This chapter was short, barely fifteen pages. I had initially thought about combining this review with the next chapter review because both together are only 30 pages. But as it turned out, I had plenty to say about this short chapter. This review is over 8 pages long, half as long as the chapter it’s reviewing. And it could have been significantly longer had I the energy or inclination to go into gory detail about everything that’s wrong with it. I touched on the important bits and I’m happy with it. Enjoy, everyone.
Twilight, chapter 18: The Hunt
As you may recall, chapter 17 involved the (apparently) infamous vampire baseball scene, which was cut short by the imminent arrival of another clan of vampires. These vampires are presumably not as strict about their diets as the Cullen clan and Bella’s presence posed a problem should she be discovered. Chapter 18, true to Meyer form, picks up right there.
This chapter brought up some conflicting opinions in me a number of times, the first being the initial introduction of the new vampires. There were three of them, two men and a woman, and I was thrown a little off guard when Meyer described them as if they were animals at first, using words like “male” and “female” instead of “man” or “woman.” I guess that was on purpose, to set them apart from the civilized vampires? I honestly don’t know.
“Their walk was catlike, a gait that seemed constantly on the edge of shifting into a crouch.”
See, now here I’m torn between thinking that was actually a pretty interesting description and wonder what the hell it means. How does a bipedal human (I know they’re vampires but they’re also humans so deal with it) walk “catlike” and appear as though they’re going to crouch at any moment? In my head, they either look constipated or like velociraptors.
Through Bella’s narration, they’re described as wearing frayed hiker’s clothing and as being barefoot. She also notes that the woman has crazy hair full of twigs and leaves. Here’s the thing, though. They came out of the woods at the far side of the field. The field was described in the previous chapter as being twice the size of any sports stadium. More than that, Jasper and Emmett were playing catch and apparently standing a quarter mile away from one another. I inferred from this that the field must have at least a roughly half-mile diameter. How the hell did Bella make out even their genders at that distance, let alone their clothing, what state it was in, and the fact that the woman’s hair was a mess? That’s just Meyer’s crappy inconsistent writing shining through. She has a story to tell (barely) and nothing like details are going to stand in her way.
The three new vampires approach the Cullens and Bella (whom you’ll remember has taken her hair down in an effort to…appear less human?) and naturally they’re perfect. Well, the leader is described as being “the most beautiful” of the three, but that sort of implies the others are varying degrees of perfection as well. At this point, I’m assuming that either only beautiful young people have ever become vampires or Meyer’s inbred bastard version of vampirism somehow makes you instantly perfect. I don’t know and I doubt we’ll ever find out because Meyer doesn’t bother with explanations for things.
We find out that these vampires, James, Laurent, and Victoria, just want to play some baseball. No, I’m not shitting you. That’s the plot of this chapter. These vampires, who are on their way north for better hunting grounds or something, heard a game of baseball being played and decided they wanted a piece of that action. What the hell? No, really, WHAT THE HELL? Why are Meyer’s vampires so bizarrely obsessed with baseball, of all things? Is there ever an explanation for this? Is there a vampire league or something?
Carlisle takes point and introduces everyone, trying to play it as cool as possible. The conversation seems to be going more or less smoothly until…a gust of wind shifts Bella’s hair and one of the vampires, James, smells that Bella is a human. That’s right, Bella’s hair was somehow blocking her scent. What? I don’t even. This is just too stupid. How does that even work? How is it that these super powerful, ultra-perfect beings couldn’t tell they were in the presence of a human until the wind shifted and rustled her hair a bit? Even if they couldn’t smell her, which seems just idiotic, couldn’t they see that she wasn’t as pale as the others? Or hear her heartbeat? Or see that her eyes weren’t, uh, vampire-colored? I mean, these vampires clearly hunt humans. And later on, one of them, James I’m assuming, is referred to as a tracker. How good a tracker can he be, though, if a human can be standing right in front of him and perfectly safe from detection unless their hair moves?
When James realizes Bella is a human, his first instinct is to get aggressive and somewhat lunge toward her. Despite her being surrounded by other vampires. Because I guess he’s a fucking moron or something. But it’s okay because Edward is there to protect Bella. He jumps forward and lets out a terrifying snarl. Bella describes it is being really scary. I have a hard time picturing it. And when I try, I just laugh. Especially when I picture this specific description.
“Edward snarled even more ferociously, harshly, his lips curling high above his glistening, bared teeth.”
I’m sorry, but isn’t that the most ridiculous mental image ever? I mean, powers aside, these are people. Imagine a human snarling and baring their teeth like that? They don’t even have fangs. These are regular flat teeth like anyone has. Can you imagine how big of a moron he must look like?
All jokes aside, this scene is actually surprisingly tense. It reminded me of the almost-rape scene from earlier in the book. This is a rare case of Stephenie Meyer writing something I actually care to read. And it actually presents the first real conflict in the whole book. The Port Angeles scene was fine for what it was, but the danger there was temporary. Bella climbed into Edward’s car and they left the men behind. Problem solved. But these are vampires, just like the Cullens. They pose a real and lingering threat, one which (I hope) lasts more than just a few pages. Could it be that, after 375 pages of a 498-page book, we finally have some sort of lasting conflict that will drive the plot forward? God, I hope so. Because this is the most stagnant, uninteresting book I’ve ever read. It’s about time something happened.
Carlisle, trying to keep the peace, invites the new vampires back to the Cullen home and extends an invitation to play baseball with them next time. Everyone agrees and Edward, Emmet, Alice, and Bella head back to the Jeep. Swiftly.
“Once we were into the trees, Edward slung me over his back without breaking stride.”
Goddamn it. Listen, I get that this is a special circumstance and that Bella is genuinely in very real danger. If ever there was an appropriate time to carry first and ask permission later, it’s now. It’s the fact that this isn’t an extraordinary occurrence that pisses me off. Edward does this sort of masculine, domination bullshit ALL THE TIME. It’s getting so old, guys.
“We reached the Jeep in an impossibly short time, and Edward barely slowed as he flung me in the backseat.”
SEE?! THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! Edward is a fucking abusive asshole and NO ONE WILL CALL HIM ON IT!
And it only gets worse from there, folks.
“Strap her in,” he ordered Emmett, who slid in beside me.”
Edward? Edward, what are you doing? Edward, stahp! Folks, there’s no other way of interpreting this. Edward fucking KIDNAPS Bella. The four of them pile into the Jeep and hightail it away from town. Against Bella’s will.
“Turn around! You have to take me home!” I shouted. I struggled with the stupid harness, tearing at the straps.
“Emmett,” Edward said grimly.
“And Emmett secured my hands in his steely grasp.”
Holy shit, she’s being held prisoner! Like, PHYSICALLY HELD AGAINST HER WILL! THIS IS THE WORST LOVE STORY EVER!
Then we find out that Bella isn’t fighting because she doesn’t want to be kidnapped against her will. No, that would make too much sense. In fact, Bella is worried about the Cullens. If they kidnap her, Charlie will call the FBI (because that’s the first call you make when you have a missing person, I guess) and the Cullens will be discovered.
Edward shares with everyone that he read James’ mind and that the other vampires intend to hunt Bella. You know, that would have been helpful information to share BEFORE the kidnapping and forced restraint of his girlfriend. There probably would have been more cooperation. He says that James is a tracker and will probably track Bella’s scent all over town. Bella realizes that this means her scent will be tracked back home and Charlie will be put in danger. For the first time EVER, Bella shows that she cares for someone besides Edward.
“I’m not leaving Charlie!” I yelled.”
“He ignored me completely.”
And Edward doesn’t give a shit. He doesn’t care that he’s putting his girlfriend’s father at risk by taking Bella away. All he cares about is his new toy. Then he gets all testosterony (the other San Francisco treat) and GOES ALL RAEG ON EVERYONE! It’s seriously ridiculous. He’s just yelling at everyone when they tell him that he’s acting stupid and he refuses to listen to anyone, even Alice, WHO CAN SEE THE FUCKING FUTURE.
Eventually, Bella comes up with a plan to satisfy everyone and Edward actually agrees with it. I’m not gonna go into the whole convoluted plot because, well, I just can’t be bothered to type it all out. Suffice it to say, it’s not nearly half as clever as Meyer clearly thinks it is, and she thinks it’s pretty damn clever because she had the other characters compliment it in dialogue. But whatever, it’s a plan and I’m sure it’ll work because that’s how this book is. Every problem these characters have been confronted with seems to leap out of the way at the last second, seemingly of its own accord.
“You’re leaving tonight, whether the tracker sees or not. You tell Charlie that you can’t stand another minute in Forks. Tell him whatever story works. Pack the first things your hands touch, and then you get in your truck. I don’t care what he says to you. You have fifteen minutes. Do you understand?”
Edward, do us all a solid and go fuck yourself.
Bella tries to argue, but is immediately shot down by Edward. As usual.
“Bella, please just do this my way, just this once,” he said between clenched teeth.”
First of all, that should really be “through clenched teeth,” but whatever. The main thing here is, Bella does things Edward’s way EVERY time. Edward practically runs Bella’s entire life at this point. Where the fuck does he get off telling her to do what he says “just this once?”
Bella tries to inject a heavy dose of logic and reason by pointing out that if Edward suddenly disappears around the same time Bella leaves Forks, Charlie is going to suspect something.
“Listen, Charlie’s not an imbecile,” I protested.”
I admire Bella for pointing this out, but it’s somewhat diminished by the fact that she herself treats Charlie as if he’s an imbecile every single time she’s in the same room with him.
It’s decided that Bella will go with Alice and Jasper to Phoenix. Then, after a few days, Edward will relieve them of duty. Edward reluctantly agrees, but only after everyone else in the car beats him over the head with logic. When Edward asks if Bella will be staying with her mother, Bella says, “I’m quite old enough to get my own place.” Bella, you’re 17 years old, a moron, and Chernobyl levels of clumsy. You cannot live on your own. And Stephenie Meyer, learn how to write because that sentence was fucking awful. What 17-year-old speaks like that? There are 90-year-old English ladies who don’t talk like that.
And now we arrive at the pièce de résistance. Gird your loins, ladies.
“Bella.” Edward’s voice was very soft. Alice and Emmett looked out their windows. “If you let anything happen to yourself—anything at all—I’m holding you personally responsible. Do you understand that?”
How romantic is that, folks? If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is. I could get into everything that’s wrong with this passage. Hell, I could write an essay on it. Victim blaming, perpetuating the belief that victims are responsible for what happens to them, reinforcing victims’ beliefs that they’re to blame. But I don’t think I need to, do I? I think you all know how fucking repugnant this is, what Edward just said. Right? Because that’s exactly what it was. It was repugnant. It was deplorable. It was disgusting. And ultimately, Edward is just a fictional character. Edward is a vessel through which Stephenie Meyer spews her horrible message that this is somehow love.
This was a bad chapter in a lot of ways. It was more dynamic than just about any other chapter; more happened to progress the story, but ultimately the content itself was just awful. And somehow, Meyer managed to make Edward seem like an even bigger abusive, misogynist asshole. I’m also confused about the chapter title, The Hunt, because there is no hunt. Not in this chapter. In fact, this whole chapter was about getting Bella out of town before the hunt. Stephenie Meyer loves to name her chapters after things that either don’t even happen in that chapter or happen within the last few pages. It’s really irksome. But I suppose I should be used to it by now. Stephenie Meyer is a hack and this is the worst book ever.