Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Review of “New Moon”
Meyer, Stephenie. New Moon. Kindle. Hachette, London, 2009. ISBN: 1904233880
On Bella’s sixteenth birthday, the Cullens have thrown her a party. Once there, she unwraps a present and cuts her finger, leaving Edward’s brother, Jasper, trying to attack her. The Cullens decide to move and Edward tells Bella that they need to make “a clean break.” Bella is shocked and hurt and is discovered in the woods by Sam Uley, one of Jacob Black’s friends. For months Bella is depressed and there is no sign of Edward or his family. Eventually Bella becomes closer to her friend Jacob Black, a match her father Charlie approves of. Bella feels happy again with Jacob and starts riding motorcycles with him. However, the memory of Edward lingers and each time she finds herself in the midst of danger, his voice is in her head. Jacob suddenly stops calling her and after an incident where she had seen Laurent in the same woods where Edward had left her, she discovers that Jacob and his friends are all a pack of young werewolves. In order to hear the “delusion” of Edward’s voice again she decides to go cliff jumping alone and nearly drowns until Jacob saves her. In a vision Alice, Edward’s sister, comes back to see Bella only to find that she is only alive. Edward, however, believes she is dead and goes to Italy to try and get the Volturi family to kill him. Bella and Alice have to go and stop him where the Volturi family explain that Bella must become a vampire in order to appease them.
This book is young adult / teen romantic fantasy. I liked this book immensely better than Twilight. Without the blubbering over Edward, Bella had some kind of real personality. She was heartbroken, depressed, interested in motorcycles, had new friends…she was a teenaged girl hanging out with a teenaged boy. I liked the character of Jacob Black a lot and I hope that Meyer gives him more to do in Eclipse as well. The detail that Bella gives Edward is just about his allure and his “perfect” insert-random-body-part-here. The relationship with Jacob was much more enduring and much more connective. I actually felt like Bella was a real human being.
However, it amazed me that while we were all pretty much guessing that Jacob was a werewolf in Twilight, poor Bella couldn’t figure it out even after Jacob’s persistence to remember exactly what he has told her. (The treaty about the vampires and werewolves in Forks.) I don’t like being two steps ahead of the narrator. I also like the Native American legend of the werewolves too. To me that’s very cool and it makes some kind of sense. Native American oral legend would have tales of men turning into wolves - a creature they honour. So Meyer did a good job on that, in my humble opinion. I’m still not sure why they turn into wolves when they get mad instead of when the moon is full (*cough cough* Title of the novel. *cough cough*) but I can overlook that. It’s also way more interesting to me, again, that these young wolves are just that – young. It works well and I enjoyed the story of them.
But of course the vampires showed up again. Now, the whole Volturi thing bugged me a bit but making them very creepy was a good way to go. I haven’t even watched the stinking movie and I knew who Dakota Fanning’s character was the minute they described her. The Volturi reminded me of Interview with the Vampire so it felt a little more like a traditional vampire story. I still don’t understand how the “delusions” of hearing Edward’s voice was just the truth coming to the surface instead of some cool ability to speak to Bella when they are at such a distance (as opposed to when they’re always together.) Seems kind of cheap to me. And what’s with the hyphenating of words, Stephenie Meyer? “Too-big” and “too-warm” are not proper words. Plus, everyone in this book is either chuckling or hissing. Can’t they just talk? Oh yeah, they’re monsters, so no?
Ultimately I do like this in some ways and in some ways I don’t. I know Meyer said she didn’t like having to have Edward be gone for so long but I love that it gave Bella some depth and Jacob more purpose. I don’t like that this is going to lead into “see ya, I’m off to be a bloodsucker now.” I guess Meyer is trying to ease it more with Jacob being so angry (and potentially hurting Bella if this happens.) But that will be for my review of Eclipse which I fumbled through the first 20% of already before writing this review.
I like that they have discussion questions in the back of the book too. If books that are this engaging for young readers they need to know how to analyse the material in a way that they can transfer it to other school books.