Friday, August 24, 2012

Breaking Down Chapter 29 - 32

Chapter 29 - Tabidatte!

* The Cullens are sitting around, shocked into silence by Alice’s disappearance. All I could think, though, was that it’s about time they had to face a crisis without her. If you have to keep changing how something insanely useful works so it doesn’t overwhelm the story, you probably shouldn’t have included it in the first place.

* Edward and Bella had “stared at each other all night, staring at the what neither of us could live through losing: the other.” Nice to see that big family that includes absolutely everyone she considers a friend in even the slightest sense means so much to her after all. I’d say Edward too, except I never got that off him.

* “I wanted to have my arms around Alice, to know beyond a doubt that she was safe.” No, Steph. No. No. No. Every time they’ve done something together Alice was annoying Bella with her hyper-girliness. This is the limpest sort of limp retconning.

* They find a note from Alice (written on a page from Bella’s copy of The Merchant of Venice, symbolism!!) proving she hasn’t ducked out on them and telling them to continue the plan to get all their friends together. Not where she’s going or what she has in mind, but like I’m really worried about one of the Cullens deciding Bella’s not worth the fires of Hell and running away.

There’s some pointless stuff where Sam needles Edward about the degree of Alice’s loyalty if she ducked out with the most scariest vampires of them all coming to kill them, and more shit about how nice the Cullens are by telling the wolves they don’t have to get involved in what’s sure to be a death sentence. You. Are not. Fooling. Anyone. Meyer. The way this is going to go down couldn’t be more obvious if 50-foot neon cowboys were pointing out the direction of the plot.

* As for the literary reference, Meyer describes her books as being for “children.” How many “children” do you know with the patience to read Shakespeare and other classical literature for fun, as the author presumably does, let alone interpret the themes? I’m betting even among Twihards, the number wasn’t that high (and once again, how many times have our alpha couple had sex in this “children’s book”? Three times? Four?).

Once again it seems like Meyer only wrote this for herself, and all those ecstatic teenage girls were a happy coincidence.

* “I’d always thought of the Cullens as a whole, an indivisible unit.” I’d always thought of them as a gaggle of idiots slightly less vague than the other lesser characters. You never showed us this, Meyer. Evidently because you didn’t want Bella to squander her attention on anything besides Edward to give his relatives a little time to shine.

She goes on to think of how Jasper and Alice are the only Cullens who weren’t created by a member of the family, how they instead just showed up on the Cullens’ doorstep and said they were joining. Blah blah blah I already talked about this, this chapter. The two of them left to do something to help the family, not because something bad’s coming and they’re not as rooted to the group as the others. Nice try, Steph.

* Edward and Bella go back to their cottage to let Bella investigate a suspicion she has that the fact the book the note was torn from belonged to her is significant. It is, actually. It was Alice’s way of delivering a secret message to Bella that only she would read, because only Bella’s immune to having Aro pick her brain. What the note leads to is sort of kind of an indicator of the mythical friendship between Bella and Alice, which we’ll get to. It doesn’t actually have anything to do with Alice’s secret plan, though, and ends up wasting space because what it enables a last-ditch minimal-survivors plan. Which is pointless from the get-go there’s no way in hell Bella’s not getting 100% completion. I’m sorry, that’s the way it’s always been. I’m not worried about this author throwing me a curve.

* “Alice’s note did not make me hopeful. If there were any way to avoid the coming slaughter, Alice would have stayed. I couldn’t see another possibility.” Then you’re just an idiot, Bells. To think the first book played up how crafty she was with her plan to outsmart James. Or was that repealed when he ended up being the one who outsmarted her?

Whatever the case, I’m worried about the intelligence of the debate we’re building up to if our protagonist can’t think of any reason at all that Alice would have run off to give them an advantage. Maybe that requires her and her author to be able to think that there’s anything in the universe that can kill a vampire besides another vampire.

And the symbolism of mentioning The Merchant of Venice? Supposedly it’s because Bella solves all the problems at the end of the book with just her wits, like the heroine of Shakespeare’s play. Bella? Yeah, right.

* When they get back “Rosalie had traded her silk wrap dress for a sturdy-looking pair of jeans, running shoes, and a button-down shirt made of the thick weave that backpackers used for long trips. Esme was dressed similarly.” Good you pointed that out, Steph. Yes, I really do believe this book is stupid enough to have characters traveling across the world and probably into all kinds of godforsaken off-the-map areas where vampires would live while wearing highly conspicuous luxury dresses.

* Everybody else is going to find reinforcements, while Bella and Edward stay in Forks with their kid to explain what’s going on to the vampires who show up. They’re such good friends with the Cullens they’d be willing to drop everything and travel thousands of miles with no explanation whatsoever? Cut it out with the Cullens-are-the-center-of the-universe stuff, Meyer!

“Carlisle sighed. ‘Your job may well be the hardest.’ ” Spoiler: Every single vampire who comes only needs to receive Nessie’s thoughts and they’re sold. On how Nessie isn't evil, at least. Steph keeps trying to insist this is all tense, of course.

Edward: “…accepting Nessie will not be a simple thing for any of them.”

We’ll see nothing of the sort, of course.

Edward: “Good luck.”
Carlisle: “And to you. We’ll all need it.”

Who needs luck when you have a hack author?

* More limp assurances of the severity of the situation, and how big a deal vampire children were. “You can’t imagine the depth of the scars they’ve left in the collective vampire psyche.”

Then here’s an idea, maybe Carlisle or somebody could’ve been around to see one of these things, and we could’ve had a flashback from his point of view where we saw this. Oh, wait. There I go saying Meyer should back up her assertions again. Sorry.

* Bella tries to surreptitiously excuse herself and look distracted. “Did vampires ever do things absentmindedly?” Since the author’s almost never made any attempt to explain what they DO do with all the advantages their condition provides them…

She leaves and hits the internet to try to find the purpose of the name on Alice’s note, “J. Jenks,” and finds a Jason Jenks, a lawyer.

Bella realizes she can put up with any horror that might come her way, but that she’ll fight to the last to give Nessie a shot at salvation. How sweet, and nice to see that side of her again, but maybe she could’ve seemed a little less eager to drop the kid off and go do some sparkly boinking with Edward. This will be reinforced again before too long.

“Don’t cry. It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be fine. I will find a way through this.” Bella? Accomplish something? Don’t make me laugh.

“If there was nothing else that I could do, I would still save my Renesmee. I was more positive than ever that this was what Alice would give me. She would know. She would have left me a way.”

Good old plot device-y Alice…

Chapter 30 - Nessie’s Just So Goddamned Special

* “How were Edward and I going to explain things to Tanya’s family in the morning? What if they reacted like Irina? What if it turned into a fight?” Since they’re the Cullens’ bestest friends in the whole wide supernatural world, the Alaskans are coming to hear their story first. And honestly, those are some valid concerns based on how little we really know about them. After all, Irina’s veto was apparently enough to keep them from coming to help in Eclipse. What’s to keep them from all being petty little bitches?

* “I didn’t know how to fight. How was I going to learn in just a month? Was there any chance at all that I could be taught fast enough that I might be a danger to any one member of the Volturi? Or was I doomed to be totally useless? Just another easily dispatched newborn?” Why change horses in midstream, right? I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be getting ahead of myself, but the resolution’s even weaker than the usual “Bella stands there while everything falls into place around her” crap from the other books. And believe it or not, the fact that it finally has Bella doing something doesn’t make it any better.

* The idiot couple take Nessie back to the cottage for “some normality”. What the hell does that mean when the parents are vampires, the kid’s half-vampire, and the kid’s being groomed to grow up into a werewolf’s wife? And I’m not even getting into how the Cullens can wipe their asses with thousand dollar bills.

She says Edward’s name as soon as they’re alone (because Nessie never wakes up in the middle of the night like some needy human baby), and “He spun and was across the room in what seemed like no time at all, not even the smallest part of a second.” Because vampires are fast. Have I ever told you that vampires are fast? And strong? And pretty?

* Yah know what happens next? Eeeeyup, Bella and Edward spend the entire night before the Alaskans come fucking each other’s sparkly brains out. They don’t think about what they’ll say, or get Bella briefed on who’s who and any particular hot buttons she needs to avoid, or anything like that. They don’t have to sleep in general so they don’t need to worry about being well-rested for meeting the Alaskans, but is this really the best use of their time with something that’ll have a huge impact on their chances of coming through a huge crisis (for these books) intact coming up?

“For the moment I couldn’t help but be selfish. All I wanted was to love him as much as possible in the limited time given to me.” What do you mean “for the moment,” bitch?

* “As soon as I let myself think of what was coming, I was all tension; it felt like my nerves were being stretched on a rack, thinner and thinner.” Okay, now that’s some fairly unpleasant mental imagery for an unpleasant thought. Why couldn’t Meyer come up with something like that instead of that retarded swiss cheese analogy in New Moon?

* As Bella picks her sleeping child up she’s struck by the smell: “her sweet scent, so close, overpowered every other smell.” Ewww. Sounds like she’s getting turned on by her daughter.

* Bella asks if Edward will teach her how to fight. What makes him such a good instructor? I say again, to me Edward seems to be Twilight’s Worf. That is, the supposedly tough character other characters regularly outdo to show how formidable they are. Between failing to anticipate Victoria wanting revenge, failing to track her down when he finally entertained the possibility, getting smacked around by the Volturi, Jasper outdoing him during the play-fighting in preparation for the attack of the newborns…But he’s Edward, our narrator’s One Twu Wuv. So that means he’s good at what he does.

He “hedged” by telling her if it comes to a fight they don’t stand a chance anyway. Bella retorts “Would you leave me unable to defend myself?” Again, why change horses in midstream? Hasn’t that been exactly how it is all along? And Bella, in spite of talking about how she’s finally found something she “shines” at in being a vampire, is as defeatist as ever when something bad comes her way. In my notes here I wrote “books needed more of difference to make.” Sparkly Bella is the same as regular Bella, mentally, so what exactly has been achieved after all this space, all these things to make her question her reality, all these times where Death nearly swallowed her up?

“I wondered what I could do that would have any hope of making a difference.”

Exactly squat, sir.

* “I was a tiny bit special, in my own way--if having a supernaturally thick skull could really be considered special. Was there any use that I could put that toward?” Aro seemed to think so, as I recall. He’s supposed to be some kind of devious mastermind, isn’t he? Not that he actually gave any examples of the uses Bella’s ability could be put to. Not that that surprises me, after everything else I’ve seen of the author’s style.

* “ ‘What would you say their biggest advantage is? Do they even have a weakness?’ Edward didn’t have to ask to how I meant the Volturi.”

(pounds forehead through desk) NO FREAKING SHIT?!!! What other seemingly invincible enemy are they expecting a fight with, Meyer?!!!??!

* Edward talks some about the members the Volturi rely on most heavily for their offensive, namely Jane/Dakota Fanning and her brother Alec. Jane we already know about, with how she can totally consume you with pain, but Alec’s power is the “antidote” to Jane’s as Edward puts it. As in rather than setting off all your senses with pain, he cuts off all sensation. “You don’t even feel it when they burn you.”

My question is, how the hell does he know? It’s something he obviously hasn’t experienced, but then how did he get that info? I could kind of believe he’d pick up on that with his mind-reading, but was Edward around to witness one of these executions before? Pretty sure Alec wasn’t anesthetizing Bree, if he was even around. What with how they’re so big on vampire secrecy you’d kind of think the Volturi wouldn’t want it getting around how their one plan of attack goes, to keep vampires from figuring out ways of taking out Alec and Jane.

And I do mean one plan of attack.

* Also love the part where he adds that after Alec numbs them, “maybe they’ll simply burn us without bothering to tear us apart first.” If that can kill a vampire, exactly why did he need the Volturi’s help in New Moon, and not just a can of gasoline and a cigarette lighter?

Oh, that’s right. Because Edward being an overdramatic fnckhead is an actual, acknowledged character trait (rolls eyes)

* Bella of course thinks about sacrificing herself as a diversion, but if the Volturi really are as tough as Meyer’s trying to make them sound, they should be able to rip up a single vampire while hardly noticing what it is they just did. Let alone one as inexperienced and underconfident as Bella.

* Bella runs through the Volturi she knows, and the ones she’s heard about, and thinks about which ones must be “fighters.” As for Demetri, the tracker plot device one, “Without a doubt, he would be a fighter. There was no other way he could have survived so long, always at the spear point of any attack. And he must always lead, because he was their tracker--the best tracker in the world, no doubt. If there had been one better, the Volturi would have traded up. Aro didn’t surround himself with second best.”

I’ll tackle the last point first. How doe she know that about Aro? She met him one time, and he did NOT seem like the diabolical mastermind surrounding himself with a living arsenal of vampires Meyer wants us to see him as. Hell, on the next page Edward even starts telling us about one of the Alaskans, Eleazar, who used to belong to the Volturi, and how he had “respect for the law and its need to be upheld.” I’ll get into this more thoroughly later, but Meyer can’t seem to make up her mind whether the Volturi are a shady group of undead power mongers masquerading as a form of restraint, or a badly-needed choke chain on a species of arrogant, shortsighted predators.

(Not that you couldn’t have a group that’s both, mind, but if Meyer even tried to have shades of gray in her books, she failed)

And since she does seem to be leaning toward the shady power mongers thing, information on their proclivities and methods of offense are more well-known than they ought to be.

As for Demetri being the “spear point” of every attack because he’s the best tracker, yeah, that makes sense. If you’re thinking in terms of what would something look cooler in the movie, and not about protecting strategic assets. She just said herself Demetri must be the best tracker in the world. Why would the Volturi risk him in battle, with the tedious steps his ability allows them to remove from their job? Why would the plan not be “as soon as Demetri says you’re getting close, he falls back”?

* More about the Volturi’s villainy: “The Volturi aren’t supposed to be the villains, the way they seem to you. They are the foundation of our peace and civilization…They’re only alleged to be heinous and evil by the criminals, Bella.” Bear that in mind for later, would you?

I could add that apparently the real reason the Volturi showed up so late in Eclipse was, according to Bree Tanner, because they were deliberately hanging back to let the newborns kill most of the Cullens, and then swoop in and absorb the survivors with powers they wanted. Which Edward knows about after reading it from Bree’s mind. Meaning he should in no way be looking upon them charitably and hoping a plan to appeal to the goodness in them will work. (Not that I’m counting that, because I refuse to read that book and it didn’t come out til after this one anyway. So they still just look too slow for their self-appointed duty)

* The Alaskans show up, and they’re just going to be the first of many, many, backup characters Meyer’s going to pretend are noteworthy but aren’t, so I’m not going to try to remember them or tell you who’s who unless it’s actually plot-relevant. If the lady who made money off these books doesn’t make the effort, why should I?

Edward asks them to listen into the other room for the sound of his daughter’s heartbeat, and one of the Alaskans asks if the noise is a bird “thrumming”. I know they share the Cullens’ abstinence from nomming humans, but that’s the point. They can’t tell a human heartbeat when they hear one, so they know to stay away from it?

* Edward convinces the Alaskans to let Nessie show them the beauty of her soul or some damn thing through her power, and they’re immediately convinced. “ ‘She really is your daughter, isn’t she?’ Carmen breathed, switching her wide topaz eyes to Edward’s face. ‘Such a vivid gift! It could only have come from a very gifted father.’ ”

Stop masturbating in front of everyone like that, Steph.

* “I shot a glance at Edward’s smooth face, wondering if it could really be so easy.” You may not realize it, Steph, but you just asked why I’m still reading.

* Edward goes on to inform them the Volturi’s coming, every single one, and that they’ve got a month. “So long?” asks Eleazar. “They’re all coming. That must take some preparation,” Edward answers him. Like what, asshole? The Volturi are at least as rich as the Cullens, you’re telling me they don’t have a fleet of private planes to take them wherever they need? As well as plenty of fake ID’s, and anything else they might need? Even if they’re not all in Volterra at any one time, how long would it take for them to get in touch and tell their wayward members to get to Forks? Do they have to lock down Volterra if everybody’s leaving? Can they only control their operations from there? Would everything grind to a halt if other vampires took over the city while they were gone?

Or is that just a handy excuse to give the Cullens time to work? Yeah, it is.

* The last couple pages consist of confirmation of the obvious and grating. Of course the Alaskans will help, but they can only bear witness because if it comes to a fight they’re all dead already, and without Alice around Bella’s all sad. Boo hoo.

Chapter 31 - How Long’d It Take You To Figure Out What Bella’s Power Is?

* Jacob calls his underage paramour by her nickname, then corrects himself, “remembering that Tanya would not understand his stupid nickname.” Why do you make that sound like it’s something hard, Meyer? Then again, her idea of “threats” leaves a lot to be desired…

* Speaking of, the Alaskans point out the werewolves would be killed 100% for sure if it came to a fight with the Volturi. Because vampires #1. I’d mind a little less if our author hadn’t already clearly said there won’t be any fighting.

* “She is very special, that little one. Hard to resist.” “A very talented family.” “I wonder if there is a name for what she does, or if it the norm for a vampire hybrid. As if such a thing could ever be considered normal! A vampire hybrid, indeed!” Just heap it on, Steph.

* The fawning actually seems like a segue into the next bit, where it turns out Eleazar’s power is to tell what other vampires’ powers are and thus let the author how tell us remarkable Bella is. God, the way Steph can abuse “vampire power as plot device.” Strength-of-relationship vampire and now this.

He notices how Bella seems to have a shield around her brain, and Edward tells him how she’s had that since even before she was a vampire. “Interesting. That would indicate a rather powerful latent talent, if it was manifesting so clearly even before the transformation.”

Okay, so remember that “Bella’s brain is wired wrong” crap? You can’t even use that as an excuse for what an idiot she is, because her brain isn’t wired wrong, her power is she has a mental shield. God DAMN it, Steph.

Sayeth Eleazar, “Talents that are purely defensive, that protect some aspect of the bearer, are always called shields.” Always. And Edward did see a vampire with a power like this before, but never thought to connect it to what Bella can do. Because Edward’s not very good at connecting the dots, and the author thinks it’s hard to arrive at conclusions like there’s something weird about those pale kids who never eat at lunch…

* They suggest the idea that Bella might be able to expand her shield to cover people besides herself, and one of the Alaskans who I’ll only be calling “taservamp” because like many of them the only notable thing about her is her power, attempts to taser Edward to see if Bella can shield him. Bella can’t, but don’t get any ideas about her having to work at this.

* Remember how Eleazar used to be in the Volturi? Well, he and Edward get to talking and just now Eleazar’s noticing that once in a while, the Volturi would amass like they are now when convenient evidence of “some unpardonable crime” cropped up (they only have like two rules, so that doesn’t exactly land with the ground shaking impact Steph probably wanted). In the end, there’d always be a survivor or two with a “gift that Aro had admired.”

Whaaaaaaat?! You mean…the Volturi’s corrupt?!?!? And nobody’s ever noticed the way the only survivor of a group of vampires they kill always has a really useful power and gets absorbed into the Volturi afterward?

You don’t mean to, Steph, but you constantly tell us the vampires you’re so in love with are idiots.

* Who’s Aro after, anyway? “From what I saw of this thoughts last spring, Aro’s never wanted anything more than he wants Alice.” Who wouldn’t want someone with her sketchy, inconsistent power around?

(I thought Aro wanted Edward too, but he maybe he changed his mind because he realized Eddie's bond with what's-her-name is just so strong even their methods aren't strong enough to break it. Or Steph's Worfing Edward again without realizing it)

Edward must not read a lot because “I think it must be [the reason Alice and Jasper left]. To keep Aro from gaining the thing he wants most of all. To keep her power out of his hands.” Yeah, it’s definitely NOT because she’s looking for something that’ll let her pull off a last-minute end run to save the day. I’m sorry but no. Even among the multitudes of characters Meyer insists we remember, Alice has always been at the forefront. No, there’s no way even a writer as bad as Meyer would have her just run away and play no part whatsoever in the resolution of this problem.

* All right, let’s see. They again confront the evidence that the Volturi is corrupt, but “Who would believe it?” You starve us for exposure to the vampire world, Steph. What kind of reputation do the Volturi generally have? As harsh but fair? They weren’t appointed by the sparkly people, they became the supreme authority of the vampire world by overthrowing the previous regime.

* Some other vampires, apparently sent by Alice and Jasper, show up, meaning Alice hasn’t abandoned them after all. Because you were worried.

Chapter 32 - I Take Back Those Compliments About Bella Being A Good Mom

* “The Cullens’ enormous house was more crowded with guests than anyone would assume could possibly be comfortable.”

There are about twenty vampires showing up to help them, which would seem to be a bit less than the graduating year from Forks High. Remember how they held the graduation party at the Cullens’ house? The other Cullens aren’t even home yet to add to that number.

And it’s going to toss out names for these characters when everybody except the Alaskans is dropped into our laps right here, less than ten chapters before the end of the entire series. And they’re hardly vivid themselves. To say nothing of the faceless werewolves still being mentioned.

And yet we still get crap like this, like we should be keeping these characters straight and consider them fleshed-out: “Neither Peter nor Charlotte had ever seen an immortal child. Though they knew the rule, their negative reaction was not as powerful as the Denali vampires’ had been at first.” Speaking of, “the problems Edward had anticipated had never materialized.” Every single one of them would gladly sell their lives just for the chance to protect Nessie. Yeah, you kinda sorta totally suck at tension, Steph.

* Let’s remember most of these vampires feed as they always have. “Mealtimes were dicey…They gave Forks and La Push a wide berth, only hunting out of state.” How gracious of them, to only murder people the main characters wouldn’t know.

“Edward was a gracious host, lending out his cars as needed without so much as a wince.” Gracious indeed. And it’s not like he can’t replace any of them ten times over.

“The compromise made me very uncomfortable, though I tried to tell myself that they’d all be hunting somewhere in the world, regardless.” Yes, but refer to previous quote about exempted victims. And contrast with her reaction to the murder reports in chapter one of Eclipse.

“Jacob was even more upset. The werewolves existed to prevent the loss of human life, and here rampant murder was being condoned barely outside the packs’ borders. But under those circumstances, with Renesmee in acute danger, he kept his mouth shut and glared at the floor rather than the vampires.” That’s what this is all about, isn’t it? Bella’s damn kid. Who’s little more than a pretty decoration for everybody to fawn over. But she’s Bella’s kid. That automatically makes her the most specialest special thing in the history of special, right? Something anyone who’s just met her will be happy to face certain doom for.

* There’s mention made of a guy named Benjamin in a group of Egyptian vampires. “I saw Eleazar staring at the boy with wide eyes and assumed Benjamin had a talent that drew the others to him.” It’s all about the powers with you, isn’t it, Steph?

Indeed he does have a pretty awesome power; he can mentally control the four elements. Which means if this doesn’t work as everyone is pretty sure it won’t, the Cullens will be responsible for making a corrupt group of supernatural enforcers vastly more powerful than they already are.

But Bella’s worth all that. Right? Right??

* In an extremely stupid nod to how Meyer’s just shoveling characters in left and right, “Jacob got more surely with each new addition. He kept his distance when he could, and when he couldn’t he grumbled to Renesmee that someone was going to have to provide an index if anyone expected him to keep all the new bloodsuckers’ names straight.” And there’s a footnote telling you where that index is.

All it is a list of names and what group they belong to, if they’re married to someone else in the group, and if they happen to have a special power. Nothing about backgrounds, personalities, specifics on powers or reasons to give a crap.

Meaning that like every other time Meyer’s tried to fill out the cast more than she needs to, it’s just a freaking list of names.

Here’s an idea, Steph. Stop hiding your narrator from the supernatural world you have the characters talk about so much. Take some of that space you gave yourself in the last couple books, stop wasting it on things like how much Bella likes a certain fridge magnet, and introduce some of these characters and give them reasons to matter before now.

* A group,  called the Amazon coven, is also in attendance. I’m not sure if that’s a reference to the fact that it’s all-female, or that they leave in the South American jungle. These books are really not good at that “explaining things” thing.

“Despite their fierce appearance, they listened very calmly,”…Steph, you don’t know what “fierce” is. The lamest of Power Ranger monsters terrify rings around your gaggle of sparkly poseurs.

* One of the amazons has the power to create images in other people’s minds, and after she uses this on Nessie, the baby gets addicted to it. “ ‘More,’ she commanded.” Sounds like Nessie’s growing up to be a more overt version of her mom…

Bella’s not entirely happy with this since she’s “quite sure” the amazon “was able to create images that were not pretty at all.” But by being connected to Nessie’s thoughts, Bella could “judge for myself whether they were appropriate or not.” At the exact same time her daughter would be seeing them with no advance warning. You watchful parent, you.

* Bella tries to learn how to fight, but Edward wusses out whenever he tries to teach her because it’s fighting with his wife. Not that I’d be willing to pound on my wife to help her learn how to defend herself either, but that’s not helping Bella’s assessment of him as this tough guy.

She tries with some of the others, like one who doesn’t belong to any group named Garrett. “…he interacted so easily with others in general that I wondered how he’d never found a coven.” The sad thing is I think that perfunctory little mention there’s supposed to be the beginning of a character arc for him, based on what ends up happening with Garrett.

* Bella also plays with the idea that she should be able to project her shield outward, and tries repeatedly fails to keep taservamp from zapping Edward. “Only Edward was willing to be our guinea pig.” Says a lot.

Our heroine wishes that the illusion amazon would do this instead, but taservamp insists Bella will try harder if she has stronger motivation.

“I heard murmurs from the audience that had grown steadily as I practiced--only Eleazar, Carmen, and Tanya at first, but then Garrett had wandered over, and then Benjamin and Tia, Siobhan and Maggie, and now even Alistair were peering down from a window on the third story.” See what I mean about the characters? “The spectators agreed with Edward; they thought I was already doing well.” Of course she is, she’s a Sue. I’m honestly flabbergasted Meyer’s still trying to hide it by having Bella practice.

* But then again, Bella’s still a Sue, and ultimately training’s for plebians.

Taservamp suggests she instead zap Bella’s kid. Immediately she’s mad enough that all of her reservations crumble and she can project her shield out to cover Nessie and nullify all offensive vampiric powers.

Allow me to reiterate that this happens not through any kind of effort, but through learning she didn’t have the right motivation before. Kamen Rider Kabuto annoyed me with its main character’s superiority to everyone else to the point that he seemed to need his super-duper hero form more because it came with a power he needed to achieve a personal goal, than because he actually needed to get stronger to fight tougher monsters. At least they gave the implication he’d been training a long time to get as good as he was, though.

On the other hand, Bella’s spent the entire series wangsting about how powerless she is even as one of the vampires she worships. Then she has a pair of revelations, and she can effortlessly castrate the biggest threat these books claim to have. Before the final conflict even begins, we know the Cullens win (as if we didn’t already).

Just as galling is that she had to realize she wanted to use her power to protect her child. Glad you’re not my mom, Bells.

* “Now give Bella some space to calm down, Kate. You shouldn’t goad her like that.” Don’t be mean to Bella, you big poophead!

“I know she doesn’t seem her age, but she’s only a few months old.” Isn’t she great?!

Not that anybody ever seriously meant anything nasty to Bella; she learns via touching Nessie that the whole thing was just a ploy to get her to forget her fears. “That didn’t mean I liked it.” Get some real problems and come back, you sucky little bitch.

* Illusion amazon tries to use her power on a whole group, and Bella manages it for a while but still wipes out after a bit to create the fain impression she’ll have to work on this. It has a disquieting effect on those assembled. “…vampires were not used to feeling vulnerable.” Plus, when taservamp demonstrates her ability on an overconfident Garrett, “It was shocking to watch.” Ha ha! Shocking! You made a funny, Steph! “My instincts recoiled against seeing an immortal incapacitated in that way; it was profoundly wrong.” And that kind of thinking’s why they leave themselves no options in a fight besides being vampires.

* Two last vampires show up simply because they’ve heard of this historic group making a stand against the Volturi, and they prove to be the last remnants of the vampire ruling group that preceded the Volturi (the Romanians, they’re called). Because they want to be there if this works and their usurpers get their sparkly butts handed to them.

The chapter basically ends on the gigantic roll call of who all’s there in response to the Cullens’ call.

To make a stand for Bella and her kid.


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