Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Honest Review of 'Midnight Sun' From A Fan | Book Review

If you have not read the Twilight series, there will be a few spoilers in this review to help give fans a better insight into if Midnight Sun is worth reading.

I was actually a bit late to the Twilight (published in 2005) hype, I read the first book a little while before the film came out back in 2008 (yes, I'm starting to feel old now). During a really hard time in my early teens, Twilight was my saviour. I'd suffered bullying and harassment for several years across different schools, faced rejection from boys and this love story helped me to still believe in love. Sure, there are better love stories and we've all seen the memes, but to a thirteen year old who had never been in a relationship; I believed in their electricity.

Midnight Sun was released on 4th August 2020, when I heard this highly anticipated book was finally coming I couldn't wait. I read the leaked pages back in the day and I was tremendously excited. I was always #TeamEdward and just had to know more about his side of the story. Later in the Twilight series, Stephanie Meyer plays around with different perspectives, and I felt it really helped flesh out the story and give it stronger legs. Plus, it gave some of us a break from Bella's sometimes annoying narrative.


PJ/Loungewear from TU Sainsburys

When I picked up my copy from my favourite independent bookstore; Pigeon Books, I could not believe the sheer size of the novel. Nearly twice the size of Twilight. Already I was wondering how much of Midnight Sun was staying within the realm of the first book.

The Good

This book definitely transported me back to my youth, and nostalgia of early Twilight days was in full swing. I kept remembering the first time I read Twilight, and my reactions. I honestly think I will always keep my battered copy of the first book, just to relive my youth. I absolutely love romance, and loved the forbidden aspect and was head over heels for vampires. The fact that Edward has to restrain himself from getting too carried away - both in terms of potentially killing her for her infatuating blood, and potentially killing her by sheer force was exhilarating. To have the narrative of his inner battle, describing the sensations of every touch from an immortal being whose senses are more heightened than a humans was thrilling. I must admit his thoughts, and hearing other's thoughts were often humorous and made me chuckle. There has always been the argument that Edward was creepy and stalking Bella, and at least from his perspective he is well aware of how bad all of that looks. He even tries to tell her this information, but the dozy mare is unfazed.

The Bad

As time went on, I realised a lot of the pages were purely just Edward's tortured thoughts, and him having conversations with his family through his mind reading power. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of Edward's pining but it can be a lot. The thing that annoyed me the most, was that I felt Meyer was trying too hard to be in the mindset of a hundred year old vampire. Yes, he's over a century old, but he's still a teenager. I also loathed when he referred to Bella as "the girl", it just didn't feel right. Personally, I think he should've used "her" in situations where it can make grammatical sense. I kept rolling my eyes every time Meyer made him think those words.

Whilst we get a brief insight into Edward's life before Bella, sometimes it's a bit overboard. There are a lot of unprovoked flashbacks, some of which we've experienced in the other books and some which were not necessary to the story. At times Edward veers into a distant memory in the middle of an interesting situation, I found myself skimming these parts to get back to the present.

Most of Midnight Sun is pretty much a retelling of Twilight from Edwards view, but I don't hate it. I do wish we had crossed into New Moon territory to understand more of his anguish and what happens when he leaves.

The Ugly

Even though I was only thirteen at the time of reading Twilight, I picked up on spelling and grammatical errors, and it's always a shame because it pulls you away from the story. I was hoping that with over a decade to work on this book it would've been looked over with a fine toothed comb; I was wrong. I lost count of sentences that didn't make sense, and silly little mistakes. I know sometimes I miss mistakes, but I don't have a team of people checking my work and getting paid to do so.

I think that Meyer left it too long, and perhaps over-worried about this book. It might not have helped that the first few chapters had been leaked. If she had been able to write this completely secretly, perhaps it could have turned out better. It just didn't flow between Edward's thoughts, other people's thoughts and the incessant flashbacks. I read a book straight after this one where it has text messages, emails and flashbacks breaking up the linear narrative and it worked so much better than Midnight Sun. I feel that there is something in this book for the fans, but for anyone just picking it up to see what the fuss is all about, I don't think it'll be for you. 

The ending felt a little rushed and the lead up to the ballet studio scene was a bit chaotic, flitting between the present and Alice's visions. We start to miss chunks of time that I might have liked to live through Edward's eyes, but we did not get that. When I was about 3/4 of the way through and saw how much there was to go, I almost thought there was going to be a different ending, or that it would be cut short compared to the first book. Perhaps we could've started the book in a flashback to a younger Edward, a scenario where he's longing for love, or thinks it's not on the cards for him. I just wanted a little bit more.

Verdict

This is definitely a book for the fans and fans alone, I've seen reviews from other fans and they've slated it and they even put the book down entirely. I think you need to be sort of a Twihard and on #TeamEdward to really enjoy it. This was a missed opportunity for Stephanie Meyer and her publishing team, there were some golden moments but the whole book diminishes those. 

I decided to give Midnight Sun 3 stars, because it was enjoyable but it could've been better. I'm not sure if I'd read it again, but it's staying on the shelf for now.

Did you read Midnight Sun? If not, what do you think about it from this review?
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