Eclipse and Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer: or, “It is Okay to Give Up Your Immortal Soul at the Tender Age of 19 as Long as You Save Yourself for Marriage and Let Your Hybrid Vampire Baby Date an Older Werewolf”

I knew that Stephenie Meyer had something disturbing in mind when she devoted countless pages to justifying the concept of “imprinting.” Apparently, when a werewolf meets his soul mate and loves her very, very much, it doesn’t matter how old she is. Meyer comes back to this point one too many times for it not to become a pivotal plot point – I knew that little Renesme was in great danger (and not just because her mother named her “Renesme,” which has already doomed her to a lifetime of ridicule). Like her mother before her, Renesme was destined to be yet another victim of the pedophilia ring that is the Twilight series. Nevertheless, the final two installments of these novels reveal that although vampires and werewolves may be discretely running amok (predominantly in the Seattle area), they are not to be feared, for they only seek the love of much, much younger women. Charming.

As the saga draws to a close, we find our heroine blatantly disregarding Jacob’s feelings as she throws herself at her old man vampire boyfriend, Edward. I know, this really sounds no different than the second novel, but here dear Edward ups the stakes by continuing his pathetic plea for Bella’s hand in marriage. Bella throws various tantrums in opposition to this offensive offer, but she ultimately caves in and accepts. To compensate for her lack of interest in matrimony, though, she constantly pressures Edward to deflower her and/or make her into a vampire, but not necessarily in that order. In spite of this incessant peer pressure, Edward holds strong to his purity and convinces Bella that she, too, should save herself for marriage, both in terms of her virginity and her human state.

In the midst of this harrowing drama, the Cullen clan is forced to team up with the werewolves to destroy an army of super-strong infant vampires – all of which are intent on murdering Bella because Edward destroyed their leader’s mate. But really, this is all secondary to the fact that Bell’s sole focus has become to have non-stop vampire sex with Mr. Marble Chest.

Now that all of that is taken care of, planning begins for the wedding of the century.  Bella can’t wait to be done with it and Edward is giddy over the festivities. After a picture-perfect ceremony, Edward and Bella jet off to Esme Land, some island that Carlisle gave Esme about 700 years ago. After some awkwardly-described, bed-shattering marital consummation, it becomes evident that Stephenie Meyer herself has probably never had sex. Anyway, Bella and Edward are shocked to learn that the birds and the bees apply to them too, as baby Cullen’s existence becomes obvious. The baby grows at amazing speed within Bella, and since the Cullens were unaware that human/vampire reproduction was even possible, the delivery becomes a major source of concern. As she is being destroyed from the inside out, it is determined that the only way Bella could survive the delivery is for her to be made into a vampire. Of course, we still have Jacob moping around in the background, making everyone uncomfortable while Bella characteristically toys with his emotions. But – SURPRISE – everything works out – the plan works perfectly and the baby girl is dubbed Renesme to honor the grandmothers – lovely. Bella is the best vampire ever, and Renesme has some weird thought-sharing ability that pairs nicely with her other talent – growing at warp speed so that she seems at least six before she should even be a toddler. Oh, and Jacob was creeping around so much because he imprinted on Renesme; they like ‘em young in Forks…

Some high-up vampires catch wind of Renesme’s existence and think that she is a human child that was made into a vampire – this is a big no-no in vampire law. In typical Twilight fashion, they dramatically arrive in Forks and everyone fears for the worst, but it’s just a misunderstanding!!! Silly Volturi! And then they all live happily ever after. The end.

There are many strange things going on in these books. For one thing, characters that are not very redeemable are held up as respectable, while holes in the plot are simply brushed over. It’s a nice gesture for Bella to kindof name her daughter after her [Bella’s] mom, but whatever did happen to Renee? After the wedding, I don’t think we ever hear from her again, just like that one sister that mysteriously vanished on Family Matters – that’s right, you know the one. Oh well, I’m sure I’m overanalyzing here – after all, the protagonist in these novels is easily able to accept and embrace the prevalence of fantastical creatures throughout her neighborhood.

The Twilight series, or the Twilight saga, if you will, imparts the following moral treasures on its young and impressionable audience: 1) It is okay to consistently lie to your parents if you are in love; they would never understand anyway 2) It is perfectly acceptable to toy with someone’s emotions until you first choice again becomes available. While these two gems are certainly valuable, the take-home moral that Meyers leaves us with is as follows: It is okay to give up your immortal soul when you are at the tender age of 19 as long as you save yourself for marriage and let your hybrid vampire baby date an older werewolf. Gee, thanks Stephenie.

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