Okay, feel free to make fun of me for going out of my way to buy Midnight Sun as soon as it came out. But let me just remind you that I have proven to have fairly discerning literary tastes over the course of this blog (I hope), so if I want to go through the book equivalent of discount sugary cereal, I am totally within my rights.
Besides, Midnight Sun was one of the most hilarious things I’ve read in a while. I think I cackled more than a hundred times over the course of reading the whole thing.
For those of you who don’t know, Midnight Sun is just the latest installment in the infamous Twilight franchise. However, instead of covering new territory, it retreads the same ground as the original book. This time, instead of reading through the story from the human girl’s perspective, Midnight Sun gives us a tour of the same story through the eyes of the vampire boy.
Or should I say man, since the dude is over a hundred years old at this point?
When I found out the plot of Stephanie Meyer’s latest book, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I mean, it sounded like comedy gold. And I was not wrong.
Just in case you’ve never read Twilight, here is a brief summary.
- Human Bella moves to a new place to live with her father very grudgingly and falls in love with an elderly vampire who lives there too, named Edward.
- The two of them spend a lot of time talking and trying to overcome the biggest obstacles in their relationship, one of which is the fact that Edward wants to eat her (and not in a fun way or anything like that he seriously wants to fucking kill her and drink her blood).
- Bella’s life gets put in danger because obviously she’s chilling with vampires on a regular basis and that’s not good.
- After a harrowing experience where she nearly dies but Edward saves her, the two of them go to prom.
Yeah, that’s seriously the story.
And Midnight Sun is the exact same plot as told by Edward.
I’m going to be completely honest, there were some good parts to the novel. For example, Edward is a special vampire that possesses telepathy. In Twilight, when you’re reading from Bella’s perspective, Edward either tells her what he senses from other people’s minds, or Bella has to make educated and convenient guesses as to what he’s “hearing” based on his expressions.
In Midnight Sun, we get it from the horse’s mouth. And I’m a total sucker for telepathy in books. Stephanie Meyer does a good job detailing what it’s like to hear people’s thoughts, so any time that happens, it’s an ameliorating experience.
One of Edward’s vampire siblings, Alice, has the ability to see into the future, and that too is also fun to read about.
However, one of the best things about reading Midnight Sun is for those cringey moments you remember from the first book. They are made even more cringey (and thus more hilarious) in this one.
I remember when I first read Twilight, I always thought Bella came across as an insanely selfish person who was constantly directly characterized as being selfless. For instance, she makes the move to live with her dad as a bit of a sacrifice play to help her mom out. However, her treatment of her father is nothing short of abysmal. She looks at him as an annoyance and often does not seem to stop and consider how he might feel about things.
She also treats purported friends as hindrances. Other people are stepping stones to get to what she wants. Aside from Edward, she never goes out of her way to think about what another person might be feeling.
But in Midnight Sun, we now have Edward coming along, showcasing left and right how he believes Bella is a phenomenally generous and giving person.
I don’t buy it.
Another thing that sucks but is funny is how the book maintains that incredibly unhealthy notion that you can find your one true love in a matter of months and then think it is okay to die for them. Or to be absolutely devastated if they leave you. I mean, don’t you think you shouldn’t necessarily base your life around another person? Shouldn’t your happiness stem from yourself?
The book also does a poor job of trying to explain plot holes that are apparent in the first. When Bella’s life is in danger, the vampires have to take a car to get to her, but one of the things we are frequently shown in every novel in the series is that vampires can move faster than a human can see. Even if it is daytime and they might sparkle if they stepped outside, you would think Edward and his family could have super-speeded to go rescue Bella without anyone noticing.
In my opinion though, the most hilarious thing about Midnight Sun is how it seeks to pull back from some of the troublesome content it included in Twilight.
As a pseudo-erotic young adult novel, there are moments in Twilight that play into these dominant-submissive stereotypes. However, if these moments were to occur in real life, they would come across as some severely messed-up behavior. Edward stalks Bella and watches her sleep at night without her knowing. Edward tries to control Bella’s actions, even going so far as to physically man-handle her to prevent her from doing things he doesn’t want her to do. He also has a tendency to order Bella to do things he does want her to do, no pleases or thank yous.
None of these things sit well with me given the context of the novel.
And how does Midnight Sun seek to rectify these mistakes?
By giving Edward intense anxiety in his inner monologues.
Every time he says something that could be seen as problematic, he instantly second-guesses and berates himself in his mind for doing so.
This is absolutely side-splitting to read.
One second Edward is displaying a terrible temper to Bella, the next he’s mentally horrorstruck at his own audacity.
I got whiplash reading Midnight Sun trying to keep up with Edward’s mood swings.
Now, as my totally Above Average readers, you’re probably wondering whether or not you should buy this book. I’ve simultaneously bashed and praised it in equal measure. Therefore, I have constructed a guide to help you determine whether or not you should pick up Midnight Sun the next time you’re in a bookstore.
|Loved It||Hated It|
|If You Have Never Read Twilight||If you have never read Twilight, but you think you might like the type of hilarity I’ve described, I’d recommend reading Midnight Sun only if you read Twilight first.||If you have never read Twilight and loathe the notion of the story, don’t pick up Midnight Sun. You will hate it.|
|If You Have Read Twilight||There should be enough in Midnight Sun for you to love if you are a hardcore Twilight fan. Go right ahead.||Pick up Midnight Sun only if you plan to read it with good humor and wish to really poke fun at how hilariously bad the first book truly is.|
I don’t mean to bash on you if you do enjoy Twilight by the way. Everyone can like whatever they want. You’ll get no judgment from me if you like to immerse yourself in the series. My personal opinion is that the story is pretty flawed, but clearly I still draw enjoyment from it.
So in all seriousness, Midnight Sun builds on the strengths of Stephanie Meyer’s writing style, but that also means it falters when it rests on the foundational weaknesses of her first book in the series.
I rate Midnight Sun an absolute-riot.
2 thoughts on “Revisiting the Major Suckage of Twilight with Good Humor: Midnight Sun Review”
I like the outcome grid. I won’t read it. Mostly because I haven’t read the Twilight books either. For the issues you list, but mostly because of time. I have an affection for camp. I don’t have a problem with loving something that is, critically weak. 😊 I’ve watched the movies and love all the awfulness – though I recognized the valid criticisms and adore the idea of Edward metaphorically beating himself up (though not changing still is hilarious).
This is an interesting trend in books: it reminds me of “Wicked.” Much in life is perspective.
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Yeah, it’s happening a lot more frequently, to varying degrees of success!
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