Breaking Dawn is the fourth and last novel in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. Divided into three 'books', the story is told from the perspective of Bella Swan in Book One and Three, but told by Jacob Black in Book Two. Breaking Dawn was released on August 2, 2008 with a special midnight release in bookstores all over the world. Seth (Stephenie's brother) posted on her website that Breaking Dawn will be released on paperback.
After Bella's pickup truck dies a "natural death", Edward buys Bella a Mercedes Guardian. It is his feeling that because of her propensity for danger, Bella needs this armored sports car to stay safe. Even though she is happy about marrying Edward, she feels guilty at the same time about Jacob running away, knowing that her rejecting him caused him to run away.
Bella and Edward tell Charlie about their engagement. Charlie doesn't show his disagreement, instead saying Bella will have to tell her mother. But Renee consents to it. Bella and Edward's wedding goes according to plan and is as extravagant as Alice's other parties. Bella then gets a surprise wedding gift: Jacob has decided to attend after all, despite his heartbreak. Bella apologizes to Jacob, but he answers that he only wants her to be happy. However, Jacob becomes violent towards Bella and Edward out of their plans to make love while Bella is still human. Not wanting to spoil her wedding day, Bella puts aside her disappointment in Jacob's unpleasantness. Edward and Bella soon depart for their honeymoon.
Edward takes her to Isle Esme off the coast of Brazil. Edward then fulfills Bella's wish and makes love to her. The next day they argue because Edward's passionate love-making left dark purple bruises all over Bella's body. Although Bella doesn't care about the injuries, he refuses to make love to her again until she has become a vampire. In Edward's attempt to dampen Bella's love-making appetite and energy, they engage in physically exhausting outdoor activities day after day on the island. Bella begs Edward to make love to her once again; Edward continuously refuses, as he does not wish to injure her further. Later, however, he succumbs to her. They make love cautiously and Edward does not inflict any bruises on Bella.
Bella knows she will become a vampire and not be able to see her friends anymore so she dreams about finding them dead with a pile of other dead bodies. Bella has been having a recurrent dream of a small, green-eyed boy that she feels compelled to protect for a long time. Bella also finds herself constantly hungry and sick. Upon seeing a box of unused tampons, she realizes that her period is late and she is pregnant. Though Bella has not longed for a child, she becomes immediately attached to her baby when she becomes aware of its existence. Edward, however, is only concerned for her health. After hearing stories from a local woman (who suspects that Edward is a vampire) of similar situations that resulted in the mothers' deaths, Edward wants to get rid of the baby. Edward prepares to bring Bella home where it's presumed that Carlisle will "take care of it." Although it's clear that Bella doesn't want to lose the baby, she doesn't yet voice her objections. She secretly calls Rosalie for help, knowing that Rosalie had always wanted children. On the way back home Bella is silent, and Edward only figures out her plans when he hears Rosalie's thoughts.
The book is then told from Jacob's perspective, as he receives news of Edward and Bella's return. Carlisle has advised Charlie that Bella cannot receive visitors because she has contracted a rare disease in South America and is quarantined. Jacob assumes that Bella has been bitten and transformed. He is upset when Sam Uley, acting Alpha of the pack, declares that the pack will not retaliate.
Full of anger, Jacob decides that if the pack will not retaliate collectively, he will act singly. Formulating strategies of attack, he runs to the Cullen house. When he arrives, however, he discovers that things aren't as he expected. Bella, as opposed to being a newborn vampire, is already heavily pregnant with Edward's child. Everyone realizes that the child's rapid growth is starving Bella and bruising her. She cannot digest her food as she vomits it after eating. Tension runs high in the Cullen household as Rosalie steadily supports Bella's decision to have the baby and aids her in every way possible. Edward is furious at Rosalie, and the family is divided. Jacob is furious at Edward for impregnating Bella. Jacob also agrees to kill Edward if Bella dies.
Returning to his pack, Jacob inadvertently informs them of Bella's state. This causes fear and anger among the werewolves; they don't know how the child might act since the child is the offspring of a vampire. Sam commands the pack in the double timbre of the Alpha, to obey his decision to kill Bella and her unborn child. Still in love with Bella, Jacob disagrees, but Sam takes his will away. To counter this, Jacob assumes his rightful place as Alpha of the pack. This almost leads to Sam and Jacob fighting for the right to rule, but Jacob controls his Alpha instincts to attack Sam and abandons the pack to join the Cullens. Seth and Leah Clearwater soon join Jacob and the threesome form a new pack to guard the Cullens from Sam's pack. Losing both the element of surprise and pack members, and the idea of fighting their own kind, dissuades Sam and his pack from attacking Bella while Jacob's pack is aiding the Cullens. It is discovered that the collective minds of the two packs are separate; members of each pack cannot hear the other pack's thoughts as Jacob and Sam are distinct Alphas. Jacob, Leah and Seth patrol the Cullen's territory to forewarn them of any impending werewolf attack. Esme gratefully provides them with food and clothes (since their clothes are too often destroyed during phasing). As the werewolves spend this time together, Jacob and Leah learn to tolerate each other, and forming a common understanding.
Knowing that the pregnancy is endangering Bella's life, wanting to terminate it but not wanting to deny Bella the experience of childbirth and motherhood, Edward asks Jacob to get her with child. Jacob is shocked that Edward would ask such a thing, and although he doesn't really want to, he also finds the idea of sleeping with Bella incredibly tempting and agrees to suggest the idea to Bella. For the most part, Bella doesn't realize what he means. When she does, she is touched by Edward's caring for her, but refuses their offer because she considers it repulsive to sleep with anyone other than Edward or have anyone else's baby.
As the fetus continues to develop at an alarmingly accelerated rate, Bella's health worsens. Her stomach is bruised in multiple places from the baby's movements. Two of her ribs crack, her pelvis is almost broken, and her pallor is unhealthy. Her body continues to reject human food, and Jacob sarcastically thinks about the "creature" craving for blood. Edward overhears this thought, and the Cullens allow Bella to sample human blood. To Bella's surprise, the blood smells and tastes appealing, and revives her almost the instant she drinks it. During Bella's pregnancy, Edward realizes he can read the child's mind, and is astonished to discover that the baby already loves Bella and doesn't mean to hurt her like it does. As he hears his child's thoughts, Edward begins to love the baby as well. This leaves Jacob feeling betrayed, as he was counting on Edward to suffer and hate the baby more than he did.
Jacob struggles with his feelings for Bella. She is outrageously happy every time she sees him and this confuses him. He questions her about this, and Bella says she feels that her family is more complete with him around. But this only makes Jacob feel worse, believing that he can never be part of Bella's family. Leah suggests that he find the girl he is destined to imprint on, so he won't suffer any longer, but Jacob answers he doesn't want his feelings for Bella to disappear. However, things eventually become too hard for him to handle. Edward allows Jacob to borrow his Aston Martin to get away, and Jacob attempts to imprint on random girls he sees in a park, including one named Lizzie (who appeals to him because of her niceness and knowledge of cars), but nothing happens. After returning to the house, Edward approaches Jacob to ask for his permission, as Ephraim Black's heir, to bite Bella once she gives birth. After some thinking, Jacob agrees because it is the only thing that will save Bella's life.
Bella goes into labor approximately a month after the honeymoon. The hard placenta that surrounds the child cracks; Bella begins vomiting blood. The child breaks free and Bella is very near death. Edward delivers the baby, a girl which will be named Renesmee, and initiates Bella's transformation into a vampire. He injects his venom into her heart and bites her in several places. Jacob and Edward perform CPR to try to keep Bella's heart beating while the venom transforms her. Eventually Jacob comes to believe that Bella is dead, and is viciously sent away by Edward.
Driven mad with rage over Bella's supposed death, Jacob goes to find and kill the baby whom he holds responsible. He finds her in Rosalie's arms, but before he can attack, the baby looks him directly in the face. Jacob sees that the baby's eyes are exactly the same shade of brown as Bella's. Jacob suddenly feels everything attaching him to the world breaking apart, leaving only a caring for Renesmee holding him to life. Jacob has imprinted on Renesmee.
The book returns to Bella's perspective. She has just given birth to her daughter and is now experiencing the painful transformation from human to vampire. After receiving an injection of morphine to mitigate the pain, Bella is unable to move. As the effect of the morphine diminishes, Bella consciously remains as still as possible to alleviate Edward's guilt and agony over the discomfort of her transformation.
When she opens her eyes, she feels a warm hand on her. She is startled and moves instinctively to a defensive position. She realizes that Edward now feels relatively warm to her, and that she is finally a vampire. The Cullens are wary of Bella as newborn-vampires are volatile. Yet, she manages to demonstrate a degree of self-control unseen in most newborns. She wishes to see her daughter, Renesmee (pronounced "ruh-NEZ-may"), whom she named after both her and Edward's mothers, Renee and Esme, but, since Renesmee is part-human, the family believes Bella will be unable to deny her newborn thirst if she sees the child so soon without first hunting.
Edward takes Bella on her first hunt to ease her thirst. Before they leave, Alice shows Bella her reflection. She has transformed into a stunningly beautiful woman with flawless skin and newborn-vampire red eyes. Bella jumps out of the window, kicks off her shoes and goes barefoot. She experiments with her new body on the hunt. She is now graceful, strong, and fast. She accidentally crosses a human scent. However, she resists the urge to kill and runs away to avoid bloodshed. Edward is astounded, as newborns hunting shouldn't be able to deny their instincts.
Upon returning, Bella is finally allowed to see her daughter. Because Renesmee is growing at an astonishing rate, she looks older than her calendar age. Bella learns of Renesmee's gift - the ability to communicate by sending images to people's minds, by touching them. Bella is infuriated when she learns that Jacob has imprinted on her. Her self-restraint is tested by this revelation, but she manages to control herself until she finds out the truth behind Renesmee's nickname "Nessie." She loses her self-control and tries to kill him. Seth steps in, and Bella accidentally breaks his collarbone and shoulder before managing to calm down.
Bella and Edward receive a cozy cottage for Bella's birthday from the Cullens. Esme had designed it and renovated it. That night, Bella and Edward make love for the first time since Bella's transformation. They find it very difficult to fully satisfy their sexual desire for each other. At first, sexual thirst cannot be satisfied. Edward tells Bella that this is normal for vampires when they begin a physical relationship. Satiation usually takes years to attain.
Renesmee matures quickly and soon is able to speak, walk and hunt. Jacob's imprinting also forces Sam and his pack to declare peace with the Cullens (the most sacred rule of the wolves is that no wolf ever kill the subject of another wolf's imprinting). Differences between Sam and Jacob's packs are soon settled as well, and Jacob and Sam agree to become co-existent Alphas. Jacob's pack also grows when Quil and Embry join it. Meanwhile, Jacob learns that the Cullens plan to move away from Forks. Thinking that Charlie is the reason, he phases into his wolf form in front of him and tells him about Bella's change and Renesmee (though he doesn't say she has become a vampire). Bella is initially furious, thinking that her father would now have to become a vampire or die. But he tells both Jacob and Bella not to let him know anymore than he needs to know. This allows Bella to keep him in her new life and allows Charlie to go on with his life.
Peace lasts for several months, but then things start to unravel again: Irina, a vampire from the Denali clan, sees Renesmee and informs the Volturi that she is an immortal child. The Volturi purged the immortal children from the world because they couldn't control themselves, and made their punishable by death. The Cullens realize that Irina is mistaken and decide the only way to enlighten the Volturi is to present Renesmee with a large group of reliable witnesses.
After leaving a note with Sam from the copyright page of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Alice and Jasper suddenly leave the Cullens. Since the couple does not provide a warning or reason, the Cullen family does not know why they've left. Since it was her copy of the book, Bella perceives this as a sign from Alice. She returns to the cottage and finds that Alice has written a name and address on another page of the book. When Bella visits it, she finds that it leads to the office of a lawyer named Jason Scott Jenks (also presented in the book as J. Jenks or J. Scott) who is a document forger. Bella requests documents for Jacob and Renesmee (with false names - Jacob and Vanessa (from Nessie) Wolfe), should they need to escape if a fight ensues with the Volturi. Meanwhile, nomadic, vegetarian, and clans of vampires arrive on the Cullen's land after the family begins to seek their friends' assistance with the Volturi. Most of them are enthralled by Renesmee, and almost all agree to bear witness to the Volturi that she is not an immortal child. Bella discovers that her power of mind-privacy has a shielding effect and she wonders if she can extend this protection to others. During the month of preparation for the Volturi, several of the vampires with quantifiable supernatural talents teach Bella how to expand the barrier.
When the Volturi and Irina finally arrive, all of the vampires and the werewolves meet in a clearing in the forest. The Volturi discover that they have been misinformed and immediately execute Irina for it, burning her. However, the Volturi are not satisfied to leave, since they don't know if Renesmee will become a threat in the future. Aro wants to convince Renesmee that he has no intention to kill her family and friends, but the Cullens and all their witnesses feel Aro is actually lying to her. Bella's gift disables the Volturi's offensive fighters, Alec (who causes one to lose all one's senses, much like numbing someone) and Jane (who creates the illusion of pain in the victim), when she shields everyone on her side. Aro, Caius and Marcus vote on whether or not Renesmee will be a danger to the vampire world once she attains maturity. Just before Aro can cast his deciding vote, Alice and Jasper return with another half-human, half-vampire named Nahuel from South America who is about one hundred fifty years-old. He and his three half-sisters (who are also half-vampire, half-human) are the children of a vampire who is creating a "super race." They have never caused any danger to the vampire world. Facing no other choice, Aro gives up the fight, and the Volturi leave. However, before doing so, they reveal that the so-called werewolves are not actual werewolves, but rather "shape-shifters". The "shape-shifters" and vampires celebrate their victory in successfully protecting Edward and Bella's child.
After celebrations with family and friends, Bella and Edward take Renesmee back home. They tuck her in bed and proceed to their bedroom arm-in-arm. Bella tells Edward she wants to try something with him. She places her hands on his face and tries to push away her shield. She has been secretly practicing for this moment. She conjures the special memories she wants to share with Edward. He is finally able to see for the first time just how deeply she loves him. Edward is unable to control himself; he starts kissing her and breaks her concentration, and she stops. However, she tells him that now he knows that no one loves anyone else as much as she loves him. He asks her if she would try again. Bella acquiesces. Once again abandoning restraint, Edward kisses her passionately. This distraction closes Edward to Bella's mind. She wants to open the barrier for Edward so he can access her mind. She says that they have only forever for her to perfect it. Book 3 ends with "And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever."
Entertainment Weekly magazine released an excerpt of Breaking Dawn on Friday, May 30, 2008. Stephenie Meyer also revealed a 'Quote of the Day' from Breaking Dawn for about 3 weeks prior to its August 2, 2008 release. The first quote was released on Stephenie's website on July 12, 2008. The first chapter of Breaking Dawn, 'Engaged', was released in the special edition of Eclipse. The preface indicates that Bella, once again, faces death, only this time in the eyes of her beloved.
According to the author Stephenie Meyer, the cover of this book "is a metaphor for Bella's progression throughout the entire series. She began as the weakest (at least physically, when compared to vampires and werewolves) player on the board: the pawn. She ended as the strongest: the queen. In the end, it is Bella that brings about the win for the Cullens."
Breaking Dawn received generally negative reviews. However, in an article in The Daily News Tribune, Margaret Smith said of Breaking Dawn, "You too might fall in love with its suspense and moving sensitivity—and with the unlikely couple struggling to find light within their world's heart of darkness."
New York Magazine wrote an article called "Did Breaking Dawn Ruin the Twilight Series?", which commented on Los Angeles Times author Denise Martin's review of the book, where she compared the book to the last in the Harry Potter series, saying that, unlike J.K. Rowling's finale, "Meyers' bunted." Entertainment Weekly graded Breaking Dawn with a D, criticizing the birth scene and Bella's "unwavering passion for Edward" and having no other goals. The Washington Post also responded with a negative review, making comments such as, "...Meyer has put a stake through the heart of her own beloved creation," and "Breaking Dawn has a childbirth sequence that may promote lifelong abstinence in sensitive types."
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Meyer responded to the negative response of many fans to the book and deemed it the "Rob Effect". She believes that fans need time to accept the ending of Breaking Dawn, just as they needed time to accept Robert Pattinson playing the role of Edward Cullen in the Twilight movie.
Forever Dawn was the original sequel to Twilight, which Meyer wrote as a birthday gift for her older sister and has never published. Until the publication of Breaking Dawn, Meyer did not discuss the plot of Forever Dawn as she said it was "working as a loose skeletal outline for the rest of the series."
After publication of the final book, Meyer stated on her website that Forever Dawn has basically the same story as Breaking Dawn, but with some differences. The similarities include:
- Bella and Edward get married
- Bella and Edward consummate their marriage on their honeymoon
- Bella becomes pregnant
- The pregnancy and birth greatly endanger Bella's life
- Bella becomes a vampire, with shielding abilities
- Renesmee is a vampire/human hybrid
- Alice has a vision of the Volturi coming to destroy the Cullens with the "immortal child" as their excuse
- Alice leaves the Cullens to look for others like Renesmee.
The differences between the two include:
- Results from the events of New Moon and Eclipse never happening (i.e. Bella and Jacob have never developed a close relationship because Edward never left, Laurent and Victoria are still alive)
Since the events in those books never happened, there was:
- No narration by Jacob (Book 2 of Breaking Dawn)
- Absence of any details about the pack and its politics
- A siding of Laurent with the Cullens as he has been staying with Irina
- Victoria as the informant to the Volturi and is later killed by the pack
- An epilogue told by Max (J. Jenks' assistant), which included Bella getting to play "superman", and helping Max out of a bad situation
Meyer also stated on her website that she may post portions of Forever Dawn in the future, similar to the outtakes she has posted from other books in the series.
- Main article: Breaking Dawn (films)
Breaking Dawn has been confirmed to split into two movies, and the financial budget will be higher than the previous movies. Bill Condon will direct both films. Filming is expected to begin in October 2010. The first movie is expected to premiere in November 18, 2011.
So far, only eleven people have been announced to reprise their roles: Kristen Stewart (Bella), Robert Pattinson (Edward), Taylor Lautner (Jacob), Billy Burke (Charlie), Peter Facinelli (Carlisle), Kellan Lutz (Emmett), Ashley Greene (Alice), Jackson Rathbone (Jasper), Nikki Reed (Rosalie), Elizabeth Reaser (Esme) and Michael Welch (Mike Newton).
There are also concerns about making a PG-13 movie adaptation, due to the book's complex and graphic storylines, including the birth of a half-vampire, half-human baby