Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4), by Stephanie Meyer (Read by Ilyana Kadushin and Matt Walters)
It's difficult to review this audio book without revealing plot spoilers. Suffice it to say that Bella gets her wish to become immortal and join her beloved vampire, Edward, for the rest of eternity. In the course of doing this, though, she and Edward create a new, hybrid life force that forms an alliance with Jacob. While this would seem to ensure that the vampires and werewolves can now live in harmony, it creates a host of situations that put mortals, vampires and wolves in danger of annihilation. Jacob becomes the alpha he was born to be, at the expense of separating from Sam and the pack. Bella must make difficult choices to protect Charlie and his human friends. And because they choose to stand by Bella and Edward, the Cullen family faces the wrath of the Volturi, a sentence that can mean a horrific and painful death for all of them.
This eagerly awaited conclusion to the Twilight series will not disappoint the legions of Stephanie Meyer fans who've championed either Jason or Edward in Bella's quest to determine her heart's desire. While it would be enlightening to have read the three previous novels, it is not necessary. Stephanie Meyer includes enough references to earlier conflicts and characters to keep listeners of Breaking Dawn aware of the significance of the characters' words, actions and motivations. The first person narration is especially effective, because Bella's and Jacob's points of view are read by Ilyana Kadushin and Matt Walters respectively. They each charge the characters with the passion and angst that the author's words suggest.
As in the previous books, Meyer handles the physical aspects of this love story with kid gloves. Bella and Edward are clearly tormented by their lust for each other, but that lust is never acted upon until it's sanctioned and even then, there are no explicit descriptions to offend young listeners. Part of the magic of this book is that the whole fantastic world of vampires, werewolves and humans exists in a very commonplace setting a small town in the Pacific Northwest. It's a world where an ordinary teenage girl finds love and friendship in circumstances that seem so real the listener forgets that vampires and werewolves don't live in the mansions and woods next door. Or do they? Highly recommended.