When I obtained my copy of Eclipse, the back cover made me feel that for me, it would read differently than Twilight and New Moon. It made me suspect that it would read more quickly, but I didn't realize how engrossed I would become or how much I would care about what happened to the characters and the book ending how I wanted. In case you're wondering, it did end how I wanted, but I still have my complaints for Stephenie Meyer. I still don't love the characters, think this book represents relationships teenage girls should pursue, or think that the writing is the most amazing I've ever read. However, considering how annoyed I got reading the first book, I'm impressed.
Meyer definitely structured the plot different than she did in Twilight and New Moon, where to me it felt like most of the action happened in the last 100 pages (those were both about 400-500ish pages and this is 629, for the record). To me, the action picked up around page 300. In the earlier books, I felt like a large chunk of the first few hundred pages were focused primarily on Bella's emotions. Obviously that's still a huge focus in Eclipse, but I felt that elements of suspense were more woven throughout. I really liked that, and it's probably part of the reason why I read 300 pages of this book in a day. The rest of my review is riddled with rants and spoliers, so I leave you with this final thought: even though I pretty much knew what was going to happen because spoilers are so impossible to avoid, I was eager to see how it played out and develop my own opinions on the conclusion to Meyer's saga.
***THE REMAINDER OF THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ECLIPSE AND BREAKING DAWN. IF YOU WISH TO REMAIN UNSPOILED, GO NO FURTHER.***
As for the actual plot, I liked it. I loved getting more background about the Quileute legends and the individual members of the Cullen family. I thought it made sense that Rosalie and Jasper share their background this late in the series, because if it had been any earlier, I think I would have been saying to myself, "She's not in their species and poses a huge risk of exposing them, yet they're spouting this all off this early?" I also have that I have joined Team Edward and grew to really like the Cullen family in this book, especially Alice. She might be my favorite character in the whole series. (I'll get into my decision to join Team Edward later.) As for the fighting with the newborn vampires arose toward the end, at first I thought Meyer was going to cop out and not give the reader any fighting, and I'm really glad that wasn't the case, because it wouldn't have felt realistic to me. I also have to say that the epilogue felt like it may have been added partially for the sake of appeasing members of Team Jacob, which is understandable.
On the note of Jacob, I would like to say that as the book progressed, he drove me more and more crazy. Seriously, I wanted to smack him. No means no, so stop kissing her already! I definitely felt him becoming more and more controlling which I did not like, not to mention emotionally manipulative. I'm not going to deem Edward and Bella's relationship perfect, but that which she had with Jacob in this book is not healthy. I think Meyer tried to get that point across in some ways. Meanwhile, I really liked how Edward started to become less patronizing towards Bella and treated her more like an equal. It's about time, buddy! Call me a sap, but I thought it was both sweet and necessary. I think it makes sense that Bella admitted to being in love with Jacob and Edward, and it didn't surprise me that she chose Edward. I think for me the lack of surprise came from the fact that Jacob didn't really respect Bella and Edward's relationship. I just thought he was a jerk.
At this rate, I'm pretty excited to get my hands on Breaking Dawn. Meyer's sex-is-for-marriage-not-before message is definitely clear in Eclipse. I definitely read the line about Bella specifically wanting Edward's venom in her body on two levels. My mind may be in the gutter regarding this point, but I highly doubt I'm alone in that respect. However, I feel like Meyer is putting herself in an awkward position with the reasoning the characters use for waiting. Edward's worry about physically breaking Bella, which is a fair point, but this just in: most of Meyer's readers probably aren't sleeping with actual vampires, at least not as far as I know. So I think that the particular line was not the best method of getting that across. Bella talked about wanting to do her transition into immortality right, including the wedding etc., but I'm not sure how effective that is either, because right is different for everyone.
I'll be excited to see how the transformation and everything actually plays out. I've heard spoilery things about Breaking Dawn, and I'm pretty sure I'll have a lot to say about it and the messages Meyer is conveying to teenage girls once I read it. Now I just have to get my hands on a copy.