Posted in Reviews

Twilight: Chapter Twenty-Two

When Bella emerges, Alice is having a vision. Jasper demands to know that she saw.

Her head twisted around, her eyes locking on mine, their expression still strangely blank. I realized at once she hadn’t been speaking to me, she’d been answering Jasper’s question.

“What did you see?” I said—and there was no question in my flat, uncaring voice.

Of course we know what she’s seen. Bella made the decision to die, so Alice is seeing it.

Jasper doses Bella with more vampire Valium. I suppose this is as good a time as any to discuss Jasper’s powers, since his next major role in the series doesn’t occur until Eclipse.

Edward says that most vampire powers take place in the mind. They trick the mind into believing certain sensations. If I had to guess, I would say that Jasper’s ability works in the same way. Unless he can control the chemicals in the brain, in which case he could be unintentionally causing a lot of damage. The balance of chemicals in the brain is extremely delicate. If they’re even a little bit off, it can cause wild fluctuations in mood, behavior, sleeping patterns, so on and so forth.

It would go a long way to explaining how Bella is unable to regulate her negative emotions without Jasper around. Prolonged exposure to that sort of meddling might make it impossible for the brain to regulate itself on its own. (Which could semi-explain her catatonia in New Moon.) And if the ability does take place in the brain, then Bella should be safe from it, because her power fends off mental manipulation. But we’ll have to overlook this gaping plot hole, since it will never be addressed.

Bella showers, gets dressed, and stuffs her pockets with the cash she brought with her from home.

They get to the airport and Bella stalls until the plane is ten minutes away to make her escape. Why she didn’t go immediately, I don’t know. She clearly had a plan in place, and she knows she can’t wait for Edward to arrive, so why is she torturing herself?

She asks Jasper to tag along while she eats. Then when she’s away she asks to use the ladies room. Now at this point Jasper should have gotten Alice to accompany her, since it’s become even more likely that Bella could be killed.

For all Jasper knows she could be jumped in the bathroom. What an embarrassing way to go. Jasper, you can’t let her have that on her headstone!

Bella uses the second exit to the bathroom to make her escape and starts sprinting for the exit. She takes the elevator down to the ground floor. Bella takes a shuttle to the Hyatt, and catches a cab from there.

Instead of letting the anxiety of the scene actually build up, we now must diffuse it with the luvs.

So instead of panicking, I closed my eyes and spent the twenty minutes drive with Edward.

The daydreams continue for a little while and then Bella arrives at her destination. Now one can’t help but think that twenty minutes would be enough of a delay for at least Alice and Jasper to discover Bella’s absence. Or was Jasper just like this the whole time:

Bella arrives at her house and calls James.

“Hello Bella.” That easy voice answered. “That was very quick. I’m impressed.”

“Is my mom alright?”

Now if it were me, this is where I’d demand proof of life. Bella doesn’t think to do this. Why? Because it would ruin the “surpise.” You would begin to see the stupid plan unravel at the edges, and we can’t have that because all vampires everywhere are infallible, no matter what. Thus declareth the Meyer.

James directs Bella to meet him at the ballet studio. Bella runs to her destination and finds the door unlocked. She lets herself in. Then we get the big “reveal.”

“Bella? Bella?” That same tone of hysterical panic. I sprinted to the door, to the sound of her voice.

“Bella, you scared me! Don’t you ever to that to me again!” Her voice continued as I ran into the long, high ceilinged room.

I stared around me, trying to find where her voice was coming from. I heard her laugh, and I whirled to the sound.

There she was, on the TV screen, tousling my hair in relief.

Guh. Dumb, dumb, dumb. This scene has no freaking payoff. There’s no reason why Bella shouldn’t have figured this out. Especially at the house, after asking if her mother was okay. She’s had enough time to think and plan, she could have figured out the ruse then. She had the knowledge from Alice’s first vision. She should have been able to piece this together.

Or maybe I’m just giving her too much credit. Bella’s idiocy has been well-established thus far.

My mother was safe. She was still in Florida. She’d never gotten my message. She’d never been terrified by the dark eyes in the abnormally pale face before me. She was safe.

“Yes,” I answered, my voice saturated with relief.

“You don’t sound angry that I tricked you.”

“I’m not.” My sudden high made me brave. What did it matter now? It would soon be over. Charlie and mom would never be harmed would never have to fear.

It matters because you are in mortal peril Bella! Show concern for your life! How are we supposed to care about you, when you don’t give a damn about your own life?!

James and Bella shoot the breeze casually for a few minutes, as if there isn’t a vampire entourage rushing across town to save her.

James monologues for a bit, just to show us that he’s EVIL.

C’mon James, don’t you know that’s the downfall of all campy villains?

James decides to film Bella’s death. Cause it’s totally smart to antagonize a group of vampires that large, who have all of eternity to hunt you down and kill you for what you did.

James give us the totally unnecessary backstory of Alice Cullen. There are a million other ways we could have learned this freaking story, but no. We have to have this villain in the first book, just for this.

“Well, I supposed we should get on with it. And then I can call your friends and tell them where to find you, and my little message.”

You should have started with this from the beginning James. There is a very large coven just tracking Bella as you monologue for ten minutes and waste the time you could otherwise be using to kill the protagonist.

Bella is kicked into a mirror, bashes her skull, and has her leg broken by James. She refuses to beg, and has her head smashed against the mirrors again. This time it rips open her scalp. The thirsty vampire cannot resist the nummies and bites Bella.

And that’s the end of the chapter. Maybe I’m jaded, but the violence didn’t seem that bad. I’ve read a lot worse in other books. Does that make it an awful scene? Well, no. But it sort of lacks any punch, because we know what’s coming. Do you know what would have made the scene more horrifying? Renee as a witness. Watching helplessly as her daughter is beaten to death for someone’s sick games.

It would also slam the realization home to her parents and the audience that Bella’s companions are unsafe for her, even the “good” vampires like the Cullens.

As we see, this violence is a pretty common trait in their species. Edward regularly contemplates murdering boys Bella interacts with. Rosalie has thought about killing Bella, the Denali coven want to kill the werewolves in Eclipse, and Bella attacks Seth and Jacob in Breaking Dawn. James is only slightly more sadistic than the other vampires we’ve encountered. All in all, this should have been an eye-opener for Bella, if she hasn’t become aware of this sort of thing before. Unfortunately, Twilight’s black and white morality will never be questioned in the narrative.

It’s sort of sad really. This should have been the book’s high point. Instead it’s just dumb.

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