I know Twilight got a-lot of flack from a collective of people for basically being considered “bad” literature and for having an anti-feminist main character. It is true that I would never consider Meyer’s writing to be “literary” in the sense that it uses beautiful and transcendent language, but neither do the rest of the commercial books out there, so in this case I think it’s just a case of people picking on Meyer unfairly.
And if we’re going to label Bella as being anti-feminist because she became completely engrossed in a guy, then we would also have to label Jane Eyre and a host of other female main characters in classic romances as being anti-feminist as well. Which I think would be a mistake because it doesn’t take into account the nuances of every individual romantic relationship.
With all that being said, I’m not a huge fan of Twilight, or a Twi-hard, and never have been. I did read all of the books decades ago when they first came out because they were about vampires and I was very into vampires at the time, having also read Anne Rice and classic tales such as “Carmilla”. But I never became a huge fan of Twilight in the way I was a huge fan of Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.
I actually read the early, leaked version of Midnight Sun first before I read the other four books and liked it enough to continue with the story, so I knew I would be reading this book whenever Stephenie Meyer decided to complete it. With all that being said, I do have to say that this is a behemoth of a book. It is nearly twice as long as the average book in the market nowadays, and it shows. Scenes are drawn out and every single minute thought Edward has is displayed on the book. This has a positive and a negative side. The positive is that we get to know the characters better. The negative side is, if you’re a plot-driven reader, it can get quite boring at times. I do remember that the early draft for Midnight Sun was perhaps a little less wordy and expansive.
The writing does suffer from the odd word-choice now and then but not to the point where it becomes an issue for me as a reader. I would not label it as bad writing, even if at times it can be melodramatic, and would even consider some parts and descriptions of the story as being really good and vivid. And as for Bella being anti-feminist, I think that this book in particular gives us more insight into her as a character. I can see her drive and ambition for the power that immortality could offer her in full display here. It’s not just Edward she wants–although she clearly does want him. But she also really wants to become a strong, immortal vampire that nothing can harm. She dislikes her own weaknesses and wants something better for herself. She ins’t only fascinated by Edward because he’s a boy, she’s fascinated by him because he’s a vampire… and can turn her into one, too.
I think this is part of what Stephenie Meyer wanted to portray in her main character all along but it sort of got lost in the romance. In the subtle nuances displayed in Midnight Sun, however, we can see Bella longing for all this. For power. For immortality. For strength. For everything she lacks as a clumsy, weak human. And this makes Bella a whole lot more interesting. Reading through pages and pages of teenage vampire boy angst was worth it if only just to get this new perspective on Bella as a more complete character.