December 30, 2012

Twilight: Deja Vu

Twilight, pp. 179-188.

Goddamn, this book is bad.

The title of this chapter is "Theory". Seriously. Theory? What theory? Bella already decided Edward is a vampire and that she's okay with it. Stevenie Meyer is no longer even pretending there's any difference between herself and Bella. Theory don't bleedin' enter into it. Well, at least the chapter starts off with a bang:

"Can I ask just one more?" I pleaded as Edward accelerated much too quickly down the quiet street. He didn't seem to be paying any attention to the road.

He sighed.

"One," he agreed. His lips pressed together in a cautious line.

Whew, I need a minute to catch my breath. The action never stops (because it's yet to start)! I can probably think of a few worse opening lines than "Can I ask just one more?" if you give me a couple of hours, but it's still impressively bad. One more what?

Bella asks how Edward knew she went south from the bookstore since she was alone and so there was no one's mind to read. So we get more X-Men powers, in this case Wolverine's super-smell. So let's review all the powers vampires have so far. They're super-strong, super-fast, super-good-looking, super-not-dead, have super-senses, and heat vision. (Okay, I may have added that last one.) He then explains how his mind-reading power works: It's effective over some distance, the distance being greater the better he knows the person, up to a few miles, and he has to focus on a person to hear her thoughts as distinct from the background babble. Then she asks if he knows why he can't read her mind, and he says he doesn't know. If you've read the later books or seen the later movies, you know he's lying, undoubtedly to set up his next line to set insecure adolescent white girls' hearts aflutter:

"The only guess I have is that maybe your mind doesn't work the same way the rest of theirs do."

To keep myself sane, I can only respond appropriately, by paraphrasing a real vampire/werewolf movie: You and 20 million other girls.

"My mind doesn't work right? I'm a freak?" The words bothered me more than they should--probably because his speculation hit home. I'd always suspected as much, and it embarrassed me to have it confirmed.

"I hear voices in my head, and you're worried that you're a freak," he laughed.

I guess Edward hasn't been paying attention, since Bella is a clinical narcissist and so of course she's only worried about herself. If I were Edward, I wouldn't be a complete dick to everybody I encounter and involve young girls in my creepy abstinence power games. Plus, I would point out that I didn't say the word "freak" or even imply it and tell Bella to get over herself before dumping her childish ass at her father's house and getting out of there as fast as my vampire driving powers could carry me:

I happened to notice the speedometer.

"Holy crow!" I shouted. "Slow down!"

"What's wrong?" He was startled. But the car didn't decelerate.

"You're going a hundred miles an hour!"
"Relax, Bella." He rolled his eyes, still not slowing.

"Are you trying to kill us?"

"We're not going to crash."

I tried to modulate my voice. [What?] "Why are you in such a hurry?"

"I always drive like this." He turned to smile crookedly at me.

"Keep your eyes on the road!"

"I've never been in an accident, Bella--I've never even gotten a ticket." He grinned and tapped his forehead. "Built-in radar detector."

So you're immune to law enforcement because you can read the cops' minds, hmm? Well, I hate to drop this knowledge on you, Ed, but I don't think that's what she's worried about there, genius. She's probably more concerned with being turned into road pizza when you hit a full-grown deer at 100 miles per hour. Or does he read deer's minds now, too?

"Very funny," I fumed. "Charlie's a cop, remember? I was raised to abide traffic laws."

AAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH! I hate this book! I hate it! It makes no goddamn sense! People don't talk like this! People don't act like this! It's not real, it's not real, it's NOT REEEEEEAAAAALLLLL!

Sorry, I just had to avoid a breakdown, there. Also, "holy crow"? After voicing her disapproval of Edward's violation of a minor traffic law, Bella finally has a glimmer of self-preservation and asks him to slow down so that he will not "turn us into a Volvo pretzel", a crash to which he may be immune, but she isn't. He agrees to slow to 80 mph, which is just as deadly a speed as 100 mph and just as much a violation of the law, so great job, Bella! You sure showed him!

Now it's time for Bella to tell Edward her "theory" that he is a vampire. Edward assumes, as you would, that this is in fact her theory, so she continually has to clarify that, well, Jacob told her each and every part of it so that it is in no meaningful way "her" theory, even admitting that her Google search told her nothing. When she declares that it doesn't matter (which is another lie, because she's been more concerned with talking about it than with the fact that she was almost gang-raped in a dark alley), once again someone else has the reaction Bella should have, as Edward comically freaks out when he hears of her utter unconcern that he's a blood-drinking dead man. Well, okay, it's not really the reaction she should've had, since he is of course "bleak", "cold", "hard", and "mocking". (Isn't he dreamy?) But it is, at least, a reaction, which is more than we can say for Bella, whose emotional EEG has yet to spike. Edward may be a walking corpse, but Bella is the soulless monster.

Bella then asks about what other powers he has and how they match up with established vampire lore. I hope you're sitting down, but it turns out they don't match up very well. He also reveals that he can't sleep. Combine that with immortality, and vampirism does sound like one of the most horrible fates that could possibly be inflicted upon a sentient being. That Bella doesn't recognize this and continues to insist Edward make her a vampire (whoops, sorry to blow that plot twist for you) could have been the basis for actual drama, but we'll have none of that.

Edward also has to be the one to bring up the question of whether he eats people or not, since for a sociopathic narcissist like Bella, "it doesn't matter". Edward never explicitly confirms that the Cullens don't eat people, but Bella is convinced and she wrote this crap, so that's enough for me. Still, Bella reminds us, the Quileutes don't want the Cullens on their land. Sounds pretty damn sensible to me.

Then it's time to rehash the "I'm dangerous, really, I so am!" thing for, what is this, the 842nd time now? Edward compares surviving on animal blood to a human surviving on nothing but soy milk and tofu, and he tells us that at times it can be difficult not to eat people. Let's all say it together now:

"Is it very difficult for you now?" I asked.

He sighed. "Yes."

Look, Meyer, if you're going to telegraph even lines of dialogue, can we just agree that I've effectively already read this entire novel and let me go do something more fun and productive, like rearranging my refrigerator magnets or reading a White House press statement? No? Drat!

"But you're not hungry now," I said confidently--stating, not asking.

"Why do you think that?"

"Your eyes. I told you I had a theory. I've noticed that people--men in particular--are crabbier when they're hungry."

He chuckled. "You're observant, aren't you?"

Brilliant observation, Holmes! Look, Stevenie, if you're going to recycle scenes, then I'm going to recycle the jokes.

At least this passage explains my earlier issues with how the Cullens can get away with living in Forks under their original names for generations (not continuously, perhaps, but often enough that plenty of people who knew them would still be living when they came back) without being noticed. The people of Forks are apparently so unobservant they don't notice the radical changes in Edward's eye color (from amber to black) and the accompanying radical changes in behavior. Even more hilarious is Edward's being impressed at someone's figuring this out. It ain't exactly brain surgery, there, Eddie. We're not talking about eyes that sometimes look green and sometimes look blue and sometimes look grey. Forks may be a town of dullards, but anyone with even half a brain could piece that together.

Of course, a meta-explanation is that Edward doesn't behave any differently no matter what color his eyes are. So far he's been the same smug, condescending asshole in every scene. You know, like Clooney.

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