Chapter Eighteen, and we just now have plot
ADVERB COUNT: 46. That’s pretty low for Smeyer.
More than 350 pages into the book, the plot decides to rear its ugly, ill-conceived head.
The other vampires emerge from the forest. Despite all that we’ve heard about vampires up to this point, they are not amazingly mind-blowingly dazzling heart-breakingly thrillingly angelically beautiful. Hmm, I wonder why?
Oh right, because they’re the bad guys so they have to be ugly.
There are three–an olive-toned guy, a woman with messy red hair (leaves and twigs stuck in), and an unassuming guy in the back. They are dressed like the average person where I live, but Bella describes them as “backpackers.” Jeans and button-down shirts in heavy fabric. Backpackers. Okay, sure.
Also, they have red eyes instead of the beautiful amazing wonderful gold we keep hearing so much about. How sinister.
The two parties introduce themselves, Laurent (the swarthy vampire) speaking for his group and Carlisle speaking for his big happy messed-up family. The new group is shocked to hear that Clan Cullen has a permanent residence, and wants to know how they manage that. Carlisle deftly hides the fact that his family has an “alternate lifestyle,” but he does invite the new guys back to their house to talk to them about it.
Sorry, I had to pause here. I know I mention the Mormon thing a lot, but Carlisle’s whole offer reminds me of the Mormons who would stalk us around the country and try to get me to let them into my house to “teach” me. I need to center myself here.
Carlisle asks that the new vamps please don’t hunt in their “territory,” since they are attempting to keep a low profile. Laurent laughs and says “We just ate outside of Seattle, anyway,” and now, only now, in 378 pages, does Bella have the good freaking sense to be frightened.
Unfortunately, the wind starts to blow (why it hasn’t up until now is anyone’s guess) and Bella’s scent is dispersed. The other three vampires immediately go “WHAT?! LUNCH!?” and drop into a crouch, which makes the “good” vampires circle Bella protectively. Edward snarls and it’s totally the most frightening thing ever, you guys, he’s so totally manly and scary.
Laurent is shocked at this new development. “You brought a snack?” he asks, and immediately I love Laurent to undeath. The Cullens insist that the girl-shaped buffet is with them. Laurent, smartly realizing that he is way outnumbered by the seven, completely not-Mormon Cullens, attempts to diffuse the situation and reassures them that of course they won’t eat anybody in the region, even if they smell like freesia or whatever the crap Bella is described as. James, the unassuming guy in the back, gets all pissed. Carlisle splits the group up, so that Edward, Alice, and Emmett can drive Bella home.
Edward flips the hell out. He orders Emmett to strap Bella in, and starts driving them south, away from Forks. Bella demands to know where he’s taking her, and Edward refuses to answer for a while, before finally saying he’s taking her far away.
We are treated to a few pages of Bella shrieking and screaming and demanding that Edward take her home, and Edward either ignoring her, denying her, or telling her to shut up. He even enlists the help of his brother to restrain Bella so she doesn’t attempt to let herself out of her harness. Only Alice seems to take issue with this, but it’s in a very Alice way.
Edward continues to insist that they get Bella as far away as possible, because of James, the unassuming guy who got all pissed.
“He’s a tracker, Alice, did you see that? He’s a tracker!”
Oh NO! Not a TRACKER! What the hell is that and why do we care?
A tracker, it seems, is someone who decides to eat someone no matter how far away she runs, and no matter how many vampires she has trying to protect her. An idiot, essentially. Edward is trying to save Bella by taking her away from the seven vampires who want to protect her because he is the man and knows what he’s doing.
Bella continues to shriek and Edward continues to ignore her, because he knows what’s best. When Alice and Bella both try to come up with alternate plans, Edward snarls at them. Bella eventually talks over him to explain that her plan is to go to Phoenix, and… uh.
Hang on, let me re-read it.
Well, the plan is to have her scream about going to Phoenix so that the tracker hears, and will follow her there so he doesn’t eat Charlie. Then, she says, the vampires can take her wherever they want to protect her.
Isn’t this… basically what Edward is doing, except now we have to backtrack and have a really awkward scene with her father?
Edward says no, because he’s the man and knows best. Then he restates her plan. … Okay. He ORDERS her to go back home and tell Charlie what she needs to. Then pack whatever she can and get in her truck. She has FIFTEEN minutes, do you hear me, FIFTEEN MINUTES.
This is a serious situation, so Edward gets to be a dick, apparently.
Alice tries to help him refine the plan.
“What are we going to do with the Jeep?” she asked.
His voice had a hard edge. “You’re driving it home.”
“No, I’m not,” she said calmly.
The unintelligible stream of profanities started again.
How dare this woman try to defy him!
“We can’t all fit in my truck,” I whispered.
Edward didn’t appear to hear me.
“I think you should let me go alone,” I said even more quietly.
He heard that.
“Bella, please just do this my way, just this once,” he said between clenched teeth.
As opposed to all the other times you have ordered her around, manipulated her, and even flat out seduced her into doing things you way? When has this girl ever done something her way other than when she wandered aimlessly through bad parts of a town she’d never been to?
This chapter confuses and infuriates me.
Every time Bella comes up with a new thing they haven’t thought of, Emmett acts all surprised. We’re supposed to feel bad for Bella being insulted like this, but I’d probably be surprised too if she had an original thought.
So the plan is, Bella is going to go in, yell at Charlie, tell him she’s going to Phoenix, and hopefully the tracker will hear all of this. Then Edward is going to make it look like that’s a fake out, uh, somehow. Then Alice and Jasper are going to drive her to Phoenix. Then Edward is going to meet them down there so they can come back home.
This is completely fool-proof and I’m just positive the vampire won’t meet her down there. Five states away. So he can eat her. This one person. When there are five states of other, more interesting people he could hunt.
I’m imagining this scene:
Editor: So, Stephenie, I got your manuscript.
Stephenie: what did u think isn’t it liek ttlly romantic
Editor: Right. Well. There’s 450 pages of… caressing and whispering devotion, but no actual conflict. You know that novels need that, right?
Stephenie: what do u mean hes dangrous and might eat her. conflict
Editor: …Yeah. So why don’t you try something with other vampires? Maybe have them try to eat her?
Stephenie: o like haev evil vmapires? ok I will rite that
Three weeks later she knocks out the last seven chapters of the book. This is completely tacked on. There was no foreshadowing, nothing. The best we had is a three paragraph prologue about a sauntering, smirking hunter. That’s it. The movie got it right and at least interspersed the “sexual tension” with cutscenes involving vampires that actually eat people. FORESHADOWING. It shows the author actually put some thought into their train-wreck rather than writing it stream-of-consciousness style and selling it based purely on juvenile “romance” merit.
“Bella.” Edward’s voice was very soft. Alice and Emmett looked out their windows. “If you let anything happen to yourself–anything at all–I’m holding you personally responsible. Do you understand that?”
“Yes.” I gulped.
My goodness. If she gets hurt, bitten, eaten, killed, Edward is saying it’s all her fault?
And she just sits there and takes it?
I’m really running out of words for this tripe.