WE WERE IN A BRIGHTLY LIT, UNREMARKABLE HALLWAY.
I'm so happy when a suspenseless cliffhanger deposits us on something totally unexciting.
The walls were off-white, the floor carpeted in industrial gray. Common rectangular fluorescent lights were spaced evenly along the ceiling.
So in other words, it perfectly fits Smeyer's vampires.
Think about it. The Cullens managed to turn a beautiful Victorian mansion into an ugly white modern box. Even in an ancient city of beauty and culture, the sparklepires manage to create an oasis of bland boredom. What is the point of ripping off Anne Rice if you're going to leave out all the opulence and sensuality? It's like ripping off J.R.R. Tolkien so you can write a soap opera instead of an epic.
I have no idea why Smeyer makes EVERY place in her series such a blahfest. I sure don't understand why the Evil Catholics who have ruled this place for thousands of years choose industrial carpet and basic fluorescent lighting, like a really depressing office building. I bet they have a bunch of file cabinets and Ikea desks.
Shouldn't it look more like this?
He glowered darkly down the long hallway, toward the slight, black shrouded figure at the end, standing by an elevator.
"A Catholic elevator! Of EVIL!"
So they drag Bawla down the hall and into the elevator, while she drools on the carpet. And even though they've been underground for several minutes, suddenly the Volturi are okay to take off their cloaks.
Felix and Demetri were both of a slightly olive complexion—it looked odd combined with their chalky pallor.
Gasp! A vampire who isn't of the whitest of white complexions? PERISH THE THOUGHT! My fantasies of being white and delightsome are ruined!
And clearly Smeyer knows what "olive" means as well as she knows what "russet" means. You cannot be totally devoid of skin pigment (which she claims in the guide) and still be olive-skinned.
Felix's black hair was cropped short, but Demetri's waved to his shoulders.
He had recently escaped from Anita Blake's harem. The poor guy is still in therapy.
Under the shrouds, their clothes were modern, pale, and nondescript.
- They wore sweatpants and T-shirts.
- So not only does Bella dress like a boring slob, and the Cullens dress like boring slobs... but the villains dress like boring slobs.
- You see what I mean about how everything that could be beautiful and elegant in this series becomes boring and bland?
- If Smeyer directed a Bond film, Bond would wear mom jeans, old tennis shoes and a blank T-shirt, and he'd drive a minivan.
I cowered in the corner, cringing against Edward.
"Suddenly boring clothes terrify me!"
And no, it isn't explained why Bella is suddenly so vewy vewy afraid, when she was just fine a minute ago. Oh right, she needs Edward to fawn over her.
Then they step out into a... hotel lobby? Seriously, it sounds like a hotel lobby! Paneling, carpet, paintings and leather couches. And OH SHOCK there's a human secretary! Who could have ever guessed that vampires would have human servants?! Except almost every vampire story since Dracula!
I couldn't comprehend what this human woman was doing here, totally at ease, surrounded by vampires.
"It just didn't make any sense! I am the only one who gets to be totally at ease when surrounded by vampires! Because I'm a speshul snowflake destined to be a vampire too! I'M SPESHUL! NOBODY ELSE IS AS SPESHUL AS ME!"
"... does she do that a lot?"
The receptionist is named Gianna, which I bet Smeyer thinks is pronounced "Jee-anna." She flirts a little with Felix, and then they leave the room. Wow, so pointless.
And then we meet Alec, who is Jane's brother.
"Alec," she responded, embracing the boy. They kissed each other's cheeks on both sides.
... they're doing it Lannister-style, aren't they?
I mean, they are, right?
Please tell me they're not.
TELL ME THEY AREN'T FUCKING.
Okay, any more hints about their relationship, and I'm going to call them "Jaime" and "Cersei." It's more interesting than "Jane" and "Alec" anyway.
"They send you out for one and you come back with two… and a half," he noted, looking at me.
Huh? Why does a human count as a "half?" Wouldn't it make more sense for the vampire overlords to totally ignore her, or count her in a different category like "a stray"?
Alec chuckled, and examined me as I clung to Edward's side. "And this is the cause of all the trouble?" he asked, skeptical.
I know, kid. I know. It baffles me too.
Felix tries to pick a fight with Edturd over Bawla, merely because Smeyer needed more assurance that everybody wants her Sue. Nothing actually happens. Menacing, dangerous Edturd can't break his streak of never getting in a fight with anyone.
"Aro will be so pleased to see you again," Alec said, as if nothing had passed.
"He's already got the sex toys charged up!"
Alec and Jane, holding hands, led the way down
- They are totally doing it Lannister-style.
- And I am going to nickname them accordingly.
- Double ew.
yet another wide, ornate hall
"Yet another" wide ornate hall? Have we SEEN any ornate halls? Smeyer is even more boring and unimaginative than I thought if she thinks industrial carpet and crappy fluorescent lighting is "ornate."
So Jaime takes them through a secret door, into a big depressing round room with thrones in it and a giant drain in the floor, like this is a sewer that someone turned into a throne-room. I bet this is what Smeyer thinks the Vatican is like.
It opened quickly into a brighter, cavernous room, perfectly round like a huge castle turret… which was probably exactly what it was.
- Yes, a castle turret BURIED IN THE GROUND.
- Which is where turrets go.
- Independently of an actual castle.
- You fucking idiot.
- Also, they are supposed to have built this place thousands of years ago.
- CASTLE TURRETS DID NOT EXIST THEN.
So there are some vampires there, mostly wearing boring bland clothes. And as if this whole thing couldn't get lamer: like prisms, their skin threw the light in rainbow sparkles against the sienna walls. If I needed a quote to remind me why this series fills me with hate...
"Jane, dear one, you've returned!" he cried in evident delight.
"And your dress is simply fabulous!"
Seriously, she's been gone for like, an hour tops. Does he greet everyone this way? "Mr. Rizzo, the plumber! You've returned!"
I couldn't decide if his face was beautiful or not. I suppose the features were perfect. But he was as different from the vampires beside him as they were from me. His skin was translucently white, like onionskin, and it looked just as delicate—it stood in shocking contrast to the long black hair that framed his face. I felt a strange, horrifying urge to touch his cheek, to see if it was softer than Edward's or Alice's, or if it was powdery, like chalk.
.... wait.... it can't be...
Aro started to laugh. "Ha, ha. ha," he chuckled. "This is wonderful!"
"Ha, ha, ha," Aro chortled again.
IT IS. IT REALLY IS.
IT'S TOMMY WISEAU! Long black hair, weird skin, "spoken" laughter, weird dialogue that no normal person would say, crazy mood swings... it's fucking Tommy Wiseau! Lord of the impenetrable accent! Master of the awful sex scene! Grand high poobah of doughy flesh!
And he is none other than the Vampire Pope. Yes, this is the person in charge of the organization that Smeyer equates with the Catholic Church. Vampire Pope Tommy Wiseau! This is possibly the funniest idea EVER.
He glided to Jane, took her face in his papery hands, kissed her lightly on her full lips,
Considering Smeyer's sketchy viewpoints on adults grooming children... ewwwwwww...
"Ah, Jane." He smiled, too. "You are such a comfort to me."
"Now make me coffee."
So Aro is... hysterical, really. He's this weird fey person who spends a lot of time hopping around, clapping his hands and acting like he just loves everybody in the world. He's about this close to putting on a silly hat and prancing around the room on his pet unicorn. It's pretty strange, but it's actually kind of a welcome change from all these self-important, tortured assholes like Edturd and his creepy boyfriend/dad.
But let's face it, we can see why Michael Sheen played him like... uh...
Really, I don't think there is any other way you can play a character written this way. I honestly don't know what the hell Smeyer was trying to convey here.
"And Alice and Bella, too!" he rejoiced, clapping his thin hands together. "This is a happy surprise! Wonderful!"
"Now we have enough people for a poker game! Alec, bring out the cards! I get to shuffle!"
"You see, Edward?" The strange vampire turned and smiled at Edward like a fond but scolding grandfather. "What did I tell you? Aren't you glad that I didn't give you what you wanted yesterday?"
"NO, I'M NOT. I'm too handsome and brooding to ever be glad! I walk around in a perpetual fog of pissy discontent!"
"I love a happy ending." Aro sighed.
Edward would agree, but he's never had one.
"They are so rare."
I agree. For instance, Twilight didn't have a happy ending. And if this one doesn't have a happy ending, I will not have a happy ending when I am wheeled out of here with alcohol poisoning.
And by "happy ending," I of course mean Harry Dresden busting in and burning all the Cullens and Bawla alive.
So Aro wants a sum-up of what is going on, and I can see why. First Edturd comes in whining about how he wants to die because his girlfriend killed herself, then suddenly he doesn't want to because the girlfriend is alive... AND OH YEAH, she's human, meaning he broke their ONLY FUCKING LAW. He also wants to know how the Twee Princess could POSSIBLY have been wrong.
"Your brother seemed to think you infallible, but apparently there was some mistake."
That's because he's really stupid. Anyone with half a brain has figured out how incredibly unreliable Alice's powers are. Hell, it's almost a running joke.
"Oh, I'm far from infallible." She flashed a dazzling smile. She looked perfectly at ease, except that her hands were balled into tight little fists. "As you can see today, I cause problems as often as I cure them."
- So why the hell do you run around saying stuff like, "Ohnoes, Bella is so dead!" when you haven't verified it, and you know it would cause problems if you did say so?
- YOU ARE MADE OF STUPID.
- And in fact, she created even MORE problems by bringing it to the Volturi's attention that Edturd is BLATANTLY breaking the very basic laws that all vampires follow. All because she couldn't pick up the fucking phone and pretend to be a telemarketer.
- You don't "cure" problems, you dumb bint. You SOLVE them.
- You speek da Inglysh reel good.
So Aro is practically getting a boner over how great Edturd and Alice's abilities are. It also turns out that he also has superpowers - when he touches someone he can read everything they've ever thought. EVERYTHING. I know Stephenie Meyer probably thinks that that wouldn't be a big deal, but I'm pretty sure he'd have a huge stockpile of weird sexual perversions in his head by now. Not to mention every earworm ever written.
And this is one of those really stupid ideas that she probably thought was cool. But realistically, I'm pretty sure the COMPLETE MEMORIES of every person you've ever touched in THREE THOUSAND YEARS would overload your brain pretty quickly.
Alice raised her delicate eyebrows, and Edward inclined his head. Aro didn't miss that either.
... and what does it mean? Is this supposed to be significant?
"But to be able to hear from a distance…" Aro sighed, gesturing toward the two of them, and the exchange that had just taken place. "That would be so convenient."
"It would be so cool if I could just mind-rape people wherever they are, instead of having my guards drag them over so I can poke them in the face."
And no, Edturd's gift doesn't sound more convenient than Aro's. Sure, it saves him the trouble of getting up and walking across the room, but it has two massive advantages over Edturd's:
- Edturd has no control over his power. It's always on. Aro can AVOID reading minds just by choosing NOT to touch people.
- Edturd's ability can be totally negated if you just have enough mental control - all you need to do is fill your head with the greatest hits of Aqua, and he won't know what you're trying not to think about. Aro will know!
Maybe superpowers are like Pokemon. Aro just wants to catch 'em all.
Then everybody turns around because... for some reason, it's very suspenseful that there are other Volturi in da house.
Both looked very much like Aro, one even had the same flowing black hair.
Comma splices, they are so annoying.
Also, two people in Italy with black hair. Who could have seen that coming?
So one is black-haired and one is white haired, and Bella immediately recognizes them from Carlisle's nude painting.
"Marcus, Caius, look!" Aro crooned. "Bella is alive after all, and Alice is here with her! Isn't that wonderful?"
"Jello shots for everyone! CEEEEEEELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON..."
Unsurprisingly, neither one of them thinks that Bella being alive is a good thing, which doesn't keep Aro from donning a tutu and pirouetting around the room on his unicorn.
Aro raised one black brow. I wondered how his papery skin did not crumple in the effort.
It's so weird! If he just had skin like rock that somehow moved around, THAT would be natural.
The idea of any vampire needing a guard was faintly ridiculous to me, but maybe the ancient ones were as frail as their skin suggested.
Or maybe one vampire could kill another. Like they did in the previous book. You idiot.
It's then revealed that Marcus... sees relationships. WHAT? That is a pretty sad superpower. On the X-Man scale of awesomeness, that is like a 0.4. He's less useful than that kid in X2 who had remote control blinking.
Oh, and because Bawla and Edturd are the Speshulest Star-Crossed Snowflakes That Ever Stalked Each Other, Marcus is amazed by how wonderful their Twoo Wuv is. This would be more plausible if
- EVERY vampire didn't have a speshul forever-and-ever twoo wuv soulmate, making them not so unique.
- They weren't a pair of selfish assholes.
- Edward weren't in love with Carlisle.
"It takes quite a bit to surprise Marcus, I can assure you."
"He says he's never seen so shallow a relationship before. I mean, it's based entirely on looks and smell!"
Aro is also amazed by how Edturd sucked Bella dry as my hopes for this series, because she has the speshulest freesia blood ever and Aro has never secondhand-smelled anything like it before.
"Most of us would trade much for such a gift, and yet you…"
"Waste it," Edward finished, his voice sarcastic now.
Well, he wasn't going to. He planned to slaughter several innocent people just so he could chug some yummy freesia blood, but he decided it would mildly disappoint his boyfriend, so he went off to Alaska to NOT have sex with a hot blonde.
You know, the more you know about Edturd, the lamer he sounds.
Aro laughed again. "Ah, how I miss my friend Carlisle! You remind me of him—only he was not so angry."
"And you don't have a harem of underage boys yet. You don't, right? Because that's creepy."
"Carlisle outshines me in many other ways as well."
"He's so handsome and manly and gentle and SUCH a wild bronco in bed..."
"I certainly never thought to see Carlisle bested for self-control of all things, but you put him to shame."
A little to the left of the cleftal horizon, Aro. I think there's a patch of their bottoms you haven't kissed yet.
So there's actually an interesting moment where Aro actually says that he's glad Carlisle has succeeded at his animals-only diet, and that he didn't think it was possible. He's also glad that Carlisle has found some other people who agree with him... which might be more impressive if he hadn't turned most of them himself. Against their wills.
"But your restraint!" Aro sighed. "I did not know such strength was possible. To inure yourself against such a siren call, not just once but again and again—if I had not felt it myself, I would not have believed."
Honestly, Smeyer is STILL not making the Volturi look bad. She's actually making Aro more tolerant and forgiving than any of the main characters, and has accidentally given him dimensions beyond what the so-called protagonists (like the saintly pederast Carlisle) have.
Of course, since this is Stephenie Meyer, I bet this was intended to show that those Evul Catholics are secretly amazed by Mormons and how wonderful they are. I've asked some Catholics what they thought of Mormons, and their actual thoughts ranged from "Whatever" to "I don't care" to "Are they the polygamists like on Sister Wives?"
But because Edturd has no social skills, he just sits there simmering.
"May I?" he asked eagerly, lifting one hand.
"Ask her," Edward suggested in a flat voice.
"Since we're not technically dating anymore, I don't get to control her life and everything she does. It sucks!"
"Of course, how rude of me!" Aro exclaimed.
Ugh, those evil Catholics! Thinking that it's rude to treat a woman like a mute piece of meat!
Basically Aro is interested in the fact that Edturd can't read Bawla's mind, and he wants to know if she's also immune to his abilities. Bella is so vewy scared of him, which ... I don't get. He hasn't done anything scary or intimidating, and we haven't been told if he has anything scary about him. Does he have a scary aura? Does he give off a creepy air? Is he fiddling with a jar of human teeth? WHAT? WHAT IS SCARY?
Maybe I'm weird, but when a camp vampire bounces around being all quirky, I'm not scared. He may be dangerous, but he's not scary. And since Bella has made SUCH a fucking point about how she alone is comfortable around vampires, she shouldn't be either.
Despite Aro's overt politeness, I didn't believe I really had a choice.
Good thing, because free will is BAD. Twilight told me so.
So Bella reaches out, Aro takes her hand, and he discovers nothing but a blank space where her brain should be.
But his papery features were too strange, too alien and frightening, to reassure.
If only he were made out of inexplicably flexible stone with golden eyes! THAT would be normal!
"A first," he said to himself.
That I totally can't believe. There hasn't been ANOTHER clod like Bella in the history of the WORLD? Bullshit. I know Smeyer likes us to think that her characters have the bestest and most unique abilities, but clairvoyance, telepathy and psychic defenses should be fairly common.
In fact, it's revealed in Breaking Dawn that there's a preexisting name for this. So clearly it ISN'T a first. And in Midnight Sun, it's shown that Charlie has a similar quality.
Aro is SO dazzled by Bella's speshul snowflake powers that he wants to test her out on various other vampire powers, such as Jane's. How does Edturd react?
Edward was truly snarling now, the sound ripping and tearing from him, glaring at Aro with baleful eyes.
Yeah, he reacts by yelling and snarling. Because he's a total badass who never fights anyone. Consider: he never fought in the previous book, even when an evil vampire beat up his girlfriend and bit her. Instead, he risked her life AGAIN while his buddies killed the other vampire.
This book? Nada. He can't even fight to commit suicide, since just lunging at Aro would probably get the guards to kill him. Or just attack someone else in front of the Volturi, and then stand still when that person tears his head off. HELL, just wait for Aro to come over and touch him, then grab him by the throat.
But don't worry! His pathetic pussy phase ends here! This is the chapter when Edturd finally mans up and starts fighting! Who does he attack?
That's right. Edward, who is supposedly SO deadly and scary that Bella can't even imagine other VAMPIRES scarier than him, who mentions how scary and deadly he is at every possible opportunity... attacks a little girl. A little vampire girl, but that still means... out of a room full of grown men, he charged at the only person smaller than him.
Excuse me for a second.
This just KILLS me. I mean, Stephenie Meyer CANNOT have known how this would come across, or she never would have made her sexual fantasy figure such a wimp. She doesn't even KNOW he's a wimp. This might have been just SORT of laughable if he had done some awesome action before, but he hasn't.
But even if both people are vampires and have roughly equal strength, attacking a person smaller than yourself is still a dick move.
Before I could react, before anyone could jump between them, before Aro's bodyguards could tense, Edward was on the ground.
And for some reason, Caius was on top of him... and they seemed really, really happy...
No, Edward is now in agony.
Bella the Austen-Reading Genius deduces that Jane has the power to, well, create agony. So she starts shrieking at them like a power drill, and everyone - including Alice - completely ignores her.
No sound escaped Edward's lips as he cringed against the stones. It felt like my head would explode from the pain of watching this.
Pretty sure nobody here, including Edturd, gives a crap about your pain WATCHING him.
But Aro casually calls off Jane, and then Edward bounces up, completely unhurt. Well, that was a total waste of villainy. Seriously, they just cause pain but no damage? They don't even fuck with your head? Like psychologically?
At first I thought the horror was for what he had just suffered. But then he looked quickly at Jane, and back to me—and his face relaxed into relief.
But don't forget, he doesn't care about her AT ALL and is totally indifferent to her except for a bit of guilt. No romantic interest at all.
Jane then tries to use her power on Bella again, and Edward... does absolutely nothing. I guess he's only willing to attack little girls if he doesn't get pwned by them.
But like every other unpleasant thing in life, Bella is unaffected by Jane's power.
Aro started to laugh. "Ha, ha. ha," he chuckled. "This is wonderful!"
Seriously, who writes "Ha, ha, ha" as dialogue?
Also... let me explain why this is crap. Smeyer establishes that he's laughing. Apparently she thinks we don't know what that means, because she then throws in the Wiseauian "ha, ha, ha" that nobody would ever actually say. And having established that he's laughing, and verbally QUOTING his laughter, she then describes the quoted laughter as chuckling.
ALL IN ONE LINE.
Was this book edited by chipmunks? This is even worse than "Sorry," Brom apologized. And it's SO AVOIDABLE. Lookie here: Aro started to laugh. "This is wonderful!" he said.
So because Jane is female, she immediately hates Bella's derpface. I don't know why she's pissed off OR surprised that her powers came up a zero; at least two other vampires have shown that they can't penetrate Bella's dense skull either.
Wait, so mind-based vampire powers don't work on Bella... but for some reason Jasper's DO, even though they're all about altering people's moods? How the hell does THAT work?
"Ha, ha, ha," Aro chortled again.
STOP DOING THAT.
"You're very brave, Edward, to endure in silence."
- Yes, he's SO brave...
- ... that guy who attacked a little girl, and didn't do it again after he got his ass handed to him.
- Why is it any braver to writhe in silence than to scream? Screaming is totally natural when you're feeling pain. Sometimes it's not even controllable.
- So... are the Volturi going to actually do anything villainous anytime? We're told that they're the stuff of nightmares, and sure some of them seem to be assholes, and Alice and Edward make this big show of being "scared" and hostile... but they haven't actually DONE anything that villainous yet. In fact, they don't seem to have done anything villainous to the Cullens... EVER.
"So what do we do with you now?" Aro sighed.
May I make some suggestions?
Edward and Alice stiffened. This was the part they'd been waiting for. I began to tremble.
So what vile, villainous actions will the Volturi do? Hmm, they could kill them, or use them to manipulate Carlisle. Maybe they could take Bella hostage in order to force Edward to serve them. And since they're vampires, they probably could come up with some incredibly creative tortures, especially since they can't bleed to death, so you could dismember them little by little...
"I don't suppose there's any chance that you've changed your mind?" Aro asked Edward hopefully. "Your talent would be an excellent addition to our little company."
... he politely asks them to join the Volturi, and accepts their refusals. THAT FIEND!
"Alice?" Aro asked, still hopeful. "Would you perhaps be interested in joining with us?"
"No, thank you," Alice said.
"Well, it's okay. I thought I was getting someone more reliable than a Magic 8 Ball, but apparently not."
And then, to show what an evil villain he is, Aro... politely asks Bella to stick around. And no, he isn't asking if she wants to be lunch. He's intrigued by her "talent," so he's okay with turning her into a vampire so she can become one of the Volturi.
Again, I would like to mention Smeyer's weird, weird, weird hatred of free will. Again, Edturd won't let Bella make her own decision about becoming a vampire, and he's enraged by the idea of anyone else turning her because she wants it. He controls her life, decides who she'll interact with, and has already mapped out the rest of her sad, pathetic life. I'm shocked he doesn't schedule exercise and food for her like in 50 Shades of Shit.
Even when Bella eventually does get her wish, it's not because this was what she chose for herself. It's because of a fucking medical emergency. Does anyone think Edward would have just turned her into a vampire after they got married? Of course not.
And the evil, evil villain who is the stuff of nightmares, the ultimate evil figures, the one we're supposed to mindlessly hate? He politely gives her the option of becoming a vampire if she wants, and joining them if she wants.
In any other series, that would be something the GOOD GUYS do, and Edturd's actions would be the BAD GUY'S. I have read a lot of fantasy books, but I have never seen one that tries to depict making your own choices as a BAD thing. Usually it's a sign of the good guys that they value free will and want to keep people from being controlled, and a sign of the bad guys that they refuse to allow free will to others.
See this guy?
By Smeyer's logic, he is a good guy.
So Edward stands there hissing and growling and being generally ineffectual. It's almost embarrassing how wimpy he is.
"Caius, surely you see the potential," Aro chided him affectionately. "I haven't seen a prospective talent so promising since we found Jane and Alec. Can you imagine the possibilities when she is one of us?"
... okay, what about her is "so promising"? You can't read her mind. Whoop-de-doo. Exactly how will that help ANYONE else?
Jane can cause agonizing pain. Alec can deprive people of all their senses. Those are both offensive abilities with obvious applications. But Bella's ability is pretty much useless to everybody in the world except her. And yes, I do know that it magically becomes useful in the last book AFTER she becomes a vampire, but ARO doesn't know that! He's pulling this out of his ass!
And wait, becoming a vampire magically turns someone into one of the X-men? How the fuck does that work?
Jane's eyes sparked with indignation at the comparison.
WHY? Aside from being female, why is this character supposed to instantly hate Bella?
Edward fumed beside me. I could hear a rumble in his chest, building toward a growl. I couldn't let his temper get him hurt.
He's not going to get hurt, bitch. They've already demonstrated that they want him alive and unharmed.
"No, thank you," I spoke up in barely more than a whisper, my voice breaking in fright.
Aro sighed. "That's unfortunate. Such a waste."
Edward hissed. "Join or die, is that it? I suspected as much when we were brought to this room. So much for your laws."
NO, YOU FUCKING INSUFFERABLE LITTLE TWAT.
- Nothing he's said indicated that was his meaning.
- In case you don't speeky da Inglysh, asshole, it can also mean that it's such a waste that her ability isn't being turned into a superpower.
- And why the fuck does he suspect that? The Volturi haven't done anything to him or his fake family.
- So why exactly is he so hostile? You know, aside from religious bigotry.
- And what the hell does he mean "So much for your laws"? Killing you idiots would NOT be breaking their laws.
- You know why? YOU BROKE THEIR FUCKING LAWS.
- See that expressionless half-wit next to you? Yeah, it breaks the ONLY vampire law to just reveal that you're a vampire, all about vampire society, and not either kill or turn her.
- In fact, it would be violating their laws to NOT kill you, since that's the penalty for exposing vampires, and they would be complicit if they let you idiots just wander out.
- So yeah, Mr. Logic. Explain to me again how the vampire laws are on YOUR side.
He sounded irate, but there was something deliberate about his delivery—as if he'd chosen his words with great care.
So not only did Edturd say something stupid and illogical, he did so with lots of careful thought.
Aro is pretty confused by this:. "We were already convened here, Edward, awaiting Heidi's return. Not for you." Those evil bastards! Implying that the Cullens and Bawla aren't the center of the universe!
But wait. Caius informs Aro that "The law claims them." Remember that law Alice mentioned a few chapters ago? Apparently Smeyer doesn't, because Edturd demands an infodump.
"How so?" he demanded. He must have known what Caius was thinking, but he seemed determined to make him speak it aloud.
... why? Does he think it will cause him emotional turmoil to say, "You revealed vampiric nature to a human, and that violates our laws. The penalty is death"?
Or does Edturd think he can play lawyer?
"There are a few humans in on your charade here, as well," Edward reminded him,
True. But the only Renfield we've seen was so deep in their hidey-hole that Theseus couldn't find his way out.
And here's what separates Bella from that Renfield lady: Bella has already betrayed them. She gave a huge lump of information about vampires and the Cullens to the werewolves, who mention ALL THE FUCKING TIME that they are the vampires' mortal enemies. Give her a few more years, and she'd be blabbering about being a vampire's girlfriend in crowded public spaces with a megaphone.
Caius points out the loopholes in that law: you can tell humans what's going on as long as you plan to either kill or turn them. And since Edturd doesn't plan to do either one, that means he's violating their law. Seems logical.
"If she betrays our secrets, are you prepared to destroy her? I think not," he scoffed.
Too late, dude. She already has.
Bella starts whining, but Caius shuts her up because he is a Manly Man With A Penis, and she can't possibly speak on her own behalf. Leave TALKING to the menfolk!
"Though it is true, for this, only her life is forfeit. You may leave if you wish."
.... wait, WHAT?
I can see why they want to kill Bella. She's a massive security threat and will spill vampire secrets to any hot boy with a six pack. I get that.
But why the hell would they let Edturd go?! HE'S the one who broke their laws. Recall a few chapters ago: Over the millennia, they have assumed the position of enforcing our rules—which actually translates to punishing transgressors. PUNISHING TRANSGRESSORS.
Edturd has violated their law. The punishment is death. The entire "suicide by public sparkling" debacle revolves around the idea that breaking their laws will make them kill him. Not only did he let his girlfriend know that he's a vampire in flagrant violation of the ONLY MAJOR VAMPIRE LAW, but he was planning to flash their ENTIRE CITY. If this doesn't scream "breaker of the Masquerade,” I really don't know what does.
And this still is not making the Volturi look like the evilest evils wot ever eviled. Actually, they seem to be bending over backwards to NOT kill Edturd, which is the exact opposite of what the Twee Princess and Asshole McDipshit claimed.
Oh wait, that sudden continuity error DID have a reason: it's so Edturd can nobly refuse to leave Bella to be killed. If they were BOTH going to be killed, he couldn't make a big fuss about not leaving her.
The Volturi seem to be pretty pleased that Edturd is giving them an excuse to kill him, and I can understand why. Can we please have a climactic action scene? Maybe with some death and blood and killing?
But then... Vampire Pope Tommy Wiseau has a brilliant idea: Edward turns Bella into a vampire! You know, the OBVIOUS solution for anyone with a brain. If he does that, they'll overlook the fact that he deliberately violated their laws, and everybody can just go back to their normal lives.
Again, not seeming very villainous. "Hey, if you just do this one thing, you can all go home and we'll forget everything." You would expect them to find any and every opportunity to kill off the Cullens if they were as evil and eager to kill as the Cullens claim they are... but instead, they're fine with letting them go as long as they use the loophole.
EVIL VILLAINS DO NOT GIVE YOU LOOPHOLES SO YOU CAN GET OFF SCOT-FREE.
And this is actually even worse when you think about it. Edward allowed Bella to KNOW (not just suspect) that he was a vampire, while having ZERO intention of either killing or turning her. He deliberately put her life in danger, because he KNEW that this could happen. And if the Volturi were allegedly THAT DANGEROUS, he was also putting his entire fake family in danger
Yeah, Edward is such a shining unselfish saint, isn't he? And somehow the VOLTURI are the only ones we're supposed to hate, because... well, because the Cullens hate them for some reason. And the Cullens hating you is the ONLY reason anyone would need!
Also, have you noticed that nobody asks BELLA if she wants to be a vampire? Nope, they only ask EDWARD.
His expression turned more hesitant. "But I'm afraid you would have to mean it."
Aro raised his hand in front of him.
- Uh... why are you doing that?
- Why are you trying to read his mind? Are you seriously going to just go, "Oh, you don't have to turn her right now. You can do it, you know, whenever you get around to it"?
- If I were in his place, I'd be all, "Change her right now, then you can go home."
- And it's already been established that people can lie in their thoughts.
- What's more, this doesn't mean he won't change his mind later on.
But even though there's an easy solution, Edturd refuses to answer. Why? Since he hates humans, I assume he just doesn't want a girlfriend who is equal to him in power and strength.
Was it really such a loathsome idea? Would he rather die than change me? I felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach.
No, you stupid little bitch. He'd rather YOU died than he change you.The only possibilities are:
- Edturd leaves, you die.
- Edturd fights, he dies, you die.
- Edturd turns you, everybody lives.
So he's apparently just fine with YOU dying a horrible death, as long as you don't become a vampire. What a loving boyfriend.
And please, no bullshit about how Edward doesn't want her to lose her humanity and be a monster. He hates humans. He has nothing but contempt for them. There is NO reason for him to want to keep her human except that he can push her around and threaten her when she's human.
And why is this suddenly all up to Edturd? He isn't even needed. Alice already said she was willing to turn Bella, so why doesn't Bella just ask HER to do it? The Volturi shouldn't care who turns Bella, as long as the damn process gets irrevocably underway. Hell, they could just offer to turn Bella themselves.
I've heard some people arguing that the Volturi are trying to torment Edturd by forcing him to kill or turn his girlfriend, or be killed by them when he fights back. Uh, no. There is a mercenary element to their interest, that's true. But the whole "torment" thing only works if you see being a vampire as a BAD thing. I doubt they would understand why Edturd would be so tormented at the idea of turning his girlfriend, whom he tried to commit suicide over, into an immortal vampire mate whom he can sex all the time.
Hell, since Aro has read Edturd's memories, he should KNOW that Bella wants to be a vampire. So why doesn't he just say: "Hey Bella, I can grant your dearest wish. Come over here and I'll give you a quick nip"?
So what does Edturd choose?
And then Alice stepped away from us, forward toward Aro. We turned to watch her. Her hand was raised like his.
... he chooses COP-OUT.
This is just PATHETIC. Even when the girl he claims to love is about to be killed for something HE did, he won't do the ONE THING that will save her life... which is coincidentally the ONE THING she's been begging him to do ever since they started dating. He LITERALLY will let her die rather than turn her.
And he's too much of a fucking coward to even come and admit it. He can't even ADMIT it. He just sits there being Byronic until his fake sister bails him out.
It's official. Except for rapists and murderers, Edward Cullen is the worst boyfriend in the history of dating.
So Alice and Aro have a vampire mind meld... which is like the Vulcan one, but less sexy. Also, everybody else just sort of stands there awkwardly, waiting for them to finish. I like to imagine that somebody farts during this scene.
Another agonizing moment passed, and then Aro's voice broke the silence.
"But how do you get the eggbeater out of Jasper's butt?"
"Ha, ha, ha," he laughed,
STOP SAYING THAT.
"That was fascinating!"
So Alice showed him her vision of Bella as a future sparklepire, which is apparently more reliable than MAKING THEM DO IT NOW so they can be sure.
Alice smiled dryly. "I'm glad you enjoyed it."
"To see the things you've seen—especially the ones that haven't happened yet!" He shook his head in wonder.
"But that will," she reminded him, voice calm.
"Yes, yes, it's quite determined. Certainly there's no problem."
- ... wait, what? They're just taking Alice's vision as gospel truth? They're not questioning it?
- They established EARLIER IN THE SAME SCENE that Alice's visions are completely unreliable. ARO KNOWS THIS. He friggin commented on it!
- Just order them to fucking bite Bella and drag her screeching carcass out of there after ten minutes! Problem solved!
- You are making this more complicated than it needs to be!
- Especially since YOU KNOW ALICE'S VISIONS CAN'T BE TRUSTED! YOU FUCKING READ EVERY THOUGHT SHE'S EVER HAD! How can you not have figured out that
In fact, this is so stupid that Bella, who has the brains of a sea monkey, points it out: Did he not realize how subjective Alice's visions were? That she could make up her mind to transform me today, and then change it tomorrow? A million tiny decisions, her decisions and so many others', too—Edward's—could alter her path, and with that, the future. Well, logically.... yes, he would. His power is to look into people's heads and read all the thoughts they've ever had, so he should be privy to every single fuck-up Alice has EVER produced with her unreliable visions. He should be laughing his head off right now, not acting like her visions are totally reliable ESPECIALLY SINCE HE NOW KNOWS THEY AREN'T. Stephenie Meyer just took logic out in the street, beat it, raped it, and left it bleeding and comatose in the gutter.
Also, he should just have found out that there are werewolves in Forks who have made it their business to kill vampires, and that Alice is BLIND to them. She just made herself even LESS useful.
The other Volturi are understandably bummed that they don't get to unleash a bloodbath, but Aro is all, "Ha ha ha, what a story, Mark. It's bullshit, I did not hit her, I did not! Everybody betray me, I fed up with this world!" And then he humps a dress.
"… Besides, I'm so terribly curious to see how Bella turns out!"
"She's already so stuck-up and sociopathic, I can only imagine how much worse she'll be as a vampire!"
And I just realized: considering this little meeting is ALL about Bella... she is completely superfluous to it. Nobody talks to her. Nobody looks at her. Nobody acknowledges that she is there except to test their powers on her tiny head. Even when the entire fucking finale of the book is supposed to be about HER LIFE AND DEATH, Smeyer manages to make it feel like she's not even needed.
And would it really matter that Alice was willing, would it make any difference if I did become a vampire, when the idea was so repulsive to Edward?
You didn't seem to have a problem with it this morning. You basically said, "When I'm rich, sparkly and hot, I can just chase after him as fast as he can run!" And now suddenly she gives a shit about what he thinks.
But don't forget: he doesn't care about her at all.
If death was, to him, a better alternative than having me around forever, an immortal annoyance?
Oh, fuck you.
- Like I said, Edturd wasn't risking HIS life to keep you human.
- He's risking YOUR life. He could walk out without a scratch and leave YOU to die.
- A woman with a SPINE would be royally pissed off at him right now, not whining like that.
- Please, like Bella would actually NOT care about being rich, sparkly and immortal if she didn't have Edturd. The sparklepeen is a side benefit.
- And seriously, since when does Bella care about being an annoyance?
So while Bella sits there whining and writing bad poetry, they... wait..
"Then we are free to go now?" Edward asked in an even voice.
"Yes, yes," Aro said pleasantly. "But please visit again. It's been absolutely enthralling!"
Wait... they're actually letting them go?
Was... was this the CLIMAX of the book?
Was THIS the big showdown? A bunch of superpowered vampires standing around talking, without any FIGHTING? The "heroes" encountering the Big Bads of the series... and having the Big Bads bend over backwards to let them go without even twisting their arms? The Big Bads just take the "heroes" word for it that they're gonna do what they want, which also happens to be what the "heroine" wants?
HOLY FUCKBALLS. I thought it was bad when Smeyer had all the gruesome vampire-killing action offscreen inTwishite, but this... this is even worse. There isn't even any action to avoid showing!
How? HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN? How do you write a book about almost indestructible immortals with comic-book superpowers... and then NEVER have them fight?! Hell, they never even TRY to fight! We just have Edturd snarling and hissing, which only makes him seem even more impotent after he gets his ass handed to him WITHOUT FIGHTING by a little girl.
And it doesn't exactly make the Cullens look good that they just let Edturd prance off and be suicidal for MONTHS AND MONTHS AND MONTHS, but the villains... actively GIVE him loopholes so that he, Alice and Bella can just LEAVE safely.
I... I am having difficulty expressing just how stupid and anticlimactic this is. Who am I? What year is this? What planet am I on?
I... I think I can hang on to my sanity.
"And we will visit you as well," Caius promised, his eyes suddenly half-closed like the heavy-lidded gaze of a lizard. "To be sure that you follow through on your side. Were I you, I would not delay too long. We do not offer second chances."
Well, at least SOMEBODY is acting in a semi-plausible way. It's nice to know that Caius at least isn't willing to just take the word of the pathological liars, and assume that Alice's visions are totally reliable.
I'm sure his logic and intelligence are signs of villainy. CATHOLIC EVIL VILLAINY.
Edturd is all pissy now, but he has to agree because... well, he's a wimp and a douche. Meanwhile, Felix is having tummy pains because he hasn't partaken in any yummy blood lately.
Aro unfastened the gray cloak the huge vampire wore, pulling from his shoulders. He tossed it to Edward. "Take this. You're a little conspicuous."
Edward put the long cloak on, leaving the hood down.
Yes, because dressing like a hobbit Nazgul will totally be less conspicuous than a guy walking around with no shirt. Why don't they just lend him a shirt?!
So Demetri escorts them back the way they came, and if you're expecting some kind of trap or double-cross by the Volturi... you're clearly a noob to this series. That would mean the villains would have to actually act like villains, instead of being less creepy than the Cullens and their pederastic little cult.
But oh noes! Then they hear people coming! Conveniently primary-English-speaking people when you fucking consider that this is ITALY.
"Well this is unusual," a man's coarse voice boomed.
"So medieval," an unpleasantly shrill, female voice gushed back.
Well, they don't have elegant cultured rich-person voices, so I guess we shouldn't give a shit if they die.
Yup, the vampires are bringing in a big bunch of tourists for nom-noms, which they are pretending is a tourist trap. Presumably the vampires will chug their blood like a bunch of thirsty football players with a barrel of Gatorade, and nobody will ever know what happened to them.
Here are a few reasons why that is stupid:
- Forty people. FORTY.
- That is a LOT of people to just go missing and never be found.
- Hell, the mysterious disappearance/death of just ONE person would be enough to cause a kerfuffle if the news got an interest in it. FORTY? That's enough to cause mass panic.
- And it's not like the Volturi are targeting prostitutes or homeless people, who (unjustly) would be less likely to be missed. These are TOURISTS. These are LOCALS. These are people who will be fucking MISSED. People are going to notice that these people are missing!
- Especially since this is not a one-off thing. They would have to do this ALL THE FUCKING TIME. Every week, minimum!
- Say Heidi brings in forty people every week... and frankly, that seems pretty infrequent. That's over TWO THOUSAND people every year! MINIMUM.
- And we're supposed to seriously buy that NONE of these people left a paper trail or was caught on a camera or even... I dunno, tweeted their location!
- There are people TAKING PICTURES. The Volturi should have their lair all over Instagram!
- It's also stupid because THIS ISN'T NECESSARY. I could understand this approach in a historical setting, but... in a modern setting? Where secrecy is of the utmost importance? They could just drink out of bags of donated blood!
- Seriously, get some Renfields into a Red Cross facility and have them take some of the blood.
- The Red Cross throw out a LOT of blood - all you need is to just take the stuff that they don't want. Diseases and drugs don't affect vampires, so they could drink fucking AIDS blood without even burping.
- Or just have an army of imprisoned Renfields who donate blood in rotation. If Twilight has taught me anything, it's that there are a lot of empty-headed bimbos who would jump at the chance.
- Powerful vampires in a modern setting have NO NEED to kill anyone. And if they have half a brain, they would take the blood bag option because it keeps them secret!
- But hey, we need a reminder that the Volturi are Evul Catholics who drink human blood, unlike the white and delightsome Mormon vampires.
And no, that last comment wasn't just bitchiness. Smeyer goes out of her way to emphasize this: I noticed one small, dark woman in particular. Around her neck was a rosary, and she gripped the cross tightly in one hand.
Ah yes, a rosary.
Which, you know, is primarily a Catholic item.
In a Catholic country.
On her way to the vampire "saint" and his buddies, in their little Italian city-inside-a-city.
Ooooo look, the poor stupid uncomprehending Catholic is being led to her doom by the Evil Catholic Overlords! One of whom is a fake CATHOLIC saint because he's actually an evil vampire, but the poor stupid Catholics don't know that! They're just dumb sheep who don't know what their religion is REALLY up to! Unlike Vampire Joseph Smith and his adoring followers! IT'S SO FUCKING SUBTLE!
Edward pulled my face against his chest, but it was too late. I already understood.
So he thinks that she won't realize why a bunch of clueless humans are being herded down to a vampire lair... after it was declared that "turn or kill" were the only option... if she only sees them for a minute?
Oh wait, it's another "Edturd treats Bella like a little kid" moment. Fuck him.
I could feel the horrified expression on my face, and the tears beginning to pool in my eyes.
... really, Smeyer? Really? We're almost halfway through the fucking series, and you're NOW trying to make us believe that Bella cares about ordinary humans?
She doesn't even hang around supernatural people like werewolves and vampires because she cares about them. She only spends time with people who will do something for her, whether it's risking their lives to protect her or turning her into a rich immortal (or giving her a good dicking). Since ordinary humans can't do anything for her, she has no interest in them.
You want evidence? Here are Bella, Alice, Jacob and Edward's comments on the subject of ordinary humans:
- I was human enough to have to ask.
- "You are only human, after all."
- "Can I have a moment to be human?"
- ... my unruly human reactions.
- ... me, a weak human.
- ... my bizarre human reactions.
- I wished there was some way to explain how very uninterested I was in a normal human life.
- Her jokes about helping the Cullens slaughter all her classmates.
- "But I didn't think it would be some trite human thing… prom!" I scoffed.
- It seemed strangely childish. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for normal human behavior today.
- I suppose it was very silly and human...
- "I'm nothing but a human after all. Nothing special..."
- "It's not like you're just some ignorant human."
- Bella constantly talking about how she doesn't relate to humans, as if this is a source of pride.
- ... my weak human senses.
- "You are so bizarre, even for a human."
- I was stupid and slow and human, and we were all going to die because of it.
And those are only the comments from what I've already covered. I'm sure there's plenty more contempt ahead.
Yeah, there are some token comments about humanity's good points or how Edturd doesn't want Bella to lose her humanity... but it's bullshit. The only reason those comments are there is because it makes the Cullens look slightly less villainous, because typically that sort of contempt for ordinary people is what VILLAINS DO.
What Smeyer actually WRITES is completely incompatible with any kind of compassion or liking for human beings.Humans in this series are depicted as stupid, worthless, shallow sacks of shit who aren't worth caring about, because they're not as wonderful as the vampires or werewolves. Bella explicitly turns her back on the "human world" over and over and over, and treats every single human she has met with some level of contempt. NO HUMAN BEING except Bella is regarded in a halfway respectful way.
And remember: the "good" vampires aren't even abstaining from human blood because they value human life. They really don't give a shit. Midnight Sun reveals that the Cullens regard cold-blooded murder with mild disappointment and/or amusement. And Breaking Dawn shows that vampires are still considered good if they kill humans instead of animals, as long as they're on the Cullens' side. So it's okay to murder innocent people as long as you're on the side of the Mormons instead of the Catholics.
As the final cherry atop the sundae... consider what Smeyer herself has said: "I am not anti-female, I am anti-human."
- First, you ARE anti-female. Your writing betrays you.
- Secondly... women are humans too. Idiot. You may pretend they're just smiling fembots, but in the real world, they are people.
- Thirdly... if the author admits that she hates human beings, why the fuck should I believe that her Sue feels any compassion for them?
If I can mention the Dresden Files for the four thousandth time... shut up. It's my snark blog and I can mention it if I like.
One of the things I really like about that series is the way it treats humans. Yes, most humans are ignorant, a lot are bigoted assholes, and most of them are pretty useless to Harry and everybody else in the story. But here's the twist: All the other supernatural creatures - including vampires and wizards - are just as bad, OR INFINITELY WORSE.
And Jim Butcher also emphasizes that there are ordinary humans, with no special powers or abilities AT ALL, who can hold their own in the supernatural world. Charity Carpenter, Karrin Murphy, Gentleman Johnny Marcone, Waldo Butters, Father Forthill... these are all ORDINARY people who not only survive in the midst of supernatural weirdness, but some of them actively flourish in it. They can hold their own, because they have guts, brains and courage. THAT is ultimately more important than supernatural power.
(I'm not counting the Knights, because they do have supernatural power even if it's a gift from God and not the same as the other human characters. And the wizards don't count because even though they are biologically human, they are born with their undeveloped abilities)
Now these people are not the majority of characters, because Harry mostly deals with fairies, gods, vampires, ghosts, evil wizards, etc. But there are enough of them to make you like and respect these characters, and be aware that weak, ordinary humans can still kick ass and take names - and it's plausible because they either prove themselves useful allies to the supernatural, or they are able to outthink the overconfident supernaturals who think they are "only human."
So yeah, when Jim Butcher talks about the importance of human lives, I buy it. When Stephenie Meyer does it, I figure she just doesn't want Bella to appear as the sociopath she is by saying, "Whatever, I don't care. They're, like, just humans. Turn me into a vampire so I can be hot and rich and sparkly!"
And if you need proof that I'm right, Bella immediately forgets about them. Immediately. In the very next line, she switches the subject to a hawt vampire woman, and doesn't really give another thought to the poor people about to be slaughtered. Whatever, there are hawt vampire women to ogle!
The ornate golden hallway was quiet,
Ornate? Golden? Please check the beginning of the chapter! The part with industrial carpeting and fluorescent lighting!
empty except for one gorgeous, statuesque woman. She stared at us curiously, me in particular.
... it's coming back, people.
So this is Heidi, whose job it is to wear skimpy clothes and lure in human tourists.
her beauty, too, was exceptional, unforgettable. I couldn't seem to look away.
I'm only half joking. Bella spends a WHOLE PARAGRAPH describing how sexy and skimpily-dressed this vampire woman is... and I'm pretty sure we are never going to see her again.
Nope. This is a character we'll never see again, and yet we have... THIS: She was dressed to emphasize that beauty. Her amazingly long legs, darkened with tights, were exposed by the shortest of miniskirts. Her top was long-sleeved and high-necked, but extremely close-fitting, and constructed of red vinyl. Her long mahogany hair was lustrous, and her eyes were the strangest shade of violet—a color that might result from blue-tinted contacts over red irises.
Bella needs to just admit she gets horny for tacos as well as wieners. There is no other reason why she would be gawping at this woman's legs and purty eyes.
Also, considering how prudish Smeyer is, I bet "shortest of miniskirts" means "slightly above the knee."
I suddenly understood the attention-grabbing outfit she wore… she was not only the fisherman, but also the bait.
... so does she only fish bisexuals, gay women and straight men? Oh right, gay/bisexual people do not exist in Smeyer's world.
So... why would women follow her then? Why would married women accompany their husbands in following her, since they would be drooling over her ass?
Demetri asks her to save "a few for me" and they leave. Bella, of course, shows no discomfort or horror at all. She's still ogling Heidi.
But we still couldn't get through the ornate door at the end of the hallway before the screaming started.
And since Bella is such a wonderful moral compassionate unselfish person who never thinks about herself, she doesn't even TRY to turn back to save those people. Nah, she's a main character, and they're just humans.