Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer: THE TENSION (Ch. 21 – 22)

Is it read-worth? I’ve been really surprised by how much I’ve been enjoying these past few chapters. While Stephanie Meyer will never be my favorite author, they’re not bad! I find a lot of the new information included recently to be super interesting and it makes me think about the Twilight universe is really like.

SPOILER ALERT

Let’s start from the beginning of this section of chapters: I’ve never fully understood the purpose of Billy Black’s visit to Charlie that day. What was he really going to say to him? That Edward Cullen is a bloodsucking vampire and Charlie’s daughter should avoid him? I can only imagine that that would go brilliantly for him. Charlie definitely wouldn’t think that Billy had lost his mind. 

Or was he just coming to warn Bella? It seemed like they knew each other quite well, but not really that well. After all, Bella had only rarely visited her father growing up. She preferred the warmth of Phoenix over Forks. Could he really be that close to her? 

I just don’t particularly understand Billy. I wonder if he showed up at Charlie’s wanting to do something to make sure Bella was okay without any real game plan in mind. Bringing Charlie some fried fish was obviously just an excuse to stop by. 

Of course, it is rather sweet that Billy wanted to protect Bella. It probably scared the heck out of him to imagine her spending time with a vampire. Wanting to protect her from a creature he views as highly dangerous is entirely admirable, especially considering his limited ability to protect himself from vampires. 

Plus, it is easy to understand his sense of revulsion towards the Cullens. Who in their right mind would want to date a bloodsucker? Vampires are violent creatures that kill humans. In his eyes, there could be nothing worse.

But I did enjoy the fact that, after he realized the extent of Bella’s knowledge, he knew there was nothing he could say to change her mind. As a father, Billy probably had a lot of experience with stubborn teenage girls. You can’t convince them of anything; they’re always right. I know this because I was one. Admitting that he would have to wait until later on to do something about Bella’s relationship with Edward showed a lot of self control. 

I do also wonder how Billy Black really felt when he received Carlisle’s call. I wonder how many nights the poor man lay awake worrying about what the return of vampires would mean for his people. How could he protect everyone without the werewolves around? How could he prevent the Cullens from drinking blood? How could he trust vampires? Billy probably had no idea how to make the Cullens adhere to the specifics of their treaty. 

More than that, the poor man almost definitely didn’t even think that their legends were all true. It had apparently been hundreds of years since werewolves had walked their woods. Similarly to Jacob, Billy probably thought the stories about them were fictitious and possibly even ridiculous. Everyone knows vampires don’t exist! The horror of finding out that the horror stories from his people’s past were one hundred percent true probably bothered him. I can’t imagine finding out that my family’s folklore is all true. 

I hate the way Edward reacts to Billy’s thought processes and emotions. For someone who is always talking about how much he hates vampires and thinks that they’re terrible monsters, it’s absolutely laughable that Billy’s reaction to them would aggravate him. What a hypocrite! It’s unbelievable that Edward feels justified in hating his own species, but Billy’s not allowed to for the very same reasons. His description of the Quileute Tribe being Billy’s “cronies” also felt reductive. The Tribe deserves better than that. Edward needs to check himself. 

And shouldn’t he find Billy’s desire to protect Bella endearing? Edward is constantly going on and on about how fragile Bella is. He is worried about her literally all the time. Why wouldn’t he want all the help he can get? 

Well, the answer to that is simple: because if Billy protects Bella from him then Bella would be out of his control. Everything Edward does in regards to Bella is about controlling her. He doesn’t let her make her own decisions ever. Even when she has ideas later in the chapter on how to prevent disaster, his word is the last say. He really drives me up the wall. 

I have very little to say about events leading up to the baseball game. Of course, I found some scenes minutely interesting. Small details like Charlie’s instinctual reaction to meeting Edward, Rosalie tearing her hand away from Esme, and Alice’s excitement in running towards Bella were all perfectly nice details to include. But there was nothing in them that’s super interesting to think about. I guess the most interesting thing about those scenes is that Bella is completely missing a gut reaction to vampires. She has no sense of self preservation! 

It starts to pick up again soon thereafter though. When Alice has her initial vision about the vampire coven changing their direction to head towards the baseball game, that’s when you know things are about to get good. 

Seeing this scene develop from Edward’s perspective was actually more interesting than I expected. In the original Twilight book, I never really thought that they actually considered having Edward escape with Bella on their back. I thought it was just a momentary consideration, not something Alice envisioned potentially going wrong. I loved the tension in these scenes. It made me more interested in what was to come.

I was very excited to begin chapter two. In the beginning, I really enjoyed the fact that the newcomers were not fully capable of appreciating the true size of the Cullen family. They assumed that they were made up of two or three friendly covens meeting for a game, not one large group of vampires. It felt exciting to be in on the secret! 

Laurent’s initial attraction towards Rosalie was also funny. Of course he wondered if she was mated already! She’s gorgeous. I wonder how Emmett would have reacted had he known about Laurent’s thought process. 

Victoria’s internal dialogue was fascinating as well. I had never imagined her as having such a nervous energy about her. In the movies in particular she had always come across as extraordinarily confident. Her sense of self preservation was everything I had been missing in Bella, funnily enough. They were obviously made to be foils of each other.

Realizing the true extent to Jasper’s skill completely absorbed all of my attention after that though. The fact that he can camouflage himself with his skill is very cool. He is covered with battle scars on every potion of his body. He is a warrior, even more threatening than Emmett. The fact that they don’t notice him is remarkable. Making anyone who gazes at him unbearably bored with him is extremely impressive and such a useful thing for their group. It is even more impressive that he can extend this level of protection to Esme, Alice, and Bella at the same time. If a fight broke out, the three encroaching vampires would have no idea what they were up against. 

James, as a character, has more depth to him than I thought. His sense of excitement over the challenge of hunting Bella is almost childlike in nature. I find his high level of emotions intoxicating compared to the monotony we usually encounter in the Twilight series. He is completely present in the moment, ready to fully feel every emotion that passes through him. He is easily provoked and volatile. Based on his description, I want to know more about him. Why does the hunt bring him so much pleasure? What was his past like? What was he like as a mortal? What makes a tracker a tracker? 

I love the concept of vampire trackers after reading how James feels about tracking. It made me so more curious about the Twilight series than I was. I mean I always wanted to know more about Alistair in the original series, but learning more about James has only made me more curious. I couldn’t comprehend the extent of James’ excitement and I wonder how it extends to Alistair’s ability as a tracker. Alistair comes across as so serious that I wonder if he feels the same glee while tracking. Probably not, but it would be kind of funny if he did. 

 Alice’s visions for the options moving forward did suggest that there was one way for them to avoid having James hunt them. I do wonder why Edward didn’t consider the option of turning Bella for even a second, but I am not surprised. He is such a control freak that he would never have even given her the option. His religious beliefs would prevent him from letting her turn into a vampire. I find it annoying. It should be Bella’s choice if that’s the route she wants to take. 

I feel like these past few chapters have been very interesting compared to the tedious beginning of this book. It’s still not my favorite book in the world, but I love being able to feel some level of excitement to keep reading. It’s been so rare that I don’t have to drag myself back to this book! I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing what happens next, particularly if it’s all new scenes of what Edward did while separated from Bella.

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