Posted in Reviews

Twilight: Chapter Sixteen

Carlisle sat behind a huge mahogany desk in a leather chair. He was just placing a bookmark in the pages of the thick volume he held. The room was how I’d imagine a college dean’s would look—only Carlisle looked too young for the part.

Yes. Yes he really does. Apparently Carlisle was twenty-three when he was changed. He’s still practically a baby. He could have just as easily been in his late twenties or early thirties and still look “young.”

Carlisle has been claiming to be twenty-nine years old at the moment, but it’s still really a stretch to believe that he’s never been called on this farce. It takes about twelve to fourteen years to become a doctor. So if we say that he came to Forks a year or so ago, claiming to be twenty eight, and we only subtract the least amount of time, he’d have to have been fourteen to sixteen years old when he started his medical training. It just doesn’t fly. I cannot believe no one, in any hospital he has ever worked at, has ever done the math to work that out.

Meyer’s, and consequently Bella’s, phobia of age is really grating. Stop going “eeew thirty.” Thirty is not the end of your life. Middle age is not the greatest evil to ever face mankind. Carlisle should have been turned when he was about thirty three in order to make this set up work. One decade wouldn’t have made him any less attractive. Even if we subtract fourteen years from his age, he’d have been nineteen when he started training. Much more believable.

Carlisle goes in to cover for a doctor who is taking a sick day. Edward continues the story.

“When he knew what he’d become,” Edward said quietly. “He rebelled against it. He tried to destroy himself. But that’s not easily done.”

I think that this is really what Bella should think back to when she whines on and on about becoming a vampire in later books. Here she learns that Carlisle tried jumping, he tried drowning, and he tried starving himself to death. None of these extreme methods can kill a vampire. If Bella were someday changed into a vampire and decided she no longer wanted immortality, she couldn’t get rid of it. It’s irreversible. She can never be human again.

What’s more, she couldn’t even destroy herself easily. How horrible it must be to realize that your only recourse is dismemberment and being burned alive? This should paint a gruesome picture for Bella.

The fact that Bella later feels so entitled to this future, gives me pause. Why would she want to become a monster that kills people, or at the very least always has that urge? She would never be able to interact with people in more than just a superficial way. She would never be able to go out into the sun. Say goodbye to your beloved Phoenix, Bella. That’s a pipe dream if you’re a vampire. She’d never be able to destroy herself if she found it wasn’t what she wanted, because we all know that Edward would keep her a prisoner for “her own good.”

So why does Bella want to be a vampire so damn badly? It’s because she wants to be pretty. Not even to live with Edward forever, since we see she’s even willing to give that future up in Breaking Dawn. No, Bella is superficial and insecure and just wants to be pretty.

Anyways, back to Carlisle. He was so overcome with his hunger that he eventually attacked and slaughtered a herd of passing deer. He finally realized the obvious solution to his ethical dilemma and stopped being a hermit in the woods. He swam to France and Bella finds this surprising.

Edward reminds her that lots of people swim the channel. Then calmly tells her that swimming is easy for vampires, since they don’t have to breathe. Bella is apparently stunned by this.

I don’t really see why. I mean this isn’t an uncommon trope in vampire lore. Bella did go to the bastion of all vampire knowledge Vampires A-Z. Shouldn’t she know this? Besides, this also makes more sense biologically. Bella, weren’t you in AP biology? According to most vampire cannon, including this absurd entry to it, their bodies are dead. They do not have beating hearts or blood circulation. Hence, they have no need to breathe. No heart beating, no blood to circulate oxygen to the body. Makes sense. The only reason most vampires breathe at all is to speak, since that action requires air going over the vocal chords to make sound.

Back in the story Edward explains that Carlisle was studying in Italy when he met the Volturi.

The Volturi are an ancient group of vampires who are bonded together because of their love for power. The three main rulers of the Volturi, Aro, Marcus, and Caius, were old friends of Carlisle’s. You see, apparently Carlisle has made friends with every vampire ever, as we find out in Breaking Dawn.

I’ll get more into the Volturi when I review New Moon. For now I’ll just say that this is a rather poor explanation for their role in vampire society. I have a feeling that Meyer tacked their conflict on as an afterthought, as a threat to the luvs, not giving it the thought and planning it really deserved. Therefore, it’s really not much of a credible threat.

Edward gives us a redux of his transformation story. It’s dull. We’ll move on.

“Well, I had a typical bout of rebellious adolescence—about ten years after I was…born…created, whatever you want to call it. I wasn’t sold on his life of abstinence, and I resented him for curbing my appetite. So I went off on my own for a time.”

Bella thinks this is really reasonable, and since Edward was only a vigilante killer that it’s okay. Cause you see, Bella is a dimwit who barely has a conscience. Of course she isn’t turned off about the idea of mass murder. Because that’s what it is. The way it is described, a vampire can kill many adult humans before they’re sated. And they do that several times every month. Let’s say Edward only ate eight people a month for the three years he was away. He has still killed hundreds of people. It only takes three or more consecutive deaths for someone to be classified as a serial killer. He is a serial killer, and you’re dating him. Why?

Oh right. Cause he’s pretty.

Finally, they go to Edward’s room. It’s full of books and CDs, of course. Bella mocks Edward about not being scary. And to get back at her he tackles her and drags her to the couch. And um…wasn’t he trying not to kill her? Leaping at her is fairly reminiscent of the hunter’s crouch we always hear Meyer describe. Shouldn’t his instinct in them moment be to go for the jugular?

They’re interrupted by a knock on the door. It’s Jasper and Alice and they’re coming to tell Edward that there will be a thunderstorm that night. So of course it’s a logical time to play baseball. Edward says that he and Bella will be back for the game, after she introduces him to Charlie.

And of course it’s baseball. I’m not a sports fan in general, but I rarely let myself get dragged to baseball games. Why? Because it’s very slow paced, boring to watch, and hard to follow. A lot like this book actually.

So the theme for this chapter appears to be:

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