When last we left the exciting world of Twilight Edward was having family members of his kidnap Bella (but it’s ok, he apologized later) and Jacob told Bella he’d rather see her a dead corpse than an undead corpse.
Bella gets dropped off the next morning at her house and comes home to find that Jacob has left an apologetic phone call and message with Charlie. When she tells Charlie she won’t be calling him back, Charlie says, “That’s not very attractive behavior, Bella, forgiveness is divine.”
Who is this guy?
Bella goes up stairs to put her stuff away and finds a few things missing (and, I think, calls Charlie “dad” for the first time in the series I can remember). Edward comes over but instead of his emo, snogging self he’s his overly protective and paranoid self because…someone has been there. A sparklepire, in the Swan home. Bella’s reaction?
I felt green.
Yes, she felt green. How, exactly, does one feel a color, Meyer? I mean, does green signify luck, as in shamrocks, that she avoided being noshed by a bloodsucker? Does it mean she felt ill, jealous, healthy? All of these are things that can be associated with the color green. Simply saying “I felt green” doesn’t actually convey any real information. *sigh*
Edward drags Bella out of the house and back to his home where he proceeds to yell at Alice for not being psychic enough to see that a sparklepire was going to be digging through Bella’s underwear drawer. They discuss possibilities, ruling out Victoria and the Volturi and coming up short for any other ideas who the new sparklepire could be. Bella, like a broken record, uses this as another attempt to get the Cullens to change her into a sparklepire or, at least, take her away from Charlie; they refuse but keep telling her they’ll be careful. You know, careful like they let a strange vampire steal a bunch of her clothes.
Edward takes her home and Charlie badgers her about Jacob some more, Bella getting in a good dig with “Is Jacob paying you for all the P.R., or are you a volunteer?” But, really, this is Bella we’re talking about here, the world’s klutziest marshmellow, and it takes her until the next morning to forgive Jacob. She calls him up and he can’t stop apologizing, but he does let loose with this bit of unintended humor.
“I can’t believe I was such a jerk.”
“Don’t worry about that – I’m used to it.”
Which brings up two things: Jacob has been more of a jerk this book, more and more with each passing page, and how ridiculously lame is it that Bella, at this point, is so used to being mistreated by the men in her life she’s this blasé about her best friend telling her he’d rather see her dead than a sparklepire.
Edward talks to Jacob and they work out a couple of minor truces and agreements in order to keep Bella safe and for Jacob to come to her house to check out the scent. Edward pulls a crafty, jerk move by giving Bella one, long, full-body hug and breathing all over her to work his sparklescent on her so that Jacob will smell it if she hugs him.
Basically, Edward just did the closet thing he could to peeing on her considering how much of a thing Meyer has made out of people’s smells.
Jacob appears with a serious case of “no-shirt syndrome”, smells around her room (which apparently reeks of sparklepire) and then proceeds to ask Bella a bunch of questions designed to be self-punishing, like what’s it like to have and kiss a sparklepire boyfriend and when she plans on getting bitten. Jacob doesn’t like the answers and cuts himself on a knife he’d been drying (Bella had been doing dishes so he offered to help), seriously cutting his hand, but he’s a werewolf so in instants the deep slice in his palm that was practically spraying blood (the way Meyer describes the cleanup it makes it sound like it got over a decent portion of the kitchen) is completely healed.
Before he leaves Jacob invites Bella to a bonfire. Edward comes back, they talk about her waiting to get changed (which she shoots down of course), they open her mail to find that she’s been accepted to Dartmouth (and that she has an issue with Edward paying for her tuition), and a minor freak out about the sparklepire that was in her room. How Bella can go from being freaked out about an undead stalker, then totally forget it, then back to freaked out again is just not right.
Edward then finds out about the invitation to the bonfire and totally freaks out. He tells Bella that he’s going to have Emmett make a set of manacles, attach them to the secret dungeon beneath Casa de Cullen, and-
“You don’t have to ask my permission, Bella…I told you that I was going to be reasonable and trust your judgment. I meant that. If you trust the werewolves, then I’m not going to worry about them.”
Well, er…ok then.
AH HA! Edward has caveats! I knew that sparkly jerk would be unreasonable when he asked if he could drop her off at the boundary and give her a phone so she could call him when it was time to be picked up, making it so she wouldn’t be alone and waiting for him.
…what the hell just happened here? Did we really just see Edward Cullen turn a 180 from douchebag to something approaching a decent, sensible human being?
He even gives her a helmet and motorcycle jacket for when she goes biking with Jacob. What’s going on here?
I will take this moment to pause, out of respect, for the Glenlivet, for the bottle is empty and once I finish what’s in my glass there will be no more. Of course, that just means I move on to Maker’s Mark. *sigh* My life, it is so difficult.
Edward drops her off with Jacob and they go to the bonfire at the beach in La Push. Bella gets to see what it’s like when two (adult) imprinted people look at each other and are impressed, which just makes me a little more nauseous.
I will say this that I did like the next portion, when Billy tells how the tribe came to be shapeshifters and also a story about when the tribe was threatened by a group of sparklepires. I found myself very interested in these two tales and I think it’s sad that Meyer couldn’t incorporate the story telling she put into these two anecdotes into the rest of the novel.
The next school day Alice tells Bella that she sees a huge graduation party. The date also catches Bella by surprise, with how close it is to graduation, and it pretty much throws her for a loop. Edward and Bella have yet another discussion about the whys behind Bella wanting to be a sparklepire and why Edward doesn’t want her to change. They hash out all some other issues and then it’s all “I love you” “No I love you more.” “No, I love you more.”
The next day is the start of what I like to think as SPARKLEPIRE BOOTCAMP. Bella reads about the killings going on in Seattle and she and Edward decide to ditch school and go talk to his family, especially Jasper.
Jasper, you see, was not one of Carlisle’s kids. He was a Civil War soldier, taken to be an officer in a sparklepire army. Jasper explains that, in the south, sparklepires don’t lead the nomadic existence that others do in the north; instead, they set down roots and claim a stretch of territory, and all the blood in it, as theirs, which in turn leads to other sparklepires wanting to take that land from them. The way that they do this is a master sparklepire will go out and make a bunch of baby sparklepires, who are particularly strong though unstable in their “infancy”, and use them as shock troops. Jasper was chosen by three vampires trying a slightly different approach; they wanted to make something that resembled a military force with Jasper as a commander. He eventually tired of that life and was found by Alice who in turn found the Cullens. Considering his history, Jasper is the resident expert in vampire warfare.
They get together and Jasper fills Bella in on his past and then they discuss what they need to do, deciding that if they want to avoid having the Volturi pay them a visit then the Cullen Clan is going to have to get busy with the sparklepire slaying. Finally, some action.
They call up the Denali family, a group of sparklepires like the Cullens living near Anchorage but that doesn’t go so hot; turns out that Laurent and one of them got to be really friendly while he was up there and she blames the werewolves for his death. They refuse to help the Cullens because of the treaty with the werewolves, only agreeing to come down to help with the extermination if the Cullens give up the treaty and take out the pack. Carlisle refuses and so they get no hope from the closest, largest group of sparklepires, which means it’s the Cullens versus several times their number in aggressive, newborn sparklepires. And thus ends the write-up.
Out of everything I’ve read from her up until this point, which is over a thousand pages by the end of this write-up, this portion of the book I enjoyed the most. Don’t make a bit deal out of that, when you’re starting at zero any improvement is noteworthy, but I did find myself interested and caught up in Billy Black’s stories.
But that’s not to say that the rest of it was good or, IMO, this raised the bar on the rest of the story. We still get Bella and Edward frequently debating whether or not she should get turned or how soon she should get turned, and the emotional lines of Bella just doesn’t make sense; I mean, it I knew I had a sparklepire stalker who wanted me dead, and then some new sparklepire was rifling through my things and helping themselves to a variety of things that smell like me, I would probably be freaked out and STAY freaked out until the situation was dealt with. Bella? It’s almost like she remembers “Oh yeah, now I need to be totally panicking” and so goes from being ok to losing her mind.
I’m still bothered by the Meyer just having Bella take what I consider to be abuse. Yes, she makes it clear that she doesn’t like what Jacob says but she just blows it off, saying she’s “used to it”, and forgives him without securing any kind of assurance that he won’t do it again. It’ll be interesting to see if Edward continues in this more tolerant, less jerk fashion. I have few hopes that Jacob will arrest his downward slide to douchedom.