When I first heard that Stephenie Meyer was actually going to be publishing Midnight Sun, I was intrigued. For those unfamiliar with the sparkly vampire franchise The Twilight Saga, it’s a book series set in Forks, Washington and follows Isabella Swan (Bella) as she entangles herself in the immortal lives of the “vegetarian” vampire coven, the Cullens.
Midnight Sun is not a continuation of the main four books. The newest book in the saga is the first book, Twilight, from the point-of-view of Edward Cullen, the undead romantic love interest of Bella.
Normally with my reviews I like to list three things I enjoyed and three things that were not my favorite. Since this book is basically a retelling of both a book and a film adaptation that came out more than a decade ago, there will be minor spoilers.
Things I enjoyed about Midnight Sun
The obvious thing that pulled me back into the world of sparkly vampires was that it gave me insight into what it meant to be a sparkly vampire. Not being a creature that sparkles in the sunlight, I delved into the pages of Midnight Sun to find out what it felt like to be such a creature. Apparently, in the case of Edward Cullen, being a sparkly teenage vampire involves a lot of time lusting after a teenage girl that’s almost a century his junior. I use the term “lusting” in a vague reference. Sometimes it means Edward is lusting to drain the girl dry of her life blood. Other times, it means that he’s lusting after her in a romantic sense. Sometimes, oddly enough, it’s both.
However, Eddie has a special ability to read other people’s minds. This gift is what makes Midnight Sun worth reading if you’re a fan of the series. I say this because the narrative in Twilight and Midnight Sun are both first person narratives. In Twilight, we’re limited to only what Bella knows and thinks. In Midnight Sun, we’re not at all limited because Edward can read everyone’s thoughts. This mind-reading gives fans fresh perspective into the story.
Things I didn’t enjoy about Midnight Sun
For me, this book was as difficult to read as Bella’s mind. It wasn’t because I’d already read Twilight, either. I didn’t mind rereading a story that I haven’t read in over ten years because of it being through the view of Edward. That difference in point-of-view gave readers a refreshing change. However, it was the pacing of the narrative that made for a difficult read.
Whenever it was just Edward, I felt that the narrative dragged on. Twilight originally had 498 pages while Midnight Sun has 661. For the same story. Meaning that there are 163 additional pages of content that could have been cut. Now, I’m not saying Midnight Sun had to have exactly the same page count. However, there are sections that could have been cut. For instance, when Bella and Edward first meet in their Biology class, Meyer spends about ten pages having Edward contemplate killing Bella and weighing the pros and cons of murdering the rest of the classroom so he could eliminate the witnesses. It’s a bit much. There’s a chase scene nearing the end of the book. During that scene, the pacing should be a faster tempo. For some reason, Meyer decides to spend a paragraph talking about the wonders of the freeways of Arizona.
There’s a chapter of the book titled “Chores” which is exactly what you might think it is. The vampires spend about ten pages tidying up all the loose ends that only worry nitpicky readers. If this chapter was cut, it wouldn’t have clogged up the end of the narrative.
However, the main problem that Midnight Sun has is that it’s predictable for those that have read Twilight. Having the same series of events serves as a blessing and a curse. The blessing was already discussed, but the curse is that it has no surprises for the reader. For those that have already read Twilight, the book doesn’t contain any suspense because we already know what’s going to happen. We know that Edward won’t kill Bella during those ten pages in Biology class. It took me a while to read the book because I already knew what was going to happen, so I didn’t bother to rush.
I wish that Meyer changed the events of Midnight Sun right at the end. That would have made for an interesting cliffhanger for the sequel. It’s been speculated that Meyer will be writing two sequels. It’s my opinion that it would have been interesting for Meyer to create an alternative ending where the sequels went off in another direction and how that change effected the characters. That way you have the same nostalgia of the characters, but in a different light.
To summarize, I didn’t think Midnight Sun was the worst book I’ve read all year. It offered a deeper look into the minds of the characters that fans fell in love with in 2005. It also gave new fans a chance to discover sparkly vampires and maybe go back and read the originals. However, Midnight Sun suffers from some pacing issues and a predictable plot. Ultimately, it’s my opinion that Midnight Sun isn’t a must read and that Stephenie Meyer should move on and explore some new territory.