Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer: More James Please (Ch. 23)

Is it read-worth? I enjoyed this chapter. While the beginning of Midnight Sun was very tedious, these last few chapters have been very action packed. They’ve also given more depth and insight to characters that lacked it in the original series. Meyer may never be one of my favorite authors, but I personally think that the end of Midnight Sun shows a lot of growth compared to writing in the original series. It is worth a read if you’re interested in comparing the two books and I’m actually starting to hope she continues to write from Edward’s perspective. He may bother me to an extreme, but the characters around him deserve better representation moving forward. I’d love to get to know them more. 

SPOILER ALERT

The alternative realities that Edward explores in the beginning of this chapter are very intense. He has so many ideas on how to protect Bella from the tracker. Imagining a large group of vampires trying to protect one weak element (a human girl), possibly for years, does sound like the ultimate challenge. I understand why James is interested in winning. It sounds impossible to win. 

The most interesting option Edward explores, in my opinion, is the option of letting Bella continue to live her normal life under constant 24/7 vampire protection. It is such a radical, yet simple, idea. How hard could it be to protect one human girl? With seven vampires, it doesn’t sound insanely difficult. 

Of course, it would be. Thinking about James starting a war of attrition over it is absolutely crazy. The fact that Alice could see him attacking all of Bella’s friends, teachers, and other citizens of Forks is insane. Why would one man kill so many people over a girl?

Again, I find myself wanting to know more about James. Why is he such a singularly minded vampire? Why is he absolutely obsessed with tracking? What did he do in his mortal life? Who changed him? Why did they change him? Did they even teach him anything about being a vampire? 

Considering the drastic measures James would take if the Cullens protected Bella from him for years, I don’t think the person who changed him into a vampire really taught him anything about vampire rules. Killing off almost an entire town of people would direct the Volturi’s attention towards him. They would never allow him to do such a thing and, unfortunately for him, they already have their own talented tracker. The Volturi would kill him. James must not even know that they exist.

I really enjoy trying to figure him out.

However, I also really hate Bella’s intense cruelty towards Charlie when she has to quickly leave Forks to evade the tracker. It just comes across as deeply unnecessary. Why even go home just to hurt someone like that? Especially if you might die. It might have been better for her to just leave without another word. 

I do understand that she was just trying to get quick results, but it was still too much for me. Being able to feel Charlie’s intense pain was also a lot to handle. I really love Charlie and I hate seeing him hurt throughout the Twilight series. He cares so much about his daughter. He loves his town. He is just a genuine person who deserves better than that. 

But I resumed enjoying this chapter as soon as that scene was over. Emmett feeling so intensely protective of Bella was endearing to me. He usually loves chances to fight with other vampires. They are tests of his strength. It was nice to see that his focus was one hundred percent on protecting Bella and not on fighting the tracker. His only priority was her safety.

I also found Edward’s musings about whether or not it would have been better to fight James from the get-go. In the original Twilight book, I did wonder why the Cullens didn’t immediately attack James for lunging at Bella. Based on how I imagine vampire instincts working, they would be more primal than that. They would physically need to protect Bella. Plus, seven against one seems like pretty good chances. Given Jasper’s past alone, he could have taken on James, Victoria, and Laurent at the same time and still come out the winner. He is a soldier. 

It did make a little bit more sense after Edward explained that the idea of attacking them for James’s slight alone just didn’t occur to him. The Cullens strive to be so peaceful that violence doesn’t naturally take its course. They don’t respond to violence with violence. Normal covens do, even just in response to minor insults. 

However, I don’t necessarily agree that their refusal to partake in violence makes them stronger than other vampires. It is nice to say that refusing to fight is a point of strength, but it isn’t entirely realistic, especially if you’re a vampire. Refusing to fight puts you in more danger sometimes. Sometimes you have to fight. If they had fought originally, they would have prevented this whole dangerous scenario. Of course it always sounds better to try for peace, but it’s hard to determine the real cost of doing so. 

And that makes me wonder more about Edward’s past. When Edward separated from Carlisle and Esme during the earlier stages of his immortal life, he hunted morally corrupt humans. He only killed people who were doing harm to others. He justified by saying he was saving lives. But would it be possible for him to have hunted and drank the blood of other vampires? Undoubtedly the average vampire has ended more human lives than even human serial killers have. They live off of human blood. Wouldn’t another vampire be able to target vampires, hunt them, and drink their blood instead of human blood? Maybe the only real vampire hunters in the Twilight universe are other vampires.

Maybe the idea of hunting vampires is too edgy for Edward though.

I also found myself wondering more about Victoria’s past. Her extra talent for escaping dangerous situations seems to be entirely fueled off of fear. Her overwhelming feeling of terror bleeds into all descriptions of her. What about her mortal life had lent itself so well to using fear as a supernatural skill? What had made her feel so at risk all the time? What dangers was she escaping?

It was also interesting that Laurent joined up with Victoria and James out of boredom. I can’t even imagine how tedious forever feels, especially when you’re so closed off from the rest of the world. Being an immortal sounds great until you actually have to figure out what you should do with forever. 

However, I can’t really understand the appeal of pure sadism either. What pleasure can you possibly derive from what Laurent remembers James doing to people? How could he see it worthwhile to involve himself with something like that? And how could he not realize that those same sadistic ideas and tendencies could be turned against himself? It sounds foolish.

It also sounds strange to me that these sadistic behaviors would be appealing to Victoria. Her entire personality is based around self preservation. She only wants to protect herself from danger. Why would she fall in love with danger? Does she find James’s lethality appealing? Does she believe he will protect her? I want to know more about their relationship. It is hard to tell, even based off of the second book, what lent such strength to their relationship. 

Of course, maybe their relationship is reminiscent of Will and Hannibal’s from the Hannibal television series. It’s easy to see why Will and Hannibal have such an intense relationship. It may not be a romantic one, but maybe the reasons behind it are the same. Their skills and personality build off of one another. Victoria and James are probably similar.

Laurent also made me wonder if there was more to Carlisle than I originally thought. It has been said that Carlisle is not gifted in the same sense that Jasper, Alice, and Edward are. He is just an ordinary vampire with one strong trait, the same way most other vampires are. His is just his overall sense of kindness and generosity. His patience. 

But perhaps there is more to Carlisle than just having a strong personality trait. Maybe he is gifted. Laurent’s reaction to him made me wonder if Carlisle gives others a stronger sense of their own humanity. Most vampires are calmed by his presence. They’re more in touch with their own humanity. Laurent himself seemed reminded of his human life whilst in the presence of Carlisle and even felt an intense level of respect for the man. Perhaps Carlisle’s special talent is being able to remind vampires of the good in themselves. 

However, it was hard to like Rosalie throughout this chapter so maybe it doesn’t work perfectly on all vampires. While I usually commend Rosalie on her tenacity, she was a bit grating during chapter twenty three. I understand her anger over being put at risk due to Bella’s involvement in the Cullen’s lives, but it’s hard to feel compassionate towards someone who would rather be obstinate than help a person in danger. Would she really rather Bella die? 

Rosalie’s fear of Emmett being hurt helped dissuade part of my annoyance, but it didn’t completely dissipate. Emmett is a vampire. Bella is a teenage human girl. The difference between the two is astounding. Feeling annoyance over having to protect Bella from danger is almost like being annoyed at having to save the life of a child. Bella is utterly defenseless against a vampire on her own.

However, Jasper was a good distraction from my annoyance. At this point, I am absolutely dying to know more about him. The constant reminders of his life as a soldier make me want to imagine terrifying battle scenes. His past is all the blood and gore the Twilight series largely ignores. He is a very scary vampire. 

All in all, though, it’s nice to see my interest in Midnight Sun growing, even so late in the game. I was largely unimpressed and even offended during the first few chapters. But Meyer’s writing has improved since she wrote the Twilight series originally and I’ve even found myself enjoying these past few chapters. I hope she continues this level of improvement. It may not be the best writing ever, but it’s pretty good and I’m loving the side characters. 

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