So far, 2020 has been garbage, let’s be honest. I don’t even need to address why. When Stephenie Meyer announced that she was finally releasing Midnight Sun, I waited until the moment that I could pre-order a copy. It arrived in the mail the day it was released, and, though I had end of semester exams, I dug in. I did not devour my copy as quickly as I normally would have, because I wanted to savour it. Notice my use of words that have connotations to eating… I just finished the book and of course it was laced with descriptions of how much everyone wants to chow down on Bella.
But you see… Stephenie Meyer did something for us during this pandemic that no one else did. She brought us back home to our old friends. We were brought back to Forks, to a setting that has not changed since 2005; much like our beloved immortal characters. Meyer reminded us of a time when we were young, in high school (for some of us) and when the world seemed less messy. In the 15 years since Twilight was published, we all grew up. Meyer addresses this in a very sweet forward, a touch that drove home the fact that I was about to return to the small rainy town in Washington State.
Return to Forks
I was able to go back to Forks and see everyone again, but this time I actually got to hang out with the Cullens and found out more about them. Learning more about Edward and his family, and not see the whole thing through Bella’s eyes really allowed me to appreciate the other characters a lot more. I was always TEAM EDWARD but after reading Midnight Sun I say TEAM EMMETT ALL THE WAY. I do not mean because I see him as a love interest for Bella, I just mean that when Edward is telling the story, we get to know his siblings so much better, and I love Emmett’s character. We never see anyone else’s perspective when Bella is telling the story, so we never fully see the little details and depth in which the other characters care for her.
“No one seemed to notice the ringing mental broadcast, yet everyone was compelled to help her.”
Edward can hear everyone’s thoughts, but he also sees how other powers work. This was something I did not expect to learn more on, but it has me wishing that Meyer would release parts of the other books from Edward’s perspective. Alice’s visions are described in detail and quite creatively, which gives the reader an idea of how her mind works. From Bella’s perspective, Alice can see the future (though Alice and Edward do often say the future can change) however in Midnight Sun, we get a much more visual representation of how she sees the future. Jasper’s talents are much more elaborate than previously described too, and Meyer did a good job of giving us more details about Bella’s mom.
A Closer Look
I have a new appreciation for just how salty Edward is. He is the original emo kid, and I am here for his endless drama. Edward narrates from his perspective, but because he can hear thoughts, he also narrates from everyone else’s perspective. I will admit that I read the original draft of the chapters Meyer released all those years ago, and I am happy she made so many amendments. Edward tends to describe personality traits and physical appearance in minute detail, something Bella did not do. He often remarks on Bella’s clothing and physical appearance (obviously) so we get a better idea of what Bella looks like. One amusing instance being when he keeps mentioning an ugly sweater she is wearing. I should have had Twilight open next to Midnight Sun as I went through it because if I remember correctly, Bella liked that sweater; she missed the warmth of the colour brown so she wore a brown turtleneck that day.
I also gained a new perspective on Bella’s character. Not because of how much Edward is in love with her, but because of her kind actions towards others (which are never mentioned in Twilight because Bella is so selfless). I started thinking about how often this happens in young adult literature with a female protagonist, when they are narrating. Bella sold herself short for the entire Twilight Saga and only now are we seeing who she really is.
“It was often like this with her: never stepping out of her quiet comfort zone except for someone else’s perceived need; changing the subject whenever her circle of friends grew too cruel to one another; thanking a teacher for their lesson if that teacher seemed down […]”
I noticed a lot of similarities between how Edward describes Bella and vice versa. At one-point Edward reflects on Bella’s “lopsidedly dimpled grin” the same way Edward is always giving her a “crooked smile”. I have tried to notice these tendencies in real people, and I have such a hard time seeing anything crooked or lopsided, so if I ever get to meet Stephenie Meyer, I will have to ask her to demonstrate.
My favourite part of the story was seeing Edward’s perspective on getting to Phoenix on time to save Bella. I did not expect this to be so enjoyable, but he is racing to save Bella’s life and his biggest preoccupation is the car he is going to steal to get there. At the airport, they steal a car that has been modified for racing and has been painted all sorts of garish colours (which Edward mentions often, just in case we forgot, kind of like Bella’s ugly brown sweater) but Meyer expertly allows the non-car savvy reader to understand these upgrades by adding two buttons next to the gearshift: “Go Go 1” and “Go Go 2”. Then they select another car to steal mid- race to Bella. The whole thing goes on for about 9 pages in detail, but honestly it reads like an action movie told from Edward’s dramatic and sassy point of view.
Overall, I enjoyed Midnight Sun more than I expected to because of all the additional details of the characters in this beloved series. I thank Meyer for releasing this novel at a time when the world seems to be falling apart, and all we needed was a bit of nostalgia to remind us of a time when things did not seem as crazy. Part of me wishes that she would release the rest of the Saga from Edward’s point of view, though I realize that Meyer was tying off a loose end by writing Midnight Sun. Fortunately, she has already announced that there may be two more Twilight books in the works, so we can hang on to that thought as we try to navigate this pandemic.