Ever since I read Seraphina back in 2012, I’ve been patiently waiting to the conclusion of her story! It was well worth the wait and I couldn’t be happier about this book. I received a copy from the publisher in return for my honest opinion, and honestly, it’s EXCELLENT!
I wasn’t sure how Hartman would go about improving on the story (Amazon link), but she definitely did. She made it more inclusive, more exciting and a lot more enthralling. I have no idea how she did this, apart from taking almost three years, but it was definitely worth the wait. I know I talked about her amazing story telling and character building in my response to Seraphina, but Hartman brought it to a new level in Shadow Scale. If anything, I wish the book were longer to flesh out more of the “grotesques” and what happens after the story ends.
And I’m done. Eight days after I started Twilight,and over 2,600 pages later I’ve completed the four novels and the novella. First gut response: it’s not as bad as I thought it would be and I actually enjoyed myself as I read it. There is a major caveat, but that’ll come later. I’m glad I read them and now know what everyone was in such a fuss about a few years ago. I still prefer Harry Potter, but this was a fun side road.
I mentioned my caveat above and that’s the first thing I want to talk about. Meyer is an excellent story-teller and she definitely found small details to expand into a grand story. That in mind, her writing in the first novels left much to be desired. I mentioned it in Twilight and I only bring it up here because I’m torn between whether it was the writing or Bella’s character that caused me to temper my enthusiasm for the books. I know for that first book it was definitely both, but in the last book it was most certainly neither. In the three years it took her to write and publish the four novels (and even the extra two years to the release of the novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner) Meyer’s writing and characterization improved 10 fold.
This novella takes place at the same time as the events in Eclipse take place. It gives a very small glimpse into Victoria and her vendetta over the last two novels. But what’s important to note is that it is by far the best written of all Meyer’s works that I’ve read. I’m sure it helped that it was a novella and she had a finite story to tell. It also probably didn’t hurt that Bella didn’t even appear in the novel until the last five pages of the novella :-D
Although we don’t learn much about Bree Tanner, we figure out pretty quickly that she is smart and a survivor. She doesn’t remember much about her human life and has only been a vampire for three months. As she develops within a crazy vampire coven, Bree begins to question her indoctrination through her time spent with Diego, another newborn vampire. I don’t know if we will get this same path to discovery and awed enthusiasm as there was in this novella. The discovery that vampires could spend time outside anytime and wouldn’t die, and the craziness of their blood lust through a non-vegetarian vampire was fascinating.
I’m not sure what to think of the series at this point. It’s not as bad as I thought, but it’s still not as good as everyone makes it out to be. I’m still not happy with how helpless Bella is and am very glad no one mentioned her obsession with Wuthering Heights before now or I would’ve been forced to read the series a lot sooner than now.
I did, however, gain a bit more respect for Meyer. (Shock! Horror!) At the end of the novel, there was included a preview of The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, which included an interview with Stephenie Meyer. In this she acknowledged one of the biggest faults I’ve seen in her writing: the lack of synonyms in her writing. I did notice in this novel that there weren’t as many issues and that either she’s progressed as a writer, or her editors became better at catching them, so that’s always a bonus.
One good thing of driving home for the holidays (17ish hours) is that I’ve got plenty of time to read. After reading Twilight in a rush to get ready to record Episode 3 of “Come Read With Me,” I immediately went into reading New Moon and am typing this response as we finish the drive to the NC mountains in which I hope to finish reading Eclipse and at least a large portion of, if not all of, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Yes, I’ve fallen into the hole.
I think having finished this novel I’m firmly entrenched in Team Jacob. I mean I can completely understand the whole Edward thing and I know how it ends, so I’m not holding my breath, but less face it. Jacob is kinder, warmer and I think an easier character to relate to because he is half-human. Edward has this almost holier than though, which is of course from Meyer’s constant angelic and deity like references. I also think Jacob’s enthusiasm for Bella, and life in general, carries through from the first novel even after he discovers his tribe’s secret.
“Like an earthbound sun, whenever someone was within his gravitational pull, Jacob warmed them. It was natural, a part of who he was. No wonder I was so eager to see him.” (145)