Chapter 1: Ultimatum

Posted: April 24, 2012 in Eclipse
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

What this chapter should be called: Mehliciousness.

Edward creep-o-meter: 7

 

Eclipse starts off with a bang, the opening paragraph being a letter from Jacob. There’s a change of font, just in case we were too dense to figure out that it was a handwritten letter, (+1 Stupidity) because having the leading words be “Dear Bella, “ wasn’t a big enough hint.

I’m not going to quote Jacob’s letter, because it consists of lots of crossed out things and scribbles and would generally just be a pain in the ass.  The gist of the letter is that Bella is being a bitch for not understanding how she has hurt Jacob.

 

“Yeah, I miss you, too. A lot. Doesn’t change anything. Sorry.

Jacob”

 

The two haven’t been talking since Clan Cullen’s return. They’re essentially making their fathers pass notes to each other like they were in second grade, because apparently there’s no such thing as email or text messaging in Meyerland. (+1 Stupidity)

The kicker here is that Bella feels that she is hurt more.

 

“What was surprising was how much each crossed-out line wounded me – as if the points of the letters had cutting edges. More than that, behind each angry beginning lurked a vast pool of hurt; Jacob’s pain cut me deeper than my own.”

 

Since last book, Bella experienced pain so intense that it felt like part of her chest was missing, this pain must be a real bitch. (+1 Angst)

And does anyone else wonder why Jacob bothered to edit his work, but still sent the whole thing to Bella? (+1 Stupidity) Seems kind of silly, if you ask me. That would be like me writing this letter to Meyer:

 

Dear Mrs. Meyer,

Your book sucks monkey balls.

Why did you even publish this?

Are you too good for an editor?

I bet you dress funny.

I’m not a big fan of your work, but I congratulate you on your success in producing a worldwide phenomenon.

Hugs and kisses,

Kate

 

But Bella still clutches the damn thing like it’s a love letter from her husband in Afghanistan, so I guess everything’s okay.

She “ponders” for awhile, then runs downstairs because Charlie is trying to cook. Jesus, Charlie, haven’t you learned to leave the cooking to the women?

 

“The jar of spaghetti sauce Charlie’d stuck in the microwave was only on its first revolution when I yanked the door open and pulled it out.”

 

Cue wacky sitcom music and canned laughter. Apparently Charlie has never, um, lived in the real world or something if he still puts metal in the microwave. His spaghetti noodles are lumpy mush, too – how the hell did this man ever live on his own? (+1 Stupidity) My guess is that large amounts of Kraft macaroni and Totino’s were involved.

Turns out, Charlie is cooking because he wants to strike up a chat with Bella, and feels that nearly catching the house on fire would be better than making something edible.

This is also just a convenient segue into Meyer’s favorite topic: the alabaster-skinned marble god that is Edward Cullen.

 

“Edward wasn’t here yet; usually my dad reserved this kind of behavior for my boyfriend’s benefit, doing his best to illustrate the theme of “unwelcome” with every word and posture. Charlie’s efforts were unnecessary — Edward knew exactly what my dad was thinking without the show.
”

 

I think it’s interesting that Bella finally calls him her boyfriend, a term that she’s been trying to pretend doesn’t exist for two books.  I don’t know why exactly this is, since Meyer never really gives us a reason –

 

“It wasn’t the right word, not at all. I needed something more expressive of eternal commitment. . . . But words like destiny and fate sounded hokey when you used them in casual conversation.”

 

Right. (+1 Thesaurus Rape)

Also, I would now like to direct your attention back to the conversation Bedward had at the end of New Moon. The one where Bella loses her shit over the topic of marriage. To recap, Bella is down with the idea of “eternal commitment,” but marriage? You have got to be kidding me! (+1 Stupidity)

This is more for Edward than anyone else, by the way. I’m not quite sure why he needs another way to control Bella, because she’s on a pretty tight leash as it is.

We learn that the wolves have pretty much dissipated on their own, as Bella informs us as she eagerly watches the clock, awaiting visiting hours, while simultaneously spouting the longest run-on sentence that I’ve 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., always inside the confines of my home and under the supervision of my dad’s unfailingly crabby glare.”

 

Check it, kiddos – 77 words, two parenthetical asides, one set of dashes and two adverbs. Methinks this was written after Meyer decided she was too good for an editor and all she really needed was a good publicist. (+1 Stupidity)

Bella rambles on about how Charlie only lets her see Edward for a couple hours each night, which is a true crime against humanity, I’m sure. But she also gets to see Edward at school, which Charlie can’t do anything about, and Sparklepeen also sneaks into her room each night, unbeknownst to Charlie. So, uh, great job with the grounding, Charlie.

Speaking of which, how the holy hell has Charlie not caught on to the fact that Edward is breaking into his house every night? I’m a fairly intelligent person, and I can barely get away with sneaking my Kindle into my room and watching Netflix all night. Are you really trying to tell me that Charlie hasn’t figured out that another person is in his daughter’s room?

Either the walls in Bella’s house are fucking soundproof, or Charlie is a lot dumber than I thought. (+1 Stupidity)

Charlie picks up the paper, and we get the first taste of the minty-fresh hell that awaits us this book.

 

“Seattle’s making a run for murder capital of the country. Five unsolved homicides in the last two weeks.
 Can you imagine living like that?”

 

Well, based on the fact that everything written in these books is either completely irrelevant or a life buoy for the floundering plot, this can’t possibly be foreshadowing, can it? (+1 Stupidity) 

Bella comments that Phoenix was higher up on the murder count, so it’s no big deal, really.

 

“I think Phoenix is actually higher up the homicide list, Dad. I have lived like that.”

 

While that is true, I highly doubt that five murders would put Seattle down as the murder capital of the country. Seattle barely averages three murders per 100,000 people a year, where a city like New Orleans averages nearly fifty. (+1 Stupidity)

Charlie and Bella chat about random things, dodging any serious conversation and making our lives worse in doing so. Bella knows there’s something on her father’s mind, and decides that the best move would be to completely ignore him and read at the dinner table. (+1 Bitch) Finally, Chuck gets around to what’s really bugging him: Bella’s relationship, or lack thereof, with Jacob.

 

“Right. So, what about Jacob?”
 The careless question repeated inside my head, anything but trivial What about Jacob? What was I going to do about him? My former best friend who was now . . . what? My enemy? I cringed.
 Charlie’s face was suddenly wary. “Don’t get mad at me, okay?”
 “Mad?”
 “Well, it’s about Edward, too.”

 

Bella nearly throws a tantrum, thinking that Charlie is going to restrict her from seeing her one twu wuv, but Charlie just wants to move her grounding into more of a “parole” status.

 

“Okay.” He sighed, raising his hands as if in surrender. “So I’m thinking maybe you deserve a parole for good behavior. For a teenager, you’re amazingly non-whiney.”

 

While I laugh until I choke, (+1 Stupidity) Charlie explains that Jacob is depressed, about a quarter as depressed as Bella was last book. Charlie is mostly worried that Bella has no other friends other than Edward, a legit complaint.

Bella explains in her head, where most of the explaining seems to take place, that the only mortals who hang out with her now are Angela, Angela’s boyfriend, and Mike. Everyone else is sick of her shit, and therefore evil. (+1 Stupidity)

 

“Lauren Mallory was the evil core of the them side, and almost everyone else, including my first friend in Forks, Jessica Stanley, seemed content to go along with her anti-Bella agenda.”

 

It’s like Bella doesn’t remember how she nearly got Jessica gang-raped so that she could hallucinate her ex’s voice. (+1 Stupidity) Anyhoo, Charlie gets to the point that there needs to be other people in Bella’s life beside Edward. That would make Bella a healthy person, though, so it will never happen.

 

“I don’t think you should dump all your other friends for your boyfriend, Bella,” he said in a stern voice.
 “It’s not nice, and I think your life would be better balanced if you kept some other people in it. What happened last September . . .”

 

Bella flinches and tries to explain why she and Jacob cannot be friends, without giving Charlie the sparkly, furry details.

 

“With Jacob there is a . . . conflict,” I said slowly. “A conflict about the friendship thing, I mean.
 Friendship doesn’t always seem to be enough for Jake.”

 

Bella pulls an excuse out of her ass, once again failing to remember that the only reason why Jacob’s been into her is because she’s been stringing him along since book one. (+1 Stupidity) Pretty much, this whole fladoodle is Bella’s fault.

Oh, and there’s mail for Bella – she’s apparently been accepted into the University of Alaska Southeast. Wow, I bet that was a tough one.

 

“It wasn’t cheaper, not at all. But it was far away, and Juneau had an average of three hundred twenty-one overcast days per year. The first was my prerequisite, the second was Edward’s.”

 

Uh, okay. If you speak fluent Meyerish like I do, the word “prerequisite” makes sense in context, but only barely. It’s like that whole debacle we had with “qualified” last book. A word such as “requirement” would fit much better, here. Once again, Meyer uses the right word in the wrong way. (+1 Thesaurus Rape)

And actually, Juneau only has about 280 cloudy days per year. Someone did not do the research on that one. (+1 Stupidity)

Edward knocks on the door, and Bella  jumps up like someone set her ass on fire. There are descriptions dripping with cream to come, I’m sure.

 

“Time had not made me immune to the perfection of his face, and I was sure that I would never take any aspect of him for granted. My eyes traced over his pale white features: the hard square of his jaw, the softer curve of his full lips — twisted up into a smile now, the straight line of his nose, the sharp angle of his cheekbones, the smooth marble span of his forehead — partially obscured by a tangle of rain-darkened bronze hair. . . .”

 

The cream is strong with this one. (+1 Cream Count)

We immediately follow this up with a description of Edward’s marvelous, gold, butterscotch, amber, topaz, or whatever the fuck color they are now, eyes.

 

“They were wide, warm with liquid gold, and framed by a thick fringe of black lashes. Staring into his eyes always made me feel extraordinary — sort of like my bones were turning spongy. I was also a little  lightheaded, but that could have been because I’d forgotten to keep breathing. Again.”

 

Oh, eye rape, how I’ve missed you. (+1 Eye Rape)

Face-touching and arm-stroking abounds. There’s some cornball dialogue, and Edward sniffs Bella to make sure she hasn’t been in contact with anyone he deems unfit  smell her amazing blood. Meyer makes sure that we know how awesome Edward is.

 

“I knew that the scent of my blood — so much sweeter to him than any other person’s blood, truly like wine beside water to an alcoholic — caused him actual pain from the burning thirst it engendered. But he didn’t seem to shy away from it as much as he once had. I could only dimly imagine the Herculean effort behind this simple gesture.”

 

While a good author might use this factor to add tension, we all know that Edward can simply will himself not to eat Bella, so this supposed “tension” is really more of a cruel joke, like Will Ferrell trying to ice skate. (+1 Stupidity)

Edward has brought over another set of college applications for Bella to fill out.

 

“I groaned. How were there any colleges left that he hadn’t forced me to apply to already? And how did he keep finding these loophole openings? It was so late in the year.”

 

Well, that’s absolutely not controlling at all. Jesus. (+1 Red Flag) Speaking of which, what is Bella even hoping to study, anyways? Or does she get a say in the matter? The reason I bring this up is because the colleges Eddiekins is forcing her to apply to may not even offer a program in what she wants to do. (+1 Stupidity)

Charlie asks where Edward has been accepted to, and he’s all, “Oh, you know. Dartmouth, Syracuse, Harvard, and University of Alaska Southeast.”

Charlie is impressed, because Edward is oh so smart. I say, he better be, after 90 years of high school. Plenty of time to boost his SAT scores, right? (+1 Stupidity)

Since Bella is no longer grounded, Edward orders her to suggests that she go shopping in Seattle with Alice, because that’s all that women do in Meyerland. Charlie immediately says he doesn’t want Bella in Seattle because of the vampires serial killer. I would comment on how freakin’ big Seattle is, and how unlikely it would be that Bella would run into the vampire serial killer but hey, this is Bella. She’d probably go wandering about back alleys unsupervised the first chance she got.

 

“I didn’t mean Seattle. I was thinking Portland, actually. I wouldn’t have Bella in Seattle, either. Of course not.”

 

Yeah, Portland. Four hours away. God, it must suck to live in Forks.

Charlie leaves the room, and Edward practically shoves Bella’s face into a mound of college applications. Bella is all “fuck this” because we all know that she has zero aspirations, anyways, and she goes to chuck the papers away.

 

“I reached for the papers, planning to crumple them into a suitable shape for lobbing at the trashcan, but they were already gone. I stared at the empty table for a moment, and then at Edward. He didn’t appear to have moved, but the application was probably already tucked away in his jacket.
 “What are you doing?” I demanded. 
“I sign your name better than you do yourself. You’ve already written the essays.”

 

Holy shit! He’s forging her signature on the applications of colleges he wants her to apply to. I don’t give a damn if you think it’s sweet that he’s trying so hard to get her into Dartmouth. If you cannot see what is wrong with this situation, you are beyond my help. (+1 Red Flag)

Bella doesn’t even question this, either. Oh, Edward, silly, you’re just trying too hard for her.

Bella tells Edward that she doesn’t plan on attending more that one semester of college due to her impending Big Change. Edward freaks the fuck out.

 

“Don’t start. I agree that I need to go through the motions for Charlie’s sake, but we both know I’m not going to be in any condition to go to school next fall. To be anywhere near people.”

 

Just for giggles, we talk about newborn vampires for awhile. I gather that most newborn vamps have zero self control and murder everything in their paths for the first year or so. Okay, cool, but didn’t Alice just calmly envision herself meeting Jasper and do so, no bloody massacre in between? Don’t worry, I’m sure this will be erased via sloppy retcon later in the book. Absolutely nothing to worry about. (+1 Stupidity)

There’s some useless conversation, and then Bella asks if Sparklepeen would just hurry the eff up and bite her already, because she wants to be a monster too, dammit!

 

“Abruptly, he flung the damp newspaper onto the table in between us. His finger stabbed the headline on the front page:
 DEATH TOLL ON THE RISE, POLICE FEAR GANG ACTIVITY. “What does that have to do with anything?”
 “Monsters are not a joke, Bella.”
 I stared at the headline again, and then up to his hard expression. “A . . . a vampire is doing this?” I whispered.”

 

Edward says it’s most likely a newborn vamp with an insatiable lust for blood. Bella is horrified, but it’s really none of the Cullen’s damn business since it’s not their territory and what not. Well, that’s just downright compassionate of Carlisle, don’t you think? (+1 Stupidity)

They talk about eating animals and whatnot, and where they can go after Bella is all vamped up. Edward mentions how awesome wolves taste and Bella freaks.

 

“Charlie says Jake is having a hard time. He’s hurting right now, and . . . it’s my fault.”
 “You’ve done nothing wrong, Bella.”
 I took a deep breath. “I need to make it better, Edward. I owe him that. And it’s one of Charlie’s conditions, anyway —”

 

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.

Uh, what just happened?

He tries to change the subject, but Bella changes it back. He will absolutely 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.” (+1 Red Flag)

 

“Your bad luck seems to get more potent every day. Do you realize that your insatiable pull for all things deadly was strong enough to recover a pack of mutant canines from extinction?”

 

Bella rehashes all the pain she went through last September, and how utterly unfair it is that she can’t see Jacob, because he probably saved her life. Edward’s response?

 

“I don’t know how to phrase this properly,” Edward said, and his tone was bleak. “It’s going to sound cruel, I suppose. But I’ve come too close to losing you in the past. I know what it feels like to think I have. I am not going to tolerate anything dangerous.”

 

Do you see how wrong this is? He comes across as if he controls her – no, that he owns her. It’s more like he’s her father than her boyfriend. (+1 Red Flag)

 

“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.
”

 

lolwut

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. (+1 Stupidity)

I’m completely sure this has absolutely nothing to do with the obvious misogyny in these amazing, brilliant books. Telling her which friends she can and can’t see certainly isn’t a form of abuse, and Edward is really quite chivalrous in protecting her from things she doesn’t need protection from, and, in fact, without her even asking! (+1 Red Flag)

This book is the very epitome of romance!

I fucking hate my life.

 

Chapter Count:

Stupidity: +20

Angst: +1

Bitch: +1

Thesaurus Rape: +2

Eye Rape: +1

Cream Count: +1

Red Flag: +5

Murmur: 3

Glower: 0

 

Book Count:

Stupidity: +20

Angst: +1

Bitch: +1

Thesaurus Rape: +2

Eye Rape: +1

Cream Count: +1

Red Flag: +5

Murmur: 3

Glower: 0

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Comments
  1. Harika Mohan says:

    While filling out the applications, if Bella had at least made a comment on what course she wants to take, it would have made the 1st chapter. But no, it would give Bella some freaking personality. There should be nothing in Bella’s life except Sparklespeen. Right….

    Waiting for 2nd chapter 🙂

  2. Oh, I’d forgotten about the whole fake-college-applications thing! Thank you for reminding me.

    Great work. Keep it up. 🙂

  3. Harika Mohan says:

    Here’s a link to a great article that tells you how stupid Twilight and Smeyer are:
    http://www.craveonline.com/film/articles/142114-10-reasons-why-i-hate-twilight

  4. TacoMagic says:

    So. It has come to this.

  5. Polypsyches says:

    There are two small points I would like to bring up. One is a possible contradiction: you complain that she uses the term “boyfriend” even though “Meyer never really gives us a reason”, then later on you complain that she’s telling instead of showing. My counter-argument would be that perhaps Meyer trusts her audience to be delighted and pat themselves on the back at having noticed that she’s finally using correct terminology (this is certainly what I would hope for as a writer). Then again, that would assume that Meyer has some sense of writing technique… there is insufficient evidence to support this claim.
    My other point of contention is the assumption that she has been “stringing Jacob along for two books”. I would hardly say that the casual hanging-out that happens in Book One qualifies as flirting–at least not seriously–and as for New Moon, there is a chance that she is, for some time, genuinely trying to get over Edward, in which case her stringing Jacob along would be somewhat unintentional.
    Oh, and what the fuck is wrong with run-on sentences, anyway? Ever read Shakespeare?

    Other than that, though, I would love to see editions of the novel published with this commentary as footnotes.
    Then again, that would involve printing more copies… I find myself torn…

    • Kate says:

      1. Oh, I see. I don’t know if you’ve read New Moon or Twilight, but if you have, you’ve probably noticed that Bella is constantly professing her eternal love for Edward but still refuses to call him her boyfriend. I guess that just really rubs me the wrong way, because we never get a reason for why Bella shies away from the term.
      2. Au contraire, sir or madam. In Book 1, the very first time Bella meets Jacob, she shamelessly flirts with him to make him tell her that the Quileutes believe that the Cullens are vampires. When she sees him later on in the book, she never bothers to let him know that she’s not actually interested. Some of the stuff in Book 2 could almost slide, but the way Bella dumps Jacob for the slightest chance of some sparkle pisses me off.
      3. Shakespeare’s run-on sentences were usually for good reasons.

  6. lightning theif says:

    I can’t believe I actually read something WORSE than twilight….

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