‘Midnight Sun’ Review; Edward’s Story Brings a New, Interesting Angle That ‘Twilight’ Fans Will Enjoy
The last time Stephenie Meyer released a book in the Twilight series was 2008. It was before the first film came out, before the series turned into a saga and became one of the biggest pop-culture phenomena of the late 2000s/early 2010s.
Regardless of the critiques of the books or the characters, it was a big part of a lot of peoples’ childhoods. This is why Midnight Sun coming out during a pandemic when these tweens and teens are now adults is such a big deal for them. Because not only is it a return to this world, but it’s also all about one of the most beloved characters: Edward Cullen. [Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for Midnight Sun].
‘Midnight Sun’ tells the story of ‘Twilight,’ but from Edward’s point of view
Shortly after Breaking Dawn came out in 2008, Meyer made a blog post about how Midnight Sun was leaked and she was in no mental state to complete it. Fast-forward, and it took her 12 years to do so.
All that means is that Twilight fanatics — or Twihards — have been itching to read this book in its entirety for over a decade. For those fans, it doesn’t disappoint.
Notably, all of the Twilight books are told from Bella Swan’s perspective, minus the middle part of Breaking Dawn, which is from Jacob’s. Bella is pretty perceptive of Edward, especially as the series progresses, but fans were only able to see the events of these books through her eyes.
Now, Edward and his brooding 104-year-old teen brain are on display. The book gives a nice look at scenes readers already know from Twilight, but new ones too. For example, after their first biology lesson, Edward decides to head to Alaska for two weeks to cool off. He also knows he shouldn’t go back, but something about Bella’s eyes — not just her silent mind and delicious blood — makes Edward return.
The book also has a very intense sequence when Edward, Emmett, and Carlisle make it to Arizona, and Bella is already on her way to meet James. Even if you know Twilight well, Midnight Sun won’t be a boring rehashing. Unless, of course, you disliked Twilight.
Edward is as brooding as ever, but this book is more interesting
Even though it’s a retelling, again, it’s not boring. The way that Edward narrates things just adds a new lens to familiar events. As we’ve written before, his infatuation with (and then love for) Bella paints her in a more interesting way. Their conversations seem to have more chemistry and the characters just have more depth overall.
And if you were expecting a sullen Cullen? You’d be delighted to know Edward is just that. When readers first meet him, he’s moping and going on about how high school is purgatory. Worse, than purgatory even. He actually comes off as a bit conceited, but fans didn’t know Edward before he met Bella. So him having a bit of a god-complex makes sense. And it’s something fans have briefly seen before. For instance, when he thinks he knows what’s best for Bella and leaves, or like when he decided to play judge, jury, and executioner in the late ‘20s.
Even though these are all character traits fans know of Edward, they’re front and center. Plus, now that readers are a bit older and have a healthier view of what’s going on, a lot of the time it just makes you want to roll your eyes and go, “Edward, sweetie, communication is key.” But, alas, you cannot tell him that.
Don’t expect a different writing style from Stephenie Meyer
Did Meyer deepen her characters? A bit. But did she improve in her writing? Not really.
Midnight Sun is a new look at a known story. Plus Edward has a better voice than Bella, hence why it’s a bit more interesting. But this has to do more with Edward and less about Meyer’s writing style.
A major criticism of the series was that Meyer has a pretty plain or simple style; that’s still the case. And there are sometimes where Edward is so old-fashioned or the religious undertones are so obvious that it’s embarrassing to read. More so than in any of the Twilight books.
Take the scene where Edward comes in contact with Siobhan and Maggie. They’re two vampires who fans met in Breaking Dawn, but in Midnight Sun Edward recalls first coming in contact with them as a new vampire. He finds Siobhan attractive, even though he doesn’t plainly say that. And he just keeps using the term “feminine.” Like, Siobhan’s body was so innately “feminine,” her “feminity” jumped out, etc. It’s… a lame way to write that he found her attractive. It’s almost like Meyer doesn’t know how to write that Edward’s turned on. Which also happens a few times with Bella (go figure).
And at the end, when Bella is in the hospital, Edward prays to “Bella’s God,” for her recovery, which is unlike Edward. Sure, fans have never seen Edward pray when he very well could have. But he is also very against the idea that there is a God. Plus, Bella is not religious at all, so it’s weird that he’d resort to that.
So while fans can expect a similar writing style, there are definitely parts that make you roll your eyes heavily.
Edward is a fascinating narrator, and it really makes you want more from his perspective
All in all, Midnight Sun is a great addition to the Twilight series. It really adds depth to Edward Cullen and his relationship with Bella Swan. Their love is just as strong, if not more so by seeing how everything Edward does is for her. Yes, there are issues and it can be toxic. As stated above when he thinks he knows what’s best for her and invalidates the degree of her love, it’s annoying to read.
Regardless, the book makes a great case for more of Edward’s POV, especially during New Moon. Meyer probably won’t ever deliver that. But, wow, that would be a perspective many fans would die for. That’s where fanfiction steps in. For now.
Midnight Sun is great for fans of Twilight. If you’re not already a fan, maybe Edward’s telling of events would be more appealing to you anyway. But the book is definitely a gift for fans, and that’s who will get the most out of it.