Thursday, June 3, 2010

Eclipse Discussion - Chapter 25. Mirror

This week The Danger Magnet herself, Ana Cristina, has written our discussion. Show her some love in the comments and let her know how much we all appreciate it! And don't forget the awesome Eclipse discussion going on over at TDM as well! Amber wrote a discussion over there a little while back!

Chapter 25 takes place right after Edward successfully dispatches Victoria. During my first reading of this book, I remember feverishly turning the page to begin this chapter, hardly able to believe that Bella's redheaded menace was gone. I still feel the aftershocks rereading this chapter now, even though this is my 1,038,301th reading of the book. (I kid. I think.)

What's great about the beginning of this chapter is that Bella mirrors my shock as a reader. She just stands there, frozen, as Edward calmly begins tearing Victoria apart and preparing the requisite pyre. Even Seth joins in on the dismembering fun. While Edward and Seth are busy bonding (Did anyone else think that scene was cute? Well, minus the dismembering part, of course.), Bella is still there, all frozen and stuff. When Edward finally realizes Bella's near comatose state, he has an interesting reaction:
"You don't have to be afraid, Bella," Edward murmured. "You're safe. I won't hurt you."
Why would Edward think Bella is afraid of him?! Bella is clearly freaking out for the same reason I am freaking out. She's probably wondering, "That's it? Victoria is GONE?" It almost feels too easy. But then again, this is Edward we are talking about. Perfect, deadly Edward.

However, this is the first time Bella has really seen Edward in his vampiric element. That scene in the meadow in Twilight, where Edward goes ballistic and breaks a tree or twenty? Yeah, that was child's play compared to the scene where he kills Victoria. So maybe Bella is perhaps a teensy bit in shock over this.

Still, Bella tries to play it off, even showing off to Edward: "Just wait till I'm a vampire! I'm not going to be sitting on the sidelines next time." But before Bella can fully regain her composure, Edward suggests they should be on their way, which of course sends Bella into a hyperventilating fit. Why should they be on their way? Is Victoria magically going to reanimate somehow? Is Jacob in trouble? Come to think of it, where is Jacob?! I'm hearing the 1980's classic by Men at Work, "Who Can It Be Now" in my head as I read, and then out of nowhere, Seth and Edward are convulsing, gripped by a seemingly phantom pain.

At first, I think that Jane is to blame -- that the Volturi must be in town and Jane must be playing her twisted mind games with them. But then Edward gasps, "We're fine -- we're going to be okay. Sam -- help him," and I understand that something else is wrong. And somehow, some way, I know that Jacob is the one in need of Sam's help.

Edward convinces Seth to go home and then quickly fills Bella in on the news that the Volturi are indeed in town, though they haven't come to check up on Bella, but rather to make sure that the newborn army has been taken care of. He goes on to say how they need to get going to the clearing, where his family has gathered to meet the Volturi. Frustratingly, Edward doesn't want to give any specifics on how the pack is doing. All he says at first is that the pack had to leave. After Bella cajoles him for more information, she learns the horrifying truth -- Jacob was badly hurt trying to protect Leah. This news -- more than seeing Edward decapitate Victoria, more than seeing Edward and Seth tear the vampire apart -- shatters Bella so much that she immediately loses consciousness.

Bella awakens shortly after in the clearing, feeling the cool hands of the Cullen family upon her and hearing their soothing voices. But Bella doesn't open her eyes until Edward assures her that Jacob is going to live and that he is healing even now, after Carlisle's assistance. It is after only she stands up and takes stock of her bearings that Bella realizes something is not right with her surroundings -- there is someone else in the clearing with them, hidden in Jasper's shadow. Bella learns that it is a young vampire, the sole remaining member of the newborn army. Having surrendered to the Cullens, the newborn is restless, impatient. Why is she impatient? Because she is driven crazy by the siren's call of Bella's human blood and apparently has never known what it is like to avoid temptation. Carlisle attempts to persuade the newborn to change her mind and join their vegetarian vampire ways, but she is too crazed by her bloodlust to think clearly.

With the appearance of this bloodthirsty newborn, Bella is also faced with the realization of what she can expect should she choose an immortal life by Edward's side. In the newborn's crazed eyes, Bella's possible future is mirrored. It is a startling realization for her. But will it be enough to change Bella's mind?

And then suddenly, out of nowhere, they are not the only ones in the clearing anymore, for the Volturi has arrived. Five of them to be exact, led by the angelically beautiful -- and deadly -- Jane. Jane is perturbed by the presence of the newborn, wanting to know why the Cullens didn't destroy her along with the rest of the newborn army. When Edward explains to Jane that the newborn has surrendered to them, Carlisle having given her that option, Jane flatly replies: "There are no options for those who break the rules."

Jane and Carlisle go on to discuss the battle with the newborn army, and we learn along with Jane that the Cullens were able to destroy the entire army with the exception of this young newborn. Jane proceeds to interrogate the newborn, and we learn that her name is Bree and that she was trained to hunt for Bella's scent. Jane is surprised to learn that Bella is -- once again -- the cause for so much turmoil, and unbeknownst to Bella (thankfully!), she attempts to play her sadistic mind tricks on her until Edward pleads with her to stop. Luckily, Bella's thick skull seems as impenetrable as always.

Having been thwarted by Bella's lack of response to her attempts, Jane seems unable to leave without causing at least some measure of pain. When she tells Bella, "Caius will be so interested to hear you're still human, Bella. Perhaps he'll decide to visit," Alice smoothly interjects by saying: "The date is set. Perhaps we'll come to visit you in a few months." Again, Jane is thwarted. So she decides to take off her sadistic frustration on someone else -- Bree.
"Take care of that, Felix," Jane said, nodding toward Bree, her voice dripping boredom. "I want to go home."
"Don't watch," Edward whispered in my ear.
I was only too eager to follow his instruction. I'd seen more than enough for one day -- more than enough for one lifetime. I squeezed my eyes tightly together and turned my face into Edward's chest.
But I could still hear.
There was a deep, rumbling growl, and then a high-pitched keen that was horribly familiar. [...]

And just like that, the mysterious and oddly sympathetic character Bree is no more, and Bella is left to contemplate what awaits her as a hopeful newborn vampire.

4 comments:

RaShell said...

Nice chapter review! You sent me into a fits of giggles with this phrase: "Bella's thick skull seems as impenetrable as always."

chickahorse said...

Just got to read the new Bree Tanner novella! I'm glad your chapter review coincided with the release (not sure if you planned it that way, but it worked out well!)
Here is my review of it: http://www.thevolturicitizen.com/2010/06/short-second-life-of-bree-tanner-review.html

Amber (EyesofAmber) said...

I was just thinking how wonderfully timed this was. Picked up my copy of the novella this morning. Your discussion was absolutely wonderful and so spot on. I never really thought about Bella being frozen with shock and surprised that it was suddenly over.
Definitely a different Edward than she'd ever seen before. A fantastic job of summarizing this chapter. Her reaction to the news of Jacob's injury is so telling of her true heart. Very interesting to see the break down of the next chapter!

Annie Cristina said...

Thanks, guys! I had a blast writing this post -- Amber, thanks so much for giving me the opportunity. :)