Breaking Dawn is the last installment in the Twilight Saga – the love triangle between a human, vampire and werewolf/shape-shifter. The cover of the novel is a metaphor of Bella’s journey. She began as the weakest member on the chessboard – the pawn – but by the end of the novel she was the Queen who saves the day for the Cullens. The chessboard also denotes that the battle is going to be one of wits and not strength. This ending is influenced by the ending of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice where it was also a battle of wits. Meyer hints at this by incorporating a written clue on a page of the novel, Merchant of Venice, within the storyline. She didn’t wish for the series to have a gloomy ending where most of the characters would be dead. So even though the fight and bloodshed seems inevitable, it is all resolved by an final moment clever strategy and then everyone can live happily. Breaking Dawn is also influenced by another of Shakespeare’s plays A Midsummer Night’s Dream which is used to explain the imprinting culture in Quileutes.
It was one of the most anticipated books of 2008. It was released on 2nd August followed by Breaking Dawn Concert Series events in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle. Before release Stephenie Meyer asked her fans to protect Breaking Dawn from the same fate and not ruin other readers’ experience. Her publisher had set up an email account to alert them of any online spoilers. Message boards on several fansites were also taken down to protect the unsuspecting readers from stumbling on spoilers.
The book was initially titled Forever Dawn but Meyer thought that was too cheesy. Also Breaking Dawn gives a sense of disaster and also matches with the book’s plot of new awakening and new day. It is a reference of Bella’s new vampire life. The earlier version was completely from Bella’s point of view and in it Victoria and Laurent were still alive. After researching on Incubus, Meyer decided to add Renesmee in the story. Regarding the name Meyer described how she went through multiple baby names but none of them seemed good enough for a child who was so unique. So in the end she ended up with making her own name.
According to Bitches Magazines, Twilight Saga has created a new genre, namely, abstinence porn where Bella is objectified in the same way as she would have been in real porn. Many critics have criticized absolutely misogynist characterization of Bella. Her only goal in life is to be with Edward, she has absolutely low self-esteem and an obsession with suffering and sacrifice. Meyer has also been censured for the pregnancy scene in the book. Critics believe that Bella’s determination to give birth while ignoring the risk on her life stems from Meyer’s religious philosophy and strong anti-abortion feelings. When Meyer, who is a Mormon, was asked if she would terminate a pregnancy to save her life, she declared that she will deliver no matter what the consequences.
In response to theories about being anti-feminist, Meyer has defended herself by explaining how in her opinion feminism is about choice. This basically means, it’s feminist to choose to be an astronaut and it’s feminist to choose to be a house wife because it is sexist to tell women that they cannot choose work over family, and yet it is also sexist to say that she can’t choose family over work. In both cases, a certain group in society believes that women shouldn’t do certain things or else they don’t live up to their version of what a woman should be. Bella lives in a fantasy world of immortals that don’t age. Her decisions are a product of extraordinary situations and hence should not be considered from an everyday perspective. She got married at 18 because the man she loves will always be 17 and not because that’s all she can think of do with her life.
Cara von Wrangel Kinsey noted that while Breaking Dawn is more mature and darker in theme, it’s twists and turns are not out of character. But Publishers Weekly in their review condemns the novel for continuous wish fulfilment even if it diverts and contradicts their characterizations or the plot itself. Meyer stated in regards to the series’ end that the book is a natural end for Bella’s journey. Story needs conflict and all the Bella centric conflicts have been resolved.
Breaking Dawn received British Book Award for “Children’s Book of the Year”. The novel was also chosen as “Teen Choice Book of the Year” and Meyer won “Author of the Year” in 2009 Children’s Choice Book Awards. Summit Entertainment announced in 2008 that they have procured rights for the fourth book in the series.