Postponing the Rise of the Midnight Sun:
Stephenie Meyer Readers React to Late Breaking News
by Little Willow
Recently, author Stephenie Meyer announced that she will not be releasing Midnight Sun, the highly anticipated companion to her beloved Twilight series, due to a leak of an early draft of the book. The story was to be from the point of view of Edward, the immortal leading man of the vampiric bestsellers, but it is now "on hold indefinitely," according to the statement released by the author.
"As some of you may have heard, my partial draft of Midnight Sun was illegally posted on the Internet and has since been virally distributed without my knowledge or permission or the knowledge or permission of my publisher," Meyer revealed at her website. She went on to describe what happened, and why, in her current frame of mind, she thinks it is best she postpone the book: "I feel too sad about what has happened to continue working on Midnight Sun, and so it is on hold indefinitely."
Fan reactions vary from disappointed to apathetic, disturbed to amused. Here are some thoughts from teen readers:
"I understand why Stephenie will not write more of Midnight Sun now, but I hope she gets back to writing about the Cullens eventually." - Emily, 17
"I do understand Stephenie losing her drive after the early draft was released. However, I don't think the leak is a reason for her to back out on her fans who were just excited to see her manuscript." - Ellen, 15
"I am totally heartbroken about her not publishing it, but I do understand why she decided not to, with the leak." - Krystal, 23
"While I agree that a leak is dreadful, and must be heartbreaking for Meyer, I think it's silly to not publish a book because someone leaked it. It's punishing millions for the actions of one. Truthfully, when I first heard about it, I thought she simply didn't want to write the book."- Alexia, 17
"OMG! Where is my copy? Through who (whom?) do I have to go to get my hands on this copy?" - Joan, 16
"I was not excited for the book, but I am disappointed with Stephanie's reaction." - Felicity
"I don't blame Stephenie Meyer (for the postponement). I pretty much just blamed the idiot who leaked it onto the Internet because they just caused indefinite torture for devoted readers." - Amy S., 17
"I was so excited for that book. I hope that maybe she'll write it in the future. I am disappointed with whomever leaked it. Someone's personal work shouldn't be posted unless it your own." - Sarah, 17
"I am curious to what other authors are thinking," said Georgia, mother of three. "If it was your manuscript that had been leaked, what do you think would be your reaction?"
"If someone leaked my work, I would be furious and hurt," replied Justina Chen Headley, author of Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) and the forthcoming 2009 release North of Beautiful. "My heart goes out to [Meyer]. Just think about what she’s been through this year alone: two major book releases, a big book / concert tour, and (she has) three kids! She must be exhausted. This break might just be what she needs to recharge. Who knows - the book might go in a whole different direction."
I also discussed the leak with the two women who wrote the MSN feature article Does Twilight Suck the Brains out of Teens? Here's what they had to say:
"I'm so sorry Stephenie's work was revealed prior to publication. I hope with time her desire will return to finish this work for her fans." - Lorie Ann Grover, author of On Pointe and co-founder of readergirlz
"Maybe the plot for the new one was stored in Bella's womb. Bon appétit, Edward." - Martha Brockenbrough, journalist and author of Things That Make Us [Sic]
While asking others what they thought about the series and about the postponement, they naturally asked me what I thought in return.Here we go:
Years ago, I read Twilight shortly before it was released, thanks to an advanced reader copy that appeared at my workplace. I knew the beautiful, simple cover would help sell it (and I hoped people wouldn't confuse it with Teach Me by R.A. Nelson, a great story which also had a dust jacket showcasing a red apple on a black background) and that vampire aficionados would enjoy it.
Overall, I liked Twilight well enough, but I didn't love it. Though I do like some stories with vampires and shapeshifters (namely, those written by Christopher Golden), I'm not big into romance, so I didn't care much for Bella's ongoing pining for Edward or rocky relationship with Jacob. I was left unmoved by the stories and the writing in New Moon and Eclipse, so I did not plan on reading Breaking Dawn. I didn't discourage other readers, though - to each his or her own, I always say.
When Dawn finally broke, and I heard all of the spoilers, I knew for certain that book wasn't for me. Supernatural pregnancies rarely end well. Look at what happened to Cordelia - twice - on the TV series Angel. Yeah. Not for me.
I have plenty of customers who love the series, so let's go back to them. Some loved Breaking Dawn just as much as the previous novels, while others, well, not so much.
Joan, quoted earlier, was sad when she finished reading it because she didn't want it to be over - this was the first vampire series she'd ever read and she really enjoyed the romance between the leading characters.
Krystal thinks that the people that didn't like Breaking Dawn "were just looking for something they have seen in other books. They wanted people to die and these books have mostly been happy and warm and fuzzy with the occasional WHAT?! [moment]."
Amy Z. thought the books "were absolutely amazing and full of unexpected plot twists," to which Amy S. responded, "I really liked the twists in Breaking Dawn, but I thought there were some details that made the ending anti-climactic."
Amy S. isn't alone. As with everything, there are those who loved the book, those who loathed it, and those in-between. Readers who loathed it are getting the most press, especially those who were known for being devoted fans of the series. Why did they find it a disappointment? Perhaps some had built it up too much, with all of the anticipation building and building to a point that nothing could match it. Readers may have felt disbelief at the events or scenes depicted in the book, and those who thought certain situations were too, er, racy for kids to read said they plucked it from the hands of their pre-teens. There were reviewers both professional and amateur, teens and adults alike, who openly expressed their dislike of the writing or of the major events, including the ending.
Some readers who were extremely upset took action: they returned Breaking Dawn to bookstores and encouraged others to do the same. Yikes. Look at this discussion thread on Amazon in which fans talk about returning Breaking Dawn. This rush of returns was unexpected, to say the least, and it happened all over the globe. Spoilers for the book spread fast on the internet - the same place and fanbase that would, only weeks later, spread the leak of Midnight Sun - and some harsh critics tore the book apart.
Award-winning author Shannon Hale spoke of this at her blog. She says she "adored" Breaking Dawn and calls this backlash an "online hatefest" and "a curious phenomenon." (I think those are accurate phrases.) She goes on to say, "I've never seen the like and it's been very disturbing to me. And it's gotten me thinking -- is it the author's fault if you don't like one of her books?" (Read more of Hale's thought-provoking blog posts.)
Think about that for a minute or two, then go sink your teeth into the book of your choice.
Here are a few books I recommend to Twilight fans:
Prowlers by Christopher Golden (a quartet of novels about shapeshifters - Jacob would be intrigued by the Prowlers, with their similarities to and differences from werewolves)
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R.A. Dick (read the book that inspired the classic film and TV show)