Fantasy Book reviews by Stacey O'Neale
Stacey O'Neale is a guest reviewer to this website. Read her reviews on some of the best current fantasy books. She covers the whole Twilight Saga! My thanks to Stacey for these terrific reviews.
Other Reviews by Stacey:
Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1) The novel is written from Bella Swan’s point of view. The novel starts out just as Bella moves from Phoenix, Arizona to live with her father in Forks, Washington. This move allows her mother the ability to travel with her new husband, a minor league baseball player. After moving to Forks, Bella finds herself involuntarily drawn to a mysterious, handsome boy she notices at school named Edward Cullen. She eventually learns that he is a vampire but considers himself a “vegetarian” because he only drinks animal blood rather than human. He is part of a vampire coven or family (Carlisle, Esme, Rosalie, Emmett, Alice, and Jasper) and most of the other family members are also students at the school. Edward has the ability to read minds except for Bella’s which is where his initial attraction comes from. Edward and Bella fall in love, but the relationship is complicated by the fact that Edward is drawn to her blood so he has a difficult time being physically close to her although he is sexually attracted to her. The struggle to be together is definitely the driving force of the novel. It’s interaction between the two makes for an interesting read. As Edward attempts to integrate Bella with his vampire family we are introduced to James, a sadistic and non-vegetarian vampire from another vampire coven, who is drawn to hunt down Bella. Edward and the other Cullen’s defend Bella. She escapes to Phoenix, Arizona, where she is tricked into confronting James, who tries to kill her. She is seriously wounded, but Edward rescues her and they return to Forks, having killed James.
I really enjoyed this novel because I felt it was a different take on vampires and their relationships with humans. It was an easy read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy romance with a little action tie in.
New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2) New Moon starts right where Twilight left off. School has begun and Bella is preparing for her birthday. Alice, Edward’s sister plans a birthday party for her at the Cullen house. Bella gets a paper cut while opening a birthday present and Jasper is overcome by the smell of human blood and tries to attack her. Edward saves her but he and his family leave Forks because he believes he is endangering Bella's life. Bella falls into a deep depression, until she develops a strong friendship with Jacob Black, who she discovers can shape shift into a werewolf. Jacob and the other werewolves in his Indian tribe must protect her from Victoria, a vampire seeking to avenge her mate, James' death, by killing Bella. A misunderstanding occurs, and Edward believes Bella is dead. Edward decides to commit suicide in Volterra, Italy, but he is stopped by Bella, who is accompanied by Edward's sister, Alice. They meet with the Volturi, a powerful vampire coven, and are released only on the condition that Bella be turned into a vampire in the near future. Bella and Edward are reunited, and she and the Cullen’s return to Forks.
This book really digs deeper into fantasy when we are introduced to the werewolves and the Volturi vampires who each have special powers beyond their vampire strengths. I was a little surprised when the author took Edward out of the story. He was the main draw in Twilight but his absence opened the door for the relationship between Bella and Jacob. This sets up the love triangle which is now the main draw of the series. Who will Bella choose? I thought New Moon was a great follow-up and worth a read for anyone who enjoyed Twilight.
Eclipse (The Twilight Saga) Eclipse is my favorite book of the series. Things really heat up between Edward and Bella when she asks him to have sex with her before he turns her into a vampire. He agrees to have sex with her and turn her only if she first agrees to marry him. At the same time, Jacob decides to try to win over Bella and sparks fly but not always in a good way. While all of this is going on we learn that strange deaths are occurring all over the surrounding areas. The vampire Victoria (James' mate from Twilight) has created an army of "newborn" vampires to battle the Cullen family and murder Bella for revenge. Here is where the action really begins. Edward's vampire family asks Jacob's werewolf pack to help them protect Bella from the army of newborn vampires. The sides join forces and an epic battle that successfully destroys Victoria and her vampire army. In the end, Bella chooses Edward's love over Jacob's and agrees to marry him.
This book has everything: lots of fantasy, epic battles, and a steamy love triangle. I loved it and would recommend it to anyone!
Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4) I have to say I was truly disappointed with the ending of this series. Bella and Edward are married and we get to see them go on their honeymoon but the author skips everything having to do with the sex. This was disappointed because the other books spent so much time speculating about this that it seems unfair to the reader to exclude them from the action. The honeymoon is cut short when Bella discovers that she is pregnant. A third of this book is spent going through this agonizing pregnancy with Bella. It’s painful to the point that it’s hard to read. She nearly dies giving birth to her and Edward's half-vampire-half-human daughter, Renesmee. The horrible pregnancy is followed up by a gory delivery that was more like a horror novel than a fantasy novel. Edward gives her a cesarean by cutting her open with his teeth while injecting her with his venom in essence saving her life and turning her into a vampire. A vampire from another coven sees Renesmee and mistakes her for an immortal child. An immoral child is a child that has been turned into a vampire which is outlawed by the vampire community. She informs the Volturi, and they plan to come to Forks to kill the child and her parents who they think have turned her. The Cullen family gathers vampire witnesses who can verify that Renesmee is not an immortal child. We also learn that Bella is a shield which means she has the power to keep people from physically attacking her. This also explains why Edward cannot read her mind. It’s because her shield was up. At the same time Jacob imprints on Renesmee which basically means that she is his soul mate and will be with him when she reaches legal age. This whole imprinting thing is creepy and the author never explained it in a way that made me feel comfortable with it. I felt it ruined Jacob’s character. After an intense verbal confrontation, the Cullen’s and their witnesses convince the Volturi that the child poses no danger to vampires or their secret, and they are left in peace by the Volturi. The ending in general was boring because it leads up to the big fight with the Volturi that never actually happens.
I was glad I read this just so I knew the ending but also disappointed at learning the ending. Nobody died and everyone lived happily ever after. I truly hope she decides to write another novel because it’s sad to see a series end so poorly.