Posted in Reviews

Twilight: Chapter Twenty-One

Bella wakes up in the morning and ruh-oh Shaggy, the dark room Alice saw in her second vision is Renee’s living room.

Alice calls Edward immediately, and finally the Cullens do what they should have done from the moment they lost James. They book a flight to Phoenix and come to retrieve Bella.

Bella begins to panic and Jasper tries to give her vampire Valium. She tells him to knock it off, and she goes into the other room to have a panic attack.

I could only see one possible end looming darkly in my future. The only question was how many other people would be hurt before I reached it.

You’re not going to die Bella. Your plot armor is too thick for that. Stop being so fatalistic, you’ve still got three more books before you die.

The phone rings again, and this time it’s for Bella. Renee is apparently panicking at Bella’s rather innocuous message.

Just kidding. It’s actually James on the other end of the phone and he’s threatening Bella’s mother.

“Now, I don’t need to hurt your mother, so please do exactly what I say, and she’ll be fine.”

The first time reading through Twilight, I wasn’t really convinced that James had Renee. It stretched credibility even to my teenage mind. Really, he just happens to catch Renee at home? There wasn’t really a lead up to this part. It’s not like Bella’s mom said she was going to be home that week. There’s no suspense, because there has been no buildup to this. And with the context clues we’ve been given, we know where this is leading. Bella is reacting in fear, and doesn’t stop to think.

The only way to have a payoff for this scene is if James actually had Renee. The only worthwhile thing that could come of this ruse would be one or both of Bella’s parents figuring out what she’s been involved in. Having one or both of them in real danger should illustrate how dangerous vampires are, more than any speech Edward gives.

James tells her to escape her handlers and come meet him at the ballet studio.

“Say ‘I love you mom, I’ll see you soon.’ Say it now.”

“I love you mom.” My voice was thick. “I’ll see you soon.”

Now this could have been a really, really touching scene. It sort of makes you feel bad for Bella. She’s taken her parents for granted most of this book, and it takes them being in mortal danger for her to realize that she actually cares about them. It’s extremely sad to think that it took this extreme of a circumstance for Bella to show any emotion other than exasperation towards her parents.

I’ll give praise where praise is due. This is a hard decision for Bella. She chooses death and saving her mother over saving herself and staying with Edward. She’s too numb with panic at the moment to realize there’s a third option, and I can accept that. This part paints the decision as a really heartrending one, and I believe it.

Then she sort of promptly ruins all the acting she was doing for Alice and Jasper by writing a suicide note on hotel stationary. She details the situation and Edward not to be angry, and not to try to avenge her death.

I folded the letter carefully, and sealed it in the envelope. Eventually he would find it. I only hoped he would understand, and listen to me just this once.

And then I carefully sealed away my heart.

Again, credit where credit is due. This is a very pretty line. While there’s usually too much purple prose in Meyer’s writing for my taste, she has the occasional line or quote that is just sort of gorgeous.

This line would be even more touching if it had been earned. None of this love stuff is earned. Not one bit of it. Bella and Edward’s relationship has been nothing but creepy infatuation, stalking and verbal abuse. If we’d had a really good burgeoning relationship in the works, this would be a sort of crushing blow. As it is, this chapter was sort of meh. Its only saving grace is its brevity.

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