Eclipse is the third novel in Stephenie Meyers popular Twilight series. You really want to have read Twilight and New Moon (in that order) first before reading Eclipse, because the author doesnt spend too much time expounding the story-lines of the previous novels but rather drops the reader straight in to the story. You also want to read Twilight and New Moon because they are both excellent novels and, trust me, you are missing out if you havent read them.
Eclipse carries on not long after New Moon left off. Bellas high school graduation is approaching and she will soon be leaving Forks forever, ostensibly to go to college - but in reality she is planning to join her boyfriend in his vampire existence and will therefore be unable to return home, due to being dead and possessed by a terrible blood lust for the first few years. Not that the reader is actually taken that far in this story, we make it through graduation but then the dangerous vampires from Seattle come to Forks and dealing with them dominates the rest of the novel.
This is only one part of the story though. Eclipse is primarily a romantic saga, so Bella and Edwards relationship is the primary focus of the novel. Or as I should say Bella, Edward and Jacobs relationship - because there is a love triangle in the plot of this novel.
Bella and Jacob have always been friends, at least they were - right up until Jacob became a werewolf. Then the enmity between vampires and werewolves put a huge strain on their friendship. Besides which, Jacob is in love with Bella, who is in love with Edward so this is going to make things awkward between them.
At this point, Eclipse descends into soap opera territory Bella has found her soul mate in Edward but Jacob is the soul mate she should have / could have / would have had if Edward didnt exist. She loves him too but not as much as Edward. Why she loves Jacob is beyond me he knows that she loves Edward but Jacob still tries to make her feel guilty that she cant love him like he wants her too. Blatant emotional blackmail is unattractive whatever way you serve it up and it detracted from his otherwise fine character. Worse, it lead to a large proportion of this book being devoted to teenage angst and with this book being 628 pages long that a substantial amount of angst!
To be fair, Eclipse is written for the young adult market so I really shouldnt complain about the teen angst and the drama but for me it meant that this book lacked the magical quality that made Twilight stand out from the crowd of vampire romances available in bookstores today. Dont misunderstand me - Eclipse is still a really good read. The book didnt feel like it was over 600 pages long, I literally flew through the pages and had to make a conscious effort to slow down my reading so I didnt finish the whole book in a couple of sittings.
For teens already hooked on the series Eclipse is another solid instalment of Forks goodness. Adult readers may be put off by the teenage relationship angst in this novel but if you have already enjoyed the authors previous offerings I think there is still plenty here to entertain.
It will be intriguing to see where Stephenie Meyer takes the ideas and characters in this series next. Writing for the Young Adult market always means that there is some expectation for the author to set a good example for impressionable young minds and criticisms that Bellas character is too dependent and needs set a better example for young women seem unfair. This is romantic fantasy enjoy it!