I Read Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer for the 2000's Nostalgia (a review)
WHAT IS MIDNIGHT SUN?/A SHORT HISTORY If you weren't a teenage girl (or her mom) during the height of Twilight's fame then you may be unaware. Twilight is a YA paranormal/fantasy romance novel written by Stephenie Meyer. It depicts the love story between a mortal girl (Bella Swan) and an immortal vampire (Edward Cullen). Twilight is the first in a series of four books known collectively as the Twilight Saga.
Twilight is told from Bella's perspective. Midnight Sun is the same story told from Edward's perspective. The novel was started in 2008 but the partial draft was leaked online and Meyer posted that incomplete draft on her website. She then declared that the novel was postponed indefinitely.
Fast-forward to May 2020 and Meyer announced that she had completed Midnight Sun and it was going to be released in August. Fast-forward again to September and it's finally in my hands (via my local library).
MY HISTORY WITH THE TWILIGHT SAGA (SKIP TO MY REVIEW IF YOU DON'T CARE)
I was a massive fan of Twilight (also known as a Twi-hard). I'd say my time in the Twilight fandom was at its height from 2008-2011. I read (and reread) all four of the books and went to the movie theaters to see the first three of the five movies. I never saw Breaking Dawn Part I nor Part II, in theaters or otherwise. By that time my interest in the story had started to wane. For those who may be curious, I was a hardcore Team Edward girl.
I remember being devastated when Meyer announced that she was not going to finish Midnight Sun. I read (and reread) the partial draft again and again and hoped that she would change her mind and complete it. Eventually, I accepted that it wasn't going to happen and I moved on with my life.
In the years since my Twilight obsession I have come to view the relationship between Bella and Edward as being controlling and toxic. After all, Edward watched her sleep (before and after she was aware of this fact) and he dictated who she could and couldn't be friends with. She became so invested in her relationship with him that she stopped hanging out with friends and became deeply depressed during their breakup in the second book. What's worse, Edward tries to kill himself when he believes Bella is dead (also in the second book). Overall, it wasn't the 'relationship goals' that I'd once believed it to be as a naive teenager.
I thought my time with the series was over for good when I sold all of my books to Half Price Books. Then came the announcement of Midnight Sun. I felt torn. I knew that I wasn't about to spend money on the book (especially since I lost my job due to COVID-19). However, for 2008 Haley who had been so upset by Meyer not finishing the book, and for the sake of nostalgia, I decided I had to read it. So, I put it on hold at my library and waited. For better or worse, here's my review...
You're probably not going to pick up this book unless you are/were a fan of the original Twilight Saga. A huge, immediate hindrance to this novel is that it does nothing to appeal to any new audiences. However, before we get too negative, lets first go over the positives. In the original Twilight Bella lacks anything reminiscent of a personality. In Midnight Sun she is still rather bland. However, as we see her through Edward's eyes we see that she is kind and selfless, always putting others before herself. This makes her a more likeable character than her original counterpart. Meyer also did a good job of effectively conveying Edward's pain and twisted mind. I feel like her overall prose has improved as well.
The other positive is that I liked the added scenes with the Cullen clan. Seeing Edward interact with his family made him seem like a much more approachable character. Additionally, I found most of the Cullens to be more enjoyable to spend time with than the two main characters, so it was a refreshing break when there were scenes with them.
Now, onto the not so good parts. There was absolutely no reason for this novel to be as long as it is. The novel stands at 658 pages. For reference, Twilight is 498 pages. This means that Midnight Sun is approximately 28% longer than its sister novel. There is A LOT of filler with Edward's repeated tormented thoughts. I felt this could have been cut down significantly without removing its impact on the story.
Edward isn't any less creepy than I remembered. He stalks Bella both physically and mentally. As he can read minds he keep tabs on her by reading the thoughts of others around her (since he can't read hers). This is in addition to breaking into her house every night to watch her sleep. He spends a good bit of time trying to mentally justify his stalking by insisting to himself that Bella requires his protection. He tells himself that she needs constant supervision to keep her safe. This doesn't make his actions even remotely okay and, if anything, made him seem even more despicable.
So, is this worth the read? If you're still a massive fan of the Twilight Saga then perhaps. For people like me who are just wanting a little taste of nostalgia then I'd say just re-watch the Twilight movie. You can find it on Amazon Prime, so if you have a Prime account then you don't have to pay anything extra to watch it.
FINAL RATING: 2 ⭐️
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