Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer: Yes! Finally! (Ch. 18-19)

Is it read-worth? These chapters weren’t so bad. I enjoyed them at times, hated them at others. I think some of the actual writing in these chapters was of decent quality, especially compared to many of the scenes in the original series. I really love getting to know some of the side characters more, especially Rosalie.

SPOILER ALERT

To be perfectly frank with you guys, I was a little bit underwhelmed by the beginning of chapter eighteen. I was not looking forward to reading more and my earlier optimism was long forgotten. Edward’s condescending explanation for why he should drive Bella’s truck home from the trail kind of turned me off to this book more than I expected. I don’t know why it bothered me so much. Of course, Bella definitely wasn’t in a state to drive after how dizzy their run made her, but their kiss seemed a little bit extra. It was too extreme. Especially considering that it only impacted Bella to such a large extent. The blood drinking vampire was largely okay. 

Plus, I’ve never personally fainted from kissing someone so it’s hard for me to imagine. Have you? It’s probably realistic for people who are prone to fainting, although I’m not sure Bella falls into this category. I wonder if she fainted a lot in Arizona. 

However, I didn’t mind their conversation about Edward’s age. I was hoping they would have it soon. I couldn’t really remember when it happened in the first Twilight book so it felt like a welcome surprise. Thank my memory for small delights! 

Thinking back on it now, though, it is a little bit strange to me that Bella was so surprised at Edward’s age. He’s old! But vampires in most folklore are pretty old and I would probably have been expecting older. The last one hundred years is pretty recent for immortal beings! I guess it’s pretty hard to put two and two together when you’re looking at someone who appears to be seventeen.

I do kind of wish Edward remembered more from his human life during this conversation. It’s very sad to me that he has such a limited memory of his human parents and his mortal life. From the way Carlisle describes his mother, she at least deserved a more well developed memory on his behalf. It’s hard to imagine forgetting the people who loved and cared for you. I wonder a lot about what his father was like.

I also wonder if that means Bella will forget about her family in the future. Will memories of Charlie and Renee quickly fade into the background? Mortal memories must be completely different from immortal memories. Everything seems to intensify as a vampire so I understand why memories of so long ago would eventually fade. But it’s still a little bit sad to lose such valuable memories as the years pass by.

Of course, that means I do completely understand why Carlisle felt like he should change Rosalie into a vampire, hoping she would be Edward’s perfect match. With his human memories gone, Edward would need something to ground him to humanity. Love could do that. Also feeling like you doomed someone to spend eternity alone must be horrible. Rosalie’s beauty would have spoken to someone like Carlisle. He would have seen something in her face. I would have probably done the same thing he did.

But of course I adore Rosalie. Edward doesn’t. He does not seem to give her any benefit of the doubt. Even immediately after she became a vampire, Edward was passing judgement on her. He ridiculed her for moping and feeling bad for herself. Meanwhile Edward is CONSTANTLY moping. He’s like the KING of moping. How hypocritical is that? Rosalie can’t have time to process her own emotions regarding the end of his human life and he can spend the last one hundred years brooding about what an evil creature he is. 

I think a large part of it is that he knew she was supposed to be his life partner and felt a bit of resentment towards Carlisle towards trying to set that up. He would never, however, admit to himself that he felt negativity towards Carlisle. So instead he takes it out on Rosalie. That is so completely unfair and immature in my opinion. Rosalie deserves better than that. I think that she is possibly the strongest, most well-developed female character in the entire series. She has so much inner strength that it is unbelievable. I hate the way Edward regards her.

However, I did enjoy hearing more about her from Edward’s perspective. I love getting to know more about her and Emmett. I can’t imagine the impossible feat of strength it must have been for her to travel so far with him human in her arms, bleeding. Hearing the story from Edward’s perspective was much more telling than learning about it from Bella’s. He was actually there to see her face and hear her beg for Emmett’s life. Her fear and need to save Emmett felt very, very real compared to a lot of the writing throughout the Twilight series. Good job Meyer! 

I also enjoyed hearing more about when Alice joined the family. While I find her character a lot less interesting than I did during the original Twilight series, I do still want to like her. It was hilarious that she made sure to arrive while Edward and Emmett were away from the rest of the family. Why bother knocking down a wall when you can walk in the front door? I love it.

When Bella asks Edward to come into her home, my prior sense of enjoyment was partially interrupted. He absentmindedly wondered if she thought that he needed an invitation in order to enter her home. While we obviously know he does not, I almost wish that he did. Beyond just wanting to avoid his creepy stalker-y behavior, it bothers me that vampires in the Twilight universe have so few weaknesses. It takes so much effort to kill one! The sun doesn’t bother them. Garlic doesn’t do a thing. They can enter your home without a problem. They can even eat food if they want to! They just have to throw it up later. In the real world, I feel like they’d have at least a few weaknesses for humans to exploit. They wouldn’t be so impossibly stronger than us. 

Everything dies one day after all. It’s kind of a bummer that the only thing really capable of killing a vampire is another vampire. I mean how am I supposed to imagine groups of vampire hunters in this world then?

Of course, there are werewolves… but still. I want more options than that.

I also absolutely one hundred percent hated Bella’s reaction to finding out what a creep Edward is. The fact that she was embarrassed of her own behavior (talking in her sleep) instead of focusing on him being a complete and total stalker is completely laughable. In a bad way. I cannot believe that a supposedly mature and well-rounded main female character wouldn’t be horrified by his behavior. She is supposed to be the best of us! How does she not see what a red flag that is? 

Obviously I knew her reaction was going to be completely dismissive and on the edge of flattered. It was still disappointing. Edward’s behavior is not romantic! It’s not! Why does Meyer insist that it is?

And then when Charlie goes on to disable Bella’s truck so she can’t sneak out? Yuck. I hate it when parents act like that. Bella never gave Charlie a reason not to trust her. She is not the type of person to sneak out. Why does he think it’s justifiable to mess with her vehicle? I understand that he’s her parent and he’s trying to protect her, but it feels like a total violation of the trust between them. Why can’t he just trust her? And wouldn’t it be more likely for Bella to ask to do whatever she wants to do? He usually encourages her to socialize. 

Regardless, over-controlling men seem to be a common theme in the Twilight series.

In any case, I did start to like chapter eighteen again soon thereafter. I really love hearing about the science behind vampirism. Hearing Edward ponder the evolution of vampires was right up my alley. However, I do believe it makes more sense that vampirism would come long after the evolution of humankind. It is often described as some type of disease. It would need time to develop. I think he was coming at it from a more religious perspective, believing that the same greater force created both at the same time. That’s fine too. I’m open to all theories when it comes to my supernatural creatures.

Similarly, I particularly liked hearing more about vampire science in chapter nineteen. It was my huge ‘YES! FINALLY’ moment with this book. I’m finally getting a little bit of what I asked for! According to Carlisle’s research into vampires, vampires consume blood and it is absorbed directly into their muscles instead of processed by their circulatory system. Nothing else is capable of moving throughout their body at all. How interesting is that? I want to know even more now!

It got a little bit awkward, however, when Bella asked Edward about sex. I don’t know how Meyer does it, but she makes all sex very unsexy. Plus why wouldn’t vampires be interested in sex? They can’t sleep after all. They’re probably bored a lot of the time. 

During the beginning of chapter nineteen, I was excited to get back to Edward interacting with Rosalie. As I’ve said many times prior, I can’t get enough of her! Even just imagining her facial expressions and reactions to things makes me laugh. I was disappointed again by Edward’s thoughts about her. He was so surprised by the true depth of her character. She isn’t the shallow person he makes her out to be! He always assumes her reactions are because of petty explanations. They aren’t. 

Rosalie’s dislike for Bella has more to it than just being spiteful that Edward found someone he thinks is prettier than herself. Rosalie feels like Bella is giving up everything she has personally ever wanted. The chance to be human and live a normal human life is so valuable to Rosalie that it absolutely enrages her to see someone want to give it up. She doesn’t want to watch Bella make choices that she herself would regret. It causes her physical and emotional pain to do so. 

And that is so admirable. Every one else seems to have come around to supporting Bella and Edward’s relationship. The fact that Rosalie wants to stay true to what matters to her is so impressive. I love the fact that she doesn’t just blindly tell Edward to go for it. She genuinely wants a better life for Bella with kids and marriage and human happiness. She isn’t even sure if years of happiness are worth the risk of possibly losing her grasp on humanity. I love it. Edward needs to stop passing such critical judgement on such a strong and caring person. He’s being a jerk.

He’s also being a jerk in other ways. Edward is so constantly dismissive of his family and his species when comparing them to Bella: “I hated that Bella referred to herself this way, as though there was something wrong with her, and not the other way around.” If vampirism is relatively common, why does he continue to view it as such a disability? If anything, it’s an improvement. Also, stop hating on your family! You have spent the last decades with them! They deserve more than being compared to some teenage girl you just met. 

It also feels reductive that Edward reduces Bella’s concept of forever as such a short period of time. If he truly believes that she is vastly more mature than her peers, she would have a longer version of forever. But of course I don’t necessarily disagree with him. What teenager, or person, has a real concept of forever? I don’t really believe that even vampires are completely unchanging as decades pass. Outside triggers must eventually work their forces on them. It is just a slower process. How I wish we got to see more vampires break up.

I was a bit surprised at how much more realistic Esme feels during this book. During Twilight, she was definitely very far into the background of the story. She’s still a side character now, but she has more character traits. I like the fact that she’s a homebody and is quite happy for the rest of her family to bring her news of the outside world. Who doesn’t love the idea of a homebody vampire?

Thinking about the entire family now, however, it is a little bit strange that Carlisle and his family have met so few other vampires like themselves. He has travelled the world and has met seemingly hundreds of vampires, but very few others have developed a “conscience” about their food source like himself. I wonder if there are smaller groups of covens, outside of the Cullens and Denalis, that abstain from human blood as well. Maybe they just haven’t found each other yet.

However,it does sound absolutely gruesome to be created as Edward and Carlisle were. Carlisle believed that his slow change is what resulted in his more reserved and kind personality and immortal desires so he inflicted the same wounds he had experienced onto Edward. I am very much so looking forward to more information about Carlisle’s past and his thoughts on the vampire universe.

But are my chances very good that Stephanie Meyer will go into more detail? Not so sure. I had to wait eighteen chapters to get these tidbits of new information. Here’s to hoping! 

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