My Rating: 3 stars
Though I usually don’t discuss it, I was a huge Twilight fan as a teenager. I wasn’t going to buy this originally. I thought maybe I’d get it out of the library at some point a few months after it was published. But then it came out and this overwhelming feeling of nostalgia overcame me. It drove me to reread Twilight, but it still wasn’t quelled. So I went out and bought Midnight Sun. And honestly, I’m glad I did. It was fun and familiar but still held some surprises. It was like being 14-year-old Elizabeth again with a bit of a twist. And I was pleasantly surprised by how much better written it is than Meyer’s other books. That’s always been my biggest problem when rereading the original series. But she’s truly grown as a writer, and there were even some quotes I really loved.
There are so many advantages to being in Edward’s head for this story. We get a peek into everyone else’s head through his mind-reading ability, which gives extra insight into all the characters we’ve already come to know. I was particularly intrigued with what Meyer chose to do with Edward’s perceptions of Charlie and Renée. I won’t give anything away, but I found it fascinating. The other great thing about having Edward as a narrator is that we get to spend more time with the Cullens and learn about their background. Let’s be real, the Cullens are the best characters in the whole series and their histories are far more interesting than the actual plot. The only ones we really get to know through Bella’s point of view are Edward and Alice. It was nice to have more scenes of them and get to know them a bit better.
While there are great parts about being in Edward’s head, there are also downfalls. Mainly that he is the most angsty, depressing, exhausting narrator in the history of literature. I say that as someone who reads books with lots of angsty and depressing characters. Edward is intensely self-hating through the whole book and it made me incredibly tired. It made me so tired that sometimes I just had to stop reading the book for long periods of time. My reread of Twilight took me 4 days, and that’s while I was working. It took me 22 days to finish Midnight Sun. That’s a really long time for me, especially for a YA book that I already know the plot of. And I blame it all on Edward being so tiresome, which leads to my next book.
This book is entirely too long. It’s 662 pages! That’s over 100 pages more than Twilight! It just really didn’t feel necessary to me, especially since everyone reading it already knows what happens. Edward’s verbose self-hatred definitely had something to do with the length (and probably made it feel longer than it actually is). There are also conversations that were skimmed over in the original that have been expanded here. And while it is nice to get new information, I didn’t need to have all the details of Edward and Bella’s getting to know you conversations. At some point it just feels overindulgent and starts to bog down the story.
Overall, Midnight Sun is great for anyone who wants to indulge in some nostalgia for the original series with a little bit a twist. Even though it’s overlong and Edward is annoying, it’s easy for a fan to overlook and find the fun in it. However, there really isn’t anything here for someone who doesn’t already love the series.