Title: Midnight Sun
Series Title: Twilight #5
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publication Date: August 4th 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre / Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy
When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.
This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?
“My life was an unending, unchanging midnight. It must, by necessity, always be midnight for me. So how was it possible that the sun was rising now, in the middle of my midnight?”– Edward
Guess who was so surprised that she ended up loving Midnight Sun?
Reading Midnight Sun felt like I was rekindling a relationship with an old friend I haven’t seen in a long time. The time we spent apart, I reckoned, I had to try and get to know them again, to reconnect and catch up for the lost time. However, as I start to talk to this friend again, everything seemed familiar and intimate, yet new and fresh at the same time. It was like they never really left, they just have more stories to tell now than before.
This was exactly how it felt like reading Midnight Sun.
Midnight Sun was a book that I have been patiently waiting for. I’ve been waiting for years. I never thought I’d live to see the day we finally find out what hell Edward Cullen is thinking about all throughout Twilight. I’ve read the leaked manuscript back then – loved it – so of course, I was expecting Stephenie Meyer to release it in probably 2 to 3 years. When she didn’t, I was completely heartbroken. She published this Bree Tanner book and the gender-bent Twilight story that I wasn’t interested in at all. I wanted Edward’s perspective. I wanted it so much that I didn’t intend on reading anything else from this world until she gives me what I want. She did. Now, I’m happy and completely satisfied.
Midnight Sun was perfect. It was everything I wanted it to be and more.
I wasn’t sure how I’d do this so I’m doing a Q & A style book review:
WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE BOOK?
First impressions? Hmm. A lot of people dislike the cover. I’m definitely in the minority when it comes to that because I feel like the mushed pomegranate looked fine. It wasn’t disgusting or anything. It was just fine. Was it the best cover ever? Nope. Not by a mile. But it was fine. Fits in with the rest of the series. I’m glad she didn’t try and change the covers into something completely different because I would be angry. A book that’s a part of a series yet the cover is completely out of place – I hate it when publishers do that.
Anyways, I was intimidated by the sheer size of this book. It was double the number of pages Twilight had. I’m a slow reader so I was so sure it might take me a few months to finish. Surprise! I was done in a couple of days.
DID YOU FEEL OBLIGATED TO READ IT BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THE ORIGINAL SERIES?
It wasn’t the sense of obligation that pushed me to pick this up. It was my curiosity that did the trick. To be honest, I was going to pass on this when I first heard she was going to release it – finally.
A little backstory, Twilight was one of those books that shaped me into the reader that I am today. I used to be a huge reader when I was younger, reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, Sweet Valley and The Baby Sitters Club, I read all the available ones at my school library. Then high school came and I stopped. For whatever reason I just stopped. Then came Harry Potter and Twilight, they revived my love for books. Reading them brought back the joy I felt before when I used to immerse myself in the pages of books. Twilight, no matter how imperfect it was, will always have a special place in my bookishly sentimental heart.
Anyways, the reason I was hesitant to read this was because I didn’t want my love for the original books be tainted in case this book ended up being absolutely horrendous. It has been way too long since I’ve read original Twilight books. I’m 31 now, with that being said, my taste in books have changed over the years and that sort of terrified me. Half of me was sure I was going to hate this – lucky for me, that wasn’t the case.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE READING FROM EDWARD’S PERSPECTIVE INSTEAD OF BELLA’S?
It was great! I liked being in Edward’s head more than I did with Bella. While I liked Twilight, I found Bella as a narrator a bit bland. I enjoyed the story of Twilight, I just didn’t particularly like Bella as a character. Edward’s, however, gave me an entirely different view on certain events from the original book which was fascinating to me. Funny enough, I thought Bella was far more interesting when we saw her from Edward’s eyes. His methods of getting to know Bella without really talking to her was a bit questionable if you ask me, but on the other hand, it’s not like he can drown out his hearing of other people’s thoughts. Anyways… yeah.
Oh, and another thing I liked more having Edward as the narrator was knowing all the things he doing when he wasn’t with Bella. There were so much stuff happening behind the scenes that we didn’t know when we read Twilight – hence, why this book was double the size of Twilight. To add to that, the Cullen family were a more fleshed out here than in any of the other Twilight books. I loved that. I seriously need me an Alice book!!!
I do have to note that, Edward could be a little intense at times. His thoughts were a bit more melancholic than Bella because in his head, he was constantly punishing himself for being what he was, for being different than Bella. It was sad to hear sometimes. It could be too much for some as it often seems repetitive.
HOW WAS THE STORY DIFFERENT FROM THE ORIGINAL?
If you’re looking for major differences in the story line, you won’t get that. The additional things that you will see here are those interactions Edward had without Bella, most of the time with family.
Midnight Sun was just what it said it was, it was a reiteration of Twilight on Edward’s perspective. On the “supposed” villain’s perspective. When you start reading the book, you could see that at one point in the book, he does feel like an antagonist. But as you ease into his mind, his consciousness, you start to empathize with what he was struggling with.
IF THE STORY WASN’T MUCH DIFFERENT, WHY DO PEOPLE NEED TO READ THIS?
Edward has this mind reading thing right? Using that, we got to know more about the side characters, like who they actually are beneath the surface. Edward saw through all of Jessica’s bullshit and all of Mike’s lusting over Bella. Haha. It was so much fun.
More importantly, if you’re interested in knowing more about the Cullen family, you’ll get shitloads more here. Rosalie has been one of those characters I don’t really care about, yet I came to understand Rosalie more here. The silent conversations she had with Edward, explaining why she hates Bella and couldn’t accept her.
The relationship between the Cullens is one of the highlights of this book. You wouldn’t get this shit in any of the other Twilight books.
A COMMON CONCERN OF THE READERS WAS HOW EDWARD IS PROBLEMATIC AND ABUSIVE. DO YOU AGREE?
Edward has said and done quite a few problematic things. If you’ve read the original, you’d probably know what they are, it’s just this time, you actually hear what he is thinking as he was doing them.
I think there would be people making references to the times he thought about how Bella smelled or how delicious her blood could be. I won’t fault the book for that though because if you think about it, Edward is a vampire. It is in his nature to crave for blood. He is a predator. He knows it and acknowledges it, which is why he consistently drowns himself in misery thinking how he isn’t good for Bella. Being what he is, blood will be something he will be drawn to and will continually be drawn to, Bella or no Bella. So I won’t really fault the book for that specific reason because his bloodlust is understandable – at least for me.
However, his stalking tendencies, his possessiveness, those were something that I found problematic if a real guy does them. I get that he was just trying to keep her safe, but dude come on, watching her while she sleeps every night without her knowing? Checking out things on her room when she’s sleeping or when she isn’t there? Listening in on other’s conversation just to keep tabs on her. Those are pretty much a blueprint for an abusive boyfriend. That’s a big no for me. But as I was thinking about it, this is fiction. Our main character is a girl who fell in love with a fucking vampire. That shit isn’t normal, so of course their relationship isn’t going to be normal either. It’s something you’d come to expect if you read a book like this, I guess.
For me, I believe it is possible for someone to enjoy a book even with its problematic themes. Why? Because readers are not dumb. I choose to believe that readers know what’s right and what’s wrong. I choose to believe that they’d know when to, and when not to, imitate something they’ve read in books.
WHAT WERE THE THINGS YOU LOVED ABOUT THIS?
- Edward’s perspective is way better than Bella’s.
- I liked that I got to know Bella more through Edward’s stalking (Not the best way to get to know someone, I know. I already scolded Edward on this don’t worry)
- More insight on the Cullen family.
- The writing has improved so much since the original series.
- His mindreading thing allows us to see through the mind of the people around them.
- The brotherly love between Edward and Emmett.
- If you’ve read the original book, you’d know that an accident “supposedly” happened. The fabrication of the scene… so good! Lol.
- This book humanized Edward, a little bit. He was still a vampire, but we sort of saw his humanity peeking through because of the love he developed for Bella.
- This is a weird thing to like about but I really connected with Edward because of his continuous self-loathing. The way he thinks is not something that is new to me. I suffer from the same thing, and reading about it through Edward’s thoughts made me feel understood somehow. I know some would complain about it being overly repetitive, but believe me, that is what depression, anxiety, and self-hatred could do to you. Edward maybe a vampire, but he was suffering from a mental health problem. I loved that I somehow saw myself in this book. I just wish that we get to see him get better.
WHAT WERE THE THINGS YOU DIDN’T LIKE?
- Maybe it was too long? I liked everything I got, I just think that it could have been a tiny bit shorter.
- STALKING. EAVESDROPPING. YOU GOT TO STOP THAT BULLSHIT EDWARD.
WHAT ARE YOUR FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT MIDNIGHT SUN?
For fans that have been waiting for this book, you will not be disappointed. I know I wasn’t. It’s still the same story we all know and love, only now it’s told from the perspective of our favorite sparkly vampire, Edward. It was a good change. A welcomed change. I now want the other 3 books to be told from his perspective. I’m sure we would learn a whole lot more about this world and its lore.
I’m sure you guys are probably thinking I might be rating this so high because of my bias for the series. For those who doesn’t know, I rate books based on my level of enjoyment, it could be the most ridiculous book in the entire world, if I ended up enjoying it, I’d give it a 4 or a 5 star rating. So keep that in mind. Midnight Sun is not one of those books that will make other people think you’re smart when you quote it to them. It’s just one of those books that will entertain you and linger with you for a long time.