Saturday, January 7, 2012

Eclipse Chapter 10 - Scent

1. “It was all very childish. Why on Earth should Edward have to leave for Jacob to come over? Weren’t we past this kind of immaturity?” In these books? Are you kidding? I suppose it’s based on this kind of observation that we’re supposed to see Bella as all mature, but instead it reduces her to a forgetful idiot again in the name of reminding us of something spelled out very clearly in the last book. Which is that vampires and werewolves can’t stand the way the other smells (another thing that just goes away when it’s convenient). Not helped by how she trivializes the Quileutes’ longstanding distrust of vampires, or that the entire reason they rediscovered their lupine heritage was as an instinctual reaction to vampires being around. Or that she’s totally forgotten that Edward was effectively kidnapping her, because gosh darn it he’s pretty.

“ ‘I’ll be right back,’ he said, and then laughed aloud as if I’d just told a good joke.” No danger of that, her powers of humor are second only to her ability to live up to the praise she gets.

She asks what’s so funny but Edward just grins and disappears. Bella grumbles a little to herself. “It was hard to get used to how much faster Jacob was without his car. How everyone seemed to be so much faster than me…” Because she’s such a worthless human and can’t do anything of note without supernatural powers. In the mind of this author, anyway. Which gets me to thinking, what exactly is different about going to college as a human and as a vampire? Even the doors the Cullens’ money opens are the same either way. Yeah, yeah, there’s that whole grappling with her instinct to feed for the first while as a vampire, but I don’t want to shock you, that’s a false alarm too.

2. That’s when Jake appears (how come Edward’s name is never shortened one time in the entire series? It’s not like he actually acts like a proper gentleman whose image would be hurt by being called “Eddie”). “Should you really leave your door unlocked like that?” he asks. Would it really keep out anybody with supernatural powers? I know they’re lame, but they’re not that lame.

“I’m not worried about anyone who would be deterred by a locked door.” I guess that’s meant to contrast the people after Bella with ordinary criminals, but really think about what that says for a second. I’m not worried about anyone who would be deterred by a locked door either, and I’m pretty sure no vampires want to kill me.

“ ‘Is it really so impossible to wear clothes, Jacob?’ I asked. Once again, Jacob was bare-chested, wearing nothing but a pair of old cut-off jeans.” Oh like you’re complaining, queen of shallow relationships. Especially since she follows up with “I had to admit, they were impressive.”

3. But continuing on with the physics of changing to a creature of greater size, Bella doesn’t get how it’s a pain to carry a complete change of clothes whenever he wolfs out. “His expression was superior, like I was missing something obvious. “My clothes don’t just pop in and out of existence when I change -- I have to carry them with me while I run. Pardon me for keeping my burden light.’ ” And not wanting to carry his used undershorts in his mouth, one presumes.

“I changed color. ‘I guess I didn’t think about that.’ I muttered,” not to mention “I hoped he realized that my blush was left over from embarrassment at my own stupidity.” And not because he’s a half-naked hottie.

You know, Bella can have things explained to her without having to be a moron. Hell, if she’s so smart she could probably figure out for herself that your clothes don’t disappear to some convenient other dimension when you change to your super-powered form and conveniently come back totally unscathed when you change back. After all, Twilight’s so much more grown-up and realistic than other vampire fiction.

4. Because Stephenie Meyer has no other idea how to fill space, they start to talk. Specifically, Jacob asks her what it’s like going out with a vampire. “I rolled my eyes. ‘It’s the best.’ ” Really? Because with what she does before saying it, that sounded sarcastic in my head. He asks if it ever creeps her out, and she immediately replies “Never.” Which still doesn’t assure us why what she and Edward have going on is so solid. Even though Jake ragging on her boyfriend is a perfect opportunity to give us some idea of why they’re so right for each other and why in the hell we should be rooting for them.

Bella gets to prove she’s such a pro at weird again when Jacob asks if Bella’s set a date on when exactly she’s going to become a vampire and squeezes a knife. Resulting in him slicing his hand, resulting in Bella freaking out to the point that “The room started to shimmer a little around the edges.” Literally two pages go by before he casually reminds her werewolves heal fast and it’s no big deal. (“I told you this. You saw Paul’s scar.”) Just so we all know, this isn’t a human flaw. Bella’s still a panicky bitch after becoming a vampire.

“It’s a little different, seeing the action sequence firsthand.” Is that supposed to be an explanation or Bella covering her ass for forgetting?

5. He invites her to come out to a bonfire party at La Push. “ ‘Emily will be there, and you could meet Kim…And I know Quil wants to see you, too. He’s pretty peeved that you found out before he did.’ I grinned at that. I could just imagine how that would have irked Quil -- Jacob’s little human gal pal down with the werewolves while he was still clueless.” Imagine how effective this would be if we had any idea who these guys were and the kind of personalities they’ve got.

She reminds him vampires want to kill her, and he responds, “C’mon, you think somebody’s going to get past all -- all six of us?” Yes, that pause is really in the book. Bottom of 223. And with Bella even gets nervous about the idea about vampires fighting vampires, I’d imagine she can think of that very easily.

6. She goes to ask Superboyfriend if it’s okay, and as she does Jacob pipes up, “You know, I saw this story on the news last week about controlling, abusive teenage relationships and--” She cuts him off, but that only adds weight to his and the haters’ claims when the author herself brings it up and Bella has no response.

As soon as Jacob’s gone Edward’s back, “raindrops glistening like diamonds set into the bronze of his hair.” Shut up already.

Edward got the mail while he was out, including an acceptance letter from Dartmouth in response to an application she didn’t send. No, it’s still not cute. She thinks of her parents learning about this, Charlie specifically, “no one in the town of Forks would be able to escape the fallout from his excitement.” Because if she just said “in town” we’d think she meant some other town than the one she lives in. More to the point of these books sucking, it’d seriously help Bella’s “real” problems if she’d stop dramatizing things like getting accepted to college. Sure, it’s Dartmouth, but I didn’t know that was a super-prestigious college. Would a smalltown police chief unless somebody told him (she certainly wouldn’t, but Edward might just to see her squirm)? Kinda doubt it.

She tries to get Edward to focus on her desire to live through high school, and he assures her she’s got nothing to worry about. And it’s still just hot air, coming from this guy who we’ve never seen go up against somebody who’s a match for him, let alone anticipate a desire for revenge for all his higher education (and it’s even worse in the next book).

7. It turns out I got ahead of myself last review. Bella asks Edward to ask Alice to give back some of the stuff she got out of Bella’s room for the “slumber party,” and it’s now they realize that Alice didn’t take the stuff that’s missing, it was the other guy who invaded the house. It’s now they realize that it was to get her scent, and it’s now they realize it was probably another vampire. Although I’m not sure who else they thought would want to get at Bella.

See what I mean about Edward being such a formidable opponent? This is supposed to be a surprising revelation, and that fact alone says plenty about the idiot world we’re dealing with.

Also about Meyer’s choice of what merits chapter titles.

8. Edward runs out to get the paper and comes back a second later “new diamonds in his hair.” Love how the revelation that it’s not just a regular guy who broke into her house but an invincible vampire does nothing to detract from her appreciation of Edward’s good looks.

Why did he want the paper? Because it reports the killing spree going on in Seattle is still going on. No way, you mean that was important to the plot?! And the Cullens aren’t keeping up with that when they’re sure newborn vampires are behind it? What formidable creatures of the night…

“Altogether out of control. This can’t be the work of just one newborn vampire. What’s going on? It’s as if they’ve never heard of the Volturi. Which is possible, I guess. No one has explained the rules to them…so who is creating them, then?” Uh, the evil vampire who spent the entire last book trying to get at Bella? Who was never caught?

As for the Volturi, again, they’re not scary because the author says so. And how are newborns expected to hear about Volturi policy? I mean, if their rule, singular, is to keep the existence of vampires hidden, how do vampires usually learn the rules? I suppose if a vampire wants somebody else to be a vampire, they probably care about that person enough to tell them to stay out of sight or risk the Volturi’s wrath. What about cases like Carlisle’s, though, where the vampire bites the person but leaves before they change? These guys need a better network. Especially since this killing spree’s getting front page coverage and it’s obvious enough to the Cullens a newborn’s behind it. If the Volturi are so damn big on maintaining vampiric secrecy, when are they planning to do something about this? Where's the point where they decide it's not okay and they have to do something? To have the kind of reputation they do, they’d need to react faster. For pity’s sake, we first heard about the killing spree at the beginning of the book, and according to a line on this page (229) it’s been weeks since then.

In any case Edward suggests that maybe they can prevent the Volturi from deciding it’s necessary to step in (and while they’re in the area, probably check on Bella) by telling the new guy the rule. They’ll wait until Alice has an idea of what’s going on, though. How many things is she watching out for by now? She must have some kind of limit. Edward also cites it’s good that Jasper’s on their side because he’s “sort of an expert on young vampires.” Yes, he slipped and almost ate Bella. I’d imagine he is. Not that Edward’s going to explain what he means to his true love, as usual.

Then there’s this.

Edward: “It does feel that way, doesn’t it? Like it’s coming at us from all sides these days.” He sighed. “Do you ever think that your life might be easier if you weren’t in love with me?”
Bella: “Maybe. It wouldn’t be much of a life, though.”
Edward: “For me,” he amended quietly.
Starofjustice: “For him?”

9. Edward changes the subject to the “werewolf soiree,” because he was listening in, of course. He assures her that “You don’t have to ask my permission, Bella. I’m not your father -- thank heaven for that.” Up your sparkly bunghole, Mr. Cullen. Neither of you deserve any sympathy, and that’s knowing everything that’s going on. I can only imagine how much Charlie must hate him not being able to hear the whole story.

She does think about going. “I wanted to escape the death threats, just for a few hours…to be the less-mature, more-reckless Bella.” Excuse me? How’s that possible? Edward isn’t helping his image when he reminds her “I told you I was going to be reasonable and trust your judgment.”

10. Of course she does decide to go, because why not keep jerking Jacob around a while longer? “I had decided, after a short internal debate, that I would not sell my motorcycle. I would take it back to La Push where it belonged, and, when I no longer needed it anymore…” Where it belonged? And “when I no longer need it anymore…” Roundabout way of saying “when I could outrun it on foot.”

As for her decision to ride the motorcycle again, Edward buys a bike of his own just for the occasion. “I started at the beautiful machine. Beside it, my bike looked like a broken tricycle. I felt a sudden wave of sadness when I realized that this was not a bad analogy for the way I probably looked next to Edward.” No, but it is a bad way to make me care about anything bad happening to her…

He also gives her a helmet, which she resists wearing because “I’ll look stupid.” If she’s not going to care about her safety, why should I? Of course, since it’s Edward asking, one smile is all it takes to get her to acquiesce. Yep, care even less after that.

“You’re silly. I suppose that’s part of your charm,” our hero opines. It’s the only explanation.

11. So yeah, they ride out to the edge of werewolf country where Jacob’s waiting for them (they actually go in Edward’s Volvo, though). Jacob runs up and hugs her in sight of Edward, and it’s supposed to be symbolic or something that “I heard the Volvo’s engine growl” right afterward. She tries to get Jake to cut it out, but she’s the one who thought of the Quileutes as “big idiot wolf-boys” when she decided to come.

“He’s being pretty dang pleasant about this; you don’t need to push your luck,” she says. So pleasant he was revving the engine to voice his displeasure at Jake manhandling his girlfriend?

To that he replies, “Bella, you can’t push what you don’t have.” It’s not a bad exit line, but it kind of kills the question of will he or won't he end up with Bella. These books aren't exactly packed with surprises, and if even he knows he has no luck with Bella, well...

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