What this chapter should be called: Vampire/Werewolf team-up, please happen already.
Edward creep-o-meter: 4
It’s like the deeper I get into this book, the more hellish it becomes. Ah, well. No use whining. Anyway, this chapter is mostly full of Jasper’s backstory and incredibly contrived tension. Exciting stuff, I’m sure.
So we jump straight into Jasper’s origin story. First, Jasper shows off his metric fuckton of scars, saying that vampire venom is the only thing that leaves a mark. (Wait, so werewolves don’t? I’m so confused.) It’s not really necessary, but Meyer apparently had nothing else to stuff a chapter with, so an origin story it is. It really doesn’t start out as much of a story, as Jasper is just prattling on about vampire culture and whatnot.
“To really understand why, you have to look at the world from a different perspective. You have to imagine the way it looks to the powerful, the greedy . . . the perpetually thirsty. You see, there are places in this world that are more desirable to us than others. Places where we can be less restrained, and still avoid detection. Picture, for instance, a map of the western hemisphere. Picture on it every human life as a small red dot. The thicker the red, the more easily we — well, those who exist this way — can feed without attracting notice.”
Bella does this cute shuddering thing at the word “feed” which is really stupid considering she’s going to be a friggin’ vampire in less than a month. But then again, Bella probably shudders at the words “asparagus” and “sunshine” so it’s possible I’m overreacting a little. (+1 Stupidity)
Jasper starts to talk about the south, which is kind of like a vampire wild west. Southern vampires are known for their ability to not give a flying fuck; instead of eating deer and being all civilized like good Northern vampires, they are constantly at war with each other. No sir, in the south, it’s just one big melee battle over who gets the territory with the most delicious humans. (So far, this sounds pretty awesome. Maybe I should give Jasper a chance.) Oh, and the only reason that the southern vampires don’t swarm all over the place is because the Volturi keep them in check. Uh, what? How does the Volturi keep the southern masses down when they have, like, six people? (+1 Stupidity)
Moving on. All southern vamps want to do is eat, so they fight for the cities with the most humans, which is straightforward enough. Then, this guy named Benito came along. (Yes, that was really his name.)
“Benito had created an army of newborn vampires. He was the first one to think of it, and, in the beginning, he was unstoppable. Very young vampires are volatile, wild, and almost impossible to control.”
So, other vampires made armies of their own to fight fire with fire, and all hell broke loose. Once the bodies started piling up, the Volturi stepped in. Despite having only, like, six people, (+1 Stupidity) they clean house and the South is nearly devoid of vampires for awhile. But, soon enough, the blood wars (haha get it?) fire up again, and the vampires in question are much more choosy in selecting humans.
“The wars resumed, but on a smaller scale. Every now and then, someone would go too far, speculation would begin in the human newspapers, and the Volturi would return and clean out the city. But they let the others, the careful ones, continue. . . .” Jasper was staring off into space. “That’s how you were changed.” My realization was a whisper.”
Finally, we get through the backstory of Jasper’s backstory and finally learn about him. He was living in Houston, Texas, in 1861 where he signed up for the Confederate Army. Since Texas was the leading supplier of soldiers for the Confederates, it looks like someone did their research this time. Good on you, Steph. (+1 Redemption) Jasper had to lie to the recruiters to get in, but since he was destined to become a vampire-sue he totally got away with it.
“My military career was short-lived, but very promising. People always . . . liked me, listened to what I had to say. My father said it was charisma. Of course, now I know it was probably something more. But, whatever the reason, I was promoted quickly through the ranks, over older, more experienced men.”
Even though Jasper is supposedly great at this military stuff, he’s placed in charge of evacuating women and children right before the first battle of Galveston. (+1 Stupidity) Somehow he manages to escort an entire party of women and children from Galveston to Houston in just under a day, but according to Google maps it takes nearly 34 hours, and probably would have taken even longer back in the 1800s. (+1 Stupidity) But Jasper the soon-to-be vampire-sue does it in a day, then grabs himself a new horse to head back to Galveston. On the way, he encounters three women. I don’t really care about their names, so I’ll just call them One, Two, and Susan.
“They were, without question, the three most beautiful women I had ever seen.They had such pale skin, I remember marveling at it. Even the little black-haired girl, whose features were clearly Mexican, was porcelain in the moonlight. They seemed young, all of them, still young enough to be called girls. I knew they were not lost members of our party. I would have remembered seeing these three.”
Because Jasper lives in Meyerland, he is immediately awed into silence by these three beautiful girls. Then, One and Two take off while Susan bites the crap out of Jasper off-screen. When Jasper comes around, he’s inducted into the newest vampire army that One, Two, and Susan are forming. Susan totally wears the pants, and trains her newborns carefully.
“She wanted a superior army, so she sought out specific humans who had potential. Then she gave us much more attention, more training than anyone else had bothered with. She taught us to fight, and she taught us to be invisible to the humans. When we did well, we were rewarded. . .”
Rewarded with what? Blood? Sex? Extra TV privileges? Could this be any more vague? (+1 Stupidity) Anyway, Jasper is the best fighter out of the bunch, so he gets “rewarded” frequently. Once Jasper, One, Two, and Susan pull together about fifteen newborns, they ship out and take Monterrey, which is Susan’s former home. From there, they expand their little kingdom to include most of Texas and Northern Mexico. Eventually, other vamps cotton on to the fact that there are only really four of them, and come to fuck shit up.
“The fighting was intense. Many began to worry that the Volturi would return. Of the original twenty-three, I was the only one to survive the first eighteen months.”
In all honesty, Jasper’s metric fuckton of scars doesn’t seem that impressive now. All we know is that he got chewed on a little. Hell, we don’t even know if getting gnawed on like a chew toy hurt him or not. Moving on, eventually One and Two turn on Susan and Jasper, but they get killed. Jasper and Susan hang on to Monterrey, building and rebuilding newborn armies over and over.
“My life continued in the same violent pattern and the years passed. I was sick of it all for a very long time before anything changed . . .”
And this is right about where Jasper stops being cool and starts being a walking Cymbalta commercial. He gets freaking depressed, blaming it on the fact that he has to feel the negative emotion of everyone around him. And he just whines about it. Never does it once occur to him that maybe he should get the hell outta Dodge, he just keeps doing what he’s doing. Yeesh, Jasper. I almost thought you were awesome. (+1 Angst)
Eventually, this guy named Peter comes along and is Jasper’s best buddy for awhile, helping him babysit the newborns for Susan. But, Peter is a Meyerland non-mormonpire dude and would sell his soul for some action, so he runs off with this Charlotte chick that Susan told Jasper to kill. Susan is understandably really pissed that Jasper disobeyed orders. But Peter is an okay guy, so five years later he comes back for Jasper.
“Peter told me about his new life with Charlotte, told me about options I’d never dreamed I had. In five years, they’d never had a fight, though they’d met many others in the north. Others who could co-exist without the constant mayhem.”
Jasper joins up with Peter and Charlotte (third wheel much?) and they head up north. Sadly, Jasper’s depression tags along, making him a real downer to be around. Turns out, Jasper is having this problem with killing people. He doesn’t like to feel their sadness as they die. That must be real rough. I also imagine that listening to someone’s scream of pain while they beg for their life is also pretty rough, but Jasper just doesn’t like to feel sadness. Poor Jasper. (+1 Angst) Jasper just wanders around for awhile, (the poor, tortured soul) until he meets Alice in Philadelphia.
“It shocked me. I was not sure if she meant to attack. That’s the only interpretation of her behavior my past had to offer. But she was smiling. And the emotions that were emanating from her were like nothing I’d ever felt before. “‘You’ve kept me waiting a long time,’ she said.”
Aww, Alice, you’re just so cute. Not. Anyways, the power of love magically cures Jasper’s depression, and the pair of them go to track down the Cullens, which leads to a beautiful happy ending just like every other Meyerland story.
We plow along, and Jasper finally, finally, figures out that someone must be building an army in Seattle. Jesus on a surfboard, didn’t I figure this out, like, five chapters ago? (+1 Stupidity) Everyone decides that to avoid Volturi involvement, they’ll have to kill all the newborns soon. Uh, what?
You idiots! Just call the Volturi! They obviously deal with this shit all the time, and are clearly much better at it than anyone else. Just call them and they’ll mop up this little mess. Are the Cullens worried that they’ll check up on Bella or something. Dude, you’re planning to change her in two weeks. Two weeks. I think you’ll be okay.
But whatever. Playing along with Meyer’s Swiss cheese of a plot, the Cullens can’t call the Volturi for…a reason. Okay.
“If we want to avoid the Volturi’s involvement, we will have to destroy the newborns, and we will have to do it very soon.” Jasper’s face was hard.”
Just his face was hard. The rest of him was soft and porous. (+1 Thesaurus Rape) Also, isn’t Jasper’s face “hard” 24/7 because he’s a sparklepire and therefore all marbley? (+1 Stupidity)
“I can teach you how. It won’t be easy in the city. The young ones aren’t concerned about secrecy, but we will have to be. It will limit us in ways that they are not. Maybe we can lure them out.”
Why is Jasper the only one who knows how to kill newborn vampires? Don’t you think that Carlisle, the super old and wise guy, should probably know how to do something that’s kind of fucking important? Why didn’t he ask Jasper long ago? Or his he just that much of an ass? (+1 Stupidity)
Jasper: So, the only way to kill a newborn vampire is to take a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of vinegar, and –
Carlisle: Shut up. I don’t care. Hey, come look at my cross. It’s really old.
Moving forward, Edward has a rare moment of clarity and realizes the only thing in the area that might cause the creation of an army is – dun dun dun – them. Holy lame detective skills, Batman, I did not see that one coming. Everyone freaks out at something that was obvious five chapters ago, while Alice tries to figure out why her plot-conditional powers are going haywire.
“Flickers,” Alice said. “I can’t see a clear picture when I try to see what’s going on, nothing concrete. But I’ve been getting these strange flashes. Not enough to make sense of. It’s as if someone’s changing their mind,”…Edward growled. “Knowledge. Someone who knows you can’t see anything until the decision is made. Someone who is hiding from us. Playing with the holes in your vision.”
Edward’s brilliant logic is that whoever is stirring things up is also messing up Alice’s already flimsy powers by being indecisive. Wait a minute – shouldn’t Alice just see them deciding to be indecisive? Gah. Why do I keep expecting this book to make sense? (+1 Stupidity)
While I try to figure out how Alice is for some reason, not seeing this, the rest of the Cullens waffle back and forth on whether or not to get involved. Emmett says they should just go clean up the damn mess already (thank you!) but his suggestion is ignored because it would make sense. (+1 Stupidity) (Emmett shrugs it off and goes back to mounting a machine gun on a moped scooter.)
The Cullens finally decide that they’ll do something about it, and Bella, for the eight bajillionth time, nearly pisses in fright.
“There was something bothering me, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was numb, horrified, deathly afraid. And yet, under that, I could feel that I was missing something important. Something that would make some sense out of the chaos. That would explain it.”
Bella, sweetie, I am pretty sure that if you are “numb,” then by definition, you aren’t feeling anything else. Therefore, you cannot be numb and horrified. Pick one. (+1 Thesaurus Rape) Also, that last sentence is completely redundant. If you need something to “make some sense,” then of course that would explain it. Duh. (+1 Stupidity)
Someone has the bright idea to call up the Denali clan and ask for a hand. Sadly, the Denali clan is staying put. Turns out, Irina had a thing for Laurent, and is refusing to help the Cullens unless she is allowed to take revenge on the werewolves. (This seriously is all female vampires can do in these books.) (+1 Stupidity) Fuck, why don’t you just let her go after the wolves?
Even if they don’t leave scars, they sure as hell leave corpses.
Thesaurus Rape: +2
Thesaurus Rape: +18
Eye Rape: +3
Cream Count: +3
Red Flag: Sparklepeen +49 Wolfballs +2