[Some four months after I read & reviewed Eclipse, I completed the series on Facebook with this post, making up for not actually having read this book...]
Way back in February, I read, loathed, and reviewed (not exclusively in that order) volume three of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga, Eclipse. Back then, I descibed it thusly:
Eclipse is an awful, awful book. It manages to be both actively crap and mind-numbingly boring at once. I hated it so much it energised me. I had to wake up early in the morning to fit in all the hatred I felt for it.
I then asked people whether or not they wanted me to press on to the fourth & final entry in the series, Breaking Dawn. Responses were varied, but there was certainly some interest in me finishing what I started. So, despite my own misgivings & reluctance, I decided that I would get around to it at some point.
However, as the months wore on, my lack of enthusiasm for forcing my way through Breaking Dawn increased, and my fears that I would read it, hate it, and then review it without ever interesting anyone (including myself) did the same. And now I'm officially throwing in the towel - there will be no review of Breaking Dawn from this little black duck.
In place of this hypothetical review, I've decided to do something else instead. I'm going to make the second-biggest sacrifice I can think of (the first was just a bit too sacrificial, as it turns out, and I'm not that great a person), and am going to pretend that I am Stephenie Meyer. I am going to finish off the Twilight Saga for her, picking up from where Eclipse left off, and bringing the saga to its natural conclusion/s.
Except, to make it interesting (because it certainly wouldn't be otherwise), my impersonation of Meyer won't be straightforward. I'm going to finish off the Twilight Saga in multiple ways, each of which will draw on a different genre, and each of which will therefore be completely separate. She's already taken care of the teen-romance-by-way-of-poorly-thought-out-vampires-&-werewolves-mythology genre, but I'll chip in with some other (ie, better) ways that Twilight could have ended.
Let's see how it goes, shall we?
Just so we're all on the same page, here's Wikipedia on how Eclipse ends:
Jacob becomes upset when he overhears Edward and Bella discussing their engagement and threatens to join the fight and get himself killed. Bella stops Jacob by kissing him, and she comes to realize that she is in love with him as well. During the battle, Victoria tracks Edward's scent to Bella's forest hiding place, and Edward is forced to fight. Edward manages to decapitate Victoria and her vampire army is destroyed. Afterwards, Bella explains to Jacob that whilst she loves him, her love for Edward is greater. After receiving a wedding invitation from Edward, Jacob runs away in his wolf form to escape his heartbreak over Bella's decision to become a vampire.
The Epic Finale
The romance angle gets pushed back in this version, with the vampires v. other sorts of vampires v. werewolves sub-plot taking its place in the foreground. 'Decapitated' Victoria turns out to be the least of Edward et al's worries, as ever-increasingly powerful creatures join in the battle against Edward and his human girlfriend. Gore of all descriptions seeps through the action of Breaking Dawn, until Edward, clad in nothing more than a simple toga, finally kills off the last zombie/werewolf/vampire and swoops down next to Bella. After making a wisecrack, the two of them walk off into the sunset, confident at last that their unnatural vampire-human love is safe.
The Romantic-Comedy Climax
In this version, all is resolved when Jacob finally admits - to himself and to the world - that he is gay, and thereby becomes Bella's comfortably non-threatening BFF. He helps pull her and Edward together by clearing up some confusion between the two of them - Edward has a speech impediment, and when he told Bella he was a 'vampire', what he was actually trying to say was that he is, for a national chain of supermarkets, the lead pork products purchaser, or 'ham buyer'. (This also explains his love of meat but strong reactions to the sight/smell of blood.) The troubles with his family arise not because they are a 'coven' of 'vampires', but because he is a 'ham buyer' in the family 'Cohen' - strictly kosher Jews.
Edward and Bella, now understanding one another properly for the first time, plan a quick wedding, and live happily ever after, selling ham & ham-related products all through the US. Jacob lives next door and is godfather to their first son.
The Sci-Fi-Action Resolution
Early in the final book, Bella experiences severe headaches, which are followed by short periods of increased clarity and understanding. As both the headaches and the periods of clarity increase in length, she realises that Edward is not really a vampire with whom she has fallen in love, but a messenger from a distant solar system, warning her of the imminent destruction of earth. Drawing on his information, she develops an anti-doomsday device that solves the crisis by deflecting earth further away from the sun - thus explaining Edward's ice-cold skin (he came from further away, the earth's problem was that it was drifting closer to the sun) and his sparkling skin when exposed to full sunlight (sun = bad).
(The thing I like best about this one is that the titles of each book in the series suddenly make more sense than they do as is... This last one most of all. Chilling, ain't it?)
The Noir Conclusion
A hitherto minor character appears in the first chapter of Breaking Dawn, warning Bella that all is not what it seems. Indeed, Edward is actually in serious danger from the Supreme Vampires Of The World (whatever they're called). Needing to rescue him for a change, and then keep him safe until Jacob - as the one trustworthy figure in a corrupt system - can eliminate the SVOTW, Bella races across town to warn Edward.
Unfortunately, she gets there too late, finding only his perfect, perfect body, even more ice-cold than usual, hanging from the end of a clumsily-tied noose. Vowing revenge, Bella teams up with Jacob to bring down the SVOTW. By the end of Breaking Dawn, however, Bella will have grown from whiney teenage brat to disillusioned cynic with an alcohol problem, as Jacob turns out to have been in league with the SVOTW all along, in an attempt to eliminate Edward and keep Bella all for himself.
The Post-modern Trick
Midway through Breaking Dawn, a middle-aged lady named Stephenie Meyer suddenly appears. Questioned by her fellow characters, she explains that she invented all of this so that they could all be friends forever, and that she could finally have her choice of two totally different hot guys. Despite the potential for awkwardness & jealousy between Stephenie and Bella, the two immediately become BFFs, and decide to enter into a four-way open relationship with Edward & Jacob.
Towards the end of the novel, though, things start falling apart. Finally happy and wish-fulfilled, Meyer lets slip her authorial hand over her fellow characters, and they all begin acting like actual human beings (even the ones that aren't). Quickly tiring of Meyer's wooden descriptions, stitled dialogue, head-smacking symbolism, stupifying fore-bludgeoning and teen-on-a-bad-day emotional shifts, they all band together and kill her off. The last chapter of Breaking Dawn is instead written by Jacob, who had earlier let slip his privileged position in the world by narrating the final chapter of Eclipse.
So... which one works best? And aren't all of those more interesting than the Breaking Dawn which the world ended up getting saddled with?
And if anyone has any other genre suggestions, I'd be happy to give some more a shot...