent novels and, trust me, you are missing out if you haven’t read them.
Eclipse carries on not long after New Moon left off. Bella’s high school graduation is approaching and she will soon be leaving Forks forever, ostensibly to go to college - but in reality she is planning to join her boyfriend in his vampire existence and will therefore be unable to return home, due to being dead and possessed by a terrible blood lust for the first few years. Not that the reader is actually taken that far in this story, we make it through graduation but then the dangerous vampires from Seattle come to Forks and dealing with them dominates the rest of the novel.
This is only one part of the story though. Eclipse is primarily a romantic saga, so Bella and Edward’s relationship is the primary focus of the novel. Or as I should say Bella, Edward and Jacob’s relationship - because there is a love triangle in the plot of this novel.
Bella and Jacob have always been friends, at least they were - right up until Jacob became a werewolf. Then the enmity between vampires and werewolves put a huge strain on their friendship. Besides which, Jacob is in love with Bella, who is in love with Edward so this is going to make things awkward between them.
At this point, Eclipse descends into soap opera territory – Bella has found her soul mate in Edward but Jacob is the soul mate she should have / could have / would have had if Edward didn’t exist. She loves him too but not as much as Edward. Why she loves Jacob is beyond me – he knows that she loves Edward but Jacob still tries to make her feel guilty that she can’t love him like he wants her too. Blatant emotional blackmail is unattractive whatever way you serve it up and it detracted from his otherwise fine character. Worse, it lead to a large proportion of this book being devoted to teenage angst and with this book being 628 pages long that a substantial amount of angst!
To be fair, Eclipse is written for the young adult market so I really shouldn’t complain about the teen angst and the drama but for me it meant that this book lacked the magical quality that made Twilight stand out from the crowd of vampire romances available in bookstores today. Don’t misunderstand me - Eclipse is still a really good read. The book didn’t feel like it was over 600 pages long, I literally flew through the pages and had to make a conscious effort to slow down my reading so I didn’t finish the whole book in a couple of sittings.
For teens already hooked on the series, Eclipse is another solid instalment of Forks goodness. Adult readers may be put off by the teenage relationship angst in this novel but if you have already enjoyed the author’s previous offerings I think there is still plenty here to entertain.
It will be intriguing to see where Stephenie Meyer takes the ideas and characters in this series next. Writing for the Young Adult market always means that there is some expectation for the author to set a good example for impressionable young minds yet criticisms that Bella’s character is too dependent and needs to set a better example for young women seem unfair. This is romantic fantasy – enjoy it!
LoveVampires Review Rating:
Eclipse Audio CD
Eclipse is available in audio CD format too. Narrated by Ilyana Kadushin the novel is completely unabridged making the audio book over 16 hours long (that’s 13 compact discs.)
This is the longest audio book of Stephenie Meyer’s series and 16 hours sounds like a long time to be listening to a story but Ilyana’s skilful narration of the story successfully carries the listener away from real life and into the mist shrouded forests of Washington, making the 16 hours a pleasure that seems to finish too soon.
Audio CD is a whole new way to enjoy this story, and as the audio book is completely unabridged the listener doesn’t miss out on a single word from the printed version of this novel!