Literary Criticism and Significance
Breaking Dawn was released with mixed reviews in popular culture. The novel sold extremely well, putting up numbers of 1.3 million copies sold in the first twenty-four hours. Some reviews of Breaking Dawn described it as just as good, or better than the first three novels, and a fulfilling conclusion to the Twilight series. However, other reviewers severely criticized it, particularly for the lack of agency and poor writing.
There was also a backlash from readers. People unhappy with the book flooded online message boards on Amazon.com and other discussion sites, organizing large groups of people to return the novel and get their money back.
Two of the biggest issues often cited with the Twilight series are the characterization of Bella and the lack of hard decisions that exist in the series. Bella’s entire focus throughout the four novels is Edward: once she falls in love with him, she decides nothing else matters in the world. Bella forgoes the normal high school experience, college, and even life to be with Edward. Many consider this to be a questionable role model for the girls who read the Twilight series.
There are also few hard decisions made throughout the series. InBreaking Dawn, in particular, there are a large number of convenient set-ups that occur. Vampires cannot give birth or father children—and yet Edward is able to. Vampiric children are strictly forbidden—and yet, because Renesmee is half-human, she is no longer a threat. Jacob Black’s unrequited love for Bella is easily forgotten once he imprints on her daughter. Charlie, Bella’s father, should be completely cut-off, as it is a rule that vampires cannot be known to the human world. Charlie, however, accepts that he cannot ask questions, and Bella is able to keep him in her life, as well as in her daughter’s life. The Volturi are ready to battle—but decide to retreat instead. While some consider these happily-ever-after elements to be part of escapist fantasy fiction, others feel it is a series of missed opportunities on Meyer’s part to raise the stakes—and the quality—of the novel.