The difficulty with a second take on the same story is the lack of surprise, which can only be countered with exceptional writing. Instead, Cullen’s central dilemma — how do you love someone you want to eat? — is picked to the bone until you wish they’d eat each other and spared us another 400 pages. The dialogue is so clunky that it might have been written in another language and put through Google Translate. Take Edward’s intimate conversation with Bella: “You are not repulsed by my flagrant lack of humanity?”
It is inexplicable why Meyer chose to limit herself so when she has said sticking to the blueprint of Twilight was the toughest part of writing Midnight Sun. “The best parts to write, hands down, were the times that Bella was not present, and I wasn’t locked into a certain set of dialogues and actions,” she recently said. Her publishers, at least, are confident, with a huge initial print run and global release. But moving from Bella to Edward could be a less dramatic shift in perspective than that undergone by the Twihards over the last 15 years, now mostly in their 30s and finding themselves reading the same book. Will they readily be swept away by a vampire-meets-girl love story? It is hard to imagine when they’ve already read it.
So it’s the same destination as Twilight, via a slightly different route. But Meyer is genuinely invested Edward and Bella, and their dream of a shared life, and her devotion is infectious. If predictable in places, Midnight Sun is no teenage fang dud.