The thing you don’t get from the title of this post are the italics. In Midnight Sun, when Edward thinks that line, (and yes, that line is actually from the book!), what he actually thinks is, “Oh, for the love of all that was holy, would the catastrophes never end?” Edward’s referring to the giant truck skidding on the ice and heading for accident-prone Bella, but I’m referring to the catastrophes of narrative, character development, and description that make up the leaked draft of Midnight Sun.
I have not read most of the Twilight series. I read Twilight, at least, when it first came out, because who doesn’t want to get lost in teenage vampire romance. Several small things about it irritated me from the beginning, but it was teen vampire romance, so I had a different set of standards. However, there were weird gender role issues, too much about Edward losing control that made it sound threatening in a non-vampire way, and I was uncomfortable about Bella as a sympathetic character. I was curious enough about her story, though, to read New Moon, or, well, half of it. I got pretty quickly fed up with the fact that nothing had changed since Twilight – the bad writing conventions were still firmly in place, Bella was still an object of teenage boys’ dangerous desires, and I wanted to beat Jacob over the head with a really big rock. I skipped to the end to see what happened – it was exactly what I expected, and so I returned the book to the library the next day and didn’t bother to read Eclipse when it came out. I was, however, tempted to read Breaking Dawn, but for entirely different reasons – namely the hysterical and disgusted reactions of Ardis and Dea, which you can experience here.
Midnight Sun, though, dragged me back in. It was all the dramatic tension of Twilight from Edward’s perspective, and, having recently read and adored An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aidan, which was Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view, I had high hopes. Well, high hopes for vampire romance, let’s be clear. And, honestly, I found reading Midnight Sun deeply enjoyable, more enjoyable than Twilight, but not, I suspect, for the reasons the author intended.
Sure, it’s a draft, but I’ve read enough by Stephanie Meyer to know her writing style, and, honestly, story structure and scene choices are not something you change in that late a draft. The biggest problem with Midnight Sun is that it’s not a new story – it’s the same scenes we saw in Twilight, just from Edward’s perspective. The first new scene came 96 pages in, when Edward was at home with his family. All the rich and varied choices provided to us by a vampire’s perspective and we get 5 pages of Sociopath Edward smelling Bella’s tasty blood, thinking about how he can eat Bella, and plotting to kill the rest of the class to clean up any witnesses.
Midnight Sun was fun, but mostly because I couldn’t stop laughing over Edward’s throat repeatedly bursting into flames, and his failed telepathic abilities. I guarantee, if you could read someone’s thoughts, they wouldn’t come in the form of verbalized hesitations.
I was momentarily saddened when I reached the end of the draft, which was not, in fact, the end of the story. That was until I realized I already knew how the story ended, if only from Bella’s perspective, which, quite honestly, isn’t really any more or less enlightening.