“This one did not stand out among the bigger and brighter pieces; painted in varying tones of sepia, it depicted a miniature city full of steeply slanted roofs, with thin spires atop a few scattered towers.” Since this is supposed to be London in the 1650’s, it shouldn’t be painted. It should be a woodcut. Just a nitpick. Then again, I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a reproduction or an original.
“It is amazing that he was able to resist… feeding… while he was still so new. The instinct is more powerful then, it takes over everything.” And this kind of pokes holes in Carlisle the Compassionate. He never ate anyone, but after going through blinding agony and having to fight body and soul to keep from eating everyone he met, not to mention his numerous suicide attempts, why would he inflict it on other people? Specifically on other people that he knew nothing about? Edward could have been a serial rapist or Rosalie could have been a psychotic axe murderer. But no, he just takes pity on a few stories and decides that there’d be nothing better than to make them thirst eternally for human blood!
“He'd always been intelligent, eager to learn.” And yet he apparently knows nothing of Latin or Greek or theology. He never mentions neo-platonic ideals (which was a hot trend in his day) or Petrarchan love. I guess he could have forgotten it, or could have followed the course of the crumble of Petrarchism and Christian humanism. Either way, it seems weird that such a “compassionate” guy never mentions any of this stuff.
“"He swam to France ?"
"People swim the Channel all the time, Bella," he reminded me patiently.” Doesn’t he just drip paternalism? How does this not send shivers of revulsion through every female who reads this?
“"Everything is easy for you," I griped.
He waited, his expression amused.
"I won't interrupt again, I promise."
He chuckled darkly,” Edward likes being reminded that he’s better than his weak woman thing.
“"You don't have to breathe?" I demanded.” Why would he? He’s a reanimated corpse. That’s what a vampire is, sweetcheeks.
“"I know that at some point, something I tell you or something you see is going to be too much. And then you'll run away from me, screaming as you go."” Since she didn’t run screaming when you told her you wanted nothing more than to kill her and explained that you had killed and eaten humans in the past, what exactly is going to be “too much”? Maybe she’ll find out that he likes chess and is thus a geek and unworthy of her super-special specialness.
“By night he studied music, science, medicine” All things he should have studied before. If that cross hung in the vicarage, then his father was one of the vicars of London. That’s a BIG DEAL! Carlisle should have spent at least a bit of time in Oxford or Cambridge, like all other young men from the clergy class did.
“His expression became awed, almost reverent.” I’m just a bit bothered by the fact that he thinks Carlisle can do no wrong, yet he treats Esme with semi-affectionate condescension.
“"He was studying in Italy when he discovered the others there. They were much more civilized and educated than the wraiths of the London sewers."” Just a guess, but maybe it had something to do with the fact that they weren’t living in open ditches filled with:
Sweepings from butchers stalls, dung, guts, and blood,
Drowned puppies, stinking sprats, all drenched in mud,
Dead cats and turnips-tops (Jonathan Swift, “Description of a City Shower”)
Keep in mind that was written about the “sewers” 60 years after Carlisle was finding buried vampires.
“"Solimena was greatly inspired by Carlisle's friends. He often painted them as gods,"” And Smeyer drags a perfectly innocent Baroque painter into the mud.
“Carlisle stayed with them only for a short time, just a few decades. He greatly admired their civility, their refinement, but they persisted in trying to cure his aversion to his natural food source,' as they called it.” Good thing he’s so open-minded. A lot of people would be disturbed to have their closest friends be cannibalistic serial killers, but Carlisle accepts men of all stripes.
“since he couldn't find a companion, he would create one.” This… well, I have nothing against Carlisle deciding that the perfect companion would be a beautiful young boy, but it seems a bit out of place for a strict Mormon.
“When he turned back to me, a gentle angel's smile lit his expression.” I don’t know, but that makes this seem more homoerotic than just the fact that Carlisle’s first choice of companion was a teenage boy.
“Well, I had a typical bout of rebellious adolescence — about ten years after I was… born…created, whatever you want to call it. I wasn't sold on his life of abstinence, and I resented him for curbing my appetite. So I went off on my own for a time."” …. I’m not going to touch this one.
“"That doesn't repulse you?"
"Why not?"” Good question. He’s just openly admitted that he got tired of not nomming the Happy Meals with legs and went off and murdered people. So why is she so chill?
“"It took me only a few years to return to Carlisle and recommit to his vision.” Only a few years of wanton murder and mayhem.
“Because I knew the thoughts of my prey, I could pass over the innocent and pursue only the evil.” While that seems rational, isn’t that what caused all the trouble in Death Note?
“The whole back side of the house must be glass.” Which means it wouldn’t be the “balanced” architecture described earlier – which still sounds Georgian, or the supposed age of the house. Whole walls of glass didn’t become the vogue until Frank Lloyd Wright. I guess they could have remodeled extensively, since they’re richer than God, but still. Another thing – why don’t the obscenely rich Cullens give to charity?
“"I hate to burst your bubble, but you're really not as scary as you think you are. I don't find you scary at all, actually," I lied casually.” No girl should ever have to lie about that.
“He stopped, raising his eyebrows in blatant disbelief. Then he flashed a wide, wicked smile.
"You really shouldn't have said that," he chuckled.” No Edward’s going to put the fear of God into you!
“He growled, a low sound in the back of his throat; his lips curled back over his perfect teeth. His body shifted suddenly, half-crouched, tensed like a lion about to pounce.
I backed away from him, glaring.
I didn't see him leap at me — it was much too fast. I only found myself suddenly airborne, and then we crashed onto the sofa, knocking it into the wall. All the while, his arms formed an iron cage of protection around me — I was barely jostled. But I still was gasping as I tried to right myself.
He wasn't having that. He curled me into a ball against his chest, holding me more securely than iron chains. I glared at him in alarm, but he seemed well in control, his jaw relaxed as he grinned, his eyes bright only with humor.” I’m sure this is meant to be charming play-wrestling, but it still made me feel unclean.
“"That you are a very, very terrifying monster," I said, my sarcasm marred a bit by my breathless voice.
"Much better," he approved.” Because you’re no good unless you’re scared of me!
“"It sounded like you were having Bella for lunch, and we came to see if you would share," Alice announced.” So Alice has a little bit of sass. Too bad I know that it’s eventually subliminated by parties and fancy clothes.
“I gathered that Alice was a bit more reliable than the weatherman, though.”
Not really. Her power might as well be Plot in a Box. It only works when the plot requires it to, and when the plot requires it not to, it’s a shambles. Since the men’s powers all work perfectly, only Alice’s unreliable power can cause drama.
“"Do you want to go?" Edward asked me, excited, his expression vivid.” Vivid is totally the wrong word to use in this situation. I believe she was going for ‘bright’ or ‘glowing’, based on what my Microsoft Word thesaurus pulled up.