Twilight author Stephenie Meyer’s website countdown clock has revealed Midnight Sun will arrive August 4. Fans in their excitement literally crashed the website to see the news themselves, although many predicted the news when the clock first appeared. Still, they remained skeptical: The book has seemingly been cursed since its original publication was put on an indefinite hold after the first chapters were leaked online in 2008.
Fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of the novel for more than a decade. After a while, the delays became somewhat of a meme within in the fandom. It seemed Midnight Sun would never arrive, so fans began to speculate heavily on what would potentially appear in the hypothetical book. Eventually they came up with their own ideas and built up their own versions of the story that now they will be able to compare to the canon.
The first novel in the Twilight saga was first published October 2005, meaning Midnight Sun will be released just in time for its 15th anniversary. For Twilight’s 10th anniversary, Meyer published Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, which is a gender-swapped retelling of the original novel. Edward Cullen became Edythe, Bella became Beau and Jacob Black, the other member of the series’ famous love triangle, became Jules.
However, the love triangle was far less developed in Life and Death because Meyer changed the ending in order to insure the retelling would only consist of one book. Edythe is unable to save Beau in the ballet studio and Beau becomes a vampire that night. This forces him to fake his death and start a life as a vampire several books earlier than Bella.
Bella is a pretty classic self-insert character, which could be a reason why fans continue to return to the series. Readers can easily slip themselves into the story and truly escape into a fantastical world where vampires and werewolves not only exist, but love them above all. Another reason for fans’ continued engagement with the Twilight saga is that the novel hits a lot of young adult fiction tropes like romance and family, but also includes a mystery element.
It’s fun to return to Bella before she knows Edward and the Cullens are vampires and rediscover this larger world. When regular people start to mature and their eyes open to a bigger world, it includes taxes and how much a phone bill actually costs. When Bella matures and sees a bigger world, she gets a sexy vampire boyfriend, which seems way more fun.
Midnight Sun, meanwhile, is a retelling of Twilight through Edward Cullen’s point of view.
As fans gear up to reread the Twilight story yet again, there is the threat of disappointment. After 12 years of waiting, fans have been speculating about what Edward was up to and what he was thinking over the course of the original novel, but especially in the moments when he and Bella were separated while on the run from James and Victoria. Fanfiction has explored what was going through Edward’s mind while Bella lay bitten and dying in the ballet studio.
The Twilight fandom has really hit its stride in the last year or two, during what fans have called the “Twilight Renaissance.” The online fandom has really revisited the series in an interesting way, as fans who genuinely love it have also begun to criticize its myriad flaws. Although these are staples of any fandom, Twilight fans have especially started to embrace removing or fixing flaws in the books through fan works and headcanons, in order to make the series more inclusive and less problematic overall.
While the books are entertaining and certainly successful, they are also deeply flawed. The series has been accused of racist portrayals of Native Americans as animalistic savages and several critics have pointed out the unhealthy romantic relationships in the series, especially between Edward and Bella.
Midnight Sun needs to accomplish much to ultimately be satisfying to the fans who have not only been waiting 12 years for the completed novel, but filled that time with their own musings about the series and sharp critiques about its flaws. Midnight Sun will so directly link to the first novel that it seems impossible it will be able to dismantle the worst flaws of the Twilight saga. However, maybe Meyer has found a way to satisfy fans and address the more problematic elements of her global hit with this new take on the story.
Midnight Sun finally has a release date and fans are eagerly awaiting a chance to return, for the third time, to the Twilight story — flaws and all.