The Twilight series is essentially the chronicle of a modern love story involving Bella, a human, and Edward, a vampire. Stephenie Meyer has been slowly building in Twilight and New Moon the tense environment and interesting characters that both are fully unleashed in Eclipse, the third and penultimate volume.
Bella’s character is as complex as ever, but werewolves, “newborn” vampires, the Quileutes, and particular members of the Cullen family have their histories and characteristics explained in greater detail than ever before by the author. The series itself takes a more serious, romantic turn with the climax of the love triangle between Bella, Edward, and Jacob. Victoria, the deadly vampire determined to exterminate Bella, is brought to justice in a satisfying conclusion. The Volturi’s terrifying, albeit ironic position in the semi-realistic world of the Twilight series is developed by the implementation of a corrupted government’s tactics in their “interventions.”
Although longer and more intricate, the storyline of Eclipse progresses faster due to the overlapping action created by numerous events occurring at the same time. Bella’s and Edward’s love is given a strong sexual edge that establishes Eclipse to be specifically for young adult and adult readers. Jacob’s and Bella’s relationship is taken to the next level with Jacob’s open profession of love and Bella’s torment over her necessary choice.
However, Meyer has made Bella’s choice entirely clear in every novel in the series so far. Mystery and suspense are elements reserved for the unknown army of vampires “born” to destroy Bella and the impending battle. There isn’t any actual choice between Jacob or Edward for Bella, since she has already emphasized frequently whom she loves best and can’t live without. The author does attempt to intrigue the reader into theoretically hoping that Bella may choose Jacob over her vampire boyfriend after all. The friendship that grew in New Moon is now tortured love and conflicting emotions that are consuming Jacob and bewildering Bella in a mental tug-of-war within the novel.
The novel Wuthering Heights is the outside influence that is not only mentioned in the story as a parallel reference to Bella’s problem but its plot is also compared to the plot of Eclipse, like the play Romeo and Juliet was relative to New Moon. Bella’s ambivalent feelings about immortality continue throughout, though they are conclusive by the end of Eclipse. Edward’s character has finally matured, making him a solid rival next to Jacob’s character. Eclipse is not as flawed as its predecessors, but Meyer’s discussion of marriage and premarital sex impede any chance of this novel being light and digestive. The serious conflicts and paradoxes in Bella’s life only increase and prevent any humor to pervade the dense atmosphere of the Twilight series. After Eclipse, however, it will be strenuous to peruse Breaking Dawn, the final volume in the series which demonstrates the results of Bella’s life-changing choice.