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New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

New Moon (Second book in Twilight series)
by Stephenie Meyer




    In this follow-up to Twilight Bella Swan and Edward Cullen are perfect together, blissfully floating through the world on rose petals and rainbows.  Unfortunately, a small accident at Bella’s eighteenth birthday disastrously alters the relationship, as Edward realizes once more how much danger his family puts Bella in.  He breaks up with her and vanishes along with the rest of the Cullens.  Overwhelmed with grief, Bella shuts down and exists in a zombie-like mockery of life until her friend Jacob Black rescues her.  His happy personality brings her out of her funk, and she blossoms in the warmth of her “personal sun.”   Soon they are spending all their time together.  Yet Jacob has a secret, a dangerous one that will blow the enmity between the Indians and the Cullens to epic proportions and test Bella’s loyalties once and for all.

    If my co-workers weren’t so gung-ho for Stephanie Meyer’s series, I would walk away with no hesitation.  In fact, I’m quite sure I would not have finished New Moon, and this for a simple reason: I can’t stand either of the main characters.   Bella’s absolute detachment from her life is mind-boggling, frankly psychopathic.  Comments like “I wondered if I should feel afraid” (p. 74) and “Part of me knew this should upset me” (p. 76) makes it seem as if she is watching her life outside of time, like on a television set.  In fact, I almost hope that she is. That would be a killer twist and really screw with Edward’s legions of fans.  Bella still lacks that tiny essential component – a personality – because beyond thinking about Edward and once and a while, thinking about Jacob, she doesn’t seem to have any other passions.  I mean, I know teenagers struggle for identity and life is SO HARD but if you take the boys out of Bella’s life there is nothing there. (Lucky for her, boys eat her up like candy so there’s always one around.)

    Edward, on the other hand, is so so so perfect and god-like save for his obsession with Bella.  He has a great aversion to taking her virginity making her into a vampire because he thinks it will cause her to lose her soul.  Moot point, m’boy.  Bella clearly hasn’t got one of those to lose.  You can’t lose or destroy something that never existed in the first place, so go ahead and make her a bloodsucker already.

    Many, many references are made to the tragic romance of Romeo & Juliet.  Clearly, we are meant to identify the cast of New Moon with the star-struck lovers.  There is a constant barrage of reminders, so Meyer clearly thought this was important.  So let me clarify things for you, just in case you missed it, because Meyer really wants you to know:
        Bella = Juliet
        Edward = Romeo
        Paris = Jacob, or Mike Newton if you’re desperate

Right, got it.  Moving on!
   
     That’s not to say the book is all bad.  Alice has a much higher page count than the previous novel, and she proves to be a resourceful, clever little vampire.  The cover was very cool.  Bella does have a very human moment early in the book when she has a nightmare that she will grow old and wrinkled and ugly and she will STILL be with Edward, he perpetually seventeen.  It was one of the few times she was thinking beyond the moment, and one of the only flashes of humor in the novel.

    Finally, the introduction of werewolves and Meyer’s alteration of their mythology worked quite well, and her alterations to the 'established' rules actually made the sense.  (WTF sparkly vampires???)  Although the vampire universe is greatly expanded as well, the werewolf pack show a greater respect for their past brethren and history, ironic since they aren’t immortal like their arch enemies.  Without the werewolves there would be little plot and no direction for the book, and we are now set up for an epic battle between the two groups.  Eclipse, the next book in the series, has many of the ingredients to improve the series and bring it to life.  It all depends on how Stephanie Meyer stirs the pot.

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Note: I'm probably never going to get around tor reviewing the first book of this series, so if you're curious here are two excellent reviews that summarize my thoughts on the first book and why it may not be safe for teenage consumption:

A Nausea that Borders on Violence: Why Twilight is a Cancerous Sore on the Face of Literature
Twilight Reviewed on Active Voice

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Buy the book on Amazon.com, or add it to your wishlist.
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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
linafeo
Aug. 3rd, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
I haven't read the book but I heard it's good and I want to read it but I haven't found a copy yet.
dazyndara
Aug. 14th, 2008 09:12 am (UTC)
Hmm, from your review of Eclipse I didn't know this was a vampire series, now I might end up reading it after all!

If you like vampire books, have you read Daylight by Elizabeth Knox? I highly recommend it!
fashion_piranha
Aug. 14th, 2008 01:30 pm (UTC)
That one looks excellent; I'll have to grab it when I get a chance!

And yeah, I can't believe I didn't mention the vampire-ness of Eclipse, but when I was writing that it seemed like everyone was talking up the series so I probably just assumed it didn't need to be said. My bad!
penmage
Aug. 15th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
Ooooh. Elizabeth Knox wrote a vampire book? Have you read her Dreamhunter Duet? Those books are in my Top Ten of 2007--they are some of the smartest, best noncliche fantasy I have ever read. I am so impressed with her writing.
book_maven
Aug. 14th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the links, a friend of mine is leading a book discussion at the high school she worked at (the kids chose the book, not her) and I've sent them to her. She's planning on having the kids read about the abusive nature of the book to help them analyze the book a bit more. Here's hoping it works!
morningapproach
Aug. 15th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)
Good review :) You pretty much summed up all of my feelings in a way that I couldn't put words to.

Since the beginning of the second book I have enjoyed the way that Meyers has portrayed Jacob - he has grown up and become his own character in a way that is dynamic and engaging. I think that he might be the best character in the series.
inbedwithbooks.blogspot.com
Aug. 17th, 2008 07:55 am (UTC)
This one turned me off the series, because of the overwhelming angst and the fact the big plot twist was the werewolves. Yeah, I figured that out back in TWILIGHT. Not much suspense.
innoittaa
Aug. 20th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
WTF sparkly vampires???

My thought exactly. Reading this series was like continuously running into a brick wall built from sparkly vampires, not to mention all the problems with the stories themselves. I'm pretty sure even the generic vampire romance novel is probably better than this series, if only because the author makes an attempt to give the characters more personality.

If you're looking for a decent vampire novel, Fangland by John Marks was pretty good.
innoittaa
Aug. 20th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)
vampirerevenant(at)gmail(dot)com
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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