2 stars for the story
+ 2 stars for nostalgia
– 1 star because Edward is a lunatic
– .5 star for talking so damned long
3.5 out of 5 stars
Oh Twilight, how I’ve missed you. Or have I? Let’s assume I have. Remember the time of Twilight: Circa 2008, when the last book was coming out right before the first movie and the world was literally losing it’s shit over Edward and Bella. Those were the days.
Midnight Sun is the first book (Twilight) retold from Edward’s perspective. Twelve chapters were originally leaked online in August 2008, at the peak of the frenzy, so Stephanie Meyer halted writing it and simply let the world burn with OG Team Edward vs. Team Jacob madness. Now, 12 years later (One for each leaked chapter, perhaps?) we are blessed with a look inside the inscrutable mind of Edward Cullen. And boy, does he have issues.
Over a decade ago, it was kind of forgivably romantic that Edward was a maniacal stalker: sneaking into Bella’s room while she slept, following her on road trips, and stuff. That has not aged well in the #MeToo era. I don’t remember thinking “Thank God Bella likes him back” so many times in my original, up-all-night reading of Twilight. Now, this is one poor bunny away from Fatal Attraction. (How perfect for Edward’s vegetarian diet.)
But because I’m nostalgic AF for this series, Edward’s creepiness is somewhat offset by his crippling anxiety. No wonder we weren’t in his head before: it’s a mess! When it comes to Bella, he can’t think or talk or act or do anything without tripping down a vortex of self-doubt. He’s been alive over a hundred years – there isn’t one vampire psychiatrist?! Instead, Edward self-soothes by asking himself thousands of questions via inner monologue.
Bella: Gets an eyelash in her eye.
Edward: She rubbed her eye. Is she okay? Can she see? What if she can’t see my face, will it still be as spectrally beautiful as painstakingly described on every page? If Bella doesn’t see me, do I still exist? Should I help her? How could her lashes betray me like this? Each was properly anchored when I inspected it at close range during the night while she slept and I climbed into her room. How could I have failed in my life’s only purpose? Should I leave? Can I leave? I have no choice but the expose myself as a shiny pony before the vampire dictators and thus kill myself for this astronomical failure to protect her.
And so on.
Midnight Sun is a fun read. There are details us Twihards never knew, and Easter eggs galore for those who remember well. It takes it’s sweet time getting anywhere – it’s 10 hours to vampire baseball! – but that’s the point, I guess. We wanted more, and we got it. It’s no better, or worse, than Twilight was originally. Only now we can look back at Edward, forever 17, and know that we are the world grown up around – and sort of without – him.
[Until you see Tenet, and realize RPattz is totally hot even though you didn’t get it at all 12 years ago.]