Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer: The End is Here (Ch. 29 – Epilogue)

SPOILER ALERTS

Now that I’ve finished the book, start to finish, it’s hard to say that I liked it. I enjoyed reading it, but it’s just not a good book. Edward is a creep. He has been a creep the entire book. If Meyer writes more from his perspective, he will continue to be a creep. It is ingrained in him. 

The additions for the most part were lackluster. Meyer refused to go into real detail with new scenes and there was very little excitement to be had in any scene outside of the Bella-Edward relationship. Considering I had already seen all of those events in the original Twilight book, they just didn’t have a lot of appeal for me. The most interesting characters, as per usual, were side characters. And any type of excitement I had built up towards the middle quickly sputtered out at the end. It was just disappointing. 

Would I recommend it to someone? No.

Is it worth reading? Not really. 

Will I read it again? Yeah, probably. 

So do with that what you will. Here’s my last analysis from the last two chapters:

First off, I really, really, really hate the way Alice and Edward manipulate Bella’s mother, Renee. It seems almost dirty to me. They don’t really care about Renee. They aren’t really doing it out of the kindness of their hearts. They just manipulate her to make their lives easier. Alice only befriended Renee to make it seem like she is trustworthy and to make sure she was out of the room when Bella woke up. That felt so wrong. She’s Bella’s mother. She should have been there. I understand the reasons why they did it, but it still doesn’t sit all that well with me. I wish they had more regard for the feelings of others. It just feels cruel to make someone feel like you’re their trusted confidant when you’re only using them for your own gain.

I also wish Edward wasn’t such a judgemental jerk. His opinions about Renee added insult to injury. He sees her as narcissistic. Everyone always caters to her needs and she has no frame of reference for anything else. He also judges her for silly things, like opening the door too loudly. I forgot how endlessly condescending he is. He is incapable of just letting a person be. He just has to ridicule them.

For someone who hates himself so much, Edward really does think he’s better than everyone.  

I found it somewhat endearing that Renee was so concerned about Bella falling in love, personally. Renee may be flawed, but she isn’t without motherly instincts. She recognizes that Bella is a lot like Charlie and will love deeply. She worries about how that will impact Bella because Bella isn’t the type who can just move on. Charlie never really got past Renee. Renee doesn’t want that same future for Bella. I get it. 

When Edward talked to Bella about how wonderful her blood tasted to him, it did make me wonder about what exactly vampires absorb from human blood. It is obviously their food source more than anything else. It fuels them. It’s all about making them feel strong.

But what if, in a different universe than the Twilight universe, vampires drank human blood and actually got something out of it more than just fuel? What if vampires actually absorbed the life force and traits of humans through their blood? Because humanity bounces back so quickly, I could see a world where vampires drink from humans, the humans survive, and the vampires are changed a little bit by human blood. What if that had lasting impacts on who they were and how they acted? 

Say they wanted to be like Edward and only drink and kill evil humans. What if they would absorb the evilness in their prey? And if they drank good people, they would become better. They would be kinder and more patient. If they drank from someone intelligent, they would become smarter. They could control their own behavior and thought processes purely on what they drink. Human blood would be their remedy to the monotony of human life because vampires could become anyone. Everything about their personality, wants, and desires could change the more they drink. There are so many routes that something like that could take. 

I think I’m more excited about that concept than I am about Midnight Sun. It’d make a great book to read about a vampire whose personality changes depending on the blood he drinks. He could drink from evil individuals and act horribly, just to regret it when he drinks the blood of someone good and pure. I think it’d be super interesting to read. Maybe some core traits would remain unchanged, but it’d be a constant balancing act between drinking from good people and bad people. What is the better thing to do?

But we’re talking about Midnight Sun so let’s get back to that.

Beyond everything going on with Edward and Bella, I do really want to learn more about Alice. Her human past is a constant unknown in this series. The information we do eventually get about her is stunted and vague. She had visions. She spent her life in an asylum. No one knows. It’s just a little bit shorter than I would like for her. 

And, in conjunction with the little pieces of information we get about the mortal lives of other vampires, I’d love to know more. We know the most about Rosalie and Carlisle without a doubt. But what about the others? I’d love to have more background on Emmett. What was his mortal life like? Did he ever miss his family? I’d enjoy getting to know more about Jasper and his experiences down south. 

Even characters like James, Victoria, and members of the Volturi deserve better background stories. I want to know where they came from and what they did. What are their stories? What do they miss? What do they want out of forever? It’s all very intriguing and Meyer didn’t really give us enough new information during Midnight Sun to placate me. I wonder if it just never occurred to her that readers would want to know.

Yet, it was also interesting to start to see Edward planting the seeds for his eventual departure from Bella. He began to act detached at the end of Midnight Sun, as if Bella was beginning to matter less and less to him. Watching him force himself to act like that was hard. It seemed like a huge challenge for him. It was also an odd departure from his usual attitude and perspective on things. I do really think the tape made him lose his mind. 

However, I think it’s bold of Edward to assume that Bella would just resume her normal human life after he leaves. He allows her to get closer to almost all the members of his family, fully knowing he is preparing to leave forever. Her closest friend is Alice and Bella has no idea that the Cullens will leave soon. Instead, it’ll come as a shock when she’s eventually alone. It’s just so unnecessarily cruel. It is even more cruel if you consider the fact that Edward has seen the visions of how Bella will act and feel after he leaves. He knows the excruciating pain he will cause her, but he somehow also thinks she will just move on. It’s laughable. 

And then the book ends. I don’t think Midnight Sun ended at the right location. It was very random, ending in the same place as Twilight where Edward takes Bella to prom. In the context of Twilight, that was fine. For this book, it’s strange and a way too sudden cut-off. It’s almost like stopping a thought mid-sentence. I think it should have entered into New Moon a little bit and ended when Edward actually leaves Bella. It just comes across as randomly ending in the middle of nowhere. Considering my obvious distaste for the past few chapters, I think I needed more to make up for it. This wasn’t enough.

All in all, not impressed with the ending of this book at all. Meyer caught her stride in the middle of the book just to immediately drop the ball. I’m not surprised it ended so poorly, but I am disappointed. I don’t even know if I want her to write another one.

Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer (Ch. 27-28)

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.

SPOILER ALERTS

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. 

Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer: Another Complete and Total Let-Down by a Lackluster Author (Ch. 26)

SPOILER ALERT: This book is absolute trash. I let my hopes get up and what a mistake that was. Absolutely disappointing.

Okay, can we talk about the fact that Meyer decided to start off chapter twenty-six with a sentence fragment? Has she been doing this all along and I hadn’t even noticed? Is this a thing now? If so, I’m absolutely shocked and one hundred percent horrified. 

I get that it’s a small thing. I get that she was probably trying to build suspense. But oh my it’s so annoying. There’s better ways to add drama to a scene than starting off with a sentence fragment. Maybe even put it in the middle! Don’t start off the chapter with one that doesn’t even add ANYTHING to the scene! It’s just one of those smaller things authors sometimes do that really bother me a lot for no apparent reason. I could probably write a whole list about my pet peeves for other people’s writing… and then go do all of them myself in a blog post.

What can I say? I’m a hypocrite.

But sadly enough that wasn’t the only thing that disappointed me during this chapter of Midnight Sun. The short-lived fight scene really blew me away. It was so completely and totally unimpressive. I felt let down by it all.

I mean, what was the point in all of that suspense leading up to saving Bella if Meyer wasn’t going to even write about the battle scene? Does she care so little about her readers that she’s willing to string them along chapter after chapter just to sputter out right at the end? Apparently so.  We spent more time chasing after James than fighting him. We spent chapters reading about Edward stalking Bella. We couldn’t spend more than half a page fighting the villain of the story. For crying out loud, Meyer wrote an entire passage on how much Edward admires Bella for turning her face up into the rain and how he admires her for not wearing makeup, but we can’t have a real climax to this book. She glazed right over the entire event and filled this chapter with unnecessary information about Bella. It was a huge let-down. It’s close to unforgivable in my opinion.

And more than anything else it made Midnight Sun feel like the total cash grab that it is. Stephanie Meyer doesn’t care about her readers. She’s made that abundantly clear with her numerous unnecessary releases related to the Twilight universe. Don’t even get me started on the Life and Death book. All she cares about is her bottom line. To me, it comes across as extremely disrespectful to her loyal fanbase to even release something so disappointing. Would she like to read a book that constantly lets her down? I don’t think so. 

And haven’t we all been through this before? She did the same thing with Breaking Dawn years ago and the fanbase exploded. Why all that build up for nothing? Did she really learn nothing from that experience? It’s so disheartening to read. She had the chance to partially make up for that horrible ending with a more descriptive battle here. Instead, it was just background info.

Of course, the only thing she went in depth with this chapter was Edward’s internal struggles on what to do to save Bella. It was interesting that Edward considered killing Bella before he considered trying to save her. He even began to rationalize it as the right thing to do: to give her one short life instead of life as a vampire. He tried to explain it as a better option, but I’m not so sure I agree. 

I also wonder why Edward’s eyes didn’t go read after drinking Bella’s blood. Do they only shift colors depending on how much blood a vampire drinks? He said that the edges of his irises were probably tinted red after drinking her blood, but at what point would they turn? 

And why would animal blood even make them gold in the first place? I had never really thought about how utterly ridiculous that was. Animal blood is almost always red. It is insane to think a different type of blood would have such a large impact on a vampire if they are fully capable of surviving off of both. If we are trying to blend a more scientific and modern view with vampires then we should at least have vampirism make sense.

All in all, these two things I found interesting this chapter weren’t enough to save this book from the absolute wreckage that just happened. Is it read-worth? No. Go read something by an author that actually cares about their readers.

Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer: Off-Kilter, Unwanted (Ch. 25)

Is it read-worth? I had high hopes for this portion of the book. The previous chapter seemed so fun and high stakes that it really caught my attention. Plus, the vibe of that chapter was completely unexpected. This chapter came across a little disjointed for me. A lot of the events that occurred were incredibly out of place for a vampire-oriented world. Tension building is great and all, but I prefer that it all make sense in the greater context of the story. All in all, it just wasn’t the best chapter in the world. Hopefully the next bit improves.

Spoiler Alerts

Obviously, I was hoping to enjoy this chapter more. And I did enjoy some bits of it, just not most of it. Too much of it was off-kilter for me in the Twilight universe. It kind of felt like those thriller movies where the director relies too much on big action scenes than scenes that actually make sense in the larger story-line. I don’t need explosions and car chases in Twilight. That’s just weird.

But broken down section by section, it wasn’t all bad. Some things were actually quite interesting to think about.

First off, it seems like it would be INCREDIBLY difficult to be a vampire in an airplane. Breathing in the scent of all of the human blood around you in such a tight enclosed space sounds so taxing for a creature whose body literally screams for blood. I wonder if most vampires can eventually manage it or if it’s something most try to avoid.

Of course, I wasn’t surprised that the Cullens had no issue with it. They’re used to being around humans all of the time. Carlisle in particular has incredible restraint. It barely phased them.

I also found it interesting to think about the differences between the Cullens and other vampires. Is it possible for other vampire families to even buy plane tickets? The Cullens live more in the human world than they do the vampire world. I doubt many vampires even bother with human identities.

And that made me wonder if it was worth avoiding human blood just to have access to more human amenities. Spending hundreds or even thousands of years outside of normal human society sounds boring. You’d have no sense of community. It’d probably make you just as crazy as James seems to be for challenging such a large family of vampires.

Yet, of course, James isn’t just crazy. It’s insane how extremely intelligent he is. Tricking Bella didn’t seem to require a lot of actual effort on his behalf, but he somehow managed to do it without alerting any of the vampires protecting her. I wonder if his abilities as a trickster are built into his extraordinary talent as a tracker. Maybe there’s more to his supernatural ability than we are led to believe.

But the beginning of chapter twenty-five of Midnight Sun did have me unimpressed with Bella. She had been super selfish in escaping from Alice and Jasper. They were trying SO hard to protect her. Bella used their lack of understanding about humankind against them.

I had always thought, while reading the original Twilight book from Bella’s perspective, that Bella was pretty stupid. I couldn’t think of anything more idiotic than blindly trusting a man who was trying to kill me. Why didn’t she even think about asking Alice for advice?

Yes, I know she was in a rush to defend her mother. I get that. But she had someone right next to her who can envision hundreds of possible futures. Why didn’t it ever occur to her to take advantage of that?

She also could have just tried to call her mom. But whatever.

Now that I’m a little bit older than I was when I first read the series, I don’t blame her quite as much. It’s only a minor (stupid) annoyance that Bella is so gullible. Realizing that she’s just a normal teenage girl is what makes me less annoyed. Bella isn’t the adult Meyer tries to make her out to be. She is just a kid. She isn’t always going to make the right choices. Sometimes, she does stupid stuff.

And I should have remembered that when I was younger, too. I mean obviously her failing for Edward was the biggest wrong choice that Bella ever made and she did that right in the beginning of the series! I didn’t even like him as a teenager. He’s a creep.

Alice’s pain during those first few pages of this chapter did remind me of my original annoyance, though. It is curious, however, that Alice never realized that Bella’s mom had never been there at all. James didn’t have her mother. It was a trick. Considering how clearly she was seeing everything else by the end, it was odd to me that she missed such a huge detail about the scene.

I also found Edward’s perspective extremely off-putting during this chapter. He seemed so distracted by the most random things. He even thought about how nice the roadways were in Arizona while he was rushing to go save Bella. It felt like an advertisement for Phoenix in the middle of a life or death scenario. It was just weird.

And I understand that people think weird thoughts when they’re in shock or extremely stressed… But it was still weird. Meyers almost lost me with those oddly placed random details about Edward’s hunt for Bella.

It was a WTF moment.

Of course, the increasing tension of the situation brought me back in. Jasper in particular is great during these scenes. He brings so much energy to the room and comes across as a real soldier instead of a teenage vampire. I had never really understood the extent of his strength during the first Twilight books. I’m excited to get to know more about him.

However, the car ride in general eventually lost me. Like I said earlier, it was just so out of place and off target for a vampire book. It was supposed to help build the suspense, but I really hated the vibe. I don’t read vampire books for fast and furious car rides. I just don’t.

A lot of this chapter is just really disjointed in comparison to what I expect from a vampire book. Between Bella’s choices, Alice’s inability to see the future, the car chase, and Edward’s absent-minded thoughts about nice roadways, it was just a bit off-kilter. Hopefully the next chapter will be better.

Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer: The Chase (Ch. 24)

Is it read-worth? This section of the book came across more as a competition than a life-or-death scenario, but I didn’t mind that at all. I think it’d be silly to take Twilight super seriously. It wasn’t a bad chapter though. It was just a little bit unexpected.

But . . .

I was really, really confused today when I went to go read a chapter of Midnight Sun. I ordered the book through Amazon and I’ve been reading it on PC. Normally, I don’t have any issues with it. 

But today I did. When I went to the store page for Midnight Sun, I received an error code that the book was currently ‘under review’ by the Amazon team. The kindle edition was no longer available for purchase. It took me a few minutes to access my copy through another page, but I wonder why it’s no longer for sale with Amazon. Google didn’t give me any answers. Do any of you guys know?

I mean, maybe the Twilight series has some deep, dark secret that I’m missing out on.

SPOILER ALERT

Thankfully, I finally managed to start reading. And once I did I thought the beginning of chapter twenty-four was really funny. During the first section of the first page, Edward was detailing to Alice and Jasper how to keep a human alive. He told them how often humans are supposed to eat, how much they should sleep, and that we need constant access to water. It felt so ridiculous to me that they wouldn’t know this information considering that they go to school with humans, but to be honest they probably don’t. Edward himself seemed to have forgotten how humans take care of themselves when he first started dating Bella.

It was just really funny to me. 

However, once we got back to the action, I was more hooked by that than the humor. It was so exciting! When Edward was in the vehicle with Emmett and Carlisle being chased by the tracker, I was a little put off by that however. Edward seemed to believe that he being able to evade a speed trap was an immediate sign that he had a special ability. I don’t necessarily agree with that. 

With all of the resources that the Cullens obviously have at their fingertips, it would make more sense for them to have a police radio in their vehicle than a built in radio in Edward’s head. I’m not sure if phone apps existed at this time, but there are also apps for avoiding police officers. I just don’t know if the tracker would connect Edward’s evasion to the police trap. 

But it is pretty obvious that Edward has special skills considering how quickly he protected Bella at the baseball field. I just didn’t think that that one little detail made sense in the car. I’m being a little bit nitpicky here. 

Of course, if I was a vampire in the Twilight universe, I’d probably just always assume that other vampires have supernatural abilities. It’s supposed to be rare, but based on how many vampires we encounter that do have extra talents, it’s not that rare. Better to assume they’re gifted and act warily than assume that they don’t and die. 

It was nice, though, to see Alice’s ability put to good use during this chapter. Her talent at seeing the future is a huge benefit for the Cullens. It helps them prevent wasting time with bad ideas and keep themselves away from danger. They can even somewhat predict when James will grow bored with the chase in the beginning of the chapter. In my opinion, if they had used her better, it would have probably set them up for a near win. But maybe it was just impossible to predict just how gullible Bella is. 

But I do sometimes wonder if they could really use Alice’s talent better. Is it possible for her to explore more options on how they should proceed than she currently does? If she had an idea to contact Carlisle and have them change plans, wouldn’t she be able to imagine a different future than the one they’re currently set in? Or do her ideas have to be more firmly in place for her to imagine different ways forward? Was there never an easy option for capturing and killing James? Or did she just never think of one? It’s hard to understand her talent when the scope seems so wide and yet so enclosed at the same time. Her talent is obviously fallible, but I don’t really understand just how fallible it is.  It could just have been that her view of the trackers actions were so limited that it was hard for her to predict better futures, but it still feels like her ability could be sorted to more offensive uses.

I did also really enjoy learning more about how James evaded the Cullens. Edward was always so vague in the first books about any potential risks to Bella. He was always too embarrassed to say that someone outsmarted him and James definitely did so. He evaded Edward, Emmett, and Carlisle with extreme talent. He even made a game of it. And then to use an airstrip to completely escape them? I was shocked. It made sense though considering the fact that Laurent had implied that James enjoyed such games.

It was also great to see how completely gleeful James was. Even when the Cullens turned on him towards the middle of the chapter, he was extremely excited instead of fearful. He is so excited that their chase had just been a trap. He’s a complete psychopath and I’m loving it. James just lives for the danger of the hunt. It made the chapter feel more like a competition than a live-or-death scenario, but I’m okay with that. 

I mean I obviously know the end of the book so I’m not going to worry too much about the details.

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. 

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.

Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer: Not Bad (Ch. 20)

Is it read-worth? This is going to surprise you: I actually liked this chapter. The writing wasn’t fantastic and I found a few things off-putting, but overall it wasn’t bad. I really enjoy getting to know more about some of the characters in the Twilight series, particularly Carlisle and Jasper. I could, of course, do without Edward…But beggars can’t be choosers I suppose.

SPOILER ALERT

However, I will note that I am still a bit overwhelmed by my continued belief that vampires in the Twilight universe are way too overpowered. It’s like they’ve all been given the cheat codes for life. They have no weaknesses. The sun doesn’t bother them one bit and garlic is a joke. Vampires are super strong, insanely beautiful, don’t need to sleep, don’t need to breathe, don’t actually need to drink blood to survive, and are often given special talents. 

Of course, Meyer has said it’s rare for a vampire to get a special talent, but we’ve met so few vampires that don’t have one that I don’t really buy it anymore. Almost all of them have something going on to give them a little bit of an extra edge. It’s crazy.

And to me it’s a little bit too much. It bothers me that vampires are so souped up. I want them to have some type of big weakness for humans to exploit. I want vampire hunters. I don’t want their only threat to be some other type of supernatural being. It just doesn’t feel realistic. Everything needs to die one day. Why not them?

Maybe if they at least needed to drink blood I might feel a little bit better. What’s the point in having them drink blood if they don’t need to? And how do they survive without it? I thought it fueled their body. Nothing can run off of no energy. Is it that they can die without blood, it just takes a very long time? I don’t get it. 

I did enjoy hearing more about Carlisle’s past though. I like the fact that he does feel a strong sense of affection for the Volturi. It feels entirely unrealistic that he could spend so much time with them without developing some sort of bond. Carlisle feels things like love and loyalty so strong. It would obviously extend into his relationship with the trio.

I also personally just admire the Volturi. How they’ve stayed in power for so long is impressive. And, while they may differ at times from their direct area of jurisdiction, I do feel like they have the well-being of their species at heart for the most part. They genuinely want the vampire world to go undetected. That makes sense to me, especially now with human technology rapidly improving. Maybe we could even threaten the existence of overly powerful vampires one day. 

Yet, how long do vampires really think they can go undetected? Humankind must already know about vampires in some regard. It is impossible to think that an entire species would live on this planet, next to us, and we wouldn’t know a thing unless they had some advanced form of technology that we can’t detect. Vampires don’t. They’re not aliens. They’re us with extra steps. 

Carlisle’s art collection is also probably not the only example of a vampire being seen in art throughout the centuries. I understand that he’s only in one piece of art, but there’s probably other vampires who are in many. Some are incredibly old. But it isn’t entirely unbelievable that a modern person born today couldn’t resemble someone in a painting. How likely is it that anyone would assume that the same person they’re looking at is the person from the artwork drawn hundreds of years ago? I wouldn’t. Authors of vampire books always make it sound like art is an immediate giveaway, but I disagree. Doppelgangers do occur in nature. However, there would be clues somewhere for humankind to discover that vampires exist. Bella did. 

During this chapter, I did enjoy the fact that Edward admitted that the only reason he was not more like Carlisle is because of his own lack of effort. He had thought it impossible for so long that he did not bother to put the work in. That’s such a great life lesson for readers. Put the work in, see results. 

But then my enjoyment of Edward abruptly ends. Honestly Edward sometimes comes across as straight up stupid and naive. When he said that it had never occurred to him that all vampires don’t live like Carlisle before meeting Siobhan, I was flabbergasted. It had never occurred to him that vampires living only off of animal blood was a unique lifestyle choice? Had he never heard any type of folk story growing up? 

Vampires drink human blood.

It’s in literally every vampire story that that is what they do. Vampires who don’t drink human blood have to be the exception, not the rule. 

Plus, how can the idea that vampires drink human blood be such a surprise to him when he himself has such a strong instinct to drink human blood? Even being near humans is a struggle. Of course not everyone would have the strength or desire to resist that urge. It is common sense! 

Sometimes I just don’t get why Meyer adds these small details. They make so little sense. They are so clueless. Is she messing with us on purpose?

I also don’t know how realistic it is that everyone Edward hunted when he separated from Carlisle and Carlisle’s lifestyle were so extremely cold. I get that some people are natural predators, but most aren’t. Even people who do bad things tend to have a conscience. If you watch crime documentaries about people in prison, most don’t view themselves as innately bad people. They are often just normal people who did something bad. How often is it that you actually run into someone who one hundred percent believes that they’re evil incarnate? 

Give me a break.

The scene where the child molester / murderer was killed by Edward was also way too much for me. It came across as extremely inappropriate and unnecessary for Midnight Sun. As the reader, I had already understood that the people Edward chose to kill were people who wanted to do bad things to others. I really didn’t want or need a deeper explanation. It kind of grossed me out. 

Of course, I am relieved that the man didn’t hurt anyone in the end. I just didn’t need a justification for Edward’s kills beyond the basic explanation. Perhaps Meyer should have spent more time justifying the way he controls and stalks Bella than talking about him killing a pedophile. I don’t know.

When Alice and Jasper entered Edward’s room towards the end of the chapter, I did find myself enjoying the further explanation of Jasper’s special talent. I had no real understanding of his talent prior. It didn’t occur to me that he really felt the emotions of those around him, even though I’m positive that Meyer has previously mentioned it. I just thought he was capable of controlling it, kind of similarly to one of the talents in the Graceling books where the character can control someone but not really know the depth of their mind. I thought it was more of an outside force than internal knowledge, particularly because it’s capable of influencing Bella. 

But I don’t really know if I’d want to be around Jasper after reading this. Knowing and controlling my emotions feels kind of like a violation to me. I don’t want him intruding on my emotions. Keep out! 

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! 

Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer: Edward Creeps Me Out (Ch. 16 – 17)

Is it read-worth?

I’m actually starting to enjoy Midnight Sun, but I think that’s just because I love having things to complain about and this book gives me plenty. I find Edward so deeply unnerving. He makes me incredibly anxious. His relationship with Bella is absolutely the stuff of nightmares. Of course, they’re not nightmares in the horror story vampire sort of way, but I’ll take what I can get. Creepy abusive stalker boyfriend? I guess it works. 

You know what doesn’t work? The absolute romanticization and normalization of Edward’s behavior. The Twilight series is 100% marketed towards young female readers. Telling them that controlling boyfriends are the epitome of romance isn’t healthy. Maybe if this was a spoof, or if it made it clear that this behavior is unhealthy, I’d be fine with it, but it doesn’t and I’m not. 

I find it profoundly concerning that Edward is so completely comfortable sitting in Bella’s room while she sleeps. She has no idea that he is even there. Even when Charlie enters the room, Edward doesn’t flinch. He doesn’t think there is a chance in the world that anyone will notice him. He. Is. So. Comfortable. There. And no one in his family has ever called him out on this horrible behavior. I hate it. 

It is very creepy and very scary and a very unhealthy, controlling pattern of behavior. The fact that Stephanie Meyer keeps returning to him sitting in Bella’s bedroom is driving me insane. I don’t want to read about him stalking Bella anymore. This isn’t a romantic gesture. This isn’t cute. Why is she pretending that it is?

If you think stalking is cute, you need to realize it isn’t. Do not be Edward.

I also hate the fact that Edward stalks Bella seemingly 24/7. He always knows what she is doing. Even when he’s outside of her room, in the woods, he knows every move she makes. He knows what part of the house she is in. When she has a conversation with her father, Edward can hear every word they speak. He knows everything that happens in her life. Bella has absolutely zero privacy. I found it insanely disturbing when Midnight Sun disclosed the extent to which he listened to her conversations at school. Finding out this behavior extends to every part of her life is… violating to an extreme. It feels like she’s his property to protect, not his potential partner. They are not equals if he feels like he can involve himself in every facet of her life. 

And can you imagine that happening in your own life? Wouldn’t you feel claustrophobic and anxious? I would always be watching what I’m saying and thinking about how someone always has their eyes on me. I would be frightened. It is not romantic. It is scary. People do this in real life to their partners and it is toxic, harmful behavior. Everyone has a right to privacy. Bella is not Edward’s prisoner.

It is very strange that no one ever calls Edward out on how toxic it is. I feel like Alice must know the real extent to which he watches Bella, at the very least. She can probably see him do it. Yet, she never says anything about it. Instead, she acts like it makes sense because Bella is just a fragile human. He has to watch her or she might die. 

The other Cullens know, at the very least, that Edward sneaks into her bedroom at night to watch her sleep. No one finds that strange either. How is the entire family normalizing such invasive patterns of behavior? I am surprised that Rosalie hasn’t mentioned how awful his behavior is. It is not okay to say that it is alright for Edward to act like this just because Bella is human. That is a poor excuse. It also leads to the development of further controlling behavior that occurs later in the Twilight series. The toxic and abusive nature of their relationship compounds as Edward gives himself more and more leniency in regards to controlling Bella’s behavior. He just excuses it as “for her benefit.”

But back to the chapters. When Bella is talking about her truck being old enough to be Edward’s car’s grandfather, I do wonder why Edward doesn’t immediately make the connection between their own ages. He could be Bella’s grandfather a couple of times over. Considering his own internal dialogue of self-pity and hate, I wonder why the age difference doesn’t bother him quite as much. I understand that he still has the body of a teenage boy, but his mind should have (at least in part) developed beyond that point. Edward even points out the difference in his maturity levels versus other teenagers. Does that not play any role in his relationship with Bella?

During their truck ride, Bella also discloses that she made sure no one knew she would be with Edward that day. Her father had no idea and she told Jessica that Edward had cancelled. If he accidentally kills her during their day trip, no one will associate it with him. It won’t create problems for him.

I remember that, in the original Twilight book, this was supposed to be a kind, caring, selfless gesture for the man that Bella loves. But it didn’t really come across as that then and it doesn’t really now. It’s just stupidity. Bella is a young teenage girl that just met this guy. Why should she risk her life for a boy she barely knows? Answer: she shouldn’t. 

I do enjoy the fact that Edward agrees that her reaction to his warning was uncalled for: “I hadn’t told her so she would try to make herself more vulnerable to me. I’d told her so she would run away from me.” Bella was never supposed to feed into the dangers Edward presents. She was supposed to be wary.

However, I do wonder if his reaction to her statement was genuine. Obviously Edward doesn’t really want Bella to avoid him. I wonder if his warnings were subconscious manipulation of her. The more you act like you’re being completely honest with someone, the more they will trust you. His warning obviously had the opposite response of what he was supposedly going for, but I wonder if he expected that, at least in part. Bella seems to prefer acting in ways that demean her own self worth. She doesn’t argue or stand up for herself or protect herself from killer vampires. 

I feel like that lack of self preservation in Bella kind of relates to her upbringing, however. Even in their conversations about Bella’s mother, Renee, it is obvious that, while Bella loves her mother, Renee is childlike and inconsiderate. She doesn’t take personal responsibility for things. Bella grew up mothering her mother instead of being catered to like the child she was. Would her sense of self preservation be stronger if she had ever been her mother’s priority? Or would she still insist on sacrificing parts of herself, even her life, for the benefit of others?

When they arrived at the trailhead, I was actually distracted from all of that musing by how distracted Edward was by Bella’s bare skin. I had no idea that someone could be so fascinated by bare arms. It is not exactly the most scandalous or revealing apparel. Wouldn’t he be more distracted seeing Bella sleeping every night? It was so weird.

And then I found myself distracted by that train of thought with a question… Why doesn’t Edward’s heart beat? Even if he’s a vampire, how else would nutrients and blood pass through his system? What is animating him? It could just be that his heart beat is so minimal that it’s practically undetectable, but it doesn’t feel entirely possible that his heart just doesn’t beat period. What would be the point in drinking blood if it can’t run through your entire system? I’m so confused. I want a scientific explanation behind vampirism in the Twilight universe more than anything else. Can’t Meyer just change one scientist into a vampire and have them perform a series of studies? I want to understand how it all works. 

I could be getting so distracted by such trivial matters because of how sick I am of Edward though. He is so melodramatic that it causes me physical pain. Everything about his ongoing internal dialogue is beginning to wear on me. This whole “monster in the shadows” vibe is just absolutely exhausting. I’m not enjoying it anymore. 

Plus, I don’t really know how realistic it is that every good vampire in the Twilight universe hates themselves. Why do they all feel like monsters all the time? It’s so cliche. Vampires are inhumanly beautiful and strong. They glow in the sunlight. The Cullens do all of this and don’t even ingest human blood. Personally? I’d feel more like a god than a monster. 

I also find it unrealistic that Edward seems to think Bella is going to be absolutely terrified and turned off by his sparkly skin. I understand that he was horrified by the sight of Carlisle, but thinking back on that now it was probably because that was the moment where he realized he was no longer human. He was distantly other. Bella has not been scared of almost anything vampire related to date. Why would his glittering skin be the last straw? It is more of a beautiful oddity than a terrible sight.

After Bella and him begin to relax in the field together, I also had a good bit of confusion regarding Edward’s distraction techniques. The sudden burst of mathematics does not seem to fit his character. Edward never seemed especially inclined towards mathematics prior. I understand he was trying to distract himself from the allure of Bella’s blood, and he’s supposedly very intelligent, but it seemed like such a strange transition from his normal brooding self. If anything, he seems like the type of person who would distract himself with theoretics and philosophy, not try to do math in his head. The second musical distraction made much more sense. 

It is also incredibly strange that the most sexual tension the Twilight series has ever had is when Edward is close to killing Bella. Isn’t that a bit messed up? I read once that Meyer avoided premarital sex to appeal to a more religious audience. I don’t know how true that is, but I can believe it. It just seems completely strange that a scene where Edward is close to murdering someone is more sexually toned than actual scenes where Bella and Edward have physical contact. 

I am also slightly confused by Edward’s constant back and forth in regards to the perceptions humans have of him. He seems to believe that everyone is simultaneously drawn towards him and intensely repulsed by him. When Bella leans in to smell him and he has that moment of weakness where he must lung away from her, Edward begins to think about how he is designed to be the perfect snare for human prey. His face, his voice, and even his smell are supposed to draw people in. So it’s slightly confusing that 50% of people are extremely attracted to him and the remainder are almost always creeped out by him. I wish these two sensations could be described in conjunction with each other at least once. Maybe it’s some type of natural human intuition to be fearful of something so unnaturally beautiful, or some inner warning signal. I’d love to go into more detail eventually.

When they begin talking about the Cullen’s family’s moments of weakness in regards to human blood drinking, I did find it more than a little bit sadistic that Carlisle requires the family to attend the funerals of anyone they have harmed. When Emmett killed his two victims, he was present at their funerals. He had to listen to people talk about the person that they have lost. He had to watch them cry and feel pain. In no way does him bearing witness to that make up for the damage that he caused. 

If anything, it comes across more as adding insult to injury. You wouldn’t attend a funeral for the cow you eat. It wouldn’t make a difference to the cow. It wouldn’t make the cow’s family feel better. You already killed and ate the cow. Someone definitely wouldn’t forgive the person who murdered them just because they showed up for the funeral and felt bad for a while. The only thing it would do is make you, the murderer, feel better. Edward was exactly right when he said their attendance at the funeral and any money they sent to the victim’s family was a “weak recompense.”

After so long of a life, I also found it concerning that Edward believes he’s in love after knowing Bella for such an incredibly short period of time. It is especially worrisome because their love is so all-consuming and complete. There is very little to no room for growth in their relationship. 

Even in books about soulmates, their love tends to start small and grow larger. It isn’t necessarily immediate and total. For example, the Night World series by LJ Smith is almost entirely based around soul mates meeting, but they are almost never immediately in love. They have to get to know each other first. It takes time. I wish Twilight had followed a similar route.

Instead, it seems to have no scope for the growth of relationships. Almost all of the other strong relationships in this series involve one moment where the couples know they’re in love – Jasper and Alice, Rosalie and Emmett, and Esme and Carlisle. All love is spontaneous and complete. Or else it has a short shelf life such as in the case of Bella’s parents.

And that’s not necessarily just a vampire thing either. Werewolf imprinting is also included in that description. That love may change in nature as the years pass, but it never gets stronger beyond that point. It is always unbreakable. 

Beyond just wishing for that type of relationship to be tweaked a little bit, I wish that some of the relationships included break ups and life changes. The Cullens are immortal. It is odd to think that they will spend their entire existence with one person. Do vampires really never change as the world around them changes all the time? It’s very weird to think about, but that could just be my humanity showing.

I am also not really sure I find the concept of someone’s “second half” to be as compelling anymore either. In high school I thought the idea of someone being your perfect match to be quite romantic. The idea that you’re not complete until you find the right partner for you? It seemed to make sense to me. How can you be whole if you’re alone? I don’t agree anymore. I think I’d rather spread this idea that people, “even” women, are everything they need to be and more. They don’t need someone else to make themselves complete. They just need to focus on developing themselves and their own strengths. You are complete by yourself; work on that. 

Maybe that idea wouldn’t work too well for a book though, especially one like Twilight. Romance books feed off of the idea of a perfect match. I have enjoyed books with similar ideas before though – books like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – so maybe they’ll become more popular and it’ll be easier to see that there was something there after all.

I am curious as to what a Midnight Sun version of New Moon would hold for us as readers now that I’m thinking about werewolves. Obviously Bella and Edward are not together for most of that book. I can’t imagine how annoying Edward will be if Meyer decides to adapt that storyline to his perspective as well. Will the entire book just be long-winded monologues about how sad he feels for himself? 

However, I am excited that it would be a long break from thinking about Bella and stalking Bella. Maybe Edward could make a friend? His entire life seems to be defined by Bella though so I don’t really know how Meyer would pull off a whole book without her. It’s not like Edward does anything interesting during his free time. Are we just going to read about him pouting for an entire book?