Okay. Breaking Dawn. Spoilers included.
I read this very, very fast because I am broke (surprise, surprise) so I read this in the bookstore. Somehow, I don't think I will ruin Stephenie Meyer's finances by doing this. However, in this speedy-speedy reading, I was able to deduce several things.
Terrible writing. I was surprised after Eclipse was so brilliant, but I thought the writing was pretty shoddy. The dialogue in particular was awful. I'm not judging her talent by this, because I believe Meyer is incredibly gifted, but I just wish she would have had more time to clean up the wording. It felt like a first draft.
Too long. The book really didn't have to be 750 pages. It could have been 600 easily, and I think it would have been better, shorter.
Too much happiness! I love, love that Bella, Eddie boy and Renesmee get to live happily ever after. But I was flummoxed by the fact that everyone got what they wanted! This is a series that broke into people's souls because of the delicious, angsty quandary of vampire vs. human. You read Twilight knowing there would be consequences. But there were no consequences. At the end of the series, literally everyone is happy. Bella didn't lose anything to get what she wanted.
Anteclimatic. Did I spell that right? Two of my best friends mentioned this as well. At the end of the book, you're gearing up for this huge, intense fight... that never happens. It feels like there's no reckoning or confrontation. Everything flows away.
With all of that negative crap behind me, I think the ending's great. I know she won't win many points with literary critics, but she's won the lottery with her fans and we are who matters. As an Edwardian lover, I'm happy, and I really loved most of the plot points of the book. I just wish her editor had been more picky.
Niki at SodaHead: http://www.sodahead.com/blog/10787/ didn't like it.
The Book Girl: http://thebookgirlreviews.blogspot.com/2008/08/breaking-dawn-stephenie-meyer.html did.
ALSO! with the whole cover thing. I still have no idea why it's a chess set. I did some Googling and the best theories I found were that a) it represents Bella as a mortal pawn and then a dynamic vampire queen, or b) that it represents Bella protecting her baby, who is a pawn in the Volturi's conquest.