“Who is ready to go back to being 12 years old again?”It’s been 12 long years since the last book of the “Twilight” series came out, meaning high schoolers that once classified themselves into TeamJacob or TeamEdward are now working adults.
But no amount of time could rid fans of Stephanie Meyer’s books — and their subsequent movie adaptations — of their enthusiasm for the vampire series. On Tuesday, Meyer’s new book “Midnight Sun,” which reimagines the iconic love story from Edward’s perspective, hit shelves.
“Midnight Sun” was supposed to be published after the 2008 release of “Breaking Dawn,” the last book in the original series, which was adapted into a successful movie franchise featuring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. But then, an unedited manuscript was leaked, putting the book on hold.
“The reason it wasn’t published earlier was because it was not done, and when I did see the light at the end of the tunnel — when I saw that I was actually going to be able to finish it — I started the publication process right away, because I knew there were people who had been waiting really kindly and patiently, but also anxiously, for quite a while,” Meyer said.
Since Twilight‘s release in 2008, both fans and critics of the franchise have argued about Edward’s behavior and whether his (somewhat overbearing) attempts to protect Bella from any and all forms of bodily harm cross the line from loving to abusive. However, Meyer intended for Midnight Sun to present some of his more problematic behavior — primarily, his habit of sneaking into Bella’s bedroom to watch her sleep every night without her knowledge — along with his self-deprecating interior monologue, which reveals that Edward finds himself just as problematic as the reader does.
“I don’t know if anyone has ever realized how incredibly guilty he feels all the time, how he feels like he can destroy her with a breath,” the author told Bustle ahead of Midnight Sun’s release. “So that I think comes out a lot in how he is around Bella. He’s an extremely anxious person and you don’t get that from the other side where he seems so suave. But when you’re in his head, it’s a whole different experience.”
In “Twilight” we become acquainted with the Cullens at the same pace Bella does. But in “Midnight Sun,” readers get a deeper look into Edward’s non-biological family, who were brought together through a series of events that become clearer in his telling.
Each of the family members reads more complex, and their character flaws and bright spots more salient, giving readers a better understanding of the series on the whole. The Washington state town of Forks’ most mysterious family becomes even less of a mystery than when Bella gets to know them over the course of four other books.
In “Midnight Sun,” readers hear details Edward purposefully leaves out in his explanations to Bella, including a scene in which he simplifies the early stages of his adopted father, Carlisle Cullen’s adjustment period after turning into a vampire, and the struggles he endured, and limited some details about the amplified human characteristics of his adopted vampire siblings.
“It feels strange to be making this announcement when the world is suffering through a pandemic, and no one really knows what’s next,” Meyer said in a statement released by her publisher in May. “I hope this book gives my readers a little pleasure to anticipate and, after it arrives, a chance to live in an imaginary world for a while.”
“I think the part that people won’t expect is: Edward is a very anxious character. Writing him made me more anxious, and that’s one of the reasons it was hard to be in that story,” Meyer said. “His anxiety combined with mine was potent. He starts off fairly confident, but boy does he get broken down by the end. Bella really breaks him into pieces. I think he comes across in Twilight being very strong and so super sure of himself, when that never was really actually the case.”
Meyer added that she would not be telling the rest of the series from Edward’s perspective, because “the experience of writing this book was not a super pleasant one” to undergo. “This is it for Edward,” she said.
“This is it for Edward,” Meyer told the Times. “I think this gives you enough of a sense of what it’s like to be Edward that you could go and look at the other books and you would know what’s going on in his head.”