Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Breaking Down Chapters 24 - 28

Chapter 24 - Surprise

* In these books? Ha! I say ha to you!

* Bella insists that since she changed a few days shy of her birthday, it still counts as being 18 forever. What happened to being willing to wait and not being so hung up on numbers and becoming a vampire as quickly as possible, like she said on her honeymoon? Oh, we’ll get to that.

Alice tells her to suck it, they’re celebrating anyway, because Alice has no personality outside of parties and shopping. And she’s one of the forefront characters, too.

And Bella gives in to the idea because “There was rarely a point to arguing with Alice…Her grin got impossibly wider as she read the acquiescence in my eyes.” Or maybe you’re just a wuss who expects Edward to stand up for you, but he won’t if it’s against Alice.

Damn it, fifteen chapters from the end of this story, and it’s the same Bella we’ve always had.

* Edward gives Bella his present, a car key. “I wondered if I should feel excited. It seemed the vampire conversion hadn’t given me any sudden interest in sports cars.” Yeah, Meyerpires sound dumber every time what being one entails is brought up, even if it doesn’t actually entail that. Why the hell would it?

* They talk more about Nessie. “She has never been set down in her entire life.” Which has been what, three days? Even if she’s growing up super-fast…

“She’s going to be the most spoiled half-vampire in existence.” Lot of competition for the title, I bet.

“She is also the most unspoiled half-vampire in existence. The beauty of being one of a kind.” Thank you for assassinating what little levity the previous statement carried even more thoroughly than I did, Roz, All in the name of hitting us in the face for the 10,843,289th time that Bella and Edward and their offspring are just SO damn special! Even for vampires! No, being beautiful and immortal’s not enough! She has to be the MOST beautiful, the MOST invincible, have the BEST husband, the MOST remarkable child! I’ll go to my grave thinking the “surprise” at the end of the book was just a concession to the fact that without it, the debate in the field would’ve literally gone on forever.

* “Rosalie grinned at me, and I was glad to see that the new comradeship between us was still there in her smile.” Because you gave her a baby to play with. That’s why you’re friends. Deep.

“But maybe we had fought together on the same side long enough that we would always be friends now. I’d finally made the same choice she would have made if she’d been in my shoes.” Fought on the same side? What? When? And Bella didn’t make a choice, something totally unexpected happened to her and she ran with it. The sobering realization that she was knocked up, even though she shouldn’t have been, made her decide having a kid was worth it. Roz was the one who wanted a baby, who would’ve given up all her vampiric abilities for it. Bella got hers as some kind of reward for having a baby.

As for deciding to keep the baby even though she could die, Bella saying she’d gladly die a thousand deaths for someone else is her second-favorite thing to talk about. It’s like Meyer honestly doesn’t know that repeating something to death makes its significance leak away as we get sick of hearing it.

* Bella says to herself she hates surprises, then realizes that personality-wise she’s made the change to vampiredom pretty much unscathed, and takes solace in it. Take your choice of insult; there’s nothing much about her to change, or vampirism isn’t a big deal after all. After only insisting it was such a huge change for the entire series before now.

Look, maybe it is true for everybody else, but the examples we spend all our time around seem like the norm. And you seem like a bad author who fails to live up to your own precepts if nothing we see about them matches up.

* Alice covers Bella’s eyes as she leads her to see another big surprise. Edward asks his wife to humor Alice.  “Then she’ll go annoy someone else.” It’s nice you’re finally starting to be honest about your characters, Steph. Still too little, too late, though.

* What’s the big surprise? The Cullens built a little cottage out in the woods so Bella and Edward and Nessie could have their own house, but not be too far from the rest of the family. And nobody hiking through the woods will ever find this place, I guess. I don’t remember it ever being indicated it’s got anything like power or running water, either. Unless Steph’s saying vampires never need to shower no matter how dirt-caked they get running around after animals. Which wouldn’t surprise me.

And as soon as Alice leaves, Edward’s the only thing in existence. The house completely leaves her mind.

Hell, if vampires are pretty no matter what it makes you wonder why they bother putting a roof over their heads at all. Tell me Bella would care if Edward did her right there in the dirt.

He reminds her how awesome she is and how naturally being a vampire comes to her. Grind away Steph, you haven’t made your point yet.

* They go inside and look around the cottage and I can’t pin down a reason why, but I hate this place. I think it’s more the people who live there than “It was furnished in eclectic pieces, not one of them matching another, but harmonious just the same.” Huh? How? “Somehow each piece fit together with the others like a big three-dimensional puzzle.” Huh? How? Nothing matches, nothing fits together. Then again I’m pretty sure by now Bella’s just trying to sound smart and deep while she’s aware of all this in a peripheral fashion, but really only paying attention to Edward.

“It was a place where anyone could believe magic existed.” Cut it out with the vague, grandiose statements already, Steph. I’m left to imagine most of your world for myself, and if that’s the case, why don’t I stop reading your book and go write my own? You’re failing as an author. Hard.

“Edward had always thought that he belonged to the world of horror stories. Of course, I’d always known he was dead wrong.” Ha! I take it back, Meyer can make jokes after all. “It was obvious that he belonged here. In a fairy tale.” Then could you please make up your mind which one you’re writing? Obviously you aren’t interested in writing scares or drama, yet you keep including that kind of stuff and acting like we should be affected by it.

“I laughed quietly, amazed at how quickly everything had turned right when it had all looked so nightmarish just a week ago,” indeed.

* Of course, now that they’re alone in their own house, it doesn’t take long before “I heard the fabric tearing under our hands.” Appropriate for all ages! Especially when she tells us the real reason she wanted to drag out being a human, because sex with Edward had been “the epitome of my human life” and she wanted to drag it out longer.

Deep! Mature! Selfless!

Why in the flying fork is she telling me things she isn’t willing to tell her soul mate?

And of course sex AS a vampire is even better than sex WITH a vampire, because stop jacking off in public, Meyer.

* After it’s over, Bella asks if the “craving,” as she puts it, ever stops. Imagine if it did! She might have to do something to fill her time besides obsess over Edward!

* Edward replies it took Roz and Emmett a decade to stop doing the nasty all the time. He uses that to segue into how not sleeping “makes balancing your…interests quite easy.” Why did he pause like that? Is it because he knows Bella seriously doesn’t have any outside of him, maybe?

“There’s a reason why I’m the best musician in the family, why--besides Carlisle--I’ve read the most books, studied the most sciences, become fluent in the most languages…” Isn’t Edward awesome?!

“Emmett would have you believe that I’m such a know-it-all because of the mind reading, but the truth is that I’ve just had a lot of free time.” And had never looked at girls until what’s-her-name blundered into his eternal life. What happens now that his interests are as narrow as hers?

Chapter 25 - Bell’s Offended To Be Reminded Of The Greatest Experience Of Her Life

* After literally fncking into the wee hours of the morning, Edward mentions they probably go see their kid since she’s about to wake up. Even though other people will be happy to look after her whenever mommy and daddy want some alone time, I’m sure. Must be nice to have super-powered providers to take care of everything in your life for you.

Edward assures his bride “It’s all about balance, love. You’re so good at all of this, I don’t imagine it will take too long to put everything in perspective.” Indeed, it’s easy to forget how this is supposed to be hard.

Knowing they’ll have all night to do the bump and grind “would have to be enough to get me through the daylight hours,” though. Oh poor Bella, having to tear herself away from the act of sex to spend time with her child she supposedly loves more than life itself. What a great heroine.

“I just burst through, intent on wearing the first things I touched. I should have known it wouldn’t be that easy…As promised, the room was bigger than our bedroom. It might have been bigger than the rest of the house put together, but I’d have to pace it off to be positive.”

Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, Meyer. What Bella’s going to wear for the day is a daunting problem. It’s crap like the way she makes this sound that keeps me from believing how serious a threat the Volturi or Victoria or whoever’s the biggest menace at the moment are. No perspective.

“I had a brief mental flash of Alice trying to persuade Esme to ignore classic proportions and allow this monstrosity. I wondered how Alice had won that one.” If you’re not getting the picture that the rest of the family has learned to acquiesce to Alice in the name of name of peace, I have to wonder what percentage of your attention Edward dominates in proportion to the rest of them.

“He said her name like an explanation; I said it like an expletive.” Sounds like I was right. He’s learned to accept it, Bella’s still getting there.

* “It only took him seconds to find his own clothes--if I hadn’t seen him undressed, I would have sworn there was nothing more beautiful than Edward in his khakis and pale beige pullover.” Dear god in heaven, SHUT UP!!

* Everyone’s paying absolute attention to Nessie by the time her parents get back. “Alice, Jasper, Esme and Carlisle were sitting on the couch, watching her as if she were the most engrossing film.” Steph, I’m just going to refer you to this little list here.

* Bella was worried about how much Nessie might have changed in one night. “She was different, but not so much. A little longer again, her proportions drifting from babyish to childlike. Her hair was longer by a quarter inch, the curls bouncing like springs with every movement. I’d let my imagination run wild on the trip back, and I’d imagined worse than this. Thanks to my overdone fears, these little changes were almost a relief.”

Steph, admitting Bella’s an over-reactionary fool doesn’t mitigate the problem of her blowing everything out of proportion. Not if she’s still doing it up until the finish line. It’s a lot like how her favorite things to talk about are how vampires are beautiful and how willing she is to die for other people. If it happens all the time, it’s harder to care when something that genuinely warrants getting worked up about happens. I’ve said this, why am I still saying this?

Also, with how rapidly her daughter’s changing and how worried she seems about what Nessie’s changing into, she seems like a great mom for dropping the kid off and spending the whole night in the throes of passion with Edward.

* They talk a little about how Jacob’s even more obsessed with Nessie than the rest of them, and Bella says “I suppose it doesn’t matter. We won’t be here that much longer.” She still insists on hanging her best friend out to dry. What a great heroine. I’d even say this made her more relatable if it wasn’t the polar opposite of everything everyone else says about her.

* Emmett needles Bella about attending Dartmouth. “I’m sure you’ll ace your classes…apparently there’s nothing interesting for you to do at night besides study.”

Do not lose your temper, do not lose your temper, I chanted to myself.” Why is she mad? Steph, I don’t care what you say, Bella’s not a complex character. She herself admitted to us only last chapter the reason she wanted to stay human a little longer was having sex with Edward was the most amazing thing that ever happened to her.

* Then suddenly Edward gets mad, and amidst Alice’s protests that Bella isn’t using her enormous wardrobe the way she’s supposed to, tells them the reason Jacob left was to tell Charlie how Bella’s better now. And Charlie’s coming to check up on her.

Bella panics. “Charlie couldn’t know about me! About vampires! That would put him on a hit list that even the Cullens couldn’t save him from.” Unless they vamped him too. Oh, right, learning to be a vampire is hard for most people. And once again, I’m not impressed by characters I hardly ever see just because you tell me I should be, Steph. S. D. T.

* Jacob comes in then. “He walked with jerky movements, like he was all hyped-up about destroying my father’s life.” You. Stupid. Little. Witch. It’s not like he could’ve been trying to do something NICE for Charlie by getting rid of all the worry that his stupid bitch of a daughter isn’t really dying. Did anyone even tell Jacob about the Volturi, and why it’s bad for non-vampires to know about vampires? Especially considering that not allying with werewolves is another rule laid out by the Volturi. Did the Quileutes leave before the Volturi showed up after the vampire rumble in the last book because they were given a reason besides the fact that the fighting was over? Who’s really at fault?

I know we find out later the Quileutes aren’t technically werewolves, but again the way the Volturi are endlessly described, they don’t seem the kind to care about the letter of the law and let offenders go thanks to loopholes (regardless of how it clashes with the way they’re actually portrayed, as with every other major element in these books). And real werewolves or no, let’s remember the reason the wolf-gene resurfaced was because of the presence of vampires and the Quileutes’ hereditary mission to fight them. Meaning they’re the natural enemies of vampires, just like real werewolves.

“I would keep her in my arms until I was sure my decision to kill Jacob was based entirely on rational judgment rather than fury.” You’ll be waiting forever, then. I’m just saying.

Bella asks if Jake realizes what he’s done, and the danger he’s put Charlie in. “I didn’t put him in danger. Except from you. But you’ve got some kind of supernatural self-control, right?” Sounds like he doesn’t know about the Volturi.

Edward gets involved. “That’s just a theory, mongrel. You think we should test it on Charlie?” You had no problem testing it on your daughter, you sparkly dickshine.

“Did you consider the physical pain you’re putting Bella through, even if she can resist? Or the emotional pain if she doesn’t? I suppose what happens to Bella no longer concerns you!” It never concerned me! Why the hell is she everyone’s darling like this?! Bella Bella Bella!!

Cut it out already, Steph. Your devotion to this problem of vampire urges you never show is getting sad. To say nothing of how that describes every single problem you’ve ever tried to introduce.

* Jake tells the story of how he…told Charlie what’s going on, but Charlie insisted on not knowing anything he doesn’t absolutely need to know. Boy, I like Charlie. A man after my own heart. Seriously Meyer, if you’ve got a story element in mind, make it important or put it away. You write about nothing better than anyone I’ve ever seen.

* They get ready to carry on their “tropical disease” charade, with Edward preparing to give Bella contacts that will make her eyes look relatively normal. “They won’t match your old color, but it’s still better than bright red, right?” She ate some animals already, shouldn’t her eyes be turning gold like theirs? Which nobody ever notices?

Alice also tells Esme to “give her a few pointers on acting human.” I…just…wow. What could I possibly say on top of that?

Everybody starts offering help, and Alice tells them to shut up and let Esme handle it. “You’ll overwhelm her.” I thought vampires learned quickly and had perfect retention, because that makes them more awesomer.

* Edward explains to his spawn that her granddad’s coming to visit “as if he expected her to understand every word.” I know everything about half-vampires is supposed to be unknown right now, but she’s growing up quickly, shouldn’t she be growing up mentally quickly too? For all the sense that makes. And why show doubt when every aspect of anything vampire-related has always been as awesome as possible? Yeah Meyer, we noticed. Do you think we expect you to throw us a curve now?

* Charlie shows up and Carlisle looks “abashed” upon greeting him. “After all, we were supposed to be in Atlanta at the Center for Disease Control. Charlie knew he’d been lied to.” We already know this. He already knows this. You don’t really think I’m an idiot for reading your book, do you Steph?

* And…absolutely nothing unexpected happens. They pretend Bella’s sick, but Charlie knows better. He meets his granddaughter, even though she’s way too old to exist. Vampires in general and the Cullens in particular are really good-looking.

* Emmett, while pretending to watch the game, subtly ribs Bella for the fact that she and her husband have sex. At least I assume that’s what he means by “ ‘Bout time somebody scored around here.” For some reason Bella’s offended that he would do this in front of her father even though she’s holding living proof of the act in her arms. And once again, stop acting like you didn’t yourself have her say that her life was never greater than when she had sex with a vampire as a vampire, Steph.

“But Charlie was beyond noticing innuendos,” so why does she even care?

Chapter 26 - Know How Much Better A Book About Emmett Would Be?

* They talk about how much to tell Bella’s mom. “This stuff isn’t for the fainthearted,” Bella declares. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere about the author bragging that girls as young as eight or six read these books.

* Charlie’s apparently having dinner at the Clearwaters’ (whoever they are). “That was going to be an awkward evening.” Um…why?

She promises Charlie they won’t leave for right now, “but I can’t promise that we’ll never leave, Dad. It’s pretty complicated…” No it’s not, Steph. They’ll have to leave eventually because they’re not aging and eventually even the thickheads in this town will notice. They shouldn’t even be there now, with the vampire mafia after them. Don’t get all puffed up about what you’ve wrought.

Especially not when next we get this. Charlie notes his granddaughter is “sturdy.” Bella “frowned. She felt feather-light to me. Maybe my measure was off.” Or maybe you’re a damn retard who can’t even remember you’re a super-strong vampire. And that new as you are, you’re as strong as you’ll ever be, right now. Lordy…Her mind’s on a higher plane now but she sounds like the same slow twit she’s been since day one.

* Charlie tells Bella her child’s the prettiest baby he ever saw, even more than she was (seriously). But of course that’s true, because Bella was only human back then and humans blah blah blah.

Bella explains her daughter’s names, first being Renesmee of course (Renee + Esme, from the parents’ mothers), but her middle name is Carlie (Carlisle + Charlie). Look, not that you can’t do that, but if Steph had bothered to work in a sense of cutesiness before now, it would work better. That would’ve required her to find sources of drama other than murderous vampires after her heroine once in a while, though.

* About two thirds of a page goes into discussing what the Cullens were doing as Charlie hung around. Jacob was in the kitchen. “Alice was lounging on the bottom step of the staircase with Jasper’s head in her lap; Carlisle had his head bent over a fat book in his lap; Esme was humming to herself, sketching on a notepad, while Rosalie and Emmett laid out the foundation for a monumental house of cards under the staircase. Edward had drifted to his piano and was playing very softly to himself.” This is their airtight charade, is it? Tell me why they’re even bothering when the only normal person around already knows something weird’s going on and doesn’t want to hear about it.

* “I’d actually made it through the whole day without hurting Charlie. All by myself. I must have a superpower!” Or maybe you have a wimpy author.

“You were unbelievable. All that worrying being a newborn, and then you skip it altogether.” Yeah, I’m going with wimpy author. And did Charlie hang around all day for any other reason than to prove Bella could stand to be around him that long? He seemed uncomfortable, and everyone except Emmett seemed to be sitting around wondering how long it would be before he’d just throw up his hands and walk out.

* With Charlie gone Bella’s free to confront Emmett about all the embarrassing things he said about her. Screw you, Steph. She deserves everything he said and more, and the worst he said was, shocker, she’s having sex with her husband. That seems to be the ceiling for the severity of Bella’s problems, people saying mildly embarrassing things about her. And Emmett might be a crass meathead, but I remember him being something else too, which is someone who wants to go out and take care of their problems. As opposed to our narrator who we’re evidently supposed to like more, who would rather sit at home and wangst about how horrible it is that someone might get hurt when they won’t (and can put themselves back together good as new anyway).

Edward points out how dumb it is to insult the strongest vampire in the house (wouldn’t be surprised at all if Bella never lost that. For all the point it has to the story after this one chapter). Emmett scoffs, and Edward teasingly reminds Bella of a promise he asked her to make to challenge Emmett to arm-wrestling after she was a vampire (which actually did happen).

They go out back and Indian-wrassle on top of a rock, and, shocker again, Bella wins. Part of the rock breaks off “at an invisible fault line.” What, even to her super-duper vampire senses? And it lands on Emmett’s foot. Hilarious. He’s a rock too, and he acts like he barely even felt it. You got him good, didn’t you, Bells?

* After Edward reports that Nessie was having fun watching her mom win a juvenile contest, Bella marvels some at being a vampire. “As a human, I’d never been best at anything.” You never tried, idiot. Then again she never tried to be a vampire either, that just happened. But that's this entire series boiled down to three words, isn't it? "That just happened."

“So this was really different. I was amazing now--to them and to myself.” Not from anything she achieved, or even tried to achieve, from having her biology altered by an outside source. This is growth…?

“It was like I had been born to be a vampire…I had found my true place in the world, the place I fit, the place I shined.” And the full-grown Sue emerges from her chrysalis.

Chapter 27 - Oh That’s Right, We’re Supposed To Have A Plot…

* “I took mythology a lot more seriously since I’d become a vampire.”

Not when she started going out with one, or making plans for the future with one, or having her life threatened by other ones, I guess.

I bet Steph thought that would be such a clever way to kick off the chapter, too.

* “Often, when I looked back over my first three months as an immortal, I imagined how the thread of my life might look in the Fates’ loom--who knew but that it actually existed?” No way, Meyer. You waited way too long to bring this up. In fact you had this character getting annoyed at how many legends were real before.

* “I was surprised by some of the threads I got to include in my life. The werewolves, with their deep, woodsy colors, were not something I’d expected; Jacob, of course, and Seth, too. But my old friends Quil and Embry became part of the fabric as they joined Jacob’s pack, and even Sam and Emily were cordial.”

“Sue and Leah Clearwater were interlaced into our life too--two more I had not anticipated. Sue seemed to have taken it on herself to smooth Charlie’s transition into the world of make-believe. She came with him to the Cullens’ most days, though she never seemed truly comfortable here the way her son and most of Jake’s pack did. She did not speak often; she just hovered protectively near Charlie.”

Imagine if the author didn’t count this as character development, which is to say breezing over major events with non-Edward and Jacob characters.

“The tensions between our families eased, mostly due to Renesmee. She was easy to love.” Once again, I’m sorry to sound like an asshole, but this just doesn’t sound like the words of a loving parent. More bloody Sueishness, but now there’s another one.

* Why exactly does Bella insist on thinking of everyone, even Leah, as part of her family? Is it because the Cullens are only figuratively a family, so she feels the need to lump in everybody with whom they’re somewhat friendly? Does everybody have to be that close, in her mind?

* “Happiness was the main component in my life now, the dominant pattern in the tapestry…And I was euphoric the vast majority of the time. The days were not long enough for me to get my fill of adoring my daughter; the nights did not have enough hours to satisfy my need for Edward.” Why does Bella only quickly summarize things when they’re going well? I know how drama thrives on conflict, but more than anything this adds to the sense that she’s a morose little whinerbag. And showing us things when they’re happy would give us some idea of why it’s so great to be a Cullen. Or is being ultra-beautiful and immortal why it’s so great to be a Cullen?

* But we find out soon that Bella’s afraid of how fast her daughter’s growing up. How soon she talks, how soon she walks. “Edward and Carlisle threw themselves into research, looking for any answers, anything to expect. There was very little to be found, and none of it verifiable.”

Again, it would be a lot cooler to have the Cullens try to sneak into Volterra and see if there’s anything in some kind of secret vampire database, giving them information the Volturi themselves are looking into. Granted even if Meyer was willing to write such a thing, it’d happen offscreen while Bella stays at home. But it’d help the Volturi look like this evil shadowy group that Meyer wants us to think of them as, when they’d come after the Cullens for no doubt having a less than lawful need for such information.

* The reason for Bella’s fears is she’s afraid her daughter won’t stop growing. I’d ask why exactly I should care, since Meyer seems to have some kind of psychological defect where the characters she creates are the exact opposite of whatever she intended, but I’m still stuck on why someone who’s half-unchanging dead person is growing up faster.

* Evidently everyone would have to go if they were going to visit the tribe to collect information, and the reason they haven’t is Bella doesn’t want to leave “until after the holidays, for Charlie’s sake.”

Sweetie, with the way he reacted to all your supernatural weirdness, I think he’d understand. And frankly your insistence on staying just increases the danger to not only him but your child, since…

* She gets a note of congratulations on her marriage. From Aro. With an extremely expensive gift. Of course. “I always wondered where the crown jewels disappeared to after John of England pawned them in the thirteenth century.” And now Bella’s getting them! Isn’t that great and not Sue-y at all?

* “They could not be allowed near Forks. There was only one way to keep our life here safe.” Yeah and that’s for Bella to go alone and let them see she’s a vampire.

“ ‘You’re not going alone,’ Edward had insisted through his teeth, his hands clenching into fists.” Is he going to be her bodyguard when she confronts them? He did a bang-up job last time where the guards smacked his sparkly ass all over the room.

And again, why Forks? I refuse to believe anybody but Bella would have any problem spending their eternity somewhere else. Only the constant rain seems to make this place convenient for them. And they’re known as the weirdo recluse family even there where they’re making some kind of attempt to blend in. How different would it be to be a weirdo recluse family somewhere sunnier?

Hell, Meyer’s even shown that Bella wouldn’t mind getting away to keep Jacob away from her kid.

* Bella thinks that she’s such a curiosity, that’s why Aro might want her. And because of her power, excuse me, the defect in her brain, she’s the only family member his telepathy doesn’t work on. No, I’m sorry this still doesn’t stand up. Wouldn’t it be more suspicious if Bella came alone? Exactly because she’s the only one immune to vampire powers? And Aro’s mind-reading isn’t passive like Edward’s, he has to physically touch his victim. Wouldn’t that be kind of suspicious too? And at odds with how they really haven’t been portrayed as evil overlords of vampirekind? Oh believe me, we’ll get to that.

But she decides to go with Carlisle instead. “It made both Edward and me a little more relaxed, knowing that Carlisle would only be a few hours away from me.” During which time the Volturi could kill her a thousand times over, idiots. Hours! Crap!

* Alice tries to see the future and I’m past trying to figure out how it works. It works however it needs to work right now, unless it involves something that Alice has never been. Then it doesn’t work. That’s the only rule. She does spot something about somebody named Irina trying to reconcile with them, but hell if I know who that is.

* Oh wait, that’s the bitchy member of the Alaskan group, the one who didn’t want to help in the last book unless the Cullens killed the Quileutes. Because she shows up while Bella’s hanging in the woods with her kid. “Even under the clouds, she glistened ever so slightly.” Wait, what? Enough sunlight gets through clouds to start the sparkling? That’s…completely inconsistent with why the Cullens live around there.

* “She was a stranger to me. I was absolutely certain I’d never seen her before, even as a human.” Did you see a lot of vampires, even after you were one, and before the big gathering in a while? Especially with how basically only the Cullens and the Alaskans eschew a human diet?

She sees Bella with an impossibly beautiful child (let it go already!) and figures the Cullens must have broken the law about changing children into vampires, so she goes to tattle to the Volturi.

Bella tries to pursue her but fails. Really shines as a vampire, does she? “I didn’t know which direction Irina had taken, or exactly how furious she was right now. Vengeance was a common obsession for vampires, one that was not easy to suppress.” But one that’s very easy to forget about, apparently, what with how long it took them to guess that the vampire who they knew wanted vengeance could still be after them last book.

No, I’m not going to let that go. Steph talks about how vampires are so much smarter than humans but they took half the book to figure out something the reader did halfway through the first chapter. You earn slack with the reader by writing well, and constantly failing to live up to your precepts isn’t writing well.

* Oh, and the reason revenge is brought up is because Irina saw Jacob in his wolf mode and figured he might have been the guy who killed her precious Laurent. You know, he seemed okay, but then when he showed up again he was a scumbag. I don’t miss him and I wouldn’t sympathize with Irina’s loss even if she wasn’t just a bitchy character who exists for no other reason than to throw petty anger in Bella’s direction. Frankly she seems like an asshole too.

Chapter 28 - Hold Onto Your Seat For Hot Supernatural Debating Action!

* As usual, Bella tries to shoulder all the blame. She should’ve gone hunting with the kid somewhere else. She shouldn’t have gone with the werewolf. Blah blah blah. At least this time nobody tries to talk her out of it. Although I get the feeling that by now they all know there’s no point.

* The other Alaskans are upset to report Irina hasn’t come home; it wasn’t easy for them to lose their sister, however temporary the separation might be. I wondered if this brought back hard memories of losing their mother so many centuries ago.” Funny, because that’s about how long it feels since the last time we heard the slightest tidbit about these characters. Damn it Meyer, you make these tiny throwaway references to big things that happened to these characters we’ve only seen briefly as guests at Bella’s wedding, and I’m supposed to have a reaction now? Telling me they’re the Cullens’ best friends doesn’t matter for jack squat if they’re never part of the narrative. The most notable thing they did before was NOT show up to help in Eclipse, for crying out loud!

It’s like you really do only write for someone who already knows everything you do about your little world.

* Bella rolls on to their plans to research Nessie’s condition after she gets back from Volterra. They do plan to take Jacob along, in no small part because it’d be helpful to have a non-vampire around while doing research on vampires because people who believe in vampires aren’t likely to tell vampires what they know.

Let’s face it, Steph. Even compared to other vampires, the Cullens aren’t that great.

* But while we’re still kind of on the subject of how undeveloped a lot of characters are, we hear about “the three Amazon vampires” like we should know who that is, and how they probably weren’t involved in the creation of any legends. You. Can’t. Do. It. Like. That. Steph.

* But then Alice drops a vase, and because “I had never seen a vampire drop anything by accident. Ever,” she’s obviously seen something horrifying in one of her convenient visions. That Irina’s going to do what I already told you.

“This isn’t about Bella,” Alice assures us (pardon me if I still have trouble with that), even though ALL the Volturi are coming, not just the minions. Even the rulers and their wives.

And again I’m under-impressed by the mental acuity of the vampires as they dither trying to figure out what about them could possibly demand such a complete show of force from the Volturi.

Bella’s the one to figure it out. Because she’s such a natural vampire.

* “And the Volturi’s response to this kind of infraction was so automatic, it was already decided.” Oh, that kind of infraction? Not the kind where they’re happy to make an exception if someone with clairvoyant powers of questionable reliability tells them the rules will be obeyed…eventually, I guess. The guard saw Bella was still human when they came by, and they still haven’t taken action to make sure Edward kept his promise. Hell, who knows when they would’ve come, if not for Irina’s hissyfit?

Bella tries to assure them that they have nothing to worry about, since Nessie’s not a hyperactive monster but a growing little monster. Edward delivers the bad news, “It’s the kind of crime they hold a trial for, love. Aro’s seen Irina’s proof in her thoughts. They come to destroy. Not to be reasoned with.”

Her proof! If Aro’s read her thoughts as thoroughly as he does she must seem childish and petty and eager for revenge. If you’re going to tell me her assurance is proof enough for him to round up his entire organization and come to murder his old friend and that old friend’s entire family, I need to see more of Irina than when she’s at her worst.

I’m sick and tired of your assurances, Steph. You’re willing to create a whole world, you should damn well be willing to show us why we should believe what you say about what happens in it. I’m saying that as a reader, not a writer.

* Anyway, they have about a month before the Volturi show up to bring the hammer of vampire justice down on them. Why so freaking long??

Oh, and they can’t just leave because Demetri would find them. The member who’s a plot device to prevent this kind of thing. As are many of the other Volturi for other things.

* Emmett suggests they might prepare for battle, and kind, compassionate, but shortsighted Bella tells him they’re not condemning the Quileutes to death fighting the Volturi. I say shortsighted because Emmtt points out because the Quileutes would come to fight anyway if they found out hostile vampires were coming.

Emmett reminds the others the Quileutes aren’t their only supernatural friends, but Carlisle replies those are “Other friends we don’t have to sentence to death.”

You’re telling me what to think again, Steph. And I’ll go back to that thing where I said she trapped herself in Eclipse; if the Volturi had shown up and killed any of newborn vampires of note, it would’ve made them seem tough, but at the expense of the Cullens. Who would’ve seemed less awesome by being outdone. That was really the only opportunity Steph gave herself to demonstrate how frightening the Volturi were, so we’re left with more of her damn assurances.

* The plan shifts from researching Nessie via legends to talking to their various other vampire friends to assemble in Forks, in the hopes that seeing such a large number of vampires uniting by the Cullens persuade the Volturi to stop long enough for the Cullens to reason with them.

Which means two things. That the first three pages of this chapter, where we heard the details about their plans to research Nessie's condition, were totally pointless. Thanks, Steph.

Two, that this time we’re told well in advance that Steph’s not even going to attempt an epic battle. It’s going to be an epic DEBATE SESSION.

Oh, my head…

* Somewhere during this Alice and Jasper disappear, and Jacob shows up just in time to find out “We’ve all been sentenced to die.”

1 comment:

  1. With a few trite example excepted, I see evidence that SMeyer's writes using an inverted Checkov's Gun trope, summarized:

    If something of seemingly potential importance is introduced, it will be soon averted and never brought to attention again.