After that last chapter, I considered adding Midnight Sun to my DNF. I honestly don’t even really think that it deserves to be finished. The entire book is next to worthless to me if the author makes it abundantly clear she doesn’t even care if readers enjoy this book. I want to promote authors who care about their readers, not ones who milk them like a cash cow.
But I guess I’m hopeful still. I remember moments where I genuinely enjoyed this book. Maybe I can justify her complete lack of effort as boredom on her behalf. Maybe she just genuinely hates battle scenes. It’s a bit of a stretch for me that she’s fine with writing endlessly about how perfect Bella is, but won’t write about the death of an insanely powerful threat… But maybe that’s the case. She just doesn’t care for violence. I don’t know for sure.
I do know that we, as readers, deserved better. And I’m particularly let down on behalf of her loyal fanbase. How can she continuously let them down when it comes to the scenes that they scream for? It is horrible that they begged for action the entire Breaking Dawn book and then she turned around and wrote another book that completely misses the point.
What is the point of a vampire without a little bit violence?
Especially in a romance novel. I’ve always thought the allure of supernatural men in romance novels is that (1) we can excuse their violence as them not being human so (2) we can all find it super attractive. Without the element of violence, what is the appeal of someone like Edward? It can’t be his broody and depressive nature. That’s just not good enough for me.
And I’m not sure the fact that he makes Bella feel special is really good enough for me either. Although I am starting to think that that is the key to why the Twilight series is wildly successful. It’s not the writing. It’s not really the characters. It’s the fact that a completely average girl is viewed as a goddess by a hot, rich vampire. She becomes his entire world. And she’s exactly like everyone else, no matter how much Meyer emphasizes that she’s not (a problem in itself in my opinion, but we won’t get into that again.) Maybe people like this book because it makes them feel like they too could be special in the eyes of another person. Their completely normal traits can cause someone to fall in love with them. If someone can love someone as boring as Bella, they can love us too.
However, it’s not necessarily an incentive for perfect love just to think the other person is special. Love is independent of a healthy relationship. They may intertwine, but they’re not necessarily directly in proportion to each other. So, in the context of their relationship, I still don’t get the appeal. Edward is toxic. His patterns of behavior are unhealthy. His personality sucks. I’d rather be alone than have someone like him think I’m great. Obviously the things he does to great people are horrible. He’s a stalker.
You might have to risk a lot for love, but it has to be worth it in my opinion. He’s not.
And it’s a bit disappointing.
But writing about isn’t always.
So here I am.
And am I happy about it? To be honest, no, not really. I’d love to be the type of person who can have a dramatic “I hate this series, I’ll never read it again,” moment, but I’m not. I probably will read it again. I might even read Midnight Sun again. It sucks. The writing sucks. The climax sucked. A lot about it just isn’t good.
But for some reason I’ll still enjoy reading it. It’s like the worst type of guilty pleasure because even I don’t understand why I like it. I spend more time complaining about this series than complimenting it. Maybe it’s the little bit of nostalgia I feel to return to these characters I knew when I was younger or maybe it’s some type of deal with the devil Meyer made to make people addicted to her poorly written books. I’m not sure which is more likely at this point. The one thing I do know is I’m mad about it.
Especially because my convictions about this series are so strong. I feel like they completely normalize unhealthy patterns of behavior. They romanticize abusive relationships as well as horrible things like suicide. They make death seem appealing. They make young girls think that men like Edward are romantic. They condition people to seek out similar attitudes in their own relationships instead of seeing things like stalking and telling someone who they’re allowed to go see as gigantic red flags. A lot of readers wouldn’t even notice that this behavior is horrible unless it was pointed out to them, especially during the original Twilight books. They might even find them romantic. That’s how deeply effective this type of conditioning is.
Because I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: stalking someone isn’t romantic. Sneaking into their bedroom to watch them sleep isn’t romantic. Controlling what they do? Not romantic. None of Edward’s behavior is romantic.
I don’t personally ever find anything Edward does to be romantic, but the fact that I can find these books easy to read if I just don’t look too hard at them is a bad sign for how toxic literature impacts us all. It makes horrible behavior seem normal. I am fully aware that these books push an unhealthy agenda. And yet I still read them and like them. How messed up is that?
And how messed up is the fact that, as a teenage girl, I was recommended to read this by an adult? Did no one ever notice how horrible these books are? Or did they just not care? It feels like girls were encouraged to read books like this so they could fall in love with toxic, overly controlling men. Instead of being taught to be wary, they were taught to rush into unhealthy relationships headfirst. As long as the man could justify doing these things as protecting their loved one, they were a hero and not an abuser.
Gag me with a spoon.
But of course I’m going off on another long-winded tangent. Toxic masculinity will kill us all if we’re not careful, but that’s not the entire point of this blog post. I’m supposed to be trying to read some of the actual book.
Back to the chapter.
I find it odd to watch Emmett ponder over the impossibility of Edward’s strength. Emmett knew he would never have the strength to start drinking someone’s blood and then just stop like Edward did. I wonder if he fully realizes that he has strengths entirely independent of Edwards. He is more open and honest than Edward, for one. To me, he comes across as more intensely loyal than Edward. He doesn’t ever seem to consider abandoning his family. He fiercely loves them. He allows new people into his heart without any fuss. He is not at all judgmental like Edward is. He is not condescending.
More than that, Emmett is capable of loving someone completely without infringing on who they are and their own autonomy. He never asks Rosalie to be someone she isn’t. He never tries to control her behavior or her actions. He is not a creepy stalker. He is, instead, a healthy partner.
I also wonder what would have happened had Jasper just revealed himself to the tracker from the get-go. Instead of hiding himself, maybe he should have just made it clear that he was a man of war during their very first interaction with the other vampires. Maybe then James wouldn’t have risked threatening the Cullens. Jasper can come across as deadly just because of the sheer number of vampire-related scars he is covered with. If he uses his talent to amplify that during their original meeting, he would have looked like the deadliest vampire alive. He might even be the deadliest vampire alive.
I would love to see him in a fight with Alice or Edward. I don’t know if even their advanced detection skills would allow them to defeat him.
Watching how Alice solved the problem of Bella’s accident was interesting enough, but kind of added insult to injury. Why would we go into such detail about this, but ignore almost the entire battle scene? We got to hear about Alice interacting with the hotel receptionist in detail for pages on end, not entirely to my despair. Yet, we heard so little about Emmett and Jasper literally ripping a vampire into pieces and setting him on fire. It’s pure agony for me. Stephanie Meyer’s endless boredom with violence causes real damage to her series time and time again. Maybe she should hire a ghostwriter for her next book.
I wonder why she didn’t for this book when she put so little effort into adding anything new to the series. It’s all starting to come across as an afterthought to me. But perhaps I’m being a little too critical now that I know the extent to which I’ll be disappointed by Midnight Sun. I did originally enjoy that chapter about chasing James, for example.
But I didn’t realize throughout the original books the extent to which smell really would help a vampire doctor. Edward could tell that the blood in Bella was not her own. It smelled completely differently to him than her own. It would continue to do so, to some degree, for many weeks. If he can pick up those small differences for the next few weeks, what can Carlisle’s trained nose really pick up? I’ve heard before about sniffer dogs that can detect sickness in a human far before any other medical devices can. I wonder if Carlisle often does the same and how he prevents that talent from becoming suspicious. Such an advantage would undoubtedly aid him in being a skilled doctor, but it would be extremely odd for him to have such early detections of human ailments.
I also found it interesting that Renee’s mind is the exact opposite of Charlie’s. It makes sense, considering how different their personalities are, but I didn’t really think that Renee would be just as unique as Charlie. Her mind is extremely loud, unable to be ignored by even humans. While they may not be able to hear her thoughts like Edward can, they can’t seem to ignore what she wants. When Edward tried to imagine Renee as a vampire, he pictured a woman who would constantly be projecting her thoughts at the people around her. Her thoughts would be inescapable. Even now, as a human, her thoughts impact the way Edward feels about the people around him. It also helps her get what she wants. That’s very interesting.
It was also unusual that Renee’s blood was overly sweet compared to the average human. Bella’s parents seemed almost as unique as her. Renee had her overly impactful thoughts and sickeningly sweet blood. Charlie had thoughts that were more hidden from Edward than any other humans except for Bella. Why did Edward never mention any of this to Bella? It feels like pertinent information he should have shared with her. It might have made her feel like less of a freak.
Plus, it’s just pretty interesting stuff to know. Now she may never find out at all until long after her parent’s deaths.
Watching Bella interact with the tracker through Edward’s mind was also very interesting. Her calmness and patience came across as jarring in such a violently-minded scene. No wonder James was so thrown off by her behavior. It is very oddly placed.
However, it made sense in the original book so I suppose it makes sense now.
But Edward never should have been given that tape to watch. I don’t understand why Alice didn’t just destroy it when she realized she would never be able to convince him not to watch it. So much of this is probably why he evolved into a completely toxic, overly controlling partner. Bella could barely move without his permission. The entire video was designed to traumatize and infuriate him, and it worked.
But it worked after James was already dead. Edward had no recourse for handling this trauma and rage. He couldn’t go and kill James himself and I doubt there’s a vampire psychologist waiting in the shadows to provide him with the therapy he needs. So, instead, he directed these huge emotions towards himself and Bella. Their relationship suffers as a result. For a vampire that already believed he was the worst creature to walk the earth, this could be the unhealthiest moment in his life. It is almost definitely the most unhealthy moment in this series.
Alice should have just destroyed the tape.
And, then, I was hopeful again. Maybe Edward shouldn’t have watched this tape, but I definitely wanted to. Perhaps this was the moment where Meyer would detail the fight scene. But of course not. Vampires move too fast for videos to really capture them. Of course we would miss the entire thing. Another let-down.
The next section absolutely crushed any progress these past few chapters made, at least in my opinion. The section where Edward begins to pray is extremely off putting. It has an odd mix of strong Christian beliefs and the overwhelming sense that Edward believes he is his own God: “It made no sense for immortals to have a god; we had taken ourselves out of any god’s power. We created our lives, and the only power strong enough to take them away again was another like us. Earthquakes couldn’t crush us, floods couldn’t drown us, fires were too slow to catch us. Sulfur and brimstone were irrelevant. We were the gods of our own alternate universe. Inside the mortal world but over it, never slaves to its laws, only our own.”
The hubris kills me.
It also comes across as a section from a completely different book. Normally Edward is melodramatic, but this is to a whole new extent. It is aggravatingly dramatic and almost disturbing to read. I can’t explain the concrete reason why I hate it so much, but I do. It is just so out of place. Perhaps it is some type of psychotic break. He might have finally lost his mind.
This is probably also the moment where he really commits to leaving Bella behind. He prays to “her” God for the strength to leave her. This came across as utterly ridiculous to me. I know he had some type of breakthrough while she was in the hospital recovering that caused him to leave in New Moon, but I really couldn’t imagine the scene where he makes that decision would be like this. If the next book is just about his mental breakdown, and it sounds like this passage, it will be the first book in the series I absolutely do not finish.