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I finally devoured Stephenie Meyer’s Midnight Sun and it’s everything I dreamed of and more. Over a decade after ending too many Facebook posts with #TeamEdward and trying to make telling my best friends “you sparkle like Edward” a thing, this book was absolutely worth the wait (shout out to Stephenie’s mom)! We learned a lot of new things from Edward’s perspective of Twilight, and gained some insight on all of the characters. Here’s how he altered my opinion on some of them.
I’ll start off with Jasper, because while Emmett has always been my favorite Cullen (and still is), Jasper delivers the most surprises in Midnight Sun. When reading Twilight I kind of saw Jasper as a wounded puppy. He was the weakest link; he couldn’t do anything without Alice or another family member standing next to him, he was at risk of losing control every second of every day, and I just felt bad for him. The film didn't help, with him constantly appearing confused and in pain. Midnight Sun reveals quite the opposite - Jasper is the strongest. Perhaps not physically as strong as Emmett, but better prepared for a fight with his military background, and Jasper is better equipped mentally and emotionally than the others in Carlisle’s coven. He contemplates killing Bella early on, but that's more due to thinking about what's best for his family, not out of bloodlust.
Jasper easily shifts to becoming her protector when that’s what’s best. Everything is calculated for the good and protection of those he loves. We also learn that, not only can he feel and manipulate the emotions of those around him, but he can also conceal people. When meeting James, Jasper covers himself, Alice, and Bella in a haze of tediousness to make them seem uninteresting so James does not notice them. This seems like a similar type of power to Bella’s vampire power shield that’s unlocked in Breaking Dawn, which is very interesting. There's clearly so much more to Jasper than we've been given and I would read an entire spinoff series about him.
This one’s pretty simple, I hate Mike because Edward does. I’ve seen a lot of jokes about how much Edward hates Mike and some are saying it’s excessive, but let’s remember that Edward has a direct line to the guy’s thoughts, so I’m reading Midnight Sun as the true version and Twilight as Bella’s rose-colored glasses version. I think Mike annoyed everyone in Twilight, but I didn’t dislike him. His affinity for Bella was cute, though too strong, and him being so focused on Bella that he didn’t notice Jessica’s feelings for him was kind of touching and realistically high school of him.
I didn’t see Mike’s jump from Bella to Jessica as insensitive, I read it as him accepting Bella’s very direct “never gonna happen” but also finally seeing that a close friend had been into him for years and being willing to give her a shot. But Edward shows us that Mike doesn’t even see Bella as a person, or bother to learn anything about her. He just likes her because she’s shiny and new, and moves onto Jessica because she’s available and he’s shallow, which totally kills any and all investment I had in his character.
I can’t say Angela evoked strong feelings to begin with. In Twilight, she was a nice friend of Bella’s, but also easily cast aside. She could be removed from the book without altering the story at all. I remember thinking the first few times I read it that Angela’s only purpose was to strengthen the case for Bella to remain human. She served as one more person Bella would end up leaving behind, yet wasn’t present enough for that reason to stick.
In Midnight Sun, however, Angela’s personality really shines through Edward’s access to her inner monologue. She acknowledges the unwanted attention Bella receives, has not one single negative thought about Bella, or anyone, and is probably the only genuine person in all of Forks High School. Of course, the chapter that seals my love for Angela is Port Angeles. Her concern for Bella’s feelings and safety while Jessica simply couldn’t care less makes me want to hug her. And speaking of Jessica...
This one surprised me. I always liked Jessica. In Twilight, she was a little self-absorbed and superficial, but thought and acted exactly as a traditional high schooler would, so I wasn’t particularly bothered by that. It made the overall story more believable, because after decades of playing high school students, the Cullens still failed to really talk or act seventeen, and Bella wasn’t much better (though she had the excuse of a backwards relationship with her mom). Twilight casts Jessica as more than a gossip. Sure, she was jealous that Edward chose Bella when he wasn’t interested in her, and she cared more about herself than others, but she was still a friend to Bella.
Midnight Sun reveals that is not the case, particularly the thought “Oh, who cares about Bella?” when she and Angela are discussing returning to the store in Port Angeles instead of looking for her, or staying in a place where she could easily find them. I really can’t stand Jessica now. All of her thoughts are self-serving and everything about her is fake. She befriends Bella only to boost her own popularity, and is interested in Bella’s life only because Bella is the center of attention, not because Jessica has any personal interest in her. It’s all about what she can get from proximity to Bella, and if Bella disappeared I doubt Jessica would be sad.
While Jessica bothers me, I loathe Rosalie the most. She sucks (not a bad vampire pun; she's plain awful). In Twilight she was standoffish toward Bella, and Edward explained that Rosalie was jealous because she wanted to be human. That made sense to me, and while I found her sort of annoying, I pitied Rosalie because being immortal in the world of Twilight, especially the way the Cullens live, isn’t so glamorous. She grew softer toward Bella as the books progress, especially when we learned how desperately she wanted a child, and I was fully Team Rosalie by the end of the saga - but now Midnight Sun has me questioning that. In the new book, Rosalie may as well be an angry pre-teen. Her initial hatred toward Bella stems from vanity, because she was originally intended to be Edward’s life partner and he wasn’t interested.
Rosalie is often described as vain in Twilight, but Midnight Sun amplifies that in a way that’s just ridiculous. She found the love of her life (Emmett) and married him multiple times, was never interested in Edward, yet is upset that Edward finds a random human more attractive? Enough to glare from across the room, pout with crossed arms, and give Edward the cold shoulder like they’re twelve? It makes sense that at least one of the Cullens would hold the opinion that Bella is more trouble than she’s worth and be upset with Edward for putting them at risk. But to be a hundred years old and have as little emotional control as Rose makes no sense. Refusing to trade outfits when Bella’s life is in danger is petty and absurd (you're a hundred, get it together). I need a spinoff of Rose and Emmett's love story for clarity.
I was never a big fan of Bella. Besides her luscious floral-smelling blood and all the boys thinking she’s beautiful, I thought she was perfectly average and didn’t understand what Edward loved about her. Clumsy isn’t cute, and she lacks street smarts. The guy literally talks about wanting to kill her for half of their conversations, and she’s like cool, come closer. She continually puts herself in dangerous situations (in what world did she really believe the Cullens wouldn’t follow her and avenge her death in Phoenix, eye-roll) and she’s downright terrible to Jacob (Team Edward for life, but Jacob deserved better).
After reading Midnight Sun, I realize that probably the most relatable aspect of Bella is that she doesn’t love herself. She views herself as ordinary and undeserving of wonder and magic, which is why we see her that way when she tells the story. Edward sees her as extraordinary and perfectly imperfect, and I love that we get to see everything positive about Bella through his perspective. We see how she’s willing to make herself uncomfortable for the convenience of others, how she loves and protects people, and how truly good she is. She lets absolutely anyone into her life, greets them with kindness, gives them the benefit of the doubt, and makes an effort to get to know everyone before forming an opinion. She doesn't ignore the negative aspects of Mike and Jessica; they don't exist to her. She sees the good in everyone because she's so wonderful herself.
How did Midnight Sun change your view of the Twilight characters? Who else deserves their own spinoff? Let me know in the comments!