SPOILERS FOR MIDNIGHT SUN AND THE TWILIGHT SERIES
“Suddenly, as she ate, a strange comparison entered my head. For just a second, I saw Persephone, pomegranate in hand. Dooming herself to the underworld. Is that who I was? Hades himself, coveting springtime, stealing it, condemning it to endless night,” (Meyer 187).
Look, I’ve been waiting for this book for fifteen years and am Twilight trash so I was going to give this book a good review solely on the fact that it finally came into existence. I remember when the leak of the original chapters of Midnight Sun happened and when Stephenie Meyer put the chapters on her website with a vow never to publish or even finish writing it. I remember obsessing over those chapters and mourning the perspective that never was, and then the miraculous announcement of it’s publication last year. It took me longer than it should have to read Midnight Sun, I made the decision to re-read the whole series first which also took longer than predicted but I did it. And honestly, Midnight Sun was everything I hoped it would be.
A summary isn’t really necessary for Midnight Sun, it’s Twilight from the perspective of our favourite brooding sparkling vampire Edward Cullen, but we get so much from Edward’s perspective. I loved getting to see how Edward’s mind worked, what he was actually like outside of Bella’s obsession with him. Twilight fans saw a hint of what a vampire mind is like in Breaking Dawn when Bella was turned but she was a newborn, getting Edward’s over one-hundred-year-old perspective was very enlightening and honestly terrifying at times. Re-reading the series has really made me wonder why Bella ever wanted to be a vampire because it honestly seems like a horrible existence: the memories of your human life dim and forgotten, focused solely on thirst and their own strength, and especially for the Cullen’s choosing to interact with humans so having to be aware to appear human, to follow a diet against their nature, and to remind themselves to act and do what humans do (though honestly they don’t do a great job as even in high school the mated pairs make it clear that they’re not really siblings). The best thing about Edward’s perspective is that we get an insight into how incredibly inhuman Edward really is, and getting that dark perspective gave insight into the vampires of Meyer’s world.
I also really enjoyed Edward talking about his life as a vampire, his struggles as a newborn and how he lived over a hundred years before Bella and what he did during that time, as well as the introduction of each member of the Cullen coven after him since Edward was the first turned and the first one to join the Cullen family. I loved getting to see the Cullen’s more, especially more of Esme and Emmett who really don’t get enough time in the original series. I didn’t like Rosalie’s characterization, I don’t know what Meyer has against her after giving her one of the best backstories (next to Alice’s) but I was really disappointed with her characterization, as well as that of Jessica Stanley (though I guess that one isn’t too shocking in reality). Probably one of the things I enjoyed about Midnight Sun was seeing how Edward’s mind reading worked (though I’m disappointed he had trouble reading Charlie’s mind and never told Bella about this) and Alice’s visions, the chapter “Chores” was my favourite for this reason as it shows very clearly how Alice’s visions work and it was really interesting to witness. I also enjoyed the surprise cameos of some of the nomad vampires introduced in Breaking Dawn, I didn’t expect them but it was nice seeing how the Cullen’s interact with the nomads more regularly than first thought.
Seeing Bella and Edward’s relationship from Edward’s perspective is also enlightening and much more different than I imagined, and made me a bit sad. If anything the relationship is more one-sided than I imagined, at least with re-reading and then reading Midnight Sun it seems that Bella loves Edward a lot more while Edward doesn’t realize it until Alice mentions it to him. It’s still insta-love, but from Edward’s perspective it feels a lot less genuine, though he does show some very cute romantic moments with Bella (I can’t get over the lemonade cap, I won’t), it just doesn’t feel as genuine as Bella’s perspective. And maybe it can’t, since with Bella we’re reading a human perspective of love and Edward we get the vampire perspective, but it was interesting nonetheless. I also found it interesting how much Bella feels like a teenager from Edward’s perspective, without her “old soul” perspective we really see Bella as a kid with her own struggles and her own worries as she adjusts to life in Forks. She’s still the same character but reader’s see how very young she is, and it made me sad all the more because Bella had so much life and so many things she wanted to do before she falls into insta-love with Edward. If nothing else Midnight Sun is very eye-opening and revealing of the characters in the Twilight series and not always in the best of ways which just makes it more interesting.
There are also some revelations from Edward, particularly at the ending, that are just heartbreaking and makes me angry but does connect with the series. It’s an anger at the characters, not the story, but still, COME ON EDWARD. My one criticism would probably be that Edward is certainly verbose and sometimes Midnight Sun felt like a chore to finish. The book is nearly twice as long as Twilight and while we do get a lot of interesting information about Edward and the other Cullen’s pasts, Edward also tends to go on tangents describing Bella as “fragile and ephemeral as a soap bubble” and when talking about vampire anatomy at one point eats Bella’s tear (I wish I was making this up) and wonders if it will still be inside of him when Bella dies one day. So yes, some of the added parts of Midnight Sun were very enjoyable while others were a little much.
But honestly I loved Midnight Sun more than I thought possible, reading it made me hope that Meyer might write the rest of the series from Edward’s perspective, which she already said she won’t do, but I’m just so curious about what New Moon was like for Edward while he was away, what Breaking Dawn was like when he watches Bella struggle throughout her pregnancy. Curiousities that will never be answered, but at least I have Midnight Sun to return too if I ever want to get inside of Edward’s head again. That being said, Midnight Sun is a must-read for any Twi-hard, it’s nostalgic and comforting to return to these worlds and characters and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was excited for the next addition in the Twilight world (even if it is about Jacob and Renesmee, whenever that will be…).
Publication: August 4th 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 658 pages (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction, YA, Supernatural, Vampires
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤
“When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.
This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger? ”