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Eclipse    by Stephenie Meyer order for
by Stephenie Meyer
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Eclipse follows Twilight and New Moon as the third in Stephenie Meyer's compelling YA vamp lit series starring endearingly klutzy Isabella Swan and her otherwordly friends and lovers. If the episodes were to be given short summaries, the first might be 'teen meets vamp love of many lifetimes', and the second 'vamp love lost and found'. Continuing to summarize, the third would be simply 'supernatural love triangle'.

Bella loves Edward Cullen, an ethical vampire, whose adopted family have all abjured feeding on humans - though sometimes the temptation challenges them horrendously. Edward also loves Bella but wants her to enjoy a human life, rather than to join him for eternity as a vampire - and if she insists on the latter, he's holding out for marriage (in a charming role reversal). Quileute Indian Jacob Black, who morphed into a werewolf in New Moon joining a pack of others in his tribe, loves Bella though she believes she can only offer him friendship. Werewolves and vampires (dogs and leeches) are traditional enemies, though the Cullens and Quileute have long kept a truce.

As this third episode opens, Bella still lives with her father Charlie, Police Chief of Forks, a small town in Washington. The Cullens have agreed to change her, after high school graduation, which quickly approaches. Aware of the possibility, Jake is desperate to prevent it. But if Bella doesn't change, then her chances of survival are slight, despite the Cullens' best efforts to protect her - as Bella is threatened by both Victoria, a powerful vampire who wants revenge, and by the Volturi family, an ancient ruling clan of vampires. At the same time as Bella copes with jealousy and angst, a killing spree in nearby Seattle is all over the news, and the Cullens suspect a newly made vampire.

Stephenie Meyer pulls all these plot threads together into a crescendo of an ending, where Bella and those she loves are at great risk as vampires and werewolves fight to the death. And Isabella makes her choice between Jake and Edward, between humanity and eternity. Fans will be thrilled by Eclipse, and anxious to see what comes next in a gripping series that pits loving, conflicted relationships against supernatural violence and gore.

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