Disclaimer: This may contain spoilers. There is mention of events that happen in later “Twilight” novels and some quotes from “Midnight Sun.” Read at your own risk. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Nearly two months ago the world of vampires was forever changed…again. Stephanie Meyer broke the internet when she announced back in May that Twilight fans can once again travel to Forks, Washington, and fall in love all over again with the dreamboat of a vampire, Edward Cullen, 15 years after he first stepped into the sunlight in all his shimmering glory.
As a Twilight fan hidden in the shadows, I, of course, pre-ordered the book and couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it the second it arrived on my doorstep.
But August 4th came and went and still no Midnight Sun book. Finally, after learning my pre-ordered book would not be delivered, my superhero fiancé stepped in and found one of the last remaining copies at one of our local bookstores.
Thus, began my ever-short relationship with Midnight Sun.
If you still haven’t read Midnight Sun and are on the fence about reading it, this review is for you. I’ll talk about the good, the bad, and the straight-up ugly included in this novel to help you decide whether this novel is worth your time.
Authors who write the same plot from two different character perspectives are sometimes ridiculed and called lazy. Is it cheap to write the same plot twice but from two different character’s views?
I personally don’t think so.
I’m a fan of this…when done properly. I feel like it helps you get a better understanding of another major or minor character and why they did the things they did in the first book.
Midnight Sun, for those who don’t already know, is an example of this, seeing as the whole novel is basically Twilight in its entirety from Edward’s perspective.
One of the good aspects of Midnight Sun is that you get to learn more about the thoughts the Cullen family has about Bella as well as a bit more backstory on the creation of the coven.
Anyone who read any of the Twilight books knows that Edward was the first person that Carlisle changed. Dying of the Spanish influenza, Carlisle fulfilled Edward’s biological mother’s dying wish to save her son’s life. Carlisle’s response was to turn him into a vampire.
We learn that during the week or so Edward is absent after first meeting Bella in biology class that he travels to Alaska. We get a brief glimpse into the could-have-been relationship between Edward and Tayna, but not much more.
We also learn more about Edward’s early years as a vampire, his first encounter with other vampires Siobhan and Maggie, and a look into his rebellious “teenager” years when he left the Cullen family.
Getting a glimpse into another character’s life is always exciting. I like to think of it like you’re learning about them all over again.
Are you the kind of person who loves reading non-existent dialogue? If so, Midnight Sun is exactly for you. Seeing as Edward’s special vampire ability is mind-reading, a huge portion of this novel is non-existent dialogue, meaning it’s mostly Edward reading other people’s thoughts.
For example, this crucial bit of information was relayed via reading Alice’s thoughts:
Not only did I hate this particular part because Alice, the fortune-seeing vampire, tells Edward he’s in love with Bella before he even thinks he is, but I also hated it because this is a perfect example of all the non-existent dialogue that pushes the story along.
Large chunks of this novel is Edward reading the minds of his classmates to learn more about Bella since she’s the only person whose mind he can’t read. But he also uses it to keep tabs on her throughout the day—almost a way to spy on her 24/7.
The Straight-up Ugly
First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Could they have picked a more revolting cover image?
After reading, I understand the connection Edward feels to Hades in the story of him stealing Persephone and sealing her fate in the underworld, but did it have to be that picture of a pomegranate? There are thousands of other pictures that could’ve been chosen…like any of these, for example.
Next, we have the novel’s length.
As Meredith Goldstein of the Boston Globe wrote in her review of Midnight Sun, this novel is a marathon of a read. It’s 658 pages, which is on par with Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.
If this novel is about the same length as some of her other works, what made it feel like I was running the New York City Marathon to finish this novel?
The answer is simple: it’s literally Twilight all over again.
I know earlier I said that I don’t mind authors writing the same story from two different character’s perspectives, but Midnight Sun may be the exception. There’s hardly any difference between Twilight and Midnight Sun, in my opinion.
For example, we get to hear the same story of Carlisle’s vampiric history in its entirety all over again in a near-perfect copy-and-paste version.
But isn’t it expected to have some dialogue and events crossover between novels? Yes, but I would say not to this extend. I felt like there were very few new things I learned after reading this.
Furthermore, it wasn’t until page 500 that things started picking up and it became a page-turning novel.
Let that sit in for a minute, though. It took 500 pages of the 658-page novel to get into the story.
This was really the one and only time Bella and Edward were separated from one another and the one real time we get to learn more about what happened during “the hunt” when tracking vampire James.
Although, this crave to keep reading even if the world was on fire only lasted 114 pages, because on page 115 things immediately went downhill.
Debunking the Myths I Had About Midnight Sun
I may be the only person who had these thoughts going into the novel, but I thought they’d be worth a share. In my head, if I had these thoughts before starting this novel, I’m sure other people have had them, too.
Myth Number One: Midnight Sun will give us a look into Edward’s life before Bella arrived at Forks
Truth: Midnight Sun picks up on page 18 of Twilight.
So, what makes Midnight Sun nearly 200 pages longer than Twilight? A lot of running away, mind-reading, and self-loathing.
Myth Number Two: Like with most novels in this style, we’ll learn more about what makes Edward tick
Truth: This almost spot-for-spot novel gives us very few opportunities to learn more about Edward and who he is outside of Bella.
While there are moments Edward and Bella are not together, these times are far and few between. Usually, when they aren’t together—like when Edward travels to Alaska—these sections are brief compared to the rest of the novel.
Another thing we learn is that Edward was sneaking into Bella’s room much longer than expected…almost right away. This leaves little to no time for them to be apart, except for the occasional hunting trip.
Myth Number Three: I’ll be more Team Edward after reading
Truth: I hate Edward after reading this.
For anyone who knows anything about the Twilight universe, it’s no surprise that Edward leaves Bella early on in New Moon. What we learn at the end of Midnight Sun is that he’s already planning on leaving Bella.
Edward repeats, what feels like a dozen times in the last 30 pages of the novel, that he won’t leave Bella, “Not until you’re whole again. Not until you’re ready…”
Having always leaned more toward Team Jacob, I wasn’t upset when Edward left and was heartbroken when Bella chose Edward over Jacob in New Moon.
But to find out that Edward was planning for months to leave Bella makes me think less of him than I already did.
Is Midnight Sun Worth Your Time?
Let’s just get right to it: is reading Midnight Sun worth your time? Just like the frozen-in-time appearance of the Cullens, Midnight Sun hasn’t aged well either.
Is it possible I have these thoughts because I’m no longer an adolescent who finds this type of relationship romantic as all hell? Maybe, but maybe not.
At the beginning of spring, I went back and re-read the Twilight saga and zipped through all four books in record time.
Midnight Sun, on the other hand, was a struggle from cover to cover.
In my opinion, this novel felt more like a side project that Meyer worked on while writing the original saga to help build characterization—a side project she never meant to publish.
While I didn’t fall in love with Edward reading Midnight Sun, will I read the two other Twilight-universe novels Meyer said she’s working on? Absolutely. I have to!
Did you read Midnight Sun? What did you think? Would you recommend it to other readers? Comment below!