We finally get to the first really interesting bit about Edward.
“I was born in Chicago in 1901.” He paused and glanced at me from the corner of his eyes. My face was carefully unsurprised, patient for the rest. He smiled a tiny smile and continued. “Carlisle found me in a hospital in the summer of 1918. I was seventeen and dying of the Spanish influenza.”
Finally. Finally we see something remotely worth listening to about Edward. Edward’s transformation, the period and place in which it happened were all very interesting.
I feel like Meyer would have had a lot more success with this series if she hadn’t used this cast of characters specifically. One of the strengths Meyer has as a writer, most of the time, is backstory. The backstory to most of her characters are interesting.
Carlisle’s history is fascinating. Why didn’t we get a book about him? Or the Volturi? The Romanians? The wars between the newborn armies? The immortal children? Meyer has a knack for creating really, really interesting issues to help her world building…and then promptly drops them. Why? Cause romance. It’s always because of the needs of the romance plot. I feel like Twilight would have fared much better written in any other genre.
Sacrifice the love plot and up the tension and you’d have a decent suspense novel. Include more friendships and people for Bella to play off of, particularly Jacob, it could have been a fairly humorous romp leading up to a big reveal. If she’d focused a lot more on atmosphere and character development this book has a lot of potential to be a horror story. Unfortunately the horrifying implications of this book remain just that, and will never be explored.
Edward refuses point blank to tell Bella how it’s done. He tries to describe the vampire conversion process to her and this one line catches my attention.
“It is easier he says, though,” he continued, “If the blood is weak.”
Um…no. Death doesn’t make the blood weaker. Only anemia or blood thinners would make your blood “weaker.”
In fact the blood is sort of the battlefield of sickness. A lot of nasty things use your blood to get around. White blood cells fight nasties and create antibodies. Your heart works harder to keep you alive when you’ve been sick for awhile.
If you’re looking for the right term it might be immune system. The immune system is taxed with prolonged illness. The immune system can be weakened, but not the blood. It makes sense that you’d change more quickly if you were ill. Your body can’t fight off the transition even on a good day, and it would probably spread more quickly when the immune system is already worn thin.
But this is just semantics and my incessant need to be a word snob.
If you’re talking about needing a slower pulse to adequately resist the urge to drain a person, then you’re only going to have a few cases where that will happen.
In any case, he explains a bit of each person’s backstory. Carlisle changed Esme next after she took a tumble down a cliff. She was apparently so badly off everyone had written her off as dead. Rosalie was turned by Carlisle after that, hoping she’d be a mate for Edward.
Normally I’d expect Bella’s insecurities to send her into a tailspin of depression at this news, so kudos for not halting the narrative for that. I’m sure it will happen later, but props for not doing it immediately.
Bella’s stomach sounds its displeasure at not being fed in several chapters. Edward lets himself into the house with the key he saw Bella use when he spied on her.
Bella isn’t even slightly indignant about this.
“You spied on me?” But somehow I couldn’t infuse my voice with the proper outrage. I was flattered.
Fine. If someone has to be outraged in this chapter it will have to be me. Bella, what the hell is wrong with you? Why does the fact that someone has followed you home, spied on you, has in the past admitted to being tempted to kill you and who has violated the privacy of your home, thrill your soul?
Hell, I’d hit Edward in the face for this. I’m not a violent person and I don’t advocate violence normally, but he has shown he has absolutely no respect for your privacy. For all you know he’s watched you dress and undress. He’s been in the house. He could have watched you shower. If this book weren’t so pathetically PG rated I’d say he’d probably had done both of those things. And you know what that is? Stalking and sexual harassment. Both punishable by law. You are the daughter of a cop.
You should be outraged. You know, that emotion that has your truck running over a shiny Volvo?
You shouldn’t be pleased by this Bella. You’re just going to react like “ooooh no, how embarrassing!” aren’t you? Aren’t you, you clichéd, teenage-angst ridden piece of shit literature?
“How often did you come here?”
“I come here almost every night.”
I whirled around, stunned. “Why?”
“You’re interesting when you sleep.” He spoke matter-of-factly. “You talk.”
“No!” I gasped, heat flooding my face all the way to my hairline. I gripped the kitchen counter for support. I knew I talked in my sleep, of course; my mother teased me about it. I hadn’t thought it was something I needed to worry about here, though.
You did it! You actually did it! You tried to pass this creepy ass moment off as something that’s just embarrassing?! It’s a violation of her privacy! The fact that Edward is unrepentant for this is sickening. He will never ever feel bad about stalking her even to the end of the series.
“Anything else?” I demanded.
He knew what I was getting at. “You did say my name.” He admitted.
I sighed in defeat. “A lot?”
“How much do you mean by ‘a lot’ exactly?”
“Oh no!” I hung my head.
He pulled me against his chest, softly, naturally.
“Don’t be self-conscious.” He whispered in my ear. “If I could dream at all, it would be about you. And I’m not ashamed of it.”
That does not excuse anything you asshole. You still spied on her without her knowledge. Neither of you are stopping to think that this is not mentally sound behavior on either of your parts.
Thankfully Charlie arrives home to stop this horrendous example of human idiocy.
She all but runs to her room after dinner. Edward is waiting for her there. She asks for a moment to “be human.” Being human translates into showering, brushing her teeth, and changing into Victoria’s secret pajamas. You know, anything that would stop her from smelling bad. Not that she cared before, when she was hanging around him all day. I mean I’m sure she at the very least produced sweat during her hike. That’s the issue with having a supernatural boyfriend. He can smell all of your odors and gasses before anybody else can. Though this will not really be addressed at all besides this scene.
Edward finally makes a decision not to eat Bella. What a relief. Is the book over then?
No? We have to tack on a last-minute, one note villain?
Ugh. Alright then. Continue.
There are pages of “romantic” dialogue to slog through and it really is tedious so I’ll sum it up for you.
Edward: Isn’t this love thing great? I’ve thought about killing Mike Newton you know, since he annoys us both and I don’t want you being with anyone else.
Bella: Oh Edward, you’re so funny, I could never love Mike.
Edward: You could love somebody. And that makes me jealous.
Bella: Well Rosalie was made for you. And that makes me insecure.
Edward: You’re so pretty Bella. You’re fantastic Bella. Have I mentioned how tempting you smell this chapter Bella?
Bella: Oh Edward I love you. Let’s suck face.
As an aside, Bella’s scent is compared to lavender and freesia. And it’s supposedly very appetizing. And all I can think about is the times I’ve been unfortunate to have accidentally sprayed floral perfume too near my mouth and tasted it. Ick. To each their own Edward, to each their own.
Edward actually discusses evolution and creationism with Bella, wondering aloud whether or not God could have created vampire and human kind together. Sort of like my argument from a few pages back, but more cringey.
It becomes glaringly obvious in the narrative that Meyer is religious. I am a Christian myself, but I find outright Christian peachiness in a fiction novel rater grating. I think allegories need to be subtle, which this is most certainly not, and that shoving your religion down someone else’s throat is not a good policy.
Bella wonders aloud if someday she and Edward might be able to be married. He says that he would probably end up breaking her bones if he’s not careful with her, and this ominous pronouncement doesn’t trouble Bella at all. She falls asleep without a hitch after their conversation.
Ugh, ugh, ugh. This chapter fails so hard. Someone find me brain bleach.