New Moon is a definite improvement for Meyer — not much, but an improvement all the same. There was a broody, melancholy feel to it, and I couldn’t put it down. It starts with Bella’s 18th birthday party, where Jasper can’t control his vampire tendencies and unintentionally tries to attack her after she gives herself a papercut. (Wouldn’t Alice have seen that coming? Hm.) Edward decides to leave Forks out of fear for Bella’s safety and soul, and out of love for her — he wants her to lead a normal human life, and carry on without him. Finally, he did something right. Except that the breakup goes something like this:
Edward says to Bella firmly, “No, I don’t want you to come. You’re no good for me.” And she basically agrees with him, thinking to herself that she is such a waste of space, and that it was all too good to be true. She then abandons all female dignity by racing after him in the woods, and laying down to cry in the mud.
Pull it together, woman.
In this situation, most women would grieve for some time, then realize it was for the best, pick up and carry on. Not Bella. Meyer portrays Bella as incapable of existence without Edward, morphing into a bleak, depressed zombie. I was waiting for the book to show that she can take care of herself, be her own woman, learn from this, gain some self-respect. Instead, months go by without change. 4 blank pages with the words October, November, December, and January depict this.
Don’t get me wrong — I do sympathize with her. It’s not easy for anyone to bear a breakup and, often, months do go by in a sad daze. But the screaming nightmares, dark, morbid thoughts, and suicide attempts were all a bit too much for me. I picture Bella as more of a fan than a girlfriend, and something in their relationship is lacking for me. What are the reasons Edward can’t live without Bella, and Bella without Edward? Why do they love each other? Nothing is given, other than he is beautiful and her blood sings to him.
But, like their weird and obsessive love, this series is inexplicably addictive.
The big change happens when Bella starts hanging out with Jacob Black, who essentially saves her from herself. He is a true and loyal friend. This is blossoming love to me: human warmth. Friendship. Little moments of connection that ring true. This is what she has with Jacob. I understood and loved their relationship, because he was real. He was an original character. I was pleasantly surprised with his characterization — he has a personality, a history, faults and triumphs. He is the only character who felt multi-faceted and normal. He’s friendly, warm, slightly cocky, good-natured and fun. He (for some reason) really cares for, and loves, Bella. She loves and cares for him. Jacob is the redeeming force of the Twilight series for me.
The book continues with Bella and Alice racing to Italy to save Edward from death at the hands of the Volturi (read: evil Vampire rulers). I was upset that there is hardly any detail to this part, which I thought was really interesting and poignant. The Volturi are wicked and evil and intriguing all at once, and it would have been nice if the entire event lasted longer than 1 rushed day. Meyer introduces a fascinating history, but really does not delve into it. It’s as though substantial writing is out of her comfort zone.
A few things bothered me while reading this book. One: Bella is extremely selfish. She spends time with Jacob in order to take her mind off of Edward — she uses him, and admits it to herself. She puts herself in dangerous situations just to imagine Edward’s admonishing voice, as her deranged mind starts to do. The Jacob plot becomes sadly overshadowed by the “I have such a huge hole in my heart, I miss Edward” whining for 200 pages. I felt so sorry for Jacob. He deserves better.
Two: Stephenie Meyer has the audacity to align her book with Romeo & Juliet in direct reference, and Wuthering Heights. Please.
Three: How can Edward and Bella kiss? It’s been bugging me since Book 1. I know it’s fictional, but it states somewhere that “in place of human fluids, there was venom“…isn’t there venom in his kiss, too? I’m just confused. The author really didn’t explain herself or think a lot of the details out. Sometimes it feels as though she wrote 50 pages in one sitting and never looked back on them to edit. She repeats herself so much, yet explains very little.
Oh yeah, and Victoria is still around, wanting revenge against Edward & Bella for James’ death. She’s loosely giving this series a plot, but we hear very little about her. On to Eclipse…