In this second edition of the Twilight series, Edward becomes afraid that he’ll always be a danger to Bella, so he and his family run away. Bella goes nearly catatonic when he leaves, emerging only after months of zombie-like behavior, and survives after her awakening by clinging onto a former friend, Jacob. Jacob has two things in common with Edward – a love for Bella and a dark secret about his inner nature, a secret which will cause a huge conflict when Edward returns to town.
Okay, first let me just say I am officially sick of Bella+Edward. I’ll break this review into four parts.
- Despite his physical descriptions being cribbed almost directly from J.K. Rowling, I liked Jacob a lot, until he changed into a werewolf. His friendship with Bella pretty much carried this book and was one of the only redeemable qualities of it.
- Edward was gone for most of the book. Oh thank goodness.
- The entire first quarter of the book was ridiculous. I felt like I was watching a cheesy soap opera! The chapters that just say “October” “November” and “December” one right after another, turning pages, were laughably absurd. And I mean I cracked up laughing for 10 mins or so and had to put the book away for awhile. Corny!
- Bella’s catatonic state and the depression she continues to carry afterwards were totally unbelievable and certainly not well-written. I know she’s a whiny, melodramatic girl, but this was too much to be real.
- Along the same lines, Bella overreacts to everything, even after Edward returns. She’s constantly clutching at tables, or getting dizzy, or falling all over herself. That girl’s going to have a heart attack before she turns twenty.
- Did anyone really believe Edward was leaving because he was tired of Bella? I didn’t think that for a moment, so when Bella starts saying at the end that she did, it’s just another unbelievable leap of logic. I can’t imagine anyone’s that stupid!
- Jacob turned into a total jerk after he changed. That ruined him for me.
- Edward came back. No!!! Cold marble is not sexy. I much preferred Bella sitting in Jacob’s overheated arms.
- There’s another huge plot hole, just like in the first book. Alice flies to Forks, and yet drives Carlisle’s car to Bella’s house? Um, hello? Carlisle’s car wouldn’t be in Forks waiting for her, would it? It would be wherever the Cullens are living. I honestly kept thinking this was important, that there’d be a moment when Bella mentions seeing the car outside to Alice, and Alice would say she didn’t have that particular car there, and it’d lead to fear (there was an evil vampire stalking Bella…). But no, the car’s just there for a quick getaway, even though it makes no sense. I guess I was thinking too hard, thinking there’d be some cleverness there.
Half & half:
- I enjoyed the voice in Bella’s head. I think it’s probably a clue as to what her power will be (or am I thinking too hard again?) when she’s eventually turned into a vampire (which seems completely inevitable at this point). I would have preferred, however, for it to have been more than a hallucination. I think it would have said more about her close bond with Edward if it had real.
- The literary tie to Romeo and Juliet was interesting. It was a good effort, but it would have been more effective had there been some mention of it between the beginning and the end. It also would have been better without so many heavy-handed references to the symbolic connection, but I appreciated the effort nonetheless.
And the Ugly:
Bella thinks the following line about Edward when she’s thinking about becoming a vampire in order to save him:
Maybe, when I was beautiful and strong, he wouldn’t want distractions.
This line horrified me. The implications!! In order for someone to love you – heck, even just to stop chasing distractions – you must be beautiful and strong. Inhumanly beautiful and strong. Bella consistently doesn’t think she’s good enough for Edward, particularly throughout this book. She thinks becoming a vampire will make them even, and not just on the food chain level. She wants beauty, talent, strength, and more. And she thinks that it will take those things in order for her to be worthy of Edward. Worthy!! Tons of young girls read these books – what is the message coming across here? That beauty is what makes a person worthy of love? Yes, yes, some will argue that Edward loves her just the way she is, and that’s good, I’m glad he does (not that he never casually insults her and her weaknesses…), but that’s not the message that’s coming across here. Bella feels like she has to be more, and that she’s so inferior to him in every way. That’s what’s coming across. I don’t like that message filtering through the minds of teenage girls, who already struggle with the pressures put on them by society and media.
In conclusion, I’m coming to think Bella is unimportant to these books even though she’s the narrator. She’s personality-less at this point, a whiny, over-reactive bimbo whose only role is to let all the other characters develop and shine. It’s unappealing. I’m in no hurry to read the next book, if I read it at all.
Btw – what’s with the bloody flower on the cover? Does anyone know what that refers to?