Midnight Sun Book Review
What's this? A new blog post?! That's right, we're back to posting after an impromptu hiatus!
With so much going on lately, I've been missing fiction to the point that I finally caved and tried an audiobook: Midnight Sun. Normally, I can only do nonfiction audiobooks. I was convinced I would hate hearing a male narrator trying to do feminine voices, but I honestly thought Jake Abel did a fantastic job, so I finished the whole thing! I enjoyed the experience and will definitely be more open to audiobooks in the future.
That said, I had mixed feelings about the book itself. While my nostalgic 13-year-old inner self was enraptured, adult me could not overlook some of the book's glaring issues. So prepare yourselves, kiddos. It's going to be a bumpy ride.
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Category: Candy Book
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Rating: 3/5 Stars
Pairing: Mushroom ravioli + Cola
Midnight Sun is definitely more for the Twihards than anyone else. I loved the series as a kid and had multiple copies of each book growing up, yet I still cringed at this one. If you weren't a fan of the original series, especially because of the instalove, then you won't like this installment either.
While retelling Twilight from Edward's perspective did humanize him, it also showed how awful he could be. Stalking aside, he is jealous, possessive, and downright murderous at times. If horny, murderous monsters is your thing, then by all means. But I don't think this is the kind of character we should be romanticizing for young readers, especially when you add in the love-changed-him-for-the-better aspect.
I'm not saying this never happens, but I feel we should be mindful of how we portray it, as we don't want young readers thinking their love will magically transform anyone and everyone. And I'm not saying Edward was all bad–– he had moments of extreme thoughtfulness and kindness, of waiting for Bella's consent, and he truly loves his family. Yet it did not cancel out how annoying, creepy, and problematic his behavior was where Bella was concerned.
Bella and Edward's relationship made even less sense with this retelling. How can a 104-year-old vampire who boasts two medical degrees and bemoans the monotony and baseness of human teenagers fall in love with a kid who's so young and inexperienced that she can't possibly know what she truly wants? Yet she is the only person to have appealed to him his entire life, immortal or otherwise? Sounds like melodramatic kids overwhelmed by first love.
Aside from that, Bella is just so . . . not special. Yeah, her blood is ultra-enticing and she's the only person whose thoughts he can't hear. I get the curiosity there. But other than that, if her being so good and plain is the main appeal, wouldn't girls like Angela Weber make just as much sense?
It's also sad how helpless she is. She can't walk across a flat surface without tripping, and she can't even kiss Edward without fainting or her heart malfunctioning. I'd have been much more satisfied if she had other strengths beyond being mature for her age.
Edward and Bella weren't the only bad characters. Almost everyone––from their classmates and school staff to randos––was reduced to lusty, vapid mean girls and presumptuous horndogs. All simply to make Bella appear more special than she is. Including Rosalie.
I felt bad for Rose when we learned her backstory in the other books, but I was REALLY heartbroken for her in this installment. Everyone was so wrapped up in their golden boy's shiny new toy that Rosalie's own trauma and feelings were bypassed. Though she seemed to be the only rational Cullen (or Hale) when it came to Edward and Bella's situation, she's written off and shamed for being "jealous and shallow."
Honestly, Rosalie and Alice deserve their own installments more than Edward. I would LOVE to see Rosalie ripping into her abusers or uncover the mystery surrounding Alice's past.
Even Bella's mom, Renee, irritated me in this book. Her bragging about sleeping in the hospital as if that somehow earned her mother-of-the-year was cringy. Not to mention she seemed more concerned about a job in Jacksonville than her grievously injured daughter in Phoenix.
It felt like Meyer was intentionally trying to make every character except Bella and the Cullens suck.
One good thing about retelling the story from Edward's perspective is that it adds depth to the rest of the Cullen coven. Emmett's big-brother-like relationship with Bella was one of my favorite things about the original series, so I enjoyed seeing it begin in this installment. I was also really intrigued by the nuances of Jasper's abilities.
Meyer's writing definitely improved during the 12-year gap between novels. It was much easier to read, and I was happy to see her confront some plot holes she left behind in the other books. I was highly interested in Charlie's own lack of loud, concrete thought, and how Renee's was almost a shout that other humans were somehow able to pick up on. I'm assuming Meyer will continue rewriting this series, and I do look forward to hopefully seeing that aspect developed more.
If you were a fan of the original Twilight saga, you might enjoy Midnight Sun. If you weren't big on the issues of the central relationship, or you were #TeamJacob, then you'll probably not like this installment much, as those definitely feel worse in this book. It felt as though Meyer was trying to correct the romanticized aspects in the original series by making Edward scarier, more like a real vampire, and giving us his side of the story, but it only exacerbated them.
That's not to say it's completely terrible. I did enjoy parts of it, namely the supporting characters. I just advise that you read at your own risk. You may be surprised.
Have you read this book? Let us know what you thought in the comments below! We love a good book discussion.