Blogging Eclipse: Part 1
We're halfway there!
For those just joining the fun, I'm reading the Twilight series for the first time, and writing about the experience on a chapter by chapter basis. Blogging Twilight and Blogging New Moon posts are collected here.
For this book, I'll be keeping a running tally of the number of times the author uses the words "glower" and "murmur."
Poor Bella Swan is once again in great peril, but luckily her "protector" is there to keep her safe in this flash-forward that is similar to the previous novels. I'll assume her protector is Edward, but I'm hoping that it's Emmett, Jacob, or a recently zombie-fied Harry Clearwater. I'll go out on a limb and suggest that Bella has not been transformed into a vampire yet, because why else would she act so weak? Of course, since becoming a vampire amplifies certain aspects of your personality, perhaps when she was transformed, her powers of weakness were boosted to the point where she cannot even yawn without breaking a rib. This section ends with, "Somewhere, far, far away in the cold forest, a wolf howled." Is there a chance that this book might be 100% awesome?
Chapter One: Ultimatum
Better Title: This Chapter Isn't Too Bad
The book begins with a handwritten note from the awesome Jacob Black. It seems that Bella has been trying to get in touch with Jacob, but he's still angry. In the last book, she left him high and dry so she could chill out with the boring, moody, smelly, humorless, irrational, pretentious, uninteresting, elderly, chilly, morose, non-scary, depressed, over-protecting, uptight, too-cool-for-school Edward Cullen…who I do not like.
Jacob sends the note in the hopes that Bella will stop pestering him. He can't be friends with her as long as she continues to date Edward. Jacob is a werewolf. Edward is a vampire. And for some reason that will probably anger me with its lack of logic, these two species of monsters cannot play together. The note is a bit cold, and ends with Jake saying that he still loves Bella, but love "doesn't change anything."
Naturally, I'm on Jacob's side. Bella wants it all: The vampire boyfriend and the tough, amazing, tall, funny, friendly, outgoing, mechanically inclined, charming, brawny, shirtless, shoeless, outdoorsy, and warm werewolf best friend.
The note features a few harsh lines that Jacob has crossed out. What he leaves in the note is bland, and far less mean. It seems odd that he would edit his own work, and still submit the crossed out lines. It would be like mailing the following note to Stephenie Meyer:
Dear Ms. Meyer,
I hate your words! I'm going to egg your house! I bet you smell bad, and you probably wear dumb clothes!
Congratulations on your success. While I'm not a fan of the work, there is no denying your popularity.
Wishing you nothing but the best,
Daniel A. Bergstein
Bella reminds us that Edward is her boyfriend, though she doesn't think "boyfriend" is the right word for their relationship, a topic of conversation that she already dealt with way back in the first book. Now she tells us, "I needed something more expressive of eternal commitment." How about Forever Buddy?
Edward would like to call Bella his fiancée, but Bella doesn't want to marry him. This does not make sense. She is willing to be turned into a vampire, dreams of spending the rest of her life with Edward, and describes her relationship with him as one of "eternal commitment" and yet she doesn't want to walk down the aisle? Talk about being finicky. What's next?
BELLA: I want to swim underwater, using a breathing apparatus that is self-contained.
EDWARD: Would you like to go scuba diving?
BELLA: No! Never! How dare you suggest such a thing!? I hate you! I hate you! [RUNS AWAY CRYING]
Bella's dad has made dinner, and it seems as though he wants to talk about something. But Bella and her dad munch away on soggy spaghetti in silence. She looks to the clock, because her forever buddy is allowed to come over after dinner. She then brings us up to speed on the story, explaining why she's grounded.
I wonder if anyone started reading the Twilight Series out of order, and began with this book. If so, you haven't missed much. But here is a summary of the events from the previous books:
Twilight: Bella meets a vampire and falls in love. She drives a truck.
New Moon: The vampire runs away and Bella befriends a werewolf. She drives a motorcycle. Things become awesome. She goes to Italy. Things become significantly less awesome.
At the dinner table, Charlie starts reading the paper and mentions a recent string of murders in Seattle. Gee, I wonder if these murders will impact Bella later in the story? This would be like showing someone reading the headline "Icebergs Spotted in Ocean" in the beginning of "Titanic." (For those keeping score, this is my second "Titanic" reference in these blogs.)
Bella and Charlie have a talk. He's worried that she's neglecting her friends. She only spends time with Edward and Alice, and has all but forgotten Angela, Mike, and of course, Jacob. Still, Charlie suggests moderating Bella's punishment somewhat, because she's been pretty good. He adds, "For a teenager, you're amazingly non-whiny."
Either Charlie assumes that "non-whiny" actually means "whiny", just like "inflammable" actually means "flammable," or he's never spent more than ten minutes with his daughter. 85% of the past two books was nothing but Bella whining about how horrible her life is, and how everything would be better if only Edward was with her, or she was a vampire, or Jacob was her brother, or Edward wasn't a vampire, or she was good at volleyball.
Charlie doesn't know his daughter very well. I'm surprised he didn't add, "Not only are you non-whiny, but you are also made of solid gold, and you can see through walls, and you were born with eight lungs, and your happy-go-lucky personality really shines through, brightening everyone's day."
Charlie will ease back the grounding, but only if Bella agrees to spend time with her other friends. She reminds us who her non-monster friends are, but in a shocking turn of events, Eric (E-Rock) is left out of her ramblings, and I fear that we will never hear from him again. R.I.P. E-Rock. We hardly knew thee.
Charlie is trying to figure out what happened between Bella and Jacob that soured their relationship. But Bella can't discuss the details, because the world of vampires and werewolves is strictly secret…unless you're a depressed new girl in town. In which case, you can't get the monsters to shut up about all of their secrets.
Bella would like to be friends with Mike and Angela, but thinks it will be too difficult. The last book ended with the good vampires agreeing to transform Bella into a vampire after she graduates high school. She's worried about being friends with humans after her transformation, telling us, "For their own safety, I would never be able to see them again after graduation."
Huh? Why can't she be friends with humans? Hell, Edward spends all day with humans. I see no reason why Bella would have to ditch Angela. (Though I understand if she wants to leave Mike behind, because I'm pretty sure he's a serial killer, or at the very least a pervert.)
There is a lot of talk about Jacob and hurt feelings and conflicts. Bella halfheartedly agrees to Charlie's terms, and says she will try her best to balance her time with Edward and her other friends. Charlie gets up and hands Bella a letter. She's been accepted to the University of Alaska Southeast. And then, Edward shows up…wearing a golden crown and a tuxedo while riding a white stallion that is also wearing a tuxedo, as a choir of angels sings and moonbeams glitter down from the heavens, surrounding him in cosmic brilliance. (Some of that didn't actually happen.)
Bella describes him as "my own personal miracle." She then goes on and on about his eyes, his smell, his skin, his breath. She looks him up and down, like he is a piece of meat. The very sight of this perfect, smelly vampire leaves her literally breathless. This could be quite serious. Does she act like this every time she sees him? Maybe she just has asthma.
After five or six paragraphs of description, she finally says hi to Edward and invites him inside. Was he just standing there this whole time, as Bella went into la-la land? I guess he's used to this behavior by now. Maybe he brings along a magazine or he plays poker on his iPhone to pass the time as Bella describes him in her own mind.
Edward grabs Bella's hand and smells it. In the book, this action is written with a bit more passion, but yeah…he sniffs her. Do women like this? Every time I sniff a woman's hand, it usually ends with her nervously saying, "Umm…" followed by, "OK, you can spit now. The dentist will be with you in a moment."
Edward's plan for the night is to help Bella fill out college applications. While it's no walk in a magical garden, or trip to Italy, at least Edward is being practical.
Though she applies to schools, Bella couldn't care less about going to college. She has no career goals. She doesn't want to make a better life for herself or contribute to society. She'd rather become a vampire and…um…I don't know…play Wii Sports all day while drinking bear blood. Live the dream, Bella Swan. Live the dream.
Charlie says Edward can stay until 10:30, instead of making him leave at the typical 9:30 curfew. Edward acts surprised that Bella's punishment is easing, though he already knew as much from reading Charlie's mind. Edward says this is good news because Alice wants to go shopping in the city.
But Charlie quickly says that Bella shouldn't go to Seattle, because of the high murder rate. And Edward, the over-protecting second parent, agrees. Charlie leaves, and Edward and Bella begin filling out applications.
She doesn't understand why Edward wants her to apply to colleges that she cannot afford, but Edward (who is filthy rich for some reason) tells her not to worry about cost. She tosses the papers aside, but they are gone in an instant, as Edward uses his vampire super speed to collect them.
He says he already filled out the applications, forged her signature, and used an essay that she had already written. And wouldn't you know it, I just happen to have an excerpt from Bella's essay. (Don't ask how I got it.)
Describe your approach to problem solving:
The most important aspect of problem solving is having a boyfriend who can run really fast. Just like my boyfriend! He can stop cars with his hand! His skin is nice and we kiss sometimes (on the mouth!). I can't tell you why he's so strong and powerful, but let's just say that he's…bloody brilliant. Get it? Bloody? Anycrap, if I'm ever in trouble, I do nothing at all and just wait for my forever buddy to save the day. Can he come to your college too? He's mad smart!
(She then goes on a three page rant about his cold, hard skin.)
In conclusion, I never need to worry about problems.
P.S. My forever buddy has gold eyes! Yummy!
In Bella's mind, going to college is still plan B. She'd much rather skip the college experience and head right into the vampire way of life.
And then, ladies and gentlemen, we have our very first "murmur" of the novel. Edward murmurs to Bella, telling her there's no rush for her to become a vampire. But Bella says, "I want to be a monster, too," which would have made a much better title for this book. (Would also be a great name for a costume store or body-piercing hut.)
Edward becomes angry at Bella's ignorance. He shows her the article in the paper, the one Charlie mentioned earlier about the high murder rate in Seattle. Edward says there's a rogue vampire in Washington who is responsible for the recent deaths.
Judging by the way this evil vampire is killing, Edward assumes it's a "newborn" vampire. This begs the question: How can there be new vampires? If even the sweet-as-sugar Alice Cullen is unwilling to transform Bella for fear that she might lose control and kill Bells in the process, how does a human-hating vampire have enough willpower to infect a new vamp without killing the victim? Maybe, just like a pregnancy, you can catch vampirism from toilet seats. (Why are you looking at me like that?)
Bella gets sad thinking about all the vampire victims, but that quickly passes. Why think about bad things when you have a supermodel boyfriend snorting your wrist? Bella tells Edward that she's been thinking about Jacob a lot, and needs to see him to clear things up. But Edward says, "You know it's out of the question for you to be around a werewolf unprotected, Bella."
This is why I dislike Edward. He's an overbearing control freak who treats Bella like she's his puppy. Why do girls like this guy so much? He's not a rebel, or a badass. He's just a dad with thicker hair.
Thankfully, Bella shows her feisty side and reminds Edward that she hung out with the werewolves while Edward was off being moody in South America. They talk about Wuthering Heights for a few pages, and I don’t really follow what they're saying because I haven't read Wuthering Heights. (From the title, it sounds like the book is about fancy roofs.)
That conversation ends, and Edward still says visiting the werewolves in La Push is a bad idea, calling the wolves unstable, and saying, "Sometimes, the people near them get hurt. Sometimes they get killed."
Edward is such an ass. Not only do the werewolves rule this entire series, but they never hurt Bella. Meanwhile, Eddie's own vampire brother nearly tore Bells apart after she received a tiny paper cut. Who's unstable now, Sled-Ward! (This nickname would work better if a sled was some sort of silly, irrational animal, and not just a fun mode of transportation.)
But goofy, lovesick Bella thinks Edward has a point. She mentions Emily, the wife of one of the werewolves, who was accidentally disfigured when her husband transformed. But I would like to add that when Emily was attacked by accident, the entire werewolf pack didn't move to South America, leaving Emily behind. They stuck around, because that's what werewolves do. They get it done.
Edward then reveals some information about the feud between the vampires and the werewolves. When he and Carlisle first came to this area, they had a run-in with Ephraim Black, Jacob's great-grandfather. But Carlisle managed to make peace with the werewolves, and thus the treaty was created.
After that, the Cullens left town for reasons unknown (probably because someone in town had a bloody nose). They came back to Forks a few years ago, for reasons unknown (probably because everyone else in America thinks they are pompous dullards). Edward assumes that the werewolves are back because of some random genetic fluke. But Bella says the werewolves are around because the Cullens returned.
This shocking revelation stuns Edward. Really? He couldn't piece that together on his own? If the werewolves only pop up when the vampires are living nearby, wouldn't you assume there was some connection? Maybe Edward also thinks automatic doors at the grocery store open up randomly, and he just happens to be extremely lucky.
Bella then explains how important Jacob is in her life. Edward struggles to understand. He reminds Bella how much he loves her, and how she needs to be safe. Bella says she's going to see Jacob no matter what. Edward replies, "Then I'll have to stop you."
Bella, if stick around with Edward, you are a fool.
Bella agrees to never see Jacob again. To further ensure Bella's safety, Edward creates a list of things she is to avoid:
5. Wet floors.
6. Banks (because you never know when a bank robber might strike).
9. Candles (unless Edward has first taken the wick out).
10. Knives, forks, and (some) spoons.
12. Plastic bags that are the same size as Bella's head, or larger.
13. Hot dogs (because they are a chocking hazard if not chewed properly).
15. Pencils (unless Edward has dulled the tip properly, and even then, Bella must wear her Pencil Goggles).
18. Steep hills.
19. Firm pillows.
20. Loud things.
And Bella happily does as she is told.