Archive for symptoms of abuse

Chapter Nine

Posted in Eclipse, Recap with tags , , , , , , , on September 14, 2009 by Rachel Vampirely

Hmmm, I’m getting ahead again. Time to start future-dating these.

Edward creep-o-meter: 3 — I know, I’m alarmed too.

So Bella comes home from her kidnapping and house arrI mean sleepover and Charlie has left her a note. While he’s actually here. Why didn’t he just tell her?

The note is about calling Jacob. Apparently he feels really bad for telling Bella to go off and die instead of becoming a vampire. Bella’s all “HMPH!” and stomps upstairs, as Charlie chides her for not being forgiving.

Bella has her mind set on laundry. Yes, readers, laundry. We are about to have a very exciting  laundry sequence.

Some of Bella’s clothes are missing, as well as her pillow. First she figures Alice popped them in the wash, because, well, I guess we all have friends who, um, randomly do our laundry for us? But her clothes are not in the wash, and neither are they in her hamper. I know you guys are on the edge of your seats here.  Unfortunately, the thrilling conclusion to “Where in the World is Bella’s Red Blouse?” will have to continue later, because Edward has arrived.

Edward’s golden eyes were wide, his nostrils flared, his lips pulled back over his teeth.

u r so pretty

Edward, faster than anyone can see him, runs up to Bella’s room, and then back downstairs. He grabs Bella around the waist and pulls her into the kitchen, looking around for laundry thieves. Edward indicates that someone has been here, one of his people. No, he doesn’t mean a gay man–although that would explain the missing blouse.

Don’t worry, though! It’s no one we know. I would hate for Victoria to sully her 0 line record for this series.

Clearly, they both reason, clearly whoever it was is just looking for Bella, and doesn’t seem to want to eat anybody. Charlie comes in at this point, demanding to know what they’re hissing about, and when he sees Edward’s furious face and Bella’s panicked one, he assumes they are fighting.

Charlie’s expression changed. Abruptly, he was grinning. “If you two are having a fight… well, don’t let me interrupt.”

Still grinning, he put his bowl in the sink and sauntered out of the room.

That’s our Charlie. Dad of the Year material right there.

Edward insists that they leave, and gives his “brothers” some calls we don’t get to understand because he’s just talking that fast. Apparently this is yet another vampire power.

I let him drag me along then, too panicked to think clearly. Charlie met my frightened eyes with a smug grin, which suddenly turned to confusion. Edward had me out the door before Charlie could say anything.

What, exactly, is the point of Charlie’s character? We are told he is a cop, yet he has never once demonstrated this through action or behavior, or even talking about work. His daughter is, he assumes, fighting with her boyfriend, and then he watches Edward drag her out while she looks terrified. And Charlie just stands there. He doesn’t chase after them, shout, demand to know what’s going on, he just lets a boy he openly dislikes literally drag his daughter out the door.

So, clearly, Stephenie reasoned that Bella must have a father, because she’s not immaculately conceived (although at this point it wouldn’t have surprised me). And hey, a cop father would be interesting, because “cop” is a masculine profession. And that’s where she stopped? You can argue that Charlie is stunted and unused to being a father, but Jesus, is he unused to being a law officer as well?

I hate these books so much.

Edward and Bella race to the Cullen mansion, where Edward heckles Alice for not Seeing someone pawing through Bella’s room. Alice stands up for herself, and Edward is about to just keep being a dick when.. he.. stops and apologizes.

This is really starting to confuse me. I guess Bella is making him “more human” or someone told Stephenie that her male lead was “a sociopathic asshole” or something.

Nobody seems to put two and two together on the whole “new vampires” thing from chapter one, and Victoria hating Bella’s guts. Seriously. No one thinks “Wait, maybe Victoria is making the vampires and she sent one of them to root through Bella’s underwear for some messed up reason!”

Instead they assume it’s the Volturi making sure that Bella is a vampire. Which I guess uh. Going through her clothes would totally prove.

Esme tries to argue that maybe this whole thing is a coincidence. Honestly, at this point, I’m reeling from the fact that the plot of a Twilight book was introduced before chapter twenty. Seriously. And there was even some foreshadowing of it in the first chapter. I’m floored.

Everyone agrees to a rotating schedule of watching Bella’s house in case someone else sneaks in to try on her jeans. Bella sort of just stands there as everyone argues about who’s trying to kill her and what they should do about it. Not exactly the most proactive character we’ve ever seen.

They go back. Charlie is smug because he thinks they’re still fighting. Jesus, whatever, Dad. Do us all a favor and just don’t be a character. I’d rather a Charlie Brown style adult we never see the face of and never actually understand.

Jacob called again. Poor guy.

She calls him the next morning (after warning Edward that she’s going to let Jake off the hook). Jacob apologizes rather fervently and offers up a life of servitude. But they’re totally not werewolf soulmates or anything. Bella sort of brings up that someone was kind of in her house yesterday and all the vamps are spooked, which means Edward takes the phone and he and Jacob have a Male Bonding Moment over how best to protect their clumsy, useless, mutual love interest.

Bella is like a Mac Guffin made human. She serves absolutely no purpose but to drive the plot. I never thought I’d see a main character that is, in all actuality and simplicity, a freaking plot device.

Anyway, we get a play-by-play of the conversation, which is basically “Edward said this. Then he paused. Then Edward said this. Then he had a longer pause.” It goes on for about a page and a half. Bella just sits there stupidly as everyone hustles to save her from the Laundry Vampire.  She finally gets the phone back, and Jacob is all “yeah we totes got this covered, I’m coming up there to scent out your panty thief.”

Annnd that’s it. Another chapter down. God damn it, these are so boring.

Chapter Six

Posted in Eclipse, Recap with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2009 by Rachel Vampirely

Sweet salivating savior.

Now, I know some of you are gearing up for the possible excuses I will make. Maybe there have been betting pools. Well, let me set your minds at ease. Here is an exact list of everything I was doing for the last month:

  1. Writing a vampire novel
  2. Doing everything else I possibly could other than read Eclipse

I know, I feel your scorn even now. “This is a recap site,” you are all saying. “It is basically required that you read the books you are actively hatin’ on.”

But riddle me this, dear readers. What better possible statement exists on the quality of Eclipse than “Despite the fact that 40,000 people on the internet wanted me to, I could not bring myself to even look at this book for more than a month”?

I rest my case.

And with that, let me tell you all a little something about Chapter Six.

Edward creep-o-meter: A big ol “Welcome Back” 10.

When we last left off,  Bella was driving home after an unbelievably exciting chat with Jacob. You all remember Jacob, right? Big fellow? Werewolf? A friend Bella isn’t allowed to have, according to Edward?

Bella drives herself home, and out of nowhere, the Volvopire is behind her. He doesn’t honk. He doesn’t insist she pulls over. He just follows her all the way to her mortal friend’s house. Bella is terrified. She thinks briefly on how she’d been hoping to have some time before facing Edward, and how she’d at least wanted to have Charlie around, to “force him to keep his voice down.” Replace those words with “force him to keep from swinging at her,” and this whole scene makes even more unsavory sense.

So Edward continues to just. follow. her. as she drives to Angela’s. When she pulls into the drive, he keeps going. Yep. Just wanted to make sure where she was going. Just wanted to intimidate her. There was no other purpose for that drive. Just wanted to scare the piss out of his girlfriend.

Angela and Bella stuff envelopes. Don’t remember why she agreed to this. But it means we have an excuse for Bella to pretend like she even gives a damn about mortals still. She attempts to try to talk to Angela about what’s happening with Edward v. Jacob, without mentioning any of the werewolf/vampire stuff that would likely get her thrown into a ward. Angela keenly points out that Edward is jealous. Noooooooo Angela you just don’t get it that’s not it at all because Edward is perfect and selfless and wonderful and barf barf barf.

Angela’s boyfriend comes back, and Bella begins to tremble because that means she has to go home and face her insanely jealous, controlling, manipulative — I mean, selfless, perfect, wonderful, protective boyfriend.

Her whole drive home is anxious. And then, this.

“I’m going to go study,” I announced glumly as I headed for the stairs.

“See you later,” Charlie called after me.

If I survive, I thought to myself.

OH MAN YOU GUYS. It is so hilarious having a boyfriend who could kill you at a moment’s notice and is also incredibly emotionally unhinged!

Edward glares at her silently for several minutes. How dare she go see her friends? She finally explains how alive and unharmed she is, to which Edward just whines that he was soooo close to breaking the treaty and starting a war and it would have been all her fault.

They argue over how Bella wants to have friends and Edward won’t let her. They seriously argue about this. He refuses to negotiate on her seeing Jacob because he is “dangerous.” Wow, what a sweet guy. Bella delivers some stupid speech about being Switzerland. They joke about her smelling like dog. Whatever. God, I hate this.

THE NEXT DAY. Edward is going to go hunting again because he had to come back and save Bella from absolutely nothing when he found out she was hanging out with another boy.

We’d come to no agreement on the werewolf issue, but I didn’t feel guilty calling Jake–during my brief window of opportunity when Edward took the Volvo home before climbing back in through my window–to let him know I’d be coming over on Saturday again. It wasn’t sneaking around. Edward knew how I felt. And if he broke my truck again, then I’d have Jacob pick me up.

There is so. much. wrong. with that paragraph, I don’t even know where to freaking start.

Alice picks Bella up from school. This is odd. When Bella asks where Edward is, Alice just says they left early. Then she excitedly announces that ALL the boys have gone and Bella and her are going to have a slumber party which in no way is to be translated as 1st degree kidnapping and house arrest.

Alice is not repentant in the least. Edward bribed her with a porsche, so Bella is now legal hostage. In fact, no one really seems alarmed at this at all. Bella is going to be held at Cullen Manor for two days. She is only allowed to leave for school. She only gets one phone call to Jacob, and that is only to let him know that she won’t be coming over on Saturday after all.

“Alice, don’t you think this is just a little bit controlling? Just a tiny bit psychotic, maybe?”

Also in the running for Most Obvious Answer: “Alice, don’t you think bears shit in the woods just a little bit? Just a tiny bit of defecation, maybe?”

Alice, of course, thinks nothing of the sort. Edward is just–wait for it

PROTECTING HER

–and there is absolutely nothing wrong with him wanting her safe!

Alice, I loved you once.

Bella uses her one phone call to tell Jacob their plans are canceled. He immediately suspects the bloodsuckers, and for good reason. Bella jokes–she jokes–that she is being held prisoner. Jacob’s immediate response is that he is coming to get her. God, I love this kid.

After this, Bella calls Edward to leave a bunch of half-hearted, lukewarm threats in his voicemail. “You are in trouble. Enormous trouble. Angry grizzly bears are going to look tame next to what is waiting for you at home.”

Ha ha, it’s so funny that he can coerce his family into kidnapping his girlfriend when he’s not in town so he can continue to keep tabs on her every move. You are in BIG TROUBLE, MISTER!

Alice escorts Bella to Edward’s room, where she’ll be sleeping. This is ostensibly to show her the enormous bed Edward moved in there, but it is also probably to keep monitoring her for any signs of rebellion.

Bella, because she is an enormous idiot, refuses to sleep on the bed, and curls up on the couch in “defiance.” You know what else is defiant? Getting your phone and calling the God damn cops.

Rosalie comes into her room in the middle of the night.

Whoa, did it just get a lot more sexy in here, or is it just me?

Chapter Five

Posted in Eclipse, Recap with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2009 by Rachel Vampirely

As a matter of fact, I did take a week-long vacation without telling anybody! It’s kind of you to inquire!

Edward creep-o-meter: Edward isn’t even in this chapter, again, but I still feel compelled to keep the douchebag at a hearty 6.

After the exhilarating freak-fest that was Chapter Four, we now find ourselves staring, wearily, upon Chapter Five. Which starts off where we left off in Jacob and Bella’s conversation.

That’s right! Chapter Four was so full of hot, intense, conversational action, that Smeyer felt the need to make it more than one chapter.

In this chapter, we learn more about werewolves. Because apparently there is a lot more to it than just “sometimes? I turn into a wolf? and then bite things? and it’s super awesome?”

Sam Uley, as we have heard previously, was the first werewolf to “phase” (not change, shift, morph, or furrify, phase), so he had no idea what was going on. The first time he changed, he was missing for a week, he was so freaked out. Oh, don’t worry, they called the cops and stuff. When he came back and wouldn’t tell anyone what had happened, they all figured it was just a phase or something. Whatever.

Sam was dating Leah Clearwater at the time, who we really haven’t heard anything about before this, but now that we know she was dating a man she is suddenly important. When Sam hit werewolf puberty, he couldn’t tell Leah what was happening, because uhhhh well because some old people told him not to. The elders of the tribe were all “stop dating mortals” and “don’t tell anyone you’re a bitchin’ werewolf.” I’m not sure how this stopped Sam. But, whatever. He didn’t tell Leah he could turn into a werewolf.

It is here we have an aside where Jacob drops the fact that he isn’t aging. Yes, another werewolf power. As long as he keeps turning into a wolf, he won’t age. But wait, you say, doesn’t that mean he’ll be stuck at 16 forever? Why, no! Conveniently enough, the first time you change into a werewolf, you reach “full growth” in just a few months. So technically Jacob is 24 or 25 now.

Conveniently enough.

Jacob tells Bella this, and she throws a blasted fit.

“Am I the only one who has to get old? I get older every stinking day!” I nearly shrieked, throwing my hands in the air. Some little part of me recognized that I was throwing a Charlie-esque fit, but that rational part was greatly overshadowed by the irrational part. “Damn it! What kind of world is this? Where’s the justice?”

It’s aaallllllll about you, sweetie. Never mind that Edward has to repeat high school every 15 years, or that Jacob is physically 25 but still can’t buy a drink for five more years. It’s all about poor Bella.

She finally calms the crap down and we get back to our story.

As luck would have it, Leah’s cousin Emily came visiting from another res and Sam imprinted on her. This is the first time we’ve heard about imprinting actually in writing, but most of us have heard of it by now thanks to everyone trying to squick out the newbs with Breaking Dawn spoilers. Imprinting, for those of you who have avoided it so far, is finding your soul mate and becoming massively codependent on them. It’s love at first sight and soooo romantic. Despite the fact that Sam loves Leah and they are trying to make it work, the first time he sees Emily he falls madly in love with her and dumps Leah’s ass for her cousin.

Awkward.

Emily was mad at Sam in the beginning, because she and Leah had been close, and Sam just broke her heart. But, as Jacob puts it, “it’s hard to resist that level of commitment and adoration.” Right. Jerkface breaks my sister’s heart because suddenly he’s madly in love with me. Yeah, I would probably never give him the time of day? But Emily is a model woman so we’re supposed to love her for being devoted and forgiving (to men).

Also, at this point, Sam can tell Emily everything, because “there are no rules that can bind you when you find your other half.” Riiight.

And, hey, guys, remember when Sam mauled Emily horribly? That was fantastic. We get another recap of that. He felt weawwy weawwy baaad you guys, so don’t think of him as an abusive shmuck with a violent temper. It’s not his fault she made him angry.

Meanwhile, Leah gets the shaft, and is forced to be a bridesmaid to her ex-boyfriend’s wedding.

Awwwkward.

Jacob quickly denies that he has imprinted on Bella even though he totally has on her womb at least anyway.

What sucks about Sam’s story is it actually sounds interesting, even as a second-hand account. Why didn’t we have a book about Sam? Why do I have to keep reading about Bella “I fall down and cry at everything” Swan?

They snuggle as the sun comes out and Jacob tries to get her to stay on the res, away from the vampires. Bella asks Jacob what he was doing to Edward earlier, when he was–wait, seriously? She couldn’t figure it out? Jesus Christ. Good old Bella, nothing gets by her. Jacob cops to remembering Bella being all depressed and sad and crap when Edward left her, specifically to make Edward cry. Jacob that is like so totally mean.

“If I’m going to try to come back again, you’re going to have to get something straight, okay?”

He waited.

“See,” I explained. “I don’t care who’s a vampire and who’s a werewolf. That’s irrelevant. You are Jacob, and he is Edward, and I am Bella. And nothing else matters.”

His eyes narrowed slightly. “But I am a werewolf,” he said unwillingly. “And he is a vampire,” he added with obvious revulsion.

“And I’m a Virgo!” I shouted, exasperated.

oh god the pain

That’s it. She says she’ll try to come back and that’s the end of the chapter. The next chapter starts off with her drive home. Why are we back to the “Then I did this and then this happened and then I did this and then Edward said this” narrative? Why are werewolves as contrived as vampires now? Why did we feel the need to complicate werewolf and vampire myths?

For the love of God, why hasn’t something happened yet?

Chapter Three

Posted in Eclipse, Recap with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2009 by Rachel Vampirely

Oh, God did I have a day at work. They’ve dropped me right in the middle of a Charlie Foxtrot and it’s driving me to drink Mike’s Hard Pink Lemonade, for crap’s sake.

But oh, look, a new chapter of Eclipse. Surely this will bolster my mood.

Edward creep-o-meter: 6

Edward and Bella are flying back from Florida.

Wait, huh? Hang on. Did I skip a chapter?

…No, yeah, there’s my end-of-chapter notes from the last chapter, screeching in all-caps about The Truck Incident. So I didn’t miss anything. Well, other than the obvious. Someone taught Stephenie to skip things.

Edward and Bella are flying back from Florida. It’s  convenient that Smeyer skipped all that unnecessary vampire-in-sunlight fodder, because then she’d have to explain how Edward was able to stay out of natural light all day while on vacation visiting his girlfriend’s mother.

My mom would have dragged that boy out with us. Well, and then, sparkling would happen, and my mom would probably say “Is this related to one of those Japanese cartoon things you keep watching?”

Anyway.

Bella’s mother catches on to the fact that Edward and Bella are “serious.” More serious than she thought. Serious is a good word for it. I also like “calamitous.” Or maybe “unpalatable.” Renée makes comments to how protective Edward is and how intense they are and how Bella moves around him like a satellite. No, really.

“The way you move–you orient yourself around him without even thinking about it. When he moves, even a little bit, you adjust your position at the same time. Like magnets… or gravity. You’re like a… satellite, or something. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Bella and Edward are special, okay? And apparently we only came to Florida so that Renée could remind us. Again. Just how special they are.

Again, if my mother saw that behavior in me? She’d start looking for other signs of control and abuse, too. But then, my mother and I don’t know what truest of true loves is like, on account of us thinking Twilight is a crock of cowplop. Frowny face.

Charlie is waiting up for Bella (and Edward, I guess) to return. Edward is stiff and standoffish before they even get in the door. Charlie soon reveals why–Jacob has been calling all night, looking for Bella. Oh, right, her other boyfriend. Before she can reminisce too long on her fond memories of using him as an emotional crutch, the phone rings.

Jacob demands to know if Bella is… going to school tomorrow.

K, bye. Click.

Okay then.

Bella obsesses and worries over why Jacob cares about her attendance for two and a half pages. She eventually comes to the conclusion that she was gone for three days, and becoming a vampire takes three days, so clearly Jacob thought she’d been bitten. Bella’s never ever been wrong so I’m sure that’s what it is.

Actually, I’m having a problem thinking of the last time Bella came to a conclusion that wasn’t wrong. The misogyny runs so deep in these novels it kills me.

So, anyway, the next day they go to school. Whoa, they jump right to the action here. Kudo’s to Smeyer’s editors, whoever they are. Jacob is waiting at school. Edward is pleased to point out to Bella how very wrong she was yet again. Jake and Ed glower at each other for a while. By the way, Jacob, at sixteen, is six foot seven inches tall, and tightly muscled–like, body-builder muscled. Right.

Edward confronts Jacob, after a short bit of pleading with Bella to stay in the car, which she for some reason doesn’t do. I was prepared to have her just follow his orders like always, but I guess it’s just really important to the plot that she hear this.

Edward is like “I can read your mind, and I know what you came here to say, so thanks for showing up to warn us, see you later.” Not suspicious in the least. Bella’s all “Teehee what?” which makes Jacob realize that Edward hasn’t told her anything at all about what’s going on.

It turns out that Emmett crossed the treaty line on Saturday. Paul and him came to words. Yeah, not blows, just words. Despite the fact that werewolves are here specifically to kill vampires, nobody fought, and nobody got hurt.

Bella tries to ask about what’s going on, only to have Edward shush her constantly. Jacob finds it in him to get righteously indignant on Bella’s behalf, which only makes Edward suddenly look all scary and stuff (he’s totes terrifying).

All at once, Bella puts together what we’ve all realized since Alice had that stupid vision.

  1. Edward didn’t want her to know something.
  2. Jacob wouldn’t have kept it from her.
  3. Edward wanted her out of the city to keep her from knowing this something.
  4. Alice had a vision about it and then
  5. EDWARD FREAKING LIED TO HER
  6. Also, vampires are dreamy.

This all adds up to, OH MY GOSH, YOU GUYS, VICTORIA IS BACK! Are you scared? Man, me too. There is nothing more terrifying than the vague threat of a redheaded hobopire who is not even important enough to have a single line in the novel she is the supposed villain of. A villain who does not actually accomplish anything except make a lot of grown men run around in the woods like silly pagans, and cause the female character to vomit and cry in turns.

And so, predictably, Bella starts crying.

Edward is all “Now look what you’ve done! She’ll never calm down in time for nappy-bye!” I mean, actually, he defends himself for lying to her and trying to keep something important to her from her.

He was… wait for it…

Protecting her.

Jacob, for his part, plays a total badass, and he’s not taking any of Edward’s crap.

“Do you really think hurting her is better than protecting her?” he murmured.

“She’s tougher than you think,” Jacob said. “And she’s been through worse.”

With that, Jacob begins to remember, as clearly as he can, how depressed and downright pitiful Bella was when Edward left. Specifically so Edward will pick through his mind and find it.

Poor poor Eddie is all pained and stuff as he is forced to invade Jacob’s privacy, read his mind, and find clear memories of Bella suffering. We all feel really bad for him. Jacob just laughs and grins.

Guys, I seriously love this new “asshole” Jacob. It’s about time somebody slapped Edward around.

“Overprotective, isn’t he?” Jacob said, talking just to me. “A little trouble makes life fun. Let me guess, you’re not allowed to have fun, are you?”

Edward glowered, and his lips pulled back from his teeth ever so slightly.

“Shut up, Jake,” I said.

Jacob laughed. “That sounds like a no. […]”

SERIOUSLY guys I like Jacob more now.

A grown-up finally shows up to shoo everyone off to class. Edward and Bella pass notes in English, where Edward describes the whole “yeah your flavorless archenemy is back to kill you and also we argued with some werewolves” debacle. I wonder if it’s more that he’s too embarrassed to have Bella around to see that stuff. “We almost had her! Then we got in a fight with some dogs over who was better at Counter-Strike.”

Bella says that Florida was a bad idea–they wouldn’t have been near Victoria to hear if she was going to come after Charlie. Edward counters, not at all creepily, that he’s not sending her anywhere alone, because who knows what could happen.

You know, the way he keeps harping on her bad luck, it’s almost like he’s purposefully laying the foundation for later, when he actually does hurt her, and can just say “Oh, you know Bella’s luck. She made friends with another werewolf, and he beat the tar out of her.”

For some reason, they pass notes back and forth about the many ways in which Edward would save her from a crashing plane. Yeah, he’s just that perfect and strong. God, this is boring.

In Calculus, which is the only class Bella doesn’t share with Edward–

Wait, hold up. Edward can manipulate the faculty however he wants, and there manages to be one class he doesn’t share with Bella? I call BS.

Well, anyway, in Calculus, the guys are taking bets on either Jacob or Edward in a fight. Mike bets on Jacob.

Uh, the end.

Well, at least her truck still ended intact in this one.

Chapter Two

Posted in Eclipse, Recap with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2009 by Rachel Vampirely

Edward creep-o-meter: 9

I went to the Significant Other’s folk’s place for our American Independence Day Food and Explosions Extravaganza, wearing my “And Then Buffy Staked Edward, The End” shirt. It turns out that Mikael’s aunt and cousin both feel exactly the same way we here at House Vampirely do. Getting into a very passionate discussion with two accomplished readers/writers from the family was exhilarating. We also got to bore the living daylights out of Mikael and his father.

The perils of living with a woman who has made a career of hating Twilight.

Chapter two is ratcheting up the creepy. And by the end of this recap, you’ll know why.

Bella goes to school. We, of course, want to hear all about this, and how she spends her time with the most perfect person on the planet (her exact words, not mine in the least). Everybody is panicking about this being their last year at high school, except for Alice and Edward. Good Lord, who knows how many times they’ve faked being high school kids. Given that Edward has “done the Dartmouth route” already, I’m not even really sure why he’s bothering with high school at this point. Wait, did I cover this already? I think this book is actively making me stupider.

Angela, her boyfriend B… uh, Bill… no… Ben! Right, another mortal we don’t care about. Angela, her boyfriend Ben, Alice, Edward, and Bella have lunch. They talk about senioritis. Bella mentions she’s free of grounding now. Angela and her should totally hang. Alice wants to party in another country. It’s wacky, completely enthralling hijinx all around.

Alice starts to have a vision in the middle of a conversation. The fact that Alice just completely checks out for minutes at a time doesn’t seem to bother the mortals in the least. Alice just says she was “daydreaming,” and she and Edward discuss things telepathically, without filling Bella in.

Bella enters Supreme Paranoia Mode.

Edward seems to avoid alone time with her for the rest of the day, clearly to avoid her questions. Wait. I’m not sure if I’m even being sarcastic anymore. On the one hand, Bella has to make it all about her, and on the other, Edward is a controlling asshole and I wouldn’t put it past him. He even goes so far as to strike up a conversation with Mike “Nothing Wrong With Him” Newton to avoid conversation with Bella. A conversation about cars. Hmm. That’s not suspicious at all.

I love when relationships are based on subterfuge and evasion.

Alice starts talking a mile a minute about how Edward shouldn’t have offered his services to Mike as a mechanic. Apparently, Ed is just not that good of a mechanic. I nearly dropped the book at this point. Something Edward is not absolutely perfect at? This can’t be possible.

“[…] Though I suppose, for Mike’s car, you’ll do. It’s only within the finer tunings of a good Italian sports car that you’re out of your depth.”

Oh, so… okay, it’s not actually a flaw at all. Edward is still better than the average person at auto mechanics.

Sigh.

Alice and Edward continue to have Silent Mind-Bullet Conversations, leaving Bella completely out of the loop. She spends two paragraphs waiting, hoping, and internally whining over Edward not telling her what’s going on–completely missing the fact that she could solve this very readily by just saying “What was Alice’s vision, why are you guys hiding it from me?”

Bella continues to stress and fret and not just ask what’s wrong. Edward continues trying to distract her by making out a little, and talking about random boring things that don’t matter. P.S. kissing Edward is still like making out with a marble statue. That’s hotttt with like a million Ts.

Bella gets an e-mail from her mother. We are treated to a page of Bella narrating how she’s had to take care of her own mother all her life. This is to prove how intelligent and mature she is. In a well-written character, it would also explain why she is so desperate to find someone (like Edward) to control her own life. But we’re not reading about well-written characters, are we?

This is a segue into the inevitable discussion of marriage again. I still do not get how I can be treated to two, 500-page books about how true their love is and how mated their souls are and how other-halvey Edward is, and be forced to swallow the horse crap that is Bella’s new fear of commitment. It’s completely out-of-character–and for someone with no character, that’s saying a lot.

Mom, apparently, got married right out of high school and immediately had a kid. So now she pressures Bella to go to college and wait until she’s “older” to even THINK about marriage. Don’t do what I did! Is this hypocrisy, or trying to live vicariously through your daughter? Neither, because Renée is Bella’s sweet and scatterbrained mother, and we are not allowed to find fault with people that Bella likes.

She has to write something about Jacob in her email. And then she realizes that Edward is standing over her shoulder. Oh but he’s totally not reading her write this email. That would be controlling. He’s actually staring at something in her closet. Sure.

Edward produces the two plane tickets to Florida Bella got for her birthday in the last book. Apparently they’re about to expire, and Edward is, inconceivably, all about going to Florida. Trying to get Bella out of town, are we? Of course, Bella can’t see through this at all. She’s just worried that Charlie is going to throw a fit. And you know he will.

I sighed. “Not this weekend.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t want to fight with Charlie. Not so soon after he’s forgiven me.”

His eyebrows pulled together. “I think this weekend is perfect.”

I’m just positive he’s not going to try to undermine her decision to not go. He’s very respectful of her wants and wishes–so long as they’re in line with his. Otherwise, it’s Seduce Bella Until She Changes Her Mind time again!

I shook my head. “Another time.”

“You aren’t the only one who’s been trapped in this house, you know.” He frowned at me.

Suspicion returned. This kind of behavior was unlike him. He was always so impossibly selfless; I knew it was making me spoiled.

I laughed out-loud at this part. Edward, selfless? Right, stealing your crap in the last book and leaving you heartbroken was for your own good. Bullying or tricking you into doing things his way is because he’s protecting you.

Also, why the hell is he giving her lip for him being trapped in the house? Did Carlisle ground him to Bella’s bedroom, too?

Bella finally, finally gets around to asking what Alice had seen. It was something to do with Jasper going down south to see the family. Oh. Well. That’s… not at all what Bella or I was expecting. Bella is now chiding herself for being paranoid and assuming the worst. It’s all her fault! It’s not like Edward tried to avoid the subject and still seems to be keeping things from her. No no, she’s the one who needs therapy.

Bella makes Charlie a special dinner to keep him in a good mood with Edward there. Oh my God this is so “beaten housewife” I can hardly stand it. Charlie makes a comment about the Blacks inviting everyone down for some sports party. Bella wonders if Edward will get upset that Charlie is going to be hanging out with werewolves. We all know this is not the case, because Edward has no interest in controlling Charlie.

Edward and Bella get to washing dishes.

“Charlie,” Edward said in a conversational tone.

Charlie stopped in the middle of his little kitchen. “Yeah?”

“Did Bella ever tell you that my parents gave her airplane tickets on her last birthday, so that she could visit Renée?”

Annnnd Edward completely undermines Bella. Are you surprised? Cause I’m freaking surprised.

Charlie seems okay with Bella going to visit her mother, until Edward mentions that he’d be going, too. Charlie shouts, stomps, and does everything but flip a table. (Also, I see my first use of the word “chagrin.” I’ve heard that the misuse of this word gets a little ridiculous, so I’m going to keep track!) Charlie attempts to ground Bella again for… uh, well, nothing at all, actually, and she calls him on it. By threatening to move out.

It’s battle of the nut-jobs!

Bella seems to like this new tactic of “say something shocking and terrible, then immediately follow up with something manipulative and seemingly reasonable.” She drops the “well, when do you want me to move out” card, then, when Charlie’s face turns purple, she sighs and does the whole “Look I’m trying to be reasonable but you can’t just order me around because I’m an adult and I can manipulate you like a pro now.”

Charlie eventually relents. Because he’s a pushover. A big, yelling, gun-toting pushover. She escapes to go to the Cullen Manor.

In the car, Edward insists that Bella has been talking about her mother in her sleep. Worrying about her and such. Bella is surprised at this. I’m just positive Edward isn’t lying in further attempt to get her out of town. But it’s okay if he does it, because he loves her. When she asks him why he had to go and make Charlie mad after she (very reasonably) said she’d have to wait until later, he says this:

“But, clearly, you were too much of a coward to deal with Charlie, so I interceded on your behalf.”

There’s that sweet caring boyfriend we know and love, belittling her so she remembers that she is only so much human chaff, and is, quite frankly, lucky to have such a wonderful perfect guy to hold her hand everywhere she goes.

She asks if this has anything to do with the party at the Black’s place, and he says “Not at all. It wouldn’t matter if you were here or on the other side of the world, you still wouldn’t be going.” Yikes. Bella, miraculously, compares this to how Charlie was talking to her earlier. But she just doesn’t want to fight with Edward :(((

When Bella comes back, sans Edward, Charlie attempts to have The Sex Talk with her. Dad, seriously, the only time sex was even mentioned (and even then, through innuendo and eyebrow-waggling) was in chapter fourteen of Twilight. You have nothing to worry about.

That epic little lols-fest done with, Bella realizes she’s got an hour before Edward will come back to her room. This is just enough time to sneak down to La Push and actually see Jacob.

She is sneaking to La Push to see her friend. She has to sneak to avoid her boyfriend’s wrath. Why do Twilight fans not see the problem with this?

Bella tells Charlie where she’s going, and goes out to her truck, looking over her shoulder the whole way. She puts the key in the ignition, turns it… and nothing happens.

It is at this point that she realizes Edward is sitting next to her in the cab, turning a piece of her engine over and over in his hands.

While he turns this big piece of metal over in his hands in a gesture that isn’t a stretch to describe as threatening, he explains that Alice had a vision wherein Bella’s future disappeared. Naturally, this is because she’s going to go hang out with werewolves.

“Because she can’t see the wolves, you know,” he explained in the same low murmur. “Had you forgotten that? When you decide to mingle your fate with theirs, you disappear, too. You couldn’t know that part, I realize that. But can you understand why that might make me a little… anxious?”

This is not the dialogue of a loving, caring man, who is “anxious” for his lover.

This is the dialogue of a sociopathic creep.

I would expect this in a psychological thriller, in a suspense or mystery novel, something. I would expect this from a sinister person.

But I am expected to believe that this is from the person she wants to spend the rest of her life with.

I am more than a little frightened right now.

He continues to twirl a piece of her truck in his hands, murmuring idly about the nature of werewolves. If I were Bella, I would have started screaming for help at this point, because in not too many novels that engine piece would have ended up embedded in her skull at some point.

“I’ll put your car back together in time for school, in case you’d like to drive yourself,” he assured me after a minute.

Oh well that’s kind of him.

With my lips mashed together, I retrieved my keys and stiffly climbed out of the truck.

“Shut your window if you want me to stay away tonight. I’ll understand,” he whispered, just before I slammed the door.

Whispering it like that means that he won’t understand, and will hold it against her for later. When he can disable her truck and break a leg or two. To protect her, of course.

Bella slams the door to the house and stomps upstairs. She shouts down to Charlie that her truck won’t start. He offers the use of his police cruiser, which is not in accordance with the law, so she declines.

When she gets to her room, she slams the window shut so hard the glass shakes.

Then, five minutes later, she sighs, gets back up and opens it again.

I have no. Freaking. Words. For this.

Chapter One

Posted in Eclipse, Recap with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2009 by Rachel Vampirely

Today was quite an adventure. I slept poorly, so I was unhappy and tense all night. I had to wait for my new prescription to fill at Target for thirty minutes–and for the full thirty minutes, a little girl screamed and wailed and kicked and shrieked about something stupid, while her mother gave her half-hearted stop-thats. And then we realized we’d forgotten something, so I, in my tired cranky state, had to walk to the store to pick it up. I picked up a snapple iced tea–my only treat so far in an otherwise bleary day. I then, promptly, dropped it when I got home, scattering fake glass shards everywhere.

Tl;dr — I’m in a foul mood.

The perfect time to start recapping Eclipse, wouldn’t you say?

New Moon left us with several things to ponder.

Would Bella convince herself to settle for Jacob, in an effort to make him “happy”–by which we all assume means she would continue to use and manipulate him, only they’ll totes be getting married and having 2.5 children to go with it?

Would Edward be able to side-step the (hastily cobbled-together) treaty Jacob’s family defends, give Bella her (flamboyantly selfish) wish of becoming one of the beautiful dead? Would Edward even give it an honest try, or hide behind Jacob’s lukewarm threats as an excuse to not give Bella phenomenal supernatural power, so he can continue controlling her life?

Could Stephenie Meyer have possibly been more obvious in her desperate, pathetic wish to be Isabella Marie Swan?

Will Rachel ever forgive herself for remembering what Bella’s middle name is?

I’m fairly certain Eclipse will neatly avoid answering all of these questions. Except for maybe the last two. Ugh, seriously, of all the things to stick in my brain.

So there’s a prologue. The last two books had prologues as well–there’s a very good reason I didn’t recap them, and that is that these prologues accomplish nothing. The preface of New Moon consisted of Bella running dramatically, and the sun being bright, and a clock tolling. I’m not sure why it even exists, other than to express a falsehood–the prologue tries desperately to be exciting, whereas the rest of the book is content to flop languidly somewhere between “dull” and “is there something on the Golf Channel I could watch instead?”

Anyway, this preface vaguely suggests that there’s a fight going on somewhere, and there’s “black eyes” watching Bella, and a wolf howls.

YEAH THAT’S IT. Is she just trying to bump up word count or something? Is this really the only way she knows how to foreshadow?

Forget this, on to the first chapter.

We are greeted by a new font (every time someone hand-writes something, we absolutely must have a new font, so we can know what their handwriting looks like!!), and several paragraphs scratched out.  After a few crossed-out paragraphs of passive-aggression, Jacob finally decides on “Yeah, I miss you too. A lot. Doesn’t change anything. Sorry.”

Why the hell didn’t he just grab a new piece of paper?

Bella cradles the thing like it’s a love letter from her husband in Iraq. Apparently she and Jacob are passing notes via their fathers. Are the injuns too poor for email or something? Bella whines for a while about how Jacob’s pain is her pain, and I find it difficult to feel sorry for her.

Charlie is trying to cook. Apparently he has never, um, read a book, or something, because he put something metal in the microwave. Cue wacky sitcom music and canned laughter! Oh Dad you should know by now to leave the cooking to the women. His attempt at spaghetti is a lumpy mush. How the hell did he even feed himself before Bella arrived if he can’t make freaking spaghetti?

Also, Edward. Bella is still prissy as all get out over using the word “fiancée,” which makes just as much sense as it did in the previous book. Edward is only allowed to see her from seven to nine-thirty, because she is totes grounded. But he also sees her at school. And then sneaks into her room at night. So um, way to go on that grounding, Dad. Somewhere in this explanation is the longest sentence I think I have ever seen–

Ever since my former best friend (and werewolf), Jacob Black, had informed on me about the motorcycle I’d been riding on the sly–a betrayal he had devised in order to get me grounded so that I couldn’t spend time with my boyfriend (and vampire), Edward Cullen–Edward had been allowed to see me only from seven till nine-thirty p.m. [sic], always inside the confines of my home and under the supervision of my dad’s unfailingly crabby glare.

Check it out, kids–seventy-seven words long, two parenthetical asides, one set of hyphens, and two adverbs. This must have been after Stephenie realized she was too good for an editor, and all she needed was a publicist.

Actually, I’m fairly certain the first half of this  chapter could be easily summed up in one big mama run-on sentence.

Back to the dynamic dialogue! Charlie reads the news, and is angry. Seattle had five unsolved homicides in the last two weeks! HORRORS. This is actually because of vampires but we don’t know it yet.

Bella takes a moment to Make This All About Her and thinks about how many different people want to kill her. This makes her tremble in fear, because she is strong and independent.

Charlie finally gets around to the point and talks to her about her friends. Apparently she doesn’t see them. Shocker! Charlie is willing to ease up on her grounded-ness if she promises to actually, you know, go see people, instead of spending every waking moment with her creepy boyfriend. Yeah yeah, whatever, sure, I promise. He says something about how “for a teenager, you’re amazingly non-whiny,” which makes me laugh until I choke.

P.S. The reason Bella has less friends now is because Lauren and Jessica don’t like her, and have an “anti-Bella agenda.” We are supposed to think they are both major bitches because they don’t like Bella. Never mind that they both dislike Bella for very valid reasons.

Um, this goes on for a few pages. I wonder if Stephenie is trying to address complaints that Bella has no life outside her possessive controlling boyfriend? Or if she really just thinks I want to read six pages of Bella’s father going “Make some friends, dammit!”

The conversation finally ends. Bella gets her mail, which includes a letter of acceptance to University of Alaska Southeast–chosen specifically because Juneau has an average of 321 overcast days a year. Ew. Charlie opened it first, which is lol a crime.

Then, the moment you’ve all been waiting for arrives–Edward shows up. And he’s miraculous, with perfect pale skin, a square jaw, full lips, sharp cheekbones, a (uh) marbley forehead, and rain-darkened bronze hair.

Also he’s cold and dead, manipulative, and devoid of any personality. But we get three paragraphs describing how beautiful he is, so I guess I’d better respond with ~*he’s so dreamy*~

They touch each other and gaze into their eyes and then Charlie shows up and ruins everything.

Edward has brought a set of college applications as their front. Charlie asks where Edward has been accepted to, and he’s all “Oh, you know. Syracuse. Harvard. Dartmouth. University of Alaska Southwest.”

And Charlie doesn’t even bat an eye dear Lord.

Edward mentions something about going shopping, and Charlie freaks out about Bella going to Seattle. I would make a comment about how big Seattle is and how unlikely it is she’d run into the new vampire serial killer who mysteriously drains every body of blood, but… well, this is Bella we’re talking about here, and she’d probably go wandering unsupervised through back alleys the first chance she got.

Edward wouldn’t have taken her to Seattle anyway. He was thinking Portland. Four and a half hours away. God, it must suck to live in Forks.

Jesus, this just keeps going. Bella decides she doesn’t want to fill out the Dartmouth application, and goes to crumple it up and throw it away. Edward snatches it away from her, and announces that he signs her name better than she does anyway. That’s right. He’s forging her signature on the applications to colleges he wants her to go to. I don’t care if you think it’s sweet that he’s trying so hard to get her into Dartmouth. If you think Edward is chivalrous then you are wrong.

Bella doesn’t even think twice about this, neither about how creepy it is nor controlling he can be. Oh, Edward, you’re just trying way too hard for her sake!

This is also the first time we ever–ever–hear about new vampires. Apparently, they are ravenous beasts with no self-control. That’s funny. I seem to recall Alice’s backstory involving her calmly having visions about Jasper and then going to find him. But maybe we’ll retcon that now that something new has come in and overridden everything.

Anyway, guess what, Edward confirms that the killings in Seattle are being done by a new vampire. But the Cullens, apparently, don’t give a crap–it’s not their territory and it’s not their business. That’s just downright compassionate of Carlisle, wouldn’t you agree?

They talk about going somewhere safe to eat animals, just the two of them. Edward mentions how awesome wolves taste, and Bella gets all panicky. Jacob is having a hard time right now, and it’s all her fault! Edward tries to tell her it isn’t, while the rest of us go “YES IT IS.”

When Bella brings up that Charlie’s condition for her not being grounded is she needs to be friends with Jacob again, Edward throws a fit. It’s “out of the question.” It would “break the treaty.” Does she want to start a war? There’s no point in discussing this.

What just happened?

He tries to change the subject to Wuthering Heights (the first book I’ve ever seen Bella read in the whole of this series), and she changes it back. He absolutely will not let her see Jacob. No discussion. No compromise. He then goes back to his favorite tactic–blaming all the bad things that happen on her, since she is a “trouble magnet.”

And then we get three more pages of him telling her which friends she can and can’t see, culminating in this:

He kissed the top of my head and sighed.

“No werewolves.”

“I’m not going along with that. I have to see Jacob.”

“Then I’ll have to stop you.”

He sounded utterly confident that this wouldn’t be a problem.

I was sure he was right.

WHAT

I mean

Ohhhhh he’s sooooooooo protective of her, trying to save her from the big bad werewolf that has never actually done anything to hurt her and was, in fact, a better friend to her than Edward has ever been. I’m sure this has nothing to do with the misogyny inherent in these amazing, brilliant books. Telling her which friends she can and can’t see certainly isn’t a symptom of abuse, and Edward is really very chivalrous in protecting her from things she doesn’t need protection from, and, in fact, without her even asking!

Edward Creep-o-meter: (Where one is “Take him home to meet Dad Charlie,” and ten is “change the locks, get a pit bull, file a restraining order, and buy a taser”) Seven

Epilogue

Posted in New Moon, Recap with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2009 by Rachel Vampirely

Aaauuuugghh

I was content to play Puzzle Pirates until my skull turned as soft and porous as a Sara Lee spongecake, but will my mother settle for anything less than me continuing to read this subtext-laden, eyeroll-inducing, sparklemongering piece of literary offal?

Short answer: No.

As I said before, about… whoa, wow, more than a week ago (can you guys really blame me?), there is an epilogue to this story. It really is more like an additional chapter. I’m not sure what sets epilogues apart from honest-to-God chapters, but then, neither, apparently, does Stephenie.

So, okay, the epilogue.

Everything goes back to normal a la a 30-minute sitcom. Math is still really hard. Bella’s friends still think she’s a loser. Edward is forcing Bella to go to college (for her own good). We are treated to a small aside about how, of course, Edward has already gone to Harvard, so he doesn’t need to go to a particularly prestigious college this year–wonderful for everyone since Bella has no goals whatsoever and will probably end up shuffling her way to community college.

Already been to Harvard? Why the hell is he even bothering with high school anymore? Is he really just doing it to pick up girls 90 years his junior? (blegh)

There’s thinly veiled plot mechanisms, and then there’s Stephenie Meyer’s writing.

Bella and Jacob are no longer BFF, and I say, good for him. He’s not returning her phone calls, and Bella is wondering “oh no was it something I did,” which we all know the answer to: yes yes a thousand times yes. Bella waits until Edward is kicked out every night (by a “grimly gleeful” Charlie) to make her calls to Jacob, because Edward gets an angry (dare I say, jealous) look on his face any time she mentions Jacob’s name. This is because he wants to protect her, and it has nothing to do with possessiveness or his need to control her. I swear.

The fairy tale was back on. Prince returned, bad spell broken. I wasn’t sure exactly what to do about the leftover, unresolved character. Where was his happily ever after?

That doesn’t come until Breaking Dawn, as many of you know. A minor spoiler for those of you who don’t know–the only reason Jacob has been so madly in love with Bella is because he is actually the destined soulmate of her dhampyr “half-vampire” daughter.

Yes. I’m serious. He’s actually “imprinting” on one of Bella’s eggs and not her. I wonder if he’ll start impressing on one of Edward’s sperm cells later.

So, in short, Bella will marry Edward, have his baby, and Jacob will get the consolation prize–the baby. The only reason I have the will to continue reading this crap is to get to the shining paragon of übercrap that is Breaking Dawn.

Anyway, where was I. No longer BFF. Bella throws a snit in front of Edward on the way home over it, and he tries to convince her that it’s not her they hate. Right, no. Of course not. It couldn’t possibly be Bella that’s the problem here. Everyone freaking loves Bella.

When they get home, Charlie is in a rage, and there in the driveway is Jacob’s truck with the two bicycles in it. Oh man, he totally told Daddy on her. Bella is livid, and, because she is a girl, starts crying. Oh my gosh, Jacob is like so totally mean! Yeah, she more or less says that.

I could never imagine Jacob could be so petty and just plain mean.

Welcome to breaking someone’s heart, you stupid slut.

So um, they have a yelling match. Edward keeps Bella behind him at all times, to “protect” her. Bella accuses Jacob of wanting Charlie to have a heartattack just like Harry–there’s the manipulative girl we’ve come to know and love. Edward does the floundering plot a favor and reads Jacob’s mind–Jacob turned in the bikes and tattled on Bella in the hopes that she would get grounded from seeing Edward. This impressive leap of logic brought to you by: teenagers.

Bella whines that she’s already grounded, which is why she hasn’t come to La Push to complain at him for not taking her calls. Jacob is all “oh, uh, oops,” and Edward, once again, violates the poor kid’s privacy by reading his mind.

“He thought I wouldn’t let you, not Charlie,” Edward explained again.

Not exactly a stretch, considering later Edward does just exactly this. Edward then decides to do the chivalrous thing and thank Jacob for taking care of Bella while he was gone. I had an ex pull this once and it pissed me off more than anything else–I don’t need a man to “take care of me,” and neither, for that matter, should Bella. But since she is a character written by Stephenie Meyer she absolutely depends on men to rescue her from something as mundane as a God damn paper cut, so I guess chivalry is alive after all.

Jacob also takes the time to warn Edward that the treaty means that if he bites a mortal–say, oh, I don’t know, his girlfriend–then the treaty is off and it’s werewolves vs. vampires time. Oh nooo dear God I hope that actually happens. These books are so freaking lame and boring a good old fashioned fight scene might do us some good.

Edward and Jacob fight over who’s going to kill Victoria (who has disappeared, by the way. She was the “villain” of this “book” and wasn’t in a single freaking scene), and Charlie roars and shouts for Bella. She pauses before running off to accept her punshiment so she can look at Jacob with big, wet eyes and say “You pwomised we’d still be fwiends.” Edward pulls her away, and even Bella notes that it’s in restraint instead of protection. Everybody shouts for a while.

Uh, yeah. Jacob finally leaves, and Edward and Bella go to Charlie. Uh.

The end.

Wow.

Well.

I, uh. That was a… well, it was a collection of words on pages.

I can’t really imagine how these books could get any more dull at this point.