Chapter 20: Volterra

Posted: February 10, 2012 in New Moon
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

What this chapter should be called: Yaaay more abuse!

Bella like-o-meter: 3

 

THIS CHAPTER IS HORRIBLY BAD, AND STEPHENIE MEYER SHOULD FEEL BAD, LIKE SHE’S JUST BRUTALLY RAVAGED A MILLION NEWBORN PUREBRED LABRADOR PUPPIES. THAT’S HOW BAD THIS CHAPTER IS.

So, surprise, surprise, since there’s a festival going on, traffic in Volterra is super hellish. Since Bella can’t do anything useful in this situation, she settles for moaning Alice’s name with a sense of urgency.

 

“Alice,” I moaned. The clock on the dash seemed to be speeding up. “It’s the only way in,” she tried soothe me.”

 

The fanfic practically writes itself. (+1 Stupidity)

To summarize the next few paragraphs in the Meyer-tongue, some stuff happens, the traffic doesn’t move,  Alice does some stuff, and we still can’t get into the city.

 

“Alice,” I whispered urgently. “I know,” she said. Her face was chiseled from ice.”

 

Please tell me that someone’s writing these down.

Red is the theme for the St. Marcus festival. And vampire fangs. Yeah, I know. Alice can’t see if the guard will decide to let them in or not. If he decides not to, Bella needs to hop out of the car and haul ass towards the “palazzo dei priori” or, the clock tower.

 

“Palazzo dei Priori, Palazzo dei Priori,” I repeated the name over and over again, trying to get it down. “Or ‘the clock tower,’ if they speak English. I’ll go around and try to find a secluded spot somewhere behind the city where I can go over the wall.”

 

I can draw one of two conclusions from this passage: Either Meyer is now fucking with the Italian language, or I can’t find a decent language translator. First off, “palazzo dei priori” roughly translates into “palace of the first [citizens].” So, it meaning anything close to “clock tower” is out. (+1 Stupidity) More likely Meyer meant the “piazza dei priori” or “city hall.”

Also, after a little more digging, I discovered that the Palazzo dei Priori is, in fact, a real place in Perugia – which is about 100 miles away from Volterra. (+1 Stupidity) So that one’s out too. Yeesh. 5 minutes on Google would have made this book so much better.

So, they roll up to the gate. Alice somehow angles the car so her side isn’t in the sun, which would be pretty hard if it was almost noon. (+1 Stupidity) She makes a big show of putting on some gloves, then eye-rapes the guard beyond belief. (+1 Eye Rape)

Speaking of gloves, how was Alice able to steal the car without sparkling all over the place? Was it waiting in a nice shady grove for her?

 

“I’m sorry, only tour buses allowed in the city today, miss,” he said in English, with a heavy accent. He was apologetic, now, as if he wished he had better news for the strikingly beautiful woman. “It’s a private tour,” Alice said, flashing an alluring smile.”

 

Who the hell falls for that? If someone drives up in the middle of a festival and claims to be giving a private tour, I ask to see some fucking credentials. (+1 Stupidity)

 

“She put something into his palm, and folded his fingers around it. His face was dazed as he retrieved his hand and stared at the thick roll of money he now held. The outside bill was a thousand dollar bill.”

 

*rereads intensely*

What the hell is going on here? A thousand dollar bill?  Meyer does know that the Treasury stopped distributing thousand dollar bills back in 1969, right? Never mind that these bills were primarily used for bank transfers before there were electronic devices to facilitate such things. No, Alice has a thousand dollar bill–and she’s just handing them out. That’s how important it is to find Edward! (+1 Stupidity)

And before you say, “well, maybe it was $1000 in Italian money” Italy switched to the euro in 2002, and those only go to  500. Once again, literally 5 minutes on Google would have fixed this. Why didn’t Alice just hand him a thick roll of Benjamins? Why the useless inclusion of a thousand dollar bill there is no way she would have? Nobody knows. (+1 Stupidity)

And also, no one questions that the bill is fake? I mean, it’s totally normal to have $1000 bills laying under your mattress…in your pockets….totally normal, you guys. (+1 Stupidity)

So, of course the guard lets Lucy and Ethel through. Alice makes some offhanded comment about how “they’re everywhere!”

 

“I froze in place, but she pushed me out of the car. “Forget about them. You have two minutes. Go, Bella, go!”

 

Bella has exactly two minutes to stop Edward from outing himself. And now we get four pages of Bella pushing her way though crowds of celebrating Italians.

 

“Coming out of the dark lane, I was blinded by the brilliant sunlight beating down into the principal plaza.”

 

So, uh… the plaza was first or highest in rank? Why didn’t Meyer just stick with a simple word, like “main” or “central” that would have gotten her point across a thousand times better? (+1 Thesaurus Rape)

Bella runs across the plaza willy-nilly, knocking over small children and splashing through a fountain on her way to her one twu wuv.  Woohoo. There’s a whole page of Bella screaming “EEEEDDDWWWAAAAAARRRRD!”

Over. And Over. Again.

Which, you know, you’d think he’d hear her. What happened to his totally amazing hearing? (+1 Stupidity)  Or maybe the Italian cops would arrest the lady for disturbing their festival.

She sees him standing in the shadow of an alleyway, shirtless, eyes closed, and ready to get out there and be dazzling.

 

“Edward stood, motionless as a statue, just a few feet from the mouth of the alley. His eyes were closed, the rings underneath them deep purple, his arms relaxed at his sides, his palms turned forward. His expression was very peaceful, like he was dreaming pleasant things. The marble skin of his chest was bare—there was a small pile of white fabric at his feet. The light reflecting from the pavement of the square gleamed dimly from his skin.”

 

After a 17-chapter dry spell, Meyer rapes her poor thesaurus beyond all mercy. (+1 Thesaurus Rape/Cream Count)

Thankfully for just about everyone, Bella slams into Edward and he catches her. Yeesh. How many people would have thought he was just in costume for the festival or lost a bet or something? That maybe he poured body glitter all over himself?  Oh, whoops, I’m sorry, he’s just so beautiful that of course people would realize that he couldn’t be human and that he must be something supernatural. Which only leaves vampire. Right. (+1 Stupidity)

 

“Edward,” I tried to gasp, but my voice had no sound. “You’ve got to get back into the shadows. You have to move!”

 

Edward thinks he’s dead because he’s holding Bella, which has some seriously unfortunate implications. We’ve already established that Edward thinks vampires go to hell, and now we know he thinks Bella should be there too. Whoof. I may have read into that a little too intensely, but Meyer really  needs to get her story straight. (+1 Stupidity)

 

“It was very strange, for I knew we were both in mortal danger. Still, in that instant, I felt well. Whole. I could feel my heart racing in my chest, the blood pulsing hot and fast through my veins again. My lungs filled deep with the sweet scent that came off his skin. It was like there had never been any hole in my chest. I was perfect—not healed, but as if there had been no wound in the first place.”

 

Aww that’s so stupid and unhealthy I could just send you a card and ask to be your bridesmaid at the wedding. Should I bring my own mountain lion, or will the reception be catered?

Edward quotes a line from Romeo and Juliet, and I nearly barf. No, really. (+1 Stupidity) Anyway, Bella tries to convince him that he’s not dead, but they will be if the Volturi get here. Out of nowhere, two robed goons pop up.

 

“…he suddenly yanked me away from the edge of the shadows, spinning me effortlessly so that my back was tight against the brick wall, and his back was to me as he faced away into the alley.”

 

Yaaay abuse. (+1 Red Flag)

One of the robed guys is named Felix.

What?

From now on, I’ll be imagining a completely non-threatening cartoon kitty whenever his character comes into play. Anyhoo, they go back and forth, making thinly veiled threats that really aren’t that threatening. Alice shows up, there’s some useless posturing, protect the cheeseburger, yadda yadda yadda.

Then the party really gets going and a few more vamps show up, and then Edward surrenders when this little teeny-bopper-esque girl shows up. They all walk down the alley to God knows where. This is really intense, you guys.

Alice clumsily explains away the past three-ish days. At least, that’s how long I’m assuming it’s been. We all know that time is a little wibbly-wobbly in Meyerland.

 

“It’s a long story.” Alice’s eyes flickered toward me and away. “In summary, she did jump off a cliff, but she wasn’t trying to kill herself. Bella’s all about the extreme sports these days.” I flushed and turned my eyes straight ahead, looking after the dark shadow that I could no longer see. I could imagine what he was hearing in Alice’s thoughts now. Near-drownings, stalking vampires, werewolf friends…”

 

Bella immediately forgets that she has the right to do whatever the hell she pleases now that Edward’s back in the picture. (+1 Red Flag) Of course, Edward “hrms” sternly after he reads Alice’s thoughts. Someone’s been a bad girl.

They’re led to a manhole. What? Do the Volturi hang out in the sewers or something? That’s not a very fitting headquarters for the oh-so scary vampire mafia. (+1 Stupidity) Alice jumps down first so that she can catch Bella, who immediately turns into a marshmallow.

Bella must be bipolar or something. In one chapter, it’s all “FUCK YEAH CLIFF DIVING!” then she reverts back to “oh noes scary dark.” Bella needs a much  more consistent personality if I’m ever going to be able to even slightly appreciate her. This bouncing back and forth on the emotional spectrum not only makes it hard to empathize with Bella’s character, it’s also fucking stupid. (+1 Stupidity)

Anyway, big scary dark manhole scares the piss out of Bella. She’s so freaking useless. Edward lowers her down by her wrists and drops her.

 

“I closed my eyes so I couldn’t see the darkness, scrunching them together in terror, clamping my mouth shut so I wouldn’t scream.”

 

Oh, for the love of – if you close your eyes, it’s still just as dark. (+1 Stupidity) Jesus, am I the only one tired of Bella’s useless screaming? I bet The Joy of Painting would give Bella nightmares.

Edward jumps down and stands beside Bella in “a faint white radiance.” Gack. (+1 Thesaurus Rape) He yanks her down the hallway that is, on the outside, cleverly disguised as a sewer. Alright. Sparklepeen kisses Bella a few times when no one is looking and it can’t possibly be because he wants her. God forbid.

 

“It was probably no more than guilt—the same guilt that compelled him to come here to die when he’d believed that it was his fault that I’d killed myself.”

 

Why does Bella constantly try to convince herself that Edward doesn’t want her? Remember back in Twilight, when half the book was spent on her senseless waffling about how unattractive and plain she was? And how odd it was that four guys were chasing her ass? Jesus. This is annoying as hell. Christ, if 4 guys were after me, I would be walking around like I was the hottest thing alive. Since we’ve already established that Bella is nothing like an average high school student, methinks these self-deprecating thoughts are Meyer’s way of keeping Bella firmly cemented in the Sue-Zone. (+1 Stupidity)

 

“But I felt his lips press silently against my forehead, and I didn’t care what the motivation was. At least I could be with him again before I died. That was better than a long life.”

 

I think I’ve read into these books far enough that I can diagnose Bella’s problem: Bella is a relationship addict. To prove my point, here’s a passage from my school’s online health textbook:

 

“The compelling desire to be connected to another person is relationship addiction. Teens with relationship addiction use relationships like they would drugs. When they feel depressed or insecure, contact with a specific person gives them a quick fix. But they feel better only for a brief time. They need the other person to “fill up” their emptiness. They feel a constant need to be with this other person. Teens with relationship addiction often are described as being needy. The person with whom they have a relationship feels suffocated and drained of energy.”

 

Look me in the eyes and tell me that is not a perfect description of Bella.

Seriously, how many of those things match up with these books? Let’s see.

1. Contact with a specific person only provides a temporary fix

Check – She had to keep going back to see Jacob, and described seeing him as “getting her fix” once. Is Jacob supposed to be some complex metaphor for drugs?

2. Need another person to “fill up” emptiness.

CHECK – METAPHORICAL HOLE, ANYONE?

3. Feel the constant need to be around a specific person.

Check – back in Twilight, it was OMG teh end of teh wurld if Eddikins didn’t show up to school.

It’s decided. Bella is a relationship addict.

Back on topic. They keep going down this long tunnel. Bella panics because it’s scary and dark.

 

“We were in a low, arched tunnel. Long trails of ebony moisture seeped down the gray stones, like they were bleeding ink.”

 

See, “ebony” is one of those words (along with dazzle and chagrin) that, for me, is melodramatic enough to be awarded its own thesaurus rape point, no matter the context. I suppose if Meyer were to describe a hard, heavy, durable wood that is most highly prized when black, from various tropical trees I would let it slide, but describing color? Really? It’s not technically wrong, but it makes me feel like I’m reading emo poetry or bad fanfiction. Gack. (+1 Thesaurus Rape)

 

“The path beneath our feet continued to slant downward, taking us deeper into the ground, and it made me claustrophobic. Only Edward’s hand, soothing against my face, kept me from screaming out loud.”

 

TAKE A VALIUM AND FUCKING RELAX ALREADY.

They finally get to some door. The Volturi have quite a great setup down in the sewers, don’t they? What’s behind the door? Nobody knows. Part of me is sincerely hoping for a Broadway musical type scene full of vampires since they’re all practically sequined already. Is it a psychologist?. Is it some men with a nice white jacket for Bella?

A grizzly?

Chapter Count:

Stupidity: +16

Thesaurus Rape: +4

Eye Rape: +1

Cream Count: +1

Red Flag: Sparklepeen- +2

 

Book Count:

Stupidity: +236

Angst: +28

Bitch: +41

Thesaurus Rape: +39

Eye Rape: +1

Cream Count: +6

Red Flag: Sparklepeen- +14  Wolfballs- +2

Redemption: +4

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Comments
  1. What I like about the book from this point onwards is that Bella experiences the entire episode as “a dream”, or as I like to think of it, “a psychotic break with reality”, and becomes completely unable to recognise that what’s happening to her is actually true.

    I want to institutionalise this poor girl for so many, many reasons, but the oh-this-is-all-so-beautiful-I-must-be-dreaming thing is definitely up there.

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