Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
This review will be fully clouded by nostalgia, there is no way to treat Midnight Sun like a stand-alone read. I know that there are a lot of problems with the Twilight series, but it is such a big part of my story and how I got on the path I am today. It was released at a time when I had fallen out of reading, but it just drew me in and brought back the magic of books to me again. It reigniting my love for reading and opened my eyes for the Young Adult genre, and I probably wouldn’t even be an author myself today, if it hadn’t been for it. When I found out about the release of Midnight Sun, I honestly didn’t think that I would want to get back into the Twilight universe again, too afraid to ruin the old magic. But somehow it pulled me right back in… and I am so happy for it!
As you all probably know, Midnight Sun is the first Twilight book, retold from Edward’s point of view. All the problematic aspects of Twilight still stand and this book obviously does not change any of that, as it’s basically the same book (just from a different perspective). But that set aside, I enjoyed this book so much more than I anticipated. It was surprisingly interesting to relive the story from Edward’s POV; I really enjoyed his narration and how he has a much more distinct voice in comparison to Bella. I also appreciated the way you could tell he was from a different time through the way he talked and how his mannerisms were subtly included in his narration. Stephenie Meyer has also added a lot more of his feelings and inner struggle, that offers an explanation to things that seemed a bit rushed or not making the most sense in the original story. And since Edward can read minds, you also get insight on so many characters that felt like a mystery even after four books in the series.
I really loved all the extra content based around the Cullen family and how they all interact. There is so much love and tenderness between Edward and his family. I love the way they support and guide each other, but also the way they banter and joke around. I also really enjoyed the new looks into the history of several of the characters and that it showed the extent of Alice and Jasper’s powers more. A minor complaint is how Rosalie was portraited though. She’s never been any of my favorites, but in this book she comes across as so much more shallow and only interested in her physical appearance, with the trauma that preceded her turning into a vampire being whisked over way too quickly instead of taking the opportunity to give her character and history more depth. On the other hand, I got to like Emmett so much more in this book, where his loyalty and empathy is better shown.
A really fun (and sometimes annoying part) was the revelation of Edward’s lack of communication skills. In the original book, he was supposed to be so deep and mysterious with his cryptic answers to Bella, but in this book it’s obvious that he’s just been to much in his own head. You could expect a mind reader to have a better clue at the human mind, but he just fails so brutally at times to explain to Bella why she should stay away from him.
“Honestly, Edward, I can’t keep up with you. I thought you didn’t want to be my friend.”
“I said it would be better if we weren’t friends, not that I didn’t want to be.”
Edward also deals with so much anxiety, insecurity and self-loading. Compared to the original book, where he was so “perfect” (as seen from Bella’s eyes) he’s definitely thrown off his pedestal in this one. It’s refreshing and I like it, but the younger me feels a bit offended on Edward’s behalf…
This book really did help to understand the actions of the first book better, as like intended it makes it easier to understand the thought processes and the intentions of Edward. It really demonstrated his internal instinctual battle in a really primal sense really well. He is constantly fighting with himself in his internal monologue to be a good person, constantly juggling his instincts and his morals.
“Run, Bella, run. I love you too much, for your good or mine.”
Some of the actions in the original book that felt really creepy, were rationalised in this book. I’m not a big fan of the cover design (not at all... I think that the pomegranate is seriously appalling), but with Edward’s references to the Hades-Persephone-pomegranate myth, it makes total sense.
“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.”
I must say that the myth is a very clever way to illustrate Edward’s inner struggle how to let himself fall in love with Bella when he knows that he is endangering her life.
“I wondered again how I could make this happen – be with her without negatively impacting her life. Stay in Persephone’s spring, keep her safe from my underworld.”
Even though the plot of this book is virtually identical with the original one, barring scenes where Edward is away from Bella, it is almost twice as long in page length. Because of this, the book felt a bit slow and repetitive at times. Especially in the middle; up until the meadow scene it was seriously dragging. Perhaps if I hadn’t known the Twilight story so well it wouldn’t have felt so drawn out, but I still think it would have benefited from a little more cutting. But overall, I’m so happy I read this book and I thoroughly enjoyed jumping back into the Twilight universe! The retelling from Edward’s POV really added something to the story, and gave me a whole new appreciation for the story and characters. (Even though, the problematic aspects of Twilight still stand and if this review hadn’t been clouded by nostalgia that would have affected the rating substantially… but given my history and old love for this series, this book was a four star read for me.)
Find out more about the book and the author here: Stephenie Meyer
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