A Former Twi-Hard Reads New Twilight Book Midnight Sun

As with all things in life, there comes a time when you need to say goodbye.

I have no excuses for being a Twi-hard. I could say I was young and foolish, but according to Taylor Swift, we can’t assume that anymore, which leaves me in a difficult position. Maybe the truth works better here. The fact is I was a nerdy, teenage girl, and so reading a book about a girl somehow more clumsy than me getting the attention of all these hot guys was the science fiction I wanted to buy into. It was the promise that my state of invisibility was temporary, so I devoured every book in that series, before reaching my breaking point with Breaking Dawn, because Jacob Black deserved better than imprinting on Bella’s baby (who has such a horrific portmanteau of a name I refuse to say it).

Coincidentally, when I started the series, news was already circulating about Twilight being adapted for film, so I dragged my best friend to the cinema with me to watch the first film when it was released, having to explain the story to her in hushed whispers as she struggled with the concept of sparkling vampires. That was the only film I watched in the cinema, the rest had to be indulged in the confines in my home, streamed in secret shame. As someone who loved the books, I was not prepared for the vitriol that was suddenly part of my life. Bella was a stupid teenage girl, Edward Cullen a crazed stalker, Jacob Black a simp and, in some cases, labelled a paedophile.

The actors, until now, are associated with the laughing disgrace that is Twilight. There was so much hate for Robert Pattinson’s casting as Batman because people could not forget his association with Twilight. As I got older, much like my obsession with The Hunger Games, I left Twilight behind, a glittering reminder of what your hormones can drive you to consume.

Just like all the other Twi-hards, I know that all those years ago (twelve to be exact), Midnight Sun was leaked online. It wasn’t the full thing, but it was what Meyer had conceived thus far. Much like any author, Meyer was livid at this leak, and released the pages of Midnight Sun onto her website herself, in a fury proclaiming that she wasn’t going to finish the book anymore. Midnight Sun is basically Twilight, but told from Edward’s perspective. As we know, Bella spent most of the book overreacting to Edward’s presence, so details weren’t really her strong point. Edward’s perspective would plug in the gaps, especially the parts when he disappeared from Folks. But Meyer was too angry to complete it then, and we all assumed it was a book that would never be.

And then 2020 came along, and just like everything else that has happened this year, things took a turn we never saw coming. Meyer announced that Midnight Sun would be released on August 4th this year, and the fanbase lost their collective minds. It had been about nine years since I consumed anything Meyer has written, and I couldn’t forget how so over it I was when I reached the last book in the series. But of course that sad, teenage part of me wanted to relive the experience of reading Twilight, the yearning for true love to stumble into my life and pledge eternal promises.

So I bought the Kindle version, convincing myself that it wasn’t as hardcore as springing for a physical copy of the book (I used my husband’s Amazon account, much to his disgust), and settled in to read. Edward’s perspective is different from Bella’s; the observations are richer, the details more abundant considering he can read minds, and through his point of view, we receive more insight into the vampiric world of the Cullens. Bella herself is also more substantial. But the world didn’t hold my interest the way it did before.

It is most certainly overly written, with the narrative dragging its feet and me along with it; Twilight felt lightning quick in comparison. Maybe it’s because Midnight Sun is rehashing a narrative that I was already familiar with, so I wasn’t compelled to push forward. As I was forced to read about Edward trying to control his urge to murder people for the umpteenth time, I was suddenly drenched with the acute awareness of time having passed, and the unassailable fact that I was looking at the book with adult, cynical eyes.

I had grown up.

The Twilight books, just like Harry Potter, were a part of my reading past. My adult self still feels the need to chase down and consume all things associated with these worlds because of the sheer force of nostalgia. We are all driven by it; this is why Disney’s live-action remakes are still as popular as ever and why the world of Harry Potter continues its expansion with Fantastic Beasts.

As a writer and creator (well, in the most limited of ways), I know that there comes a time when you need to end things, there must be a full-stop to the world you have built and created. Both Meyer and Rowling realised this by exploring other genres and styles, before going against that by backtracking to worlds that are familiar, worlds that are desirable. While Rowling is tackling something different, since it is a more adult world we’re getting in Fantastic Beasts, Midnight Sun is a product of a different time.

In an article by USA Today, Meyer mentioned that while there are two more books she wants to write based on the Twilight world, it won’t be happening just yet since she wants to try something brand new. Maybe it will be another twelve years before those books emerge, but I can say with certainty I won’t feel like I need to buy them anymore. So I say to Twilight: it was a fun, heart-racing time, but now, it’s time to say goodbye.

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