Chosen Ones. A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Midnight Sun. Did quarantine inspire these big hit authors to finally finish some projects? All signs point to yes.
Midnight Sun, the long awaited version of Twilight from Edward’s point of view, is quite lengthier than the original novel. Twilight taps out at a little less than 500 pages while Midnight Sun continues on to over 650 pages. Naturally Edward has a bit more to say than Bella as there are a few more factors involved on his side of the story. Many of the chapters share the same name, though others are properly adjusted to suit his perspective. I found that little detail charming.
Yes, this novel still takes place in 2005. Yes, it feels a little weird now.
Midnight Sun largely assumes you have either a) read all of the previous books recently or b) read all of the previous books and really good memory. There are many details I had honestly completely forgotten about and it was lightly danced over. For example, Rosalie moonlighting as a mechanic. If you had never read the series, this very small detail would have been lost on you, possibly even confused you. The audience here has definitely read Twilight, seen the movies, possibly have the Bella Barbie doll stashed somewhere – but in the off chance there’s a fresh reader, some context would be nice. (I have the green corduroy jacket Hot Topic made as the Bella replica from New Moon and wear it every fall to this day. *Casual shrugs.*) If you would like to feel completely involved with the book, I highly recommend taking the time to re-read the series first.
On to the writing. This definitely isn’t Bella’s perspective anymore. The writing is much less conversational, dare I say borderline boring. Honestly, it’s a bit disappointing because while Bella’s point of view wasn’t the best ever, it pulled me in and made me curious. It’s a love story that keeps me content until the very end. This feels more like a stream of consciousness drug out over 658 pages with either very little description or so much it nearly beats you upside the head. I resisted the temptation to DNF (did not finish) Midnight Sun.
Story wise, this is Twilight. Same same, but different. Same story. Same chapter names, especially where the scenes are nearly exact. Same characters. If you’re expecting a thrill of something new, you’re not going to get it. Sure, there are added scenes to add to the complication of Edward’s situation, but they’re drawn out and overdone. My best analogy is when you go to Cold Stone Creamery and get the best ice cream with gummy bears, brownie bits, chocolate drizzle and spend the rest of the night in the fetal position. It’s just too much and honestly missed the mark for what I paid.
Edward’s perspective could have been interesting. And there are moments that really shine for me, specifically many of the scenes with Alice. Midnight Sun resolves the injustice in the original novel that was Bella’s striking lack of personality. All in all, I’m calling this a swing and a miss.
There are many things about Edward that I really needed Stephenie to explain. Like…why a grown man finds a 17 year old girl so attractive? Midnight Sun did a great job of explaining that Edward is not only totally in love with her, but this 104 year old man is actually stage 5 clinger obsessed with her. And, yo, that is not it. There are six (I counted) instances where Edward sneaks into Bella’s room to watch her sleep before he decides to tell her – despite having at least two instances that would have been perfect moments to tell her and maybe even ask for her permission. In the original novel, Edward comes off a bit…needy and it’s simply because all of the creep shit that occurred happened mainly when she was unaware.
Even worse, he refers to the students as children. Edward mentally debates killing an entire room of “children” in order to indulge in Bella’s blood, insisting on not only not using her name but calling her “the girl.” So not only does he know he’s a weird stalker outdone only by Joe from You, but he’s aggressively aware that she’s underage. Make of that what you will. Personally, I think it’s high key weird.
We could also discuss the gaslighting, the emotional abuse, and blatant control issues, but we’ve already discussed much of that in my initial Twilight review.
If you’re a Twihard, your aching heart won’t rest until you read it. As I did with the Harry Potter plays, I had to secure my own copy to complete my collection. You’ll be happy to know the sleek new cover fits in perfectly with the rest of the original series. Maybe it’s not exactly what you thought it would be, but you can now rest easy knowing that, well, you know.
Not a part of the story, but worth mentioning, the Quileute tribe (Jacob Black, remember?) has been trying to move out of the tsunami zone in which they are currently situated to a safer location on higher ground. Their tribal school is the only school in the world that teaches their language; losing this school quite literally means losing everything. Stephenie Meyer, despite using and abusing their culture to advance the plot, has not donated or even raised awareness towards their struggle. If it is at all possible, please donate to their tribe!