Friday, June 22, 2012

Breaking Down, Book Two: Jacob, Chapter 14 - 18

Chapter 14 - You Know Things Are Bad When You Feel Guilty For Being Rude to Vampires

* Aren’t those Cullens great?!

* Jacob gets back from running the perimeter, and “Someone had laid out clothes. Huh. Edward must have caught my moment of irritation as I’d bolted out the door. Well. That was…nice. And weird.” That the unfathomably wealthy white people dipped into some of their unfathomable wealth to make sure he’s not walking around with his dork hanging out? When he’s supposed to be helping Bella be as un-upset as possible?

Also, do the description of Jacob’s borrowed clothes, and who they probably belong to, merit an entire paragraph? Seven whole sentences?

Gah, these books are stupid.

* I almost want to say Steph really was finally wising up to how dumb her story her was by this point, when Jacob goes inside and sees Bella wrapped up in so many blankets she looked like a giant burrito.

I almost want to say that.

* He’s unsure of why she looks so happy to see him. “Happily married, too--there was no question that she was in love with her vampire past the boundaries of sanity.” Or maybe she was just insane, and it happened to manifest in an obsession with some perfect pretty boy. SDT, Meyer. Don’t try to hide behind your guidebook when you can’t be bothered to show something this integral to the plot in all the space you gave yourself.

* Also, “It bugged me a little, but for no good reason,” that Edward was able to pick up on Jacob’s thoughts that no attack is forthcoming even though Jake was about three miles out.

I know, I know, what Jacob probably meant by it is he’s not sure how to feel about Edward saying his thoughts are easier to pick up on because Edward’s getting more familiar with Jacob. Of course what it sounds like is how far-reaching Edward’s ability to be totally invasive is, and Jacob not being able to come up with a reason to be repulsed by the notion. That would make all the breaking and entering seem less romantic, doncha know.

* Edward tells Jacob that Bella’s upset to see him and his pack “all so…bereft.” Because it’s not like everybody in the world has their choice of loving homes with people willing to see to their every single need like she does…

* The topic of meals comes up, and Edward points out “Well, we do have normal human food here, Jacob. Keeping up appearances,” and that’s where I’m going to cut him off. Nobody comes to their house. Part of the reason the graduation party was such a big deal was nobody had ever been there or knew how the Cullens lived. The only “normal” person who’s ever an exception to that rule when the Cullens don’t specifically invite them is Charlie when he comes to check on Bella in a couple chapters. And by then he’s sure something weird’s going on so there’d be no point to showing him what’s in the fridge to prove everything’s normal. Besides, he doesn’t come until Jacob basically invites him by saying Bella’s better.

They have no reason AT ALL to be that in depth with their charade on a regular basis, and could actually be doing some good if they’d stop wasting food as props for their non-existent visitors and supporting some kind of feed-the-hungry charity instead.

Damn it, Meyer, stop and think once in a while. I know the author and the readers don’t see the same book the same way, but how fncking hard is it to remember none of them have social lives with normal people?

* Jake has a dream where he’s drinking a glass of water but it turns out to be bleach. I could make a crack about how that’s like reading Steph’s work, but why start being nasty now?

* Before Jacob goes to sleep, Alice comes up to him and remarks how relaxing he is because her visions shut down around him. Just being close to him does that, or does him being involved in their group future do that?

In the morning Alice’s face “wasn’t pinched up now. And it was easy to see why--she’d found another painkiller.” What other painkiller? It’s not Bella and her baby because Alice has never been only half-vampire; that was the source of Alice’s pain. “Like bad reception on a TV--like trying to focus your eyes on those fuzzy people jerking around on the screen. It’s killing my head to watch her.”

So what, then? She also said “I can’t take aspirin.” Are there pharmaceutical companies specifically for vampires, maybe? That’d add all kinds of dimensions to the story. Then again that’s probably why we don’t hear things like that.

Oh wait, he means having another werewolf around because Seth has a line of dialogue right after that little observation. Funny how Jake just described the scene of everyone hanging out and doting on Bella as usual, and didn’t mention Seth ONCE.

* Seth’s there because “Bella got cold.” I’m no doctor, but don’t pregnant women usually feel hot? Is it different because the demon fetus is drinking her blood? Didn’t it stop doing that because Bella started drinking straight blood herself? She’s described as looking a lot healthier since then.

At least last time they had the excuse of being in a damn tent on top of a mountain during a storm, with everyone away fighting a vampire army. Here they’re in the Cullens’ house with everybody around. They don’t have a damn portable heater for her this time? She had to cuddle up with another werewolf?

Ah, screw it. The point’s supposed to be Jake’s still not over her. How could anyone be? It’s BELLA SWAN.

* More empty talk about the conflict with the Quileutes, and how even if it came to a fight, Jacob COULD, theoretically, use his alpha status to end the fighting right there. Carlisle’s against it because it would be wrong, of course.

You have to wonder what the people in the book are thinking about their problems. Are they honestly prepping themselves for the uncomfortable eventuality of battle with other supernatural creatures who really aren’t evil, or are they waiting for a magic cure that makes everybody happy with no bloodshed to appear like the rest of us? Can’t say it seems like they’re concerned with anything beyond Bella’s comfort.

Chapter 15 - Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock

* Or, if I was going to do a sarcastic chapter title, “Countdown (to Boring).”

* Open on a telepathic conversation between Jake’s pack, where we find out, “Did you know you can buy blood? If you’re a doctor.” Oh, is that a fact? Did he have to explain what it was for? Did anybody check up on that? That just seems like something that would be regulated somehow, the sale of medical supplies, especially blood. Carlisle’s a nice guy and all that, but again, he’s still the head of a family of weirdo recluses. Meaning it’s probably common knowledge he doesn’t practice out of the home, let alone make house calls. How did he explain it? Did Steph even think he’d need to?

“Who cares about legal crap when you’re the undead?” Indeed.

* Oh, and Seth was actually alternating cuddling up to Bella with Edward to let their raging or frigid body temperatures adjust her own. You’re still telling me the Cullens couldn’t get her an electric blanket, Steph.

* Alice suggests Rosalie get Jake something to eat. He says he doesn’t trust her not to spit in his food and Alice replies “Rosalie would never embarrass Esme by displaying such a lack of hospitality.” Like when she suggested they just leave Bella to the (metaphorical) wolves in the first book because the idiot girl wasn’t their problem. In response to Edward’s direct request for her help, yet.

Edward promises he’d tell Jake if the food was poisoned, “And for some reason, I believed him.” Because Edward’s not just a great guy, he’s incredibly charismatic. Of course. Also, we’ve got this.

Jacob: “Let me guess, someone around here used to cut hair in a salon in Paris?”
Bella: (chuckles) “Probably.”

If only you’d tried to work a sense of humor about it in before, Steph. It’d still suck. You’re a hack writing a Suefic. But at least we could tell you knew.

* Some wangsting follows about how Jake’s not over her, and having him around completes her “big family.” “I’ve never had a big family before now. It’s nice.” It’d be nice if she got some appreciable time with anybody besides Edward, then. And, you know, not making the ones we do see seem like controlling/overbearing assholes.

* Jake and Edward talk about the plan for explaining things to Charlie, and that it’s mainly to drop a few hints, let him come to his own conclusions, which will probably be wrong. If he doesn’t know everything, he’s theoretically safe from the Volturi. Even though the frigging guidebook for the series admits that unless he made a huge ruckus with his knowledge, they’d probably never know about it.

Just so you remember, it took Charlie months to run out of patience with Bella being a zombie, and he’s never once tried to stop his daughter from seeing her dickhead boyfriend/husband. Because he loves her that much. Seems like it would take a hell of a lot to get to him. And yeah, these books don’t have anywhere near the bite they think they do. Meaning Charlie can probably take everything they’ve got to dish out.

* Also, Edward’s planning on checking into the legends of the cleaning lady’s tribe, because he thinks that might teach them something about how to deal with this. Because legends have such a good accuracy rating in this series; this isn't Supernatural, Meyer. Hell, if you remember me bringing it up before, the guidebook has a list of info about vampires the Volturi weren’t able to hide, were able to hide, and stuff they just plain made up to throw people off.

That does suggest a potentially interesting plot, though, with the Cullens sneaking into Volterra to get access to some kind of database on vampire info to know what to do, or where to look to learn more. That’d be a lot cooler than heading to South America to chase what is, in all likelihood, a dead end. Let’s not forget that the cleaning lady might well have gotten in touch with her people and warned them that Edward’s a “libishomen.” And so’s the rest of his family, probably.

It’d also give the Volturi a much better reason to confront the Cullens than the one they have. Especially since this “libishomen” nonsense ends up going pretty much nowhere anyway.

* Oh, but the book tries pretend otherwise. These legends actually mention a child born of woman and “libishomen,” that it was an evil thing that “must be killed immediately. Before it could gain too much strength.” So I’m guessing that legend isn’t actually talking about somebody we see later.

The legends hold “libishomen” themselves in the same regard. “Their legends say the same of us. That we must be destroyed. That we are soulless monsters.” Yeah well, considering that most vampires, even most of the non-Volturi ones the Cullens are friends with, are remorseless killers, maybe there’s something to it. Besides, even as the exception to the rule, the Cullens are still mainly a collection of arrogant douchenozzles. And they’re still vastly more powerful and supposedly teeter on the precipice of losing control all the time. In what way is “soulless monsters” an unfair assumption?

I’m sorry, it’s just the way Meyer thinks she created “good guy” vampires, but at best all they are is not actively evil. Is Superman a hero simply because he DOESN’T follow the guy who caught him off at the checkout line into the parking lot and heat vision his tires? Is Green Lantern a hero because he DOESN’T use his ring to pick up that same guy and hang him from the top of a radio mast by his underwear?

Maybe the bar for being a good guy’s higher than simply NOT abusing your awesome power. Which the Cullens totally do. Just because they don’t abuse it one certain way...

* Jake’s so upset by the fact that Bella’s willing to kill herself for the sake of her little monster, and that the Cullens are willing to let her, that he starts to attack Roz with blonde jokes. And it “Made me wish I could throw something at Bella too.” Wow, you just earned 50 approval points from me, Jake.

Chapter 16 - Too-Much-Information Alert

* Since when has “too much” information been Twilight’s problem? Aside from Bella getting naked, I guess.

* I just thought of this, but why is Jacob sometimes Jake, but Edward always Edward? Guess he’d seem like less of a “gentleman” if we ever called him by a nickname.

* Jake and his buddies are out scouting to see if any of their old buddies are around. They run into a place where they can smell all the vampires but Edward having been there recently, meaning there was “some reason for gathering that must have been forgotten when Edward brought his dying pregnant wife home. I gritted my teeth. Whatever it was, it had nothing to do with me.” Then why bring it up? Do I expect Steph to make anything of this? No, I don’t.

Leah makes a remark that knowing they’re helping the Cullens is a perfect excuse for Sam to “bunker down” and come up with a new plan. Bunker down? Isn’t that “hunker” down?

* She also observes “Wouldn’t want our precious parasites taking unnecessary chances.” As I’ve read in many a bad review article before mine, you know it’s a bad sign when the audience starts agreeing with the antagonists. God forbid the vastly more powerful Cullens who are the reason for all this put themselves at risk.

* Jake has to admit, though, that he isn’t hating having Leah around like he thought he would. She replies “You’re worth following, Jacob.” Because he didn’t hook up with her cousin for contrived reasons totally beyond his control?

* On the other hand, now that they’re opening up, we get a little development on Leah. As soon as she can, she’s planning to get out, and who can blame her? “I’ll get a job somewhere from La Push. Maybe take some courses at a community college.” What’s this? A female character finding meaning in life beyond a hot guy and beautiful babies? How’d this get in here?

Oh, wait, she’s sympathetic with Roz for not being able to have babies, because she can’t either. Never mind. Moreover, “I understand why your blond vampire is so cold--in the figurative sense. She’s focused. She’s got her eyes on the prize, right? Because you always want the very most what you can never, ever have.” She’s not focused, she’s one-note. Learn the difference, Steph.

Also, Jake thinking over Leah’s sterility because of her lupine powers has him asking, “Was that because she wasn’t as female as she should be?” Meaning what, exactly, Steph?

* Jake wangsts some more about having to go back to the Cullens’ to check on Bella. “It’s hard for you to be there, but hard to stay away. I know how that feels,” Leah opines.

Jake confirms “My head is not going to be the happiest place on earth.” Call me a grammar Nazi if you want, but “earth,” lower-case e, means dirt. Not the planet. And yeah, it won’t be a pleasant thing to see, since Bella’s just so damn special it takes mystical lupine biology for Jake to get over her. I bet ten years down the road, all the normal dudes from her school imagine Bella’s face on their wives when they have sex.

* What really hurts is this conversation leading into why Jacob hates imprinting. “Imprinting is just another way of getting your choices taken away from you.” All I have to say is…fnck you, Steph.

* Jake goes back and finds Bella in the living room. “I wondered briefly why they didn’t leave her upstairs, and the decided at once that it must be Bella’s idea. She’d want to act like things were normal, avoid the hospital setup. And he was humoring her. Naturally.” Based on her history, that doesn’t sound like being upbeat so much as insisting her problems don’t exist so she can get people to calm down and give her what she wants.

* About then Jacob realizes Edward, as always, has crumbled like a wet graham cracker and plans to do whatever Bella wants. In this case, let her have the baby even if it literally kills her. Jake’s about to snap, so Edward tosses him car keys “like they were a life preserver.”

Chapter 17 - What Do I Look Like? The Wizard of Oz? You Need a Brain? You Need a Heart? Go Ahead. Take Mine. Take Everything I Have.

* You see maybe why I stopped doing sarcastic titles of my own for this part?

* “I sort of had a plan as I ran to the Cullens’ garage. The second part of it was totaling the bloodsuckers’ car on the way back.”

Oh no! He’s going to mildly inconvenience the guy who can probably outrun that thing on foot anyway!

“Did he actually mean to give me the keys to an Aston Martin, Vanquish, or was that an accident?” I get Jacob probably know what that means, but I don’t. Does Meyer think her target audience does? Didn’t Bella remark that kind of thing was the province of those with a Y chromosome? Yeah, I slammed the author for that, but that was over the entire idea that women can’t be interested in cars. Just because I’m capable of thinking a car’s cool doesn’t mean I know what’s cool about it just because you told me the name.

* He drives to “the undefined sprawl that was part Tacoma and part Seattle.”

“This was a stupid plan. It wasn’t going to work.” This is a clever plan. It’s totally going to work. Because if there’s one thing these books have managed time and again, it’s to surprise me.

* “I parked across two handicapped spots--just begging for a ticket--and joined the crowd.” I’d say Jake’s being a dick, but let’s remember who owns the car.

* What’s his plan? To go walking around and try to imprint on some girl to get Bella out of his head. This is basically slavery based around his heritage and the presence of vampires. Why is this treated in a positive light? And remember the Quileutes started wolfing out in response to the Cullens’ presence (although I still say it makes more sense to blame Victoria). So they’re to blame for this imprinting crap.

“As time went on, I started noticing all the wrong things. Bella things. This one’s hair was the same color. That one’s eyes were sort of shaped the same.” Sue. I got nothing else to say. Sue. Don’t try to lie about it, Meyer. You know it, I know it. You just won’t admit it.

“It wouldn’t make sense to find her here, anyway. If Sam was right, the best place to find my genetic match would be in La Push.” It would? Why? And that’s what it’s about? Superior genetic heritage? Wow, that’s romantic. Which could be forgivable in any genre except ROMANCE.

Besides, you already know what happens. That means Jacob’s perfect genetic match is partly Edward’s genetics.


* Then a nice girl starts talking to Jacob, about how if he stole the car he’ll probably get off easier if he turns himself in. Way to keep a low profile during an extremely delicate operation, Eddie. Yeah, Eddie. Not Jacob.

As for his conversation partner, “Lizzie. She was pretty. Nice enough to try to help a grouchy stranger who must seem nuts.” Which also means she’s got more personality and redeeming qualities than any three characters we’ve been following this whole time. Why are you putting this character in, Meyer? All she’s going to do is make our leads look crazy and masochistic. Hell, she recognizes Jake’s borrowed car and throws out some appreciative words about it. They’ve already got something they can talk about besides each other.

Fnck these books. Fnck ‘em!

* Eventually Jacob realizes imprinting’s going to happen when it happens, and being around a ton of girls isn’t going to do it. “I was going to have to take the torture like a man. Suck it up.” Or think about what the hell you’re doing, weigh the pros and cons and think about what you’re going back to. I’m sorry to keep harping on this, but the Cullens aren’t good vampires. Less bad isn’t good.

Oh, and just for the record, Jake went babe hunting in “a big park full of kids and families.” I know it was meant to be a harmless descriptor. But what with where the imprinting bit’s been, and where it goes…eeeeeeeeew.

He goes back to Bella and the Cullens because that way, “I didn’t have to be all alone.” See? Crazy and masochistic.

* Edward’s waiting for Jake in the garage when he gets back, but I bet it wouldn’t surprise you to hear it’s not exactly out of a growing camaraderie between the two.

When Jake took off all of a sudden Leah apparently came in to ask why, and then unloaded on Bella for the way she keeps Jake around even it hurts him, seeing her like that and in the arms of someone else. I think. Edward doesn’t go into much detail. “You were quite vehemently championed.”

Edward adds, “I’m not going to pretend that I understand why Bella is unable to let go of you, but I do know that she does not behave this way to hurt you.” She knows that it does, and continues to do it anyway. Is there a difference?

Jacob promises to talk to Leah. And Bella. “She doesn’t need to feel bad. This one’s on me.” Stop defending Bella. Or at least stop claiming she’s so wise and kind and whatnot.

* Anyway, they talk some about the fetus, and Jacob realizes Edward doesn’t want to abort it anymore because “He couldn’t hate what loved Bella. It was probably why he couldn’t hate me, either.” It’s not because they’re getting to know each other and see each others’ good sides, it’s because of Edward’s obsessive devotion of Bella. So, same reason as EVERYTHING.

* Then, Edward gets on his hands and knees and begs for Jacob’s approval, to preserve the treaty between them and the Quileutes in spirit if nothing else. “Your word on this will condemn or absolve us. Since Edward has a hypo of vampire venom prepared and eventually uses that on Bella, and with Jacob’s parting shot in New Moon (“If any of them bite a human, the truce is over. Bite, not kill”), I have to think Edward’s asking permission to do the teeth C-section if that becomes necessary.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, the womb occupied by a half-vampire fetus is too strong to penetrate by normal means, and even as a baby it’s so strong that attempting a normal delivery would definitely be fatal. So Edward uses his teeth to cut it open to extract his kid.

Think on all that for a second.

* Things finally get cool as the chapter ends when Bella “vomited a fountain of blood.”

Chapter 18 - There Are No Words For This

* Oh boy, that’s encouraging in a BOOK.

* “Bella’s body, streaming with red, started to twitch, jerking around in Rosalie’s arms like she was being electrocuted…As she convulsed, sharp snaps and cracks kept time with the spasms.”

So this book’s target audience apparently isn’t ready to read about sex, but they ARE ready to read about Bella smeared with blood and contorting in bone-breaking agony. Eh?!

“Rosalie pinned Bella down, yanking and ripping her clothes out of the way, while Edward stabbed a syringe into her arm. How many times had I imagined her naked?”

(mouths “what the fuck?”)

* With Bella’s blood everywhere, it’s too much for Rosalie and she lunges forward to feed on our heroine. Okay, it happens twice, but…Rosalie seemed like a bitch who was willing to condemn Bella to die all the time anyway. This just makes her look like more of a bitch, not like vampires have no self control.

Jacob intercepts her. “My right palm smashed against her face, locking her jaw and blocking her airways.” And vampires don’t have to breathe, so…good work.

“I used my grip on Rosalie’s face to swing her body out so that I could land a solid kick in her gut; it was like kicking concrete.” Because we’ve never once established that vampires are made of rock. That their skin sparkles like diamond because of that. Thanks, Steph!

* Eventually Roz is restrained and Edward goes in to do the teeth C-section. “Vampire teeth--a surefire way to cut through vampire skin.” I thought everything about this was unknown.

* Bella’s heart stops after they get the kid out, and even though Edward’s injected her with vampire venom, Jacob’s entire world comes crashing down because the love of his life is dead and blah blah blah. It’s wangst. I don’t need to tell you about the wangst, do I?

Jake heads downstairs to do his duty to his pack. “Sam had been right. The thing was an aberration--its existence went against nature. A black, soulless demon. Something that had no right to be. Something that had to be destroyed.” He thinks it killed someone who was effectively suicidal anyway. Someone who never affected change despite all her efforts, change was only affected through everyone else’s efforts and unwavering desire to please and protect her. If she’d made some kind of mark of her own, done something to justify all this insane devotion…

* …but one look at the baby and all those violent thoughts melt from Jacob’s mind. That’s right, just like magic, he found his soul mate, and it’s the daughter of the center of the universe. She’s not even five minutes old.


* “From upstairs, there was a new sound. The only sound that could touch me in this endless instant. A frantic pounding, a racing beat…a changing heart.”

What, you mean BELLA’S NOT DEAD?!?!?! For real?! Who could’ve seen that coming????

Your books suck, Steph.

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