1. Meyer's writing has improved. The dialogue flows better, and some of the humor is actually funny:"Do you have a medical degree that you never told me about?"
"Just give me the chance to decide whether or not I'm going to throw a fit over taking you to the hospital."
He made a face of mock horror. "Please, not a fit!"
"If you don't let me see your hand, a fit is guaranteed."
2. Bella's emotions seem much more authentic than they have in past Twilight
books:"It's the fourth?
Of June? Are you sure? It can't be! How did that happen?"
I felt like someone had kicked my legs out from under me. The weeks of stress, of worry...somehow in the middle of all my obsessing over the time, my time had disappeared. My space for sorting through it all, for making plans, had vanished. I was out of time.
And I wasn't ready.
I didn't know how to do this. How to say goodbye to Charelie and Renée...to Jacob...to being human.
I knew exactly what I wanted, but I was suddenly terrified of getting it.
She starts to think much more practically about what life will be like as a vampire, and she's (finally!) a little afraid:I'd always known that I would be different. I hoped that I would be as strong as Edward said I would be. Strong and fast and, most of all, beautiful.
...I'd been trying not to think too much about the other things that I would be. Wild. Bloodthirsty. Maybe I would not be able to stop myself from killing people. Strangers, people who had never harmed me. ...People who'd had
lives. And I could be the monster who took that away from them.
...If I really were somehow like that...could I possibly be
me? And if all I wanted was to kill people, what would happen to the things I wanted
She loves Edward, but she doesn't want to marry him right away – maybe not ever, certainly not the second she graduates:"I'm not
that girl, Edward. The one who gets married right out of high school like some small-town hick who got knocked up by her boyfriend! Do you know what people would think? Do you realize what century this is? People don't just get married at eighteen! Not smart people, not responsible, mature people! I wasn't going to be that girl! That's not who I am."
I love the fact that she sees no contradiction between feeling like this about marriage and being perfectly ready to commit to an eternity of vampiredom with Edward. People are like that. Maybe not with those exact issues, but this scene rings true nonetheless.
3. Speaking of fun stuff, we learn that a vampire history book would be way
more interesting than the textbooks most of us snored through in high school:"All hell broke loose – and I mean that more literally than you can possibly imagine. We immortals have our histories, too, and this particular war will never be forgotten."
I liked the flashbacks to vampire history. I wish there had been more of that.The bad:
1. Vampires still purr."You can always run later," Edward purred.
2. Edward's still totally condescending toward Bella.And then his fingers were on mine, holding them still.
"Are we a little impatient today?" he murmured.
"Bella." He rolled his eyes. "You aren't exactly the best judge of what is or isn't dangerous."
3. Bella still adores Edward beyond anything anyone could possibly deserve. He's the whole point to her life. Without him, she's nothing. When he's out of the room she just wanders aimlessly, not knowing what to do with herself. Everything and everyone else in her life comes a very distant second to him.
On seeing them together, Bella's mother tells Bella: "I wish you could see how you move around him. ...You orient yourself around him without even thinking about it. When he moves, even a little bit, you adjust your position at the same time. Like magnets...or gravity. You're like a...satellite, or something."
Bella's mom, who's been presented as flighty and rather air-headed, is smart enough to be concerned about this. Bella, who claims to be the practical, sensible one, sees nothing wrong with this at all.
4. Stephenie Meyer is still abusing punctuation. See ellipses in above quote, which show us that Bella's mom talks just like Captain Kirk. So, apparently, does Jacob:"Well...I was wondering...do you...y'know,
"You said a few weeks....When, exactly...?"
Whoops – so does Alice, and she's my favorite character in the series:"The timing of it was too perfect....This visitor was so careful to make no contact. Almost like he or she knew that I would see...."
Oh, and let's not forget my old favorite: ellipses with commas at the end!"Jake...," I started to whine.
"Dad...," I moaned
And speaking of forcing punctuation into unnatural positions, dashes are shoved behind commas:"What --," I started to ask.
Question marks are forced to make out with exclamation points:I took another deep breath. "Don't worry?! You sliced your hand open!"
And I know this doesn't have anything to do with punctuation, but Stephenie Meyer is still having trouble with the same verb she abused in the first Twilight
novel:My heart, racing already, spluttered frantically.
(It totally didn't.)The ugly:
1. In the name of "protecting" her, Edward doesn't tell Bella about threats to her own life. He insists that he and his family are able to save her from any harm, so there's no need for her to worry her little head about anything:"You don't think Bella has a right to know?" Jacob challenged. "It's her life."
"Why should she be frightened when she was never in danger?"
"Better frightened than lied to."
As always, Edward doesn't seem to realize how patronizing he's being. Would he put up with someone "protecting" him
by keeping him in the dark? Of course not. He'd hate it. Anyone would. But he refuses to put himself in her shoes. Instead, he grants himself unlimited power to make decisions on her behalf and for her own good.
2. Edward controls Bella, again in the name of protecting her. He acts like a textbook abuser: isolating her from her friends, making her afraid of him when she breaks the rules he's laid down for her. He sabotages her car to keep her from going to see Jacob, whom he insists is dangerous. Sure. Except Jacob spent the whole last book taking care
of Bella, saving her life at least once if I recall correctly – and he was a werewolf back then, too, and in even less control of his powers than he is now.
3. Edward enlists his family to help keep Bella prisoner when he has to go hunting. She grinned, and turned the volume down until it was just background. Then she hit the locks and the gas in the same second.
"What's going on?" I asked, starting to feel uneasy.
What's going on is that it doesn't matter what Bella already had planned for the next few days (and she does have plans); Edward's sister Alice is keeping her under lock and key until Edward gets back to take over the job.
I guess I shouldn't be so enraged. Bella shouldn't, either:"I know you're frustrated that he's keeping you locked up like this, but don't give him too bad a time when he gets back. He loves you more than you know. It terrifies him to be away from you."
This is from Rosalie, Edward's other
sister. Stalking: a game the whole family can play!
4. Edward makes Bella think she's crazy – yet again in the name of "protecting" her:My imagination was sadly out of control. I'd taken a perfectly normal afternoon and twisted it until it looked like Edward was going out of his way to keep things from me. I needed therapy.
You do. Specifically, you need a therapist to help you get away from this guy, because he is
going out of his way to keep things from you and he wants
you to think you're just imagining it. This is called gaslighting, and it's not something you do to someone you care about. It's something you do to someone you want to destroy from the inside out.
5. Bella hands Edward all possible power by making it clear that however much his behavior may upset her, she won't do anything about it. She won't break up with him. She won't tell Charlie how he's treating her. She won't bring it up with Carlisle and Esme and ask them to please tell their son to stop being an abusive, manipulative jerk. She will endlessly forgive in the name of keeping the peace. (The phrase "I didn't want to fight with Edward" appears with sickening frequency, and is always followed with her deciding that sighing and giving in is the only way to avoid a fight – and of course a fight must be avoided at all costs. Why?)
6. After two and a half books of seeming like the good guy, Jacob pulls some serious jerk moves. He knows that Bella loves Edward, but he wants to convince her to give him a chance. Especially since Edward can't give her a normal life, while being with Jacob would mean she'd be able to see her mother and father and have kids of her own. Fine. What does he do to try to win Bella over? He forces a long kiss on her:His lips forced mine open, and I could feel his hot breath in my mouth.
He doesn't care that she's skeeved out and furious afterward:"Just let me drive you home," Jacob insisted. Unbelievably, he had the nerve to wrap his arm around my waist.
She jerks away from his touch – and then lets him drive her home.
Even though she has perfectly good alternatives and is by no means stranded or in danger without Jacob's help. She just gives in."Fine!" I growled.
Her dad cheers Jacob on when he hears about what happened:"Good for you, kid," Charlie congratulated him.
When she shows him how badly she hurt her hand when she attempted to punch Jacob in the face for kissing her against her will, his response is:"Maybe you should pick on people your own size."
What a great dad!
Later on, Bella uses kissing as currency, and in the process finds out that – aw! – she's loved Jacob all along. Whee.
7. How about that "imprinting" the werewolves do. I know it's supposed to be romantic, and I do understand the appeal of the idea of a man becoming utterly, devotedly besotted with his soul mate in a single glance. I really do.
But it gets creepy when it can happen to a man who's already in a relationship with a woman he loves:"Sam did love Leah. But when he saw Emily, that didn't matter anymore."
It gets really
creepy when the Emily in question ends up returning his love because he feels so bad after mauling her. Yes. He goes werewolf and scars her for life. He feels bad. She feels bad that he feels bad. And they live happily ever after.
And it gets beyond
creepy when, well:"Try not to be judgmental, okay?"
I nodded cautiously.
"Claire is two."
And Quil, who just imprinted on her, is a grown-arse man."You're making judgments. I can see it on your face."
Yep!"It's not like that; you've got it all wrong. There's nothing
romantic about it at all, not for Quil, not now. ...Quil will be the best, kindest big brother any kid ever had. There isn't a toddler on the planet that will be more carefully looked after than that little girl will be."
Um..."And then, when she's older and needs a friend, he'll be more understanding, trustworthy, and reliable than anyone else she knows."
But...ew..."And then, when she's grown up, they'll be as happy as Emily and Sam."
Right up until she tells him she's in love with someone else, and then he mauls her like Sam mauled Emily?"But why wouldn't she choose him, in the end? He'll be her perfect match. Like he was designed for her alone."
In the words of the immortal bard, GROSS.Conclusion
I think Meyer's writing improves a bit with every book, and I do think she has some innovative ideas in this series. It's pretty hard to think of anything new to do with vampires or werewolves. I give her full credit for succeeding with both.
But these books just aren't my happy place. I want more plot and less romance. I spend too much time too angry at how Bella is treated by the alleged good guys. She speaks up more for herself in this book than she has in the past, but it's just not enough.
Not sure I'm up to reading the next one. We'll see.