Victoria, a vampire, still hasn't forgiven Edward Cullen for his actions against her lover in Twilight. Now she is hunting Bella Swan, wanting to repay Edward. Bella's father has grounded her for life because she went to Italy in New Moon. She's hurting because her best friend Jake Black, and Edward can't stand each other. Jake will no longer answer Bella's calls or letters, finally telling her to leave him alone.
To make things worse, high school graduation is near. Charlie, her dad, and Edward keep getting Bella to apply to different colleges. She only chooses those where Edward can easily live without revealing that he is a vampire. But she is planning a major change in her own life after graduation that will prevent college. Edward wants to marry her. That thought puts Bella in a panic. She loves Edward with everything she has, but the thought of marriage puts her in a panic.
When Victoria and her assistants start stalking Bella and getting too close, both Edward's family and Jake and his friends get involved. Bella is too important to all of them to let Victoria get her. Victoria has learned how to play the two groups off each other. There has been an uneasy truce between the two groups for years. Now that truce may need to either be broken or renegotiated.
Jake finally knows he has to contact Bella again. He loves her and can't stay away. He is still convinced that he is better for her than Edward. He is certain that her friendship for him is more than that. How can he convince Bella that she is his soul mate? Would Bella consider Jake over Edward?
Eclipse is as strong a novel as Twilight and New Moon. It is still told first person by Bella (with one exception near the end). Bella learns more about herself. She has to rethink the things she wants. She was certain at the beginning of the school year, and even into spring, what she wants in her future. But Edward and Jake make her rethink.
The emotions Bella (and the reader) experiences are realistic for an unrealistic situation. Fortunately not too many of us have to decide if we want to become a vampire in order to live with the person we love. Throughout the book she lives with not only the intensely personal, but the overwhelming shadow of others out to get her for some reason or another, like Victoria. She has always been a trouble magnet. It hasn't improved as she has matured.
For the reader sucked in by her first two books, Stephenie Meyer has kept the momentum in Eclipse. The charm and romance are there, as well as the action and verve. Thank goodness Breaking Dawn, the sequel, is due out in two months. I already have it on reserve at the library.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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