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Culture > Entertainment

Stephanie Meyer Resurrects the Twilight Saga with Midnight Sun

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carleton chapter.

It’s almost ironic that the Twilight renaissance would occur during a global pandemic, set 100 years after the very one that resulted in Edward Cullen becoming the world’s most famous vampire boyfriend. Midnight Sun, the long-awaited addition to the Twilight Saga, was released in August after being halted by author Stephenie Meyer in 2008 when the first 12 chapters were leaked online.

Midnight Sun is a companion novel to the original series. It tells the events of Twilight, the first book in the saga, from the perspective of Edward Cullen. The book begins with Edward, a 104-year-old vegetarian vampire living in Forks, Wash. before he catches his first glimpse (and smell!) of his human love interest Bella Swan, the series’ original narrator. 

Meyer is no stranger to the world of companion books. Since the series was released between 2005 and 2008, Meyer has published two other books to accompany the saga. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (2010) takes place during the events of Eclipse and follows a newborn vampire and her interaction with the Cullen family. Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (2015) was a 400-page retelling of Twilight, but with Edward and Bella gender-swapped as Edythe and Beau.

While reading Twilight as a teen, it was hard not to fall in love with Edward Cullen. He was handsome and a perfect gentleman. His brooding persona and pursuit of Bella were romantic and endearing — plus, who didn’t want a blissful eternity with their one true love? But when reading Midnight Sun, the novelty wore off. Edward’s once shining personality dulled and his actions are no longer sweet; instead, they are creepy.

Twilight was captivating because of the reader’s ability to see themselves in Bella’s shoes, navigating a new romance and the stressful world of teenage life. The story no longer works when told through the eyes of an old vampire. Breaking into her room every night to watch her sleep is no longer an act that the reader can forgive in 2020. Meyer’s target demographic has grown up since the days of Twilight mania and their beliefs have shifted with the changing values and feminist influences on society. When they read Midnight Sun, they ask themselves: why did I ever think this was okay? 

Midnight Sun also uses much of the same language and dialogue as Twilight. While this is a given as the story hasn’t changed, only the perspective, readers are still left feeling underwhelmed. Only the scenes in which Bella is absent does the reader actually gain any new information not provided in the previous books. 

The insights into the Cullen family and the brief references to future books make up for what the companion novel lacks. The reader is given a more in-depth explanation for Rosalie’s dislike towards Bella, something they originally had to wait three books for. Midnight Sun also tells us the story of how the Cullen family came together and more details into Edward’s life before Bella. 

Meyer also offers Twilight fans unique tidbits of information that only make sense to former readers. Jacob Black noting a foul smell when he sees Bella after she’s been with Edward would be overlooked by the untrained eye. But to the educated “Twi-hard,” it’s a fun nod to Jacob’s future as a werewolf. It’s almost like playing a game of I-Spy; you need to know what you’re looking for in order to find it.

Perhaps what Midnight Sun does best is to provide the reader with a sense of nostalgia. It brings back a part of their youth that they have been without for the past 12 years. It provokes fond memories of late-night reading under the covers with a flashlight after your parents have told you to go to bed, or the debates between you and your friends over who’s Team Edward and who’s Team Jacob. 

For the average Twilight fan, it should be noted that Midnight Sun is not a required read. While it provides some new intimate details that fans would find interesting to know, it also subjects them to a 600-page read of a story they are already deeply familiar with. 

Meyer, however, has said she has not completely closed the Twilight chapter of her life. While she plans to write a few more books in the series, they will not be from Edward’s perspective, as Midnight Sun was more than enough. 

Megan Costa

Carleton '21

Megan is in her fourth and final year studying journalism and history at Carleton University. If not in school, you can typically find her cooped up with a good book or binging a new historical drama on Netflix.