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The rainy day saga continues...
on July 28, 2008
(3.5 stars actually.)
Where Twlight left off, New Moon picks up--of course.
In case you aren't already aware of Twilight, it's the story of a 17 year old girl named Bella Swan who moved up to Forks, Washington and found herself in love with a vampire named Edward Cullen. After some misadventures which nearly claimed Bella's life, she began thinking more seriously (and I use that term loosely) about becoming a vampire herself so Edward no longer needs to worry about her safety and they can stay together forever.
New Moon begins rather bleakly when Edward decides to break off the relationship. This sends Bella spiraling into depression for a few months, until she notices that Edward's voice comes back to her when adrenaline is pumping. This prompts her to start walking on the wild side. Part of this wild side included riding a motorcycle, of which she knew nothing. She enlisted the aid of Jacob Black to fix up the motorcycle and teach her how to ride. Over the course of fixing the motorcycles, Bella and Jacob, though almost two years her junior, form a deep bond.
Where Twilight focused on getting to know Edward Cullen, New Moon focused on getting to know Jacob Black. We, as the readers, got to see how their indiviual relationships with Bella differed. Jacob actually contrasts Edward in almost every way. Jacob is bigger, less graceful, and not as disarmingly handsome as Edward. In fact, Jacob is a werewolf--natural enemy of the vampire.
One would think the climax of the book would somehow entail a bout between Jacob and Edward for the love of Bella, but it doesn't--at least, not overtly. The climax occurs when Bella must fly to Italy to save the life of her beloved Edward, thus saying a tortured good-bye to Jacob. That's the moment she realizes she's torn between the werewolf and the vampire. She wants the friendship of the werewolf, but craves the love of the vampire. But she knows ne'er the twain shall meet.
Since I don't want to fill this review with too many spoilers, I'll just jump to my notes on the book itself.
Again, Meyer's prose still left much to be desired, but it did improve since Twilight. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the editing. However, she hasn't gotten over latching on to a particular word and using it ad nauseum. In Twilight, the word was incredulous; in New Moon, it's glower. At any given moment, someone or something is glowering at someone or something else--or grimacing or growling.
The characters, with the noted exception of Jacob, are still rather shallow. Jacob is warm, unconventionally charming, intelligent, and funny. In fact, he seemed quite real.
One thing I didn't appreciate about his character, however, was his willingness to let Bella use him. More than once, she's made it clear that Jacob would be her second choice since Edward would always and forever be her first, yet Jacob stands idly by and accepts it. (In other words, Edward is Bella's Romeo while Jacob is her Paris.)
Rather than overcoming the absence of Edward and growing as an individual, Bella becomes a reckless teenager. Rebellion is to be expected, but going from a girl who can barely walk without tripping to someone who flings herself off a cliff just to hear the voice of her long gone sweetheart? I guess unhealthy obsession can make you do crazy things.
Edward didn't have much time to show us how he'd changed in the many months spent away from Bella since he was absent for much of the novel, so I'm reserving comment. (He still seems rather arrogant and smug, though.)
One truly positive thing I can say about New Moon is that it's much more fast-paced and contains more physical action than Twilight. There is an electric energy that permeates the book which wasn't there with Twilight and I believe that it comes from the introduction of Jacob's character.
At the end of the day, this book was still an enjoyable read and Meyer is still an excellent storyteller. Despite the flaws of prose and illogical reasoning for many of the emotions, it was easy to become lost in the fantasy. As I said in my review of Twilight, it's very much like watching a reality TV show featuring a clumsy teenage girl and, rather than a thoroughly confused vampire this time around, a charming teenage werewolf.
And also, like with Twilight, don't read this with too serious an eye. This is a fluff piece to be read on rainy days when you just want to escape from it all.