Spoiler warning: This post may contain spoilers. Read at your own discretion.
When I purchased Stephanie Meyer's latest novel, 'Midnight Sun,' I remembered when my mother handed me Meyer's debut novel 'Twilight.' Eighteen years old and getting ready for my senior year in high school, I drank up every word she wrote. It had been so long since I read a book that captured my teen imagination like Harry Potter. Trapped in a traffic jam during one of my family's 3-day weekend vacations, I was perfectly content sitting in the back seat reading. And fortunately, I did not wait long between books; her final novel in the saga was just released when I started reading the series, so it was seamless as I transition between books.
I have not read any of her books since that exciting fall. When I heard she was finally releasing her long-awaited 'Midnight Sun,' I asked myself, would that magic still capture me as it did as a teen? After all, I am an adult now, married with two kids. Many of my tastes have changed and I am not reading the same books I did as a youth. How has my perspective changed, and is this latest installment going to change how I feel about the series? Would it deliver?
And deliver it did. I was immediately captivated by her prose. Was I simply reading 'Twilight' again? The answer is no. Edward's inner dialogue--which is Meyer's commentary throughout the novel--reveals a part of humanity that we scarcely explore nowadays in modern mass-market novels. With a romantic feel to the prose (and I mean romantic in the stylistic sense, not genre), Meyer explores the fight between the inner demon and humanity within ourselves. She explores the very things that define us as humans.
In this supernatural romance, we not only see into the mind of Edward the vampire but the minds of those around him. And the reader discovers that it isn't being a vampire that makes you a monster; it is the rejection of humanity that does so. Rejection of selflessness, compassion, and empathy. Those that give in to selfishness, greed, and envy are the ones that have monstrous minds (here's looking at you Jessica and Mike, when Edward reveals your vile jealousy and sick teenage minds).
Even more captivating is Meyer's idea of hell within the novel. Edward explains on more than one occasion in the series that he is damned, but love-interest Bella rejects the idea. The truth behind it is that he is damned, but not by fire and brimstone. Meyer's hell in 'Midnight Sun' is the complete stoppage of progression; trapped in a forever state of self, never moving forward. Ultimately, a prisoner of the mind. This kind of hell is more terrifying than any underworld Dante described. And this story is Edward's journey breaking free of this hell, and learning to progress once more.
As much fun and as much love I had for 'Twilight,' 'Midnight Sun' is the one I prefer as an adult. Edward's character growth is tremendous and even retcons some of his actions that seemed 'stalker' or 'disturbing' in the first Twilight novel. It explores topics worth exploring in our modern world and returns to a kind of romantic style of writing we have missed in today's market. Thank you Stephanie Meyer for bringing this story to us.
And as always to everyone, thanks for reading--Enjoy life!