This is a first, guys. Stephenie Meyer is so inept a writer that I had to make this review cover three chapters just to have enough material to talk about. Let me explain my process to help you understand a bit what I mean. When I read, I have a pen and paper next to me where I jot down comments, page numbers, and quotations I intend to use in my review. The first chapter yielded about one page of notes. Typical chapters give at least two, sometimes three pages. Fine. I continued on to the next chapter, expecting to get enough notes to make up the difference. Wrong. That chapter gave me four note; just a third of a page, guys. NOTHING WAS HAPPENING. I had to plow through a third chapter just to have enough worth talking about. So here you go; a special treat. Three reviews in one. LET’S DO THIS.
Twilight, chapter 20/21/22: Impatience/Phone Call/Hide-And-Seek
Where do I really start, folks? This chapter was boring and well-titled, because it made me impatient. I’m sure everyone reading has waited on a phone call before; who hasn’t? You’re not sure when the person will be calling, but you can’t really do anything until they do. You’ve experienced how boring that can be, yes? Try reading about it. That’s what this chapter was. True to form, Meyer felt the need to detail out every mundane aspect of waiting for a phone call. Because that’s all she has to fill the pages. She certainly doesn’t have story. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning of the chapter.
Bella wakes up in a hotel room and can’t remember where she is or how she got there for a disturbingly long time.
“I tried to remember how I got here, but nothing came at first.”
Now, I understand waking up and being a bit groggy and even a little confused, especially if you’re somewhere new. But she says she flat out can’t recall what was going on, despite being able to recall in great detail what Alice and Jasper’s car looked and sounded like. And she goes on for several paragraphs trying to recall the details of where she is and how she got there. There’s no reason for this to be in the book other than to take up space. None. It’s pointless, boring, and makes Bella seem like an even bigger moron than she already does.
Apparently they made really good time getting to Phoenix.
“I didn’t have enough emotion left to be surprised that we’d made a three-day journey in one.”
Now, I was all prepared to call Meyer out on another instance of failing to understand simple math (you’ll recall that Edward had to have maintained a constant speed of about 169mph to get from Port Angeles to Forks in under twenty minutes). I even looked up the distance from Forks to Phoenix. It’s 1584 miles, if you were curious. But lo and behold, the estimated drive time is exactly 24 hours at approximately 66mph. So fine, you win this round, Meyer. But I’ll be watching you.
One thing struck me as particularly odd, and that’s that Bella is acting drugged this whole chapter. She’s constantly tired and groggy. Despite sleeping most of the drive, she needs to be helped into the hotel, where she continues to sleep a lot. I guess we’re meant to assume she’s just so depressed about not being with her Eddykins that she just sleeps all the time now? I don’t even know. But it’s annoying and lazy on Meyer’s part.
When Bella finally does wake up, Alice tells her that she ordered her some food, commenting that Edward reminded her before they left that humans need to eat more regularly than vampires. Now, okay, I get that Alice has been a vampire for a long time and I think it was even said earlier that she has no recollection of her life as a human. Fine. But she surrounds herself with humans every day. She goes to school with them and probably has for decades. How do you forget that humans eat several times a day?
The chapter really just sorta drones on from there. It’s boring, guys. It’s the exact opposite of the last chapter. The last chapter was tense, it was exciting, it was thrilling. This chapter…is about waiting for a phone call. What the fuck, Meyer? I get the need for a cool down (though at this point in a book with no plot, I think I’d’ve just gunned the engine for the last hundred pages), but this is more of a flash freeze. The plot, thin as it was, grinds to a screeching halt in this chapter. The only interesting part involves Alice talking to Bella a bit about the physical traits of vampires.
Bella asks Alice exactly how one becomes a vampire (gee, I wonder where this is headed?) and Alice is reluctant to tell her since Edward strictly forbade it. Because Stephenie Meyer is anything but subtle with her “plot.” We find out that vampires become physically attractive to their prey (totally called that one a few reviews back) and, get this, they’re venomous. Their venom (god I feel so stupid using that word in conjunction with vampires) evidently debilitates prey with extreme pain, though Alice admits that it’s a superfluous trait because it’s generally too late for the person if the vampire is close enough to bite them. However, as it happens, if someone somehow manages to escape, as Carlisle did, after being bitten, the venom transforms them into a vampire. Now, from an evolutionary perspective, this makes no goddamn sense. Why would a predator evolve a venom that could turn a lucky prey animal into an equally powerful predator? That seems extremely counterproductive. But since Meyer, and by extension, her vampires, doesn’t believe in evolution, I guess…I don’t know. God thought it was a good idea or something. I don’t know. For so-called perfect beings, it seems like a massive biological flaw.
So they finally get the phone call and find out that Edward and Carlisle lost track of James in Vancouver and they think he flew back to Forks to start over. Awesome. So Edward is flying to Phoenix the next day to take over babysitting duties. And then Bella falls asleep again, ending the chapter.
The thing I really don’t understand is why Meyer decided to wait until 400 pages into her 500-page novel to introduce the main conflict. I mean, this should have been introduced within the first hundred pages. Then in the middle of the book, she has to flee Forks. Then for the rest of the book, it’s all about eluding James and trying to stop him before he gets Bella or someone she loves. That is a book with a plot. This feels like Meyer got to page 400, realized she didn’t actually have a story yet, and quickly pulled something out of her ass and smeared it on the page.
So then we move to chapter 21, aptly named “Phone Call” because that’s literally all that happens. There’s a phone call.
Alice has a vision of a ballet studio and sketches it out. Bella says it looks like the one she used to go to when she was little. But for some reason everyone writes this off as coincidence. Seriously. What?
Later, Bella gets a call from her mother, but it turns out she’s being held captive by James, who is in Phoenix and tells her to find a way to ditch Alice and Jasper and head to her old house. She decides to turn herself over to him to save her mom and all she can think about is Edward.
“I was going to hurt him, and I couldn’t say goodbye.”
She continues to blame herself for everything that’s going on. It’s so obnoxious. I can’t stand how often Meyer blames the victim in this book. And it’s one thing to have the victim think it’s they’re fault. That’s natural. But a good author would make sure that despite what the character may think, the message they’re putting out to the reader is that it is not the victim’s fault. Meyer does nothing of the sort. Bella thinks it’s her fault and Meyer does nothing to contradict that belief. Hell, she’s even had Edward flat out tell Bella she’s to blame. The chapter ends with Bella writing Edward a note apologizing for everything that’s happened and telling him not to go after James ones she’s dead. For reasons. I don’t know. Personally, if I’m ever murdered, my friends and family have my blessing to go after whoever murdered me and kill the fuck out of them. I want to be avenged. But that’s just me.
Now we finally move on to chapter 22 and things actually happen. They leave the hotel for the airport to pick up Edward and on the way, Bella is thinking about the best way to slip away from Alice and Jasper.
“This was going to be impossible.”
Yeah, well, except that Stephenie Meyer is an offensively lazy writer and everything will probably work out perfectly. Honestly, this chapter, called “Hide-and-Seek,” should have been called “A Series of Fortunate Events.” Or maybe “How Convenient” on account of how many times I wrote that exact phrase in my notes for this chapter. And the very next fucking line confirms what I thought.
“Luck was with me, or maybe it was just good odds.”
No, Bella, Edward’s flight coming into the largest and most confusing terminal at the airport wasn’t luck, it was your author showing the creative range of a stick of gum. Already, potential complications are willfully leaping out of the way so that Bella can progress unhindered through the rest of the book.
Inside the airport, Bella is apparently trying very hard not to tear up the carpet and piss herself with anticipation of Edward flying in.
“It was amazing how every cell in my body seemed to know he was coming, to long for his coming.”
Let’s get the immature snickers out of the way first, huh? Then we can move on to the awful sentence structure. And after that, we can examine just how genuinely pathetic Bella is. God, she’s just so pathetic, isn’t she? I mean, they’ve only known one another for a few months! And now every cell in her body longs for him?
Bella and Jasper go off to get something for breakfast and Bella tells him she needs to use the restroom. Fortunately, this restroom has a second exit.
She leaves through the second exit and runs out of the crowded airport, somehow not hitting anyone or tripping and falling every other step, which is remarkable given that Meyer once described Bella as having fallen down several times during Gym whilst standing perfectly still. But curiously, her clumsiness seems to have gone away just when she needed it to.
She runs out of the airport and JUST catches a hotel shuttle leaving the curb.
She gets out at the hotel and comes across a taxi JUST being vacated by some people.
Bella makes it home and follows James’ instructions to call the number he left for her. He tells her to go to the ballet studio, which happens to be right around the corner from her house.
HOW CONV—oh, you get my point by now. Stephenie Meyer is a lazy hack, yadda yadda yadda.
Bella runs out of the house and down the block, where she stumbles and falls. There’s that clumsiness we all know and love. It’s around this point, when Bella is commenting on how hot the sun is outside, that I wonder how the fuck James has been traveling around Phoenix without sparkling like a $5 stripper. Trench coat and fedora, like the guy on the neighborhood watch signs?
So she gets to the studio, goes inside, and hears her mother yelling her name. She goes into a room, the room Alice saw in her vision…and it’s a goddamn TV playing a home video of Bella’s 12th birthday. Bella’s mother isn’t there at all.
Are you shitting me? This is some fuckery right here. Maybe if I wasn’t already so done with this piece of garbage book, I would have found this twist to be better, but I was honestly just annoyed by it. Once again, a problem hurled itself away from Bella as fast as it could. Bella’s mother is perfect safe in Florida.
James comes up behind her and instead of just eating her, he starts to do the typical bad guy monologue.
He tells her that he guessed that she’d be coming to Phoenix because it’s the last place any sane person would think to look for her. Which is exactly why she was there. So despite their ploy, he guessed where she was going anyway.
HOW CONVEN—sorry! I’ll stop. I swear!
He jabbers on for quite a while, actually. And Bella keeps describing him as polite and pleasant, so clearly this is the scene from the preface. James is the pleasant saunterer. It’s kind of dumb, really. And it isn’t even consistent with the preface. Meyer details out this whole scene and the bit from the prologue isn’t part of it. But eventually he gets to what I thought was the point. He wants to video tape himself murdering Bella so that Edward will come after him.
AHA! So this was—about Edward the whole time? What? James says the whole thing was too easy and he wants to kill Edward for…reasons. But then he keeps talking and it turns out, the one person who ever escaped him (Laurent mention it a few chapters ago) was in a mental hospital in the ‘20s. Another vampire took pity on her and rescued her before James could kill her. She was a lovely young girl with red hair. Oh, AND SHE HAD VISIONS IT WAS ALICE OMG DID YOU SEE THAT COMING I DIDN’T BECAUSE IT’S FUCKING STUPID THAT’S WHY.
This is…this is just so dumb, I can’t even form the words to debate it. I mean, what? WHAT? What. Why would Meyer just randomly spring this plot point on us this late in the book when this plot has existed for barely fifty pages? I mean, this is the sort of thing you reveal after a whole book of build up. This is the climax of a story you’ve been telling for hundreds of pages. This isn’t the sort of thing you reveal fifty pages into a random, abrupt conflict you drop in out of the blue. At this point, I’m convinced that Meyer just sits at her computer and dances her fingers over the keyboard and whatever gets shat out is what she takes.
James starts smacking Bella around in what’s probably my favorite scene in the whole book because I hate Bella and wish I could drink her tears like Edward did. She gets hurled across the room, smashed head-first into a mirror, and her leg broken. Then just as he’s going in for the kill…she passes out. Which means when she wakes up, James will have already been defeated because one of the Cullens will have saved her right at the last second and Meyer will have avoided having to write an exciting fight scene.
HOW CONVENIENT. I know I said I’d stop. I LIED.
These three chapters were shit, folks. Two of them were boring as fuck and had no business being separated. This third one was better, but ultimately still not very good. And I don’t really get the title. There was neither hiding nor seeking. James contacted Bella and Bella went straight to him. Maybe it refers to the hunt story arc in general? I don’t know. I don’t really care, either. You know what I do care about? There are only two chapters left of this piece of shit book. I’m almost a quarter of the way through this series. Hooray!