This book is going nowhere. And it’s not even going nowhere fast. It’s going nowhere at a crippled snail’s pace. I’m now past the halfway point and Edward and Bella are only just now going on their first real date. And there’s still no conflict. None. Not a drop of it. In fact, there’s no STORY here. It’s literally just day-to-day life with a self-hating, whiny, clumsy, co-dependent, creepily obsessive girl. It. Is. So. Boring. Also, gentlereader, there are pitifully few of you. I track the stats of each post. I have roughly ten dedicated views and a few random pings from the tags. THAT’S IT. I’m gonna need a bit more of an audience if I’m gonna keep putting in the effort to read and review this garbage. It’s really starting to wear on me and I’m just not sure an audience of less than 20 is worth it. So if you want more of these reviews, I’m going to need your help to spread the word and get more people on board. Okay, enough of that, let’s get on to the review, shall we?
Twilight, chapter 12: Balancing
This chapter was by far the most boring chapter EVER. And somehow, it also managed to take up a full three pages of notes, more than any other chapter so far. How? How did this happen? NOTHING HAPPENED IN THIS CHAPTER. Let’s find out together, shall we?
So one thing that Meyer does that I cannot STAND (shocking, I know) is this trend of starting chapters EXACTLY where the previous chapter ends. This works well if the chapter ends mid-sequence or if it ends on a cliffhanger. But none of these things ever happens. Ever. Each chapter begins and ends the same way as the whole rest of the book: mundane. At the end of chapter 11, Edward drops Bella off and Jacob and Billy arrive at the same time as Charlie. So naturally chapter 12 begins with them all going inside and just doing ordinary people things. Charlie and Billy watch a game, Jacob talks to Bella in the kitchen while she makes grilled cheese sandwiches for the menfolk like a good housewife should. It’s even more boring than it sounds. And their conversation isn’t even interesting or important. Like everything else in this awful book, it’s almost all about Edward.
Something confuses me here, though, and it’s something I commented on back when Jacob was first introduced. When Bella is around Jacob, she actually seems to develop a personality. Jacob is a sweet guy who has easily the most complete feel of any character in the book. He seems like an actual whole person. But what amazes me is how different the scenes are between Bella and Jacob, especially compared to the scenes between Bella and Edward. And I think I know why. When Bella is around Edward, she’s all tensed up because she’s constantly just in awe of him, but also because she’s afraid of him. She’s afraid of making him angry, of annoying him, of making him not like her anymore. But with Jacob, she’s relaxed and friendly and able to hold what passes for a normal conversation. I don’t understand why, if Stephenie Meyer is capable of writing Bella as a normal person, she doesn’t write her like this all the time. I mean, the actual quality of writing improves when it’s Bella and Jacob versus when it’s Bella and Edward.
After everyone leaves, Charlie spends a few minutes just asking about Bella’s day. You know what? I like Charlie. Charlie is a nice guy. Meyer goes out of her way to treat him like some idiot child, but that just makes me dislike Bella even more, especially when she calls him by his name to his face. It’s around this time that I realize that the chapter, while a bit boring, isn’t awful. And that’s when I start to worry. Because the awful you can’t see is the awful you need to worry about. And I was right.
Here, we have another instance of a full paragraph being broken up into its component sentences because each one needs to be discussed separately. First, we have this gem as Edward picks Bella up for school:
“I didn’t hesitate this time, climbing in the passenger side quickly, the sooner to see his face.”
Goddamn. I hate you, Bella. You’re so pathetic. And shallow. And I wish you would die in a fire. And can I be done with this series already?
“He grinned his crooked smile at me, stopping my breath and my heart.”
GOD IF ONLY
“I couldn’t imagine how an angel could be any more glorious.”
YES IT REALLY SAYS THIS IN THE BOOK
“There was nothing about him that could be improved upon.”
JESUS CHRIST, WE GET IT! EDWARD IS PERFECT. HE’S HOT AND AMAZING AND BETTER THAN EVERYONE. I HATE YOU, STEPHENIE MEYER, YOU HACK!
Seriously, guys, that paragraph was rough. Every sentence just compounded the rage puke until I just wanted to scream. This paragraph, more than any other, got me the closest to quitting this series. Until the last few pages of the chapter, anyway…
So as they’re driving to school, Edward starts up his questions again, actually acting like he cares about Bella. But something suspicious happens.
“‘How did you sleep?’ he asked. I wondered if he had any idea how appealing his voice was. (SHUT UP!!!)
‘Fine. How was your night?’
‘Pleasant.’ His smile was amused; I felt like I was missing an inside joke.”
I’m pretty sure I have an idea of what the joke is, and it is INTENSELY creepy. But I’m sure Bella will find it super romantic because she’s a dumb twat. So we’ll just wait and see.
As they get to school, Edward informs Bella that he and Alice will be leaving early that day, so he’ll have Bella’s truck dropped off before school lets out.
“‘So where are you going?’ I asked as casually as I could manage.
‘Hunting,’ he answered grimly. ‘If I’m going to be alone with you tomorrow, I’m going to take whatever precautions I can.’”
Oh good, more metaphors for sexual repression. But also, Bella, do you not realize that he just told you that he has to hunt before hanging out with you otherwise he might MURDER YOU? Listen, I actually think it’s cool (sort of?) that Edward is going out of his way to make things safe for Bella and him to hang out. But at the same time, if he has to take precautions to keep from murdering her, maybe he’s not the right guy for her. Just a thought.
They arrange to meet the next day (The Big Saturday) at the usual time. Edward asks if Charlie will be there.
“‘No, he’s fishing tomorrow.’ I beamed at the memory of how conveniently things had worked out.”
You beamed at the memory of it? At the memory of it? God that is some shitty writing. And also lazy. Meyer points out how convenient that plot device was right in the work. Instead of introducing even minor conflict and making things interesting, she’s just paving the way for everything to work our perfectly for her characters. It’s like she’s playing chess with herself and purposely sacrificing pieces on one side so that the other can win. Charlie being home would have been a complication, and since she doesn’t know how to deal with complications in writing, she opts for the easiest path, which is to invent some reason why he won’t be there. Ugh. UGH! The next line on the page comes WAY out of left field and I have no idea what prompted Edward to suddenly go all serial killery.
“His voice turned sharp. ‘And if you don’t come home, what will he think?’
‘I have no idea,’ I answered coolly. ‘He knows I’ve been meaning to do the laundry. Maybe he’ll think I fell in the washer.’
“He scowled at me and I scowled back. His anger was much more impressive than mine.”
What the literal fuck just happened? Bella, he just threatened you with the possibility of you not coming home because HE WILL KILL YOU. And on top of that, HE’S ANGRY AT YOU AGAIN. Have you not noticed that he’s always angry with you or annoyed by you? Doesn’t it wear down on you to always have to walk on eggshells, worried that you’ll upset him? Oh, wait, no, it doesn’t because all you care about is seeing his perfect face.
Bella asks what Edward’s family thinks of her and he tells her they don’t understand what he sees in her. I’m inclined to agree with them. But he explains. Sort of.
“People are predictable. But you…you never do what I expect. You always take me by surprise.”
Uh, what? Bella never DOES anything. How can she take you by surprise? She’s literally the most boring person in this book. What surprise? I think what Edward is REALLY saying is that he can’t read her mind and know exactly what she’s thinking and what she’s going to do before she does it, so he sees her as something of a curiosity. Bella fascinates him the way a new subatomic particle fascinates a physicist. Bella even picks up on this.
“His words made me feel like a science experiment.”
Because you are! You are Edward’s hobby. Your mind is closed to him so he wants to figure out the puzzle that is Bella Swan. You’re a novelty, a side show attraction. There’s literally nothing else interesting about you AT ALL.
As Edward’s talking, Bella makes eye contact with his sister, Rosalie. Apparently, this angers him because he hisses at Rosalie. Yes, he hisses. Fuck this series in the face.
Alice comes over and tells Edward it’s time for them to go and then Edward does the creepy face touching thing again and everything is just awful and crap. And Edward says some things that kinda make me think he’s less worried about killing Bella and feeling bad than he is about killing Bella and inconveniencing his family with the whole having to cover it up and potentially flee town thing. He’s worried about losing control around her, but more for his and his family’s sake than hers. Just my impression.
Things get unbelievably boring at this point as Bella goes through the rest of her school day. I started to feel like I was in Professor Binn’s history class. And even the full page of notes I took after this point in the chapter couldn’t alleviate my boredom.
Edward leaves her a condescending note in her car consisting solely of the words “Be safe” written in, what else, perfect handwriting. Then she gets scared of her truck’s engine when she starts it because it’s so loud, even though a chapter or two back she literally said it would probably startle her after having gotten used to Edward’s Volvo. Even expecting it, she was still startled.
As if Bella couldn’t get any more pathetic, throughout the course of the rest of the day, she constantly pulls that two-word note out of her pocket to look at. She’s so distraught that she has to wait UNTIL TOMORROW to see Edward that she needs that little note to comfort her. And then Stephenie Meyer does something she’s very good at. She gives Bella the realization that she has a problem. Only it’s not actually posed as a negative thing at all.
“Besides, since I’d come to Forks, it really seemed like my life was about him.”
And naturally she sees nothing wrong with this at all.
This next bit made me laugh because Stephenie Meyer probably thought it was really edgy and it was really just very, very sad.
“I knew I was far too stressed to sleep, so I did something I’d never done before. I deliberately took unnecessary cold medicine—the kind that knocked me out for a good eight hours.”
Bella, you rebel! Better watch out. Cold medicine is a gateway drug. Soon you’ll be taking allergy meds. And if you’re not careful, maybe even Tylenol. WITH CODINE.
“I woke early, having slept soundly and dreamlessly thanks to my gratuitous drug use.”
Your gratuitous drug use? Stephenie Meyer, you are so stupid, I’m actually running out of motivation to keep making fun of you. It’s too easy.
And suddenly I’m motivated again. Edward shows up at Bella’s house and they realize they’re wearing matching outfits (ugh).
“I laughed with him, hiding a secret twinge of regret—why did he have to look like a runway model when I couldn’t?”
Because your author doesn’t care about you, she just wants Edward to have sex with her. If she cared about you at all, she wouldn’t have imbued you with every negative character trait she could think of.
True to his word, Edward lets Bella drive, though not without first giving her a “martyred” look.
“It was surprisingly difficult to concentrate on the road while feeling his gaze on my face.”
Really? Which part did you find surprising? Because just in the last chapter you couldn’t even sit next to him in class (like you’d done ALL YEAR) without fake restraining yourself from touching Edward all over. What changed between then and now? Also, WHY IS EDWARD JUST STARING AT YOUR FACE WHILE YOU DRIVE?!
Once again, Edward get pissed at Bella because he finds out that she lied to everyone about what she was doing and no one knows she’s with him. This comes back to the conversation they had a few chapters ago. He’s mad because apparently, the only thing keeping him from slaughtering her like a pig is the knowledge that someone will finger him as a suspect in her disappearance. If he thinks Bella needs that kind of insurance policy, MAYBE HE SHOULDN’T BE HANGING OUT WITH HER. And if you think I’m looking too deep into this, no, I’m not.
“Are you so depressed by Forks that it’s made you suicidal?”
HE IS SERIOUSLY ACTUALLY LEGITIMATELY TELLING HER THAT HE MIGHT KILL HER AND SHE IS TOTES COOL WITH IT.
They reach their destination, a hiking trail in the middle of nowhere. Edward says it’s a five-mile trek to where they’re headed and naturally Bella freaks out that she’s going to fall and die a lot. It’s warm, so Bella takes off her sweater and then, oh lawdy, Edward does the same. Stephenie Meyer literally portrays him as a character off the cover of a trashy romance novel.
“His white shirt was sleeveless, and he wore it unbuttoned, so that the smooth white skin of his throat flowed uninterrupted over the marble contours of his chest, his perfect musculature no longer merely hinted at behind concealing clothes.”
Meyer was definitely three fingers deep when she wrote this. And I didn’t even talk about the worst of it, like where she calls Edward “godlike.” Seriously, it’s that bad.
The rest of the chapter consists of their hike to the most perfectest meadow ever in the middle of the woods, with wildflowers and grass and a bubbling brook and buttery sunshine and probably some singing wildlife, too. But Edward remains on the edge of the clearing, in the shadows.
Edward dramatically hold up a hand, warning Bella to stay back, and then he steps out into the sunlight…AND THAT’S THE END OF THE CHAPTER, WHICH MEANS THE NEXT CHAPTER IS ONCE AGAIN GOING TO START RIGHT WHERE THIS ONE LEFT OFF. This is the worse book ever written (until I read the next one). Stephenie Meyer is the worst published author in history. Kill me now.