You know, I honestly thought I was prepared for any creepiness this series could throw at me after Edward’s breath makes Bella’s mouth water or the whole Edward-watches-Bella-sleep thing. Turns out, I was wrong. So very wrong.
Twilight, chapter 15: The Cullens
By and large, this is another chapter that isn’t awful from a storytelling standpoint, but is marred by a number of familiar problems and one massively disturbing action that literally made me slam the book shut, throw my pen, and shout, “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!” Yeah, it was one of those chapters. So let’s get started.
As usual, the chapter more or less picks up where the last one left off. In chapter 14, Bella and Edward sleep together. And by that, I mean Bella falls asleep with Edward sitting next to her probably staring at her. They cuddle and touch each other and basically do everything but sex, because that would kill them or something.
Chapter 15 opens with Bella waking up the next morning. Of course, she thought the previous night must have been a dream, just like she did the night Edward saved her from the potential rapists in Port Angeles. I’m not sure why this is a recurring theme. I guess it’s just more of Meyer trying to make Edward seem somehow even more perfect. Or something. I don’t really care. I just want Bella to stop being so stupid. Edward makes his presence known as soon as she wakes up. Apparently he’s been sitting in a chair all night watching her sleep, as usual. This prompts Bella to leap out of bed and into his lap, amazed that he stayed. I share in her amazement.
“I stared up at him, afraid that I had crossed the wrong line.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you have to be constantly afraid of angering or annoying the person you love who claims to love you, THEY ARE NOT THE PERSON YOU SHOULD LOVE. And why is it totally fine that he watches you sleep, but hopping into his lap somehow crosses the line? Where is this line?
Bella confides in Edward her insecurities. And naturally, he insults her. Because that’s love.
“I was sure it was a dream.”
“You’re not that creative,” he scoffed.”
Hey, Edward. Fuck you.
Bella suddenly remembers that Charlie exists and might not take too kindly to a boy spending the night in Bella’s room. She leaps to her feet before Edward tells her Charlie left already. She debates going back to Edward or brushing her teeth. Apparently this internal struggle isn’t lost on Edward, who comments, “You’re not usually this confused in the morning.” This leads to the inevitable question: HOW LATE DO YOU STAY AND WATCH HER EVERY MORNING?! Seriously, does he stay and watch her get ready, too? Every day? How is this okay?!
Bella notes that Edward is wearing different clothes than he was the night before and actually pouts that he left her to change. While she was sleeping. Stephenie Meyer, why have you made your character the weakest, most pathetic example of a female possible? Why? Is this really how you see women? Is this how you see yourself?
Bella brushes her teeth and returns to her beloved Edward.
“I love you,” I whispered.
“You are my life now,” he answered simply.”
Uh, thanks? That’s a sort of creepy, possessive response. And also not actual reciprocation. But whatevs.
So they snuggle a bit more before Edward declares it to be breakfast time. Now, at this point, Bella actually makes a funny joke. She pretends to be frightened and covers her neck with her hands. I’ll be honest, I chuckled. Edward, of course, will have none of that. In fact, he finds it so not funny that Bella has to “examine his golden eyes carefully, to make sure [she] was forgiven.” Seriously. Bella has to seek forgiveness for making a joke.
The pair start to head downstairs for breakfast (you’ll note, this is after Bella has brushed her teeth. Because Meyer is a moron). I say “start” because after a moment, Edward inexplicably picks Bella up, throws her over his shoulder, and carries her downstairs. Oh, and Bella is struggling against him the whole time, but he ignores her. He sets her down in a chair like a child and Bella’s only reaction is, “What’s for breakfast?”
This is a disturbing theme that pops up every few chapters in this book: Edward feels the need to exert his physical dominance over Bella. You’ll remember back to chapter 5, Bella is ill during class and Edward picks her up, despite her protestations, and carries her to the nurse’s office. Later in that same chapter, he physically drags her to his car and she even considers running away before he flat out tells her he’ll just drag her back. Edward Cullen is an abusive prick who likes to flaunt his physical superiority over Bella. He likes to dominate her. This is a prime example. What possible reason was there for him to pick her up and haul her downstairs? None. I’m sure Meyer thinks it was terribly romantic, but there was nothing playful or romantic about it. He didn’t smile when he did it or joke. There was no playfulness. There was no chivalry. He picked her up, carried her downstairs, and deposited her in a chair exactly the way you would do with a small child. Or a sack of potatoes. It was rude, it was belittling, it was dehumanizing. He is starting to exert a frightening amount of control over her. It started with him dragging her to his car and forcing her to eat a meal she said she didn’t want, and now he’s physically carrying her places because apparently she can’t do it herself. And though she occasionally protests, it’s just for show. She never follows up with them. She’s never upset or angry or offended. And in this case, she acts like nothing happened at all, cheerfully asking what’s for breakfast. The message being conveyed here is that girls should just accept it when their big strong men treat them as though they’re incapable. Your boyfriends know what’s best for you, girls. Just hand over all control to them. UGH.
While Bella eats breakfast, Edward tells her he’d like to introduce her to his family. And then informs her that they’ve been betting that Edward would murder her. I’m serious.
“Oh, they already know everything. They’d taken bets yesterday, you know”—he smiled, but his voice was harsh—“on whether I’d bring you back, though why anyone would bet against Alice, I can’t imagine.”
These supposed “veggie” vampires, who care so much for humanity that they refuse to hunt people, apparently value human life so much that they casually wager whether or not one of them will murder an innocent girl. Jesus Christ, Meyer. You’re sick in the head. You have spent this entire book more or less tearing down humanity, portraying vampires as the absolute top of the evolutionary pyramid (though in chapter 13, Edward scoffs at the idea of evolution. Because how could evolution create something so perfect as a vampire? Because this is just Mormon propaganda disguised as a love story, get it?). Every mention of any vampire has described them as the pinnacle of perfection, while every human character is deeply flawed, almost cartoony in their portrayal. The vampires don’t seem to view humans as anything remotely similar to equals, and if I had to guess, I’d say Meyer doesn’t, either. She doesn’t do anything to convey this dismissive attitude toward humans as anything but justified. This whole book seems to be nothing but a cheap justification for why Bella needs to be a vampire. Seriously. Look at the evidence. Vampires are literally everything Bella isn’t. She’s clumsy to the point of mental disability whereas vampires have perfect reflexes. Bella is always hurting herself whereas vampires are strong and impervious. Where Bella is weak, vampires are strong. Bella is the antithesis of a vampire. This is why Meyer is spending so much effort portraying Bella as being so pathetic and why she’s spent so much time portraying the vampires as perfection embodied. Because Stephenie Meyer wants Bella to become a vampire. It’s so painfully obvious that I would have seen it even if I didn’t already know it happens later in the series. Because Stephenie Meyer is a hack.
There’s really no segue to this next quote, so I’ll just give it to you here.
“He stood in the middle of the kitchen, the statue of Adonis again, staring abstractedly out the back windows.”
This is the second time Meyer/Bella has described Edward as Adonis. She also likes to call him “godlike.” Because, you know, we haven’t been hammered over the head with how perfect he is literally every time he’s referenced in a sentence for this entire goddamn book. Why is Meyer’s point here? Why does she feel the need to continually comment on Edward’s beauty? It’s all filler. All of it. It’s because she has no story and no writing talent so she has to fill pages by writing superfluous descriptions. How many times do you have to say, “The sky is blue” before the message sinks in with the readers? At this point, every paragraph featuring Edward reads like a parody. It’s that ridiculous.
“Edward stared down at me, his topaz eyes burning into my soul as I traced a finger down his cold, marble jaw. His face, so terribly beautiful that angels themselves would shudder under his glare, was stony and unreadable, but still I knew he loved me. I paled next to his magnificence and merely allowed his radiance to wash over me, the strength of his perfect arms to hold me, keep me safe. In those arms of Adonis, I was home.”
Okay, so I actually wrote that, but you get my point. It’s over the top and completely absurd and might be fine to use once or twice, but when EVERY SINGLE PARAGRAPH is like that, you kinda just want to kill yourself.
“I was under the impression that you were something more, actually,” I confessed, looking at the table.”
This line was in response to Edward referring to himself as Bella’s boyfriend. Now, I admit, this had me stumped. Exactly what more did Bella think Edward was? They literally had their first intimate contact, a kiss, the day before. It was their first date. Did she think they were engaged? Or is she implying that they’re nothing so meager and insubstantial as just boyfriend/girlfriend; they’re something so much more, two spirits fated to be forever entwined, soulmates destined to be together for all eternity? I’m assuming that’s what she meant, though it’s never clarified because Stephenie Meyer can’t write the nutrition facts on a candy bar.
I thought this next line would be the peak of the absurdity of this chapter. It’s pretty bad. I read it and I rolled my eyes and wondered what exactly is wrong with Bella.
“You are so absurd.” He pressed his cool lips delicately to my forehead, and the room spun. The smell of his breath made it impossible to think.”
Again with the smell of his breath. Seriously, gross. And a kiss to the forehead made the room spin? Seriously? Now, you may have picked up on my wording of the intro to the previous line. I said I thought it would be the peak of the absurdity. I was wrong.
“He tilted his head slowly and touched his cool lips to mine for the second time, very carefully, parting them slightly.
“And then I collapsed.”
Edward gives Bella a closed-mouth kiss to the lips. AND THEN BELLA FAINTS.
God this book sucks.
I should note that all of this took place at the base of the stairs in Bella’s home. They stood there for a while talking, but Meyer is such a shitty writer that the next scene has them in Bella’s truck speeding out of town with absolutely no transition whatsoever. It was so abrupt that I had to reread it a few times to realize that they had somehow left the house.
Edward drives them to the Cullen house, which is way out in the middle of nowhere, miles and miles out of town. Meyer’s descriptions of the scenery are actually quite nice and evoke some lovely mental images. Then she randomly uses the metric system and I was thrown a bit. Obviously this book is American, written by an American, taking place in America. The whole time she has used feet, inches, gallons, etc. Then, suddenly, there’s a trail that’s only visible for a few meters off the road. What? Meyer, you’re such a moron.
They finally get to the Cullen house, which gets quite a lovely description, though it’s a little confusing as to why a three-storey mansion would be sitting in a clearing in the middle of the woods miles from anywhere. And it’s not new, either. She describes it as being at least a hundred years old. So yeah, that’s weird.
They go inside and Meyer once again shows that her grasp of the English language is as frail as a 90-year-old with Parkinson’s.
“The inside was even more surprising, less predictable that the exterior.”
Those two descriptors mean the same thing, you fucking moron. She then goes on to describe the inside of the house as being “very bright” despite having gone into a long description just a page before telling us that the house sat in the shadow of “six primordial cedars.” So which is it, dumbass? Is the inside bright or is it shaded by big trees? It really can’t be both.
They’re met by Carlisle and Esme, who are perfectly pleasant and, naturally, perfectly perfect. Because they’re vampires and remember how vampires are literal perfection? Remember? Remember how Meyer beats us over the head with that fact every fucking chance she gets?
Jasper and Alice are next to make their appearance. I rather like Alice. She seems like a fun character. Jasper really doesn’t get anything more than a cursory reference, though he’s described as appearing “leonine.” Meyer, take your thesaurus and throw it away. Seriously. Leonine? I was able to guess what it meant despite having never seen it before in my life, but just because I figured out what it meant doesn’t mean everyone will. It’s a pretty damn obscure word only used to make Meyer feel smart. And she does this sort of thing all the time. Her word choice is often pretentious and clearly just for the sake of using fancy words. She seems to think that just using fancy vocabulary is enough to make writing good. It’s not.
Bella noticed a piano in the room and before anyone said anything, I knew exactly where this was headed. Of course Edward plays. And of course he’s the best, most perfect, most amazing piano player ever in the history of the world.
“And then his fingers flowed swiftly across the ivory, and the room was filled with a composition so complex, so luxuriant, it was impossible to believe only one set of hands played.”
Can we please find something that Edward isn’t perfect at? Please? Why doesn’t Meyer have these perfect beings putting their perfection to better use than driving and piano playing? Maybe these people should be curing cancer or ending world hunger. If they truly are perfect at everything they do, it seems a petty waste of their talents to use it on anything other than the betterment of society.
While Edward is playing (because he can continue playing his perfect composition, which he wrote for Bella, while holding a casual conversation), he informs her that Alice has foreseen some vampire visitors and that he’ll need to keep an eye on her a bit more strictly for a while.
“I have to, because I’m going to be a little…overbearingly protective over the next few days—or weeks—and I wouldn’t want you to think I’m naturally a tyrant.”
Let’s break this down, shall we? First of all, he isn’t asking her if she minds if he’s a bit more protective. He’s telling her how it’s going to be. He’s going to be more protective of her and that’s all there is to it. He takes all choice out of the matter with his wording. It’s just another facet of his desire to dominate her. Second, he admits that his future behavior will be, in his own words, tyrannical. He’s warning her that he’s going to be a tyrant ahead of time so that she doesn’t think that’s the norm. How super considerate. Finally, when exactly was he not overbearingly protective? So far he has carried her, dragged her, and forced her to eat all against her will because he felt he knew best. If that’s not being overbearingly protective already, how much worse can it get? He can’t even handle her being friends with Mike, whom he referred to as “vile” in a previous chapter. How is Mike vile? Because he’s nice and respectful and a good friend to Bella? Edward is already overbearingly protective of Bella. I can’t imagine things getting worse. But somehow, I know Meyer will come through.
Finally, we get to the moment I mentioned at the start of this review. This moment caught me so off guard that I screamed, slammed my book shut, threw my pen, then proceeded to text photos of the passage in question to several people. It’s bad, folks. It’s beyond mouth-watering breath, it’s beyond watching someone sleep every night, it’s beyond anything we’ve seen in this book so far. Bella was so moved by Edward’s composition that she began to cry. This is what happened next.
“He touched the corner of my eye, trapping one I missed. He lifted his finger, examining the drop of moisture broodingly. Then, so quickly I couldn’t be positive that he really did, he put his finger to his mouth to taste it.”
Seriously guys, fuck this book.
Also, Carlisle’s backstory was actually kind of interesting. Too bad it was overshadowed by everything else in this awful chapter.