Read Part One here, Part Two here, and Part Three here, and Part Four here, Part Five here, Part Six here, Part Seven here, and Part Eight here.
To give those of you who haven’t read Twilight some idea of the pacing of this book, let me first summarize what happens in several weeks, AKA the first 300 pages:
Bella arrives in Forks. Forks rejoices. Bella gets asked out by some dudes but the only one she likes is Edward, even though all he ever talks about is how much he wants to kill her. Bella does poorly in gym class. Edward saves Bella from death-by van. She goes to the beach and Jacob exposits that the Cullens are all vampires. Bella uses the Internet. Edward saves Bella from rape-by-sketchy-dudes in Port Angeles. Edward and Bella plan to go to Seattle this one Saturday when there’s a dance but end up going to a meadow instead. They kiss. Edward spends the night at Bella’s but they don’t bang or even make out because Mormonism.
Now let me run you through everything that happens the very next day after Bella and Edward hang out in the meadow, AKA pages 300-400:
Edward and Bella go to Edward’s house and Bella meets his vampire family. Edward exposits how all the members of his family became vampires. Bella goes home and Billy warns her to stay away from Edward. Edward meets Charlie. Most of the Cullen family plays vamp ball while Esme and Bella make extremely awkward conversation. In the middle of the game, three vampire baddies—Laurent, James, and James’ girlfriend, Victoria—show up. Everybody seems to be getting along fine but then some wind blows and the vampires realize that Bella is human. Laurent says his group won’t hunt in the Cullens’ territory, but then Edward, Emmett, and Alice drive away with Bella super fast. Between Edward’s mind-reading and Alice’s future-telling, they know that James wants to kill Bella SO MUCH and will never stop until she is dead, and neither will his girlfriend. Bella goes home and tells Charlie that she has to go back to Phoenix RIGHT THIS SECOND and, miraculously, he allows this. The group goes back to the Cullen house where Laurent is chilling with the other Cullens. Laurent tells the group how dangerous James is and then leaves. Edward and Bella say a tearful goodbye, and then Alice, Jasper, and Bella take off in a Mercedes toward Phoenix.
After three hundred pages of nothing happening, suddenly EVERYTHING happens in a single day. Generally there’s a rising and falling of action in a book—not this sudden flight into space from a plateau.
I will allow some shitty drawings to illustrate:
So Edward’s vampire siblings kidnap Bella and take her to Phoenix, where Bella said in James’ presence that she was going as part of her “diabolical” plan. Even though if Bella hadn’t said that, it would have made it MUCH HARDER for James to figure out that she was going to fucking Phoenix. Bella cries on Alice’s “granite” neck and it sounds extremely uncomfortable.
They stay in a hotel and wait for Carlisle to call Alice and report back on the successful killing of James and Victoria. Even though Alice is psychic and would know instantly anyway. Alice sits and waits and draws pictures of dance studios. If she had stayed in Forks, she could have predicted where James and Victoria were going and made the killing of them much, much easier. And Bella and Jasper could’ve hung out with Charlie at Bella’s house, and Jasper could’ve used his powers to manipulate people’s emotions to make Charlie feel okay about everything. And then James would be dead now and this book would be over and I would be reading other things.
Damn it, Alice. Damn it, Carlisle. Damn all of you.
Bella gets to talk to Edward and damn near orgasms on the phone. (Naw, not really. But the Mormon version of that.) Edward tells her that they managed to lose James. (This would not have happened had Alice been there. Okay, I’ll shut up about it now.)
Victoria is back in Forks or something—I don’t know; like Jacob, she doesn’t really matter in this book. Edward says this to console Bella about the fact that there’s a psychotic James on the loose:
“You don’t have to worry, though. He won’t find anything to lead him to you.”
Uh yeah, aside from the fact that James could hear Bella when she said EXACTLY where she was going. I don’t know where James was when Bella was telling Charlie this, by the way. Nor do I believe that at any other point in this book it has been made clear that hearing through walls is a power that vampires in this world possess. But considering the fact that the entire rest of the plot hinges on James being able to hear through walls, I’m going to go ahead and guess that he can.
Alice has visions of James in the dance studio where Bella took classes ten years prior. I took dance classes ten years ago too and I most certainly would not recognize a sketch of the studio where I practiced. Bella, on the other hand, remembers all kinds of shit:
“That’s where the bathrooms were—the doors were through the other dance floor. But the stereo was here”—I pointed to the left corner—“it was older, and there wasn’t a TV. There was a window in the waiting room—you would see the room from this perspective if you looked through it.”
So, kudos, I guess, Bella, on your uncanny memory of random rooms. Maybe you can have a TV show called Room Detective where you solve crimes by recognizing sketches of rooms instead of murder suspects.
Bella worries about her mom and leaves her a message warning her not to go anywhere or do anything until she talks to Bella. Bella leaves this message on the machine at her mother’s house in Phoenix because her mother doesn’t have a permanent phone number on the road.
Bella’s mother is on the road with Bella’s stepdad, who plays baseball (and would thus get on famously with the Cullens). She has a daughter living far away after seventeen years of living in Phoenix together. In the few descriptions we get of Bella’s mother, we learn that she is the type to worry and email repeatedly when she doesn’t hear from Bella for a few hours.
Are we really to believe that Bella’s mother would not have a cell phone with her so that her daughter could reach her without having to bounce a message back to her from Phoenix? This book published in 2006—that was well into the age of cell phones. Bella uses Alice’s fucking cell phone to call her mother.
Edward decides to come to Phoenix on a plane (he can do that, apparently, while Bella and Co. had to drive for days, but whatevs) and Alice and Jasper plan to meet him at the airport.
Alice’s next drawing presents Bella with a legitimately heart-wrenching conundrum, or what would be one if the steps to get us there hadn’t been so contrived: Alice draws Bella’s mother’s house. This means that at some point, James will be there.
Then Alice’s cell phone rings and she gives it to Bella. Bella hears her mother’s voice saying “Bella? Bella?” and then James comes on the line and tells Bella that her mother came home early. (Charlie mentioned that Renee was due home in a week when Bella left.) James says he’ll kill her mother if Bella doesn’t get away from Alice and Jasper and sneak to her mother’s house so that she can call James and he can tell her to go somewhere else (the dance studio). James warns that if Bella brings anyone with her, he’ll know and he’ll kill her mom.
I’ve got to admit that this is a relatably shitty situation. Bella knows James could kill her mom in, like, a second if Bella sends one of her vampire friends in to rescue her. On some level she knows that she probably won’t be able to do anything to stop James from hurting her mother, but Bella has to try just in case this might save her.
So Bella leaves an extremely melodramatic letter for Edward in which she apologizes for the millionth time how this whole situation is her fault, when it’s really not. James is a crazy fuck who happens to get off on the idea of hunting humans that vampires love, Bella. Like rape-by-sketchy-dudes and death-by-van before it, this is a senseless thing that is out of your control. The way you continuously claim fault for them is exhausting. Just scream, “I’m being SELFLESS,” and you will be less obvious.
Bella tells Alice to give the letter to her mom. I know Bella’s assuming that her mom will be at the dance studio but still laughed at the thought of Bella’s mother reading:
Don’t be angry with Alice and Jasper. If I get away from them it will be a miracle.
Then Bella loses Alice and Jasper in the airport, goes home, and heads to the dance studio alone without any weapons. Sweet, simple Bella.
Read Part Ten here.
Read Part Ten here.