Thursday, November 27, 2008

Stephenie Meyer - New Moon (Book Review)

"New Moon" (Amazon: US, UK)
by Stephenie Meyer
Format: Paperback, 608 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Yeah, I know what I said about reading 'New Moon' in my review of 'Twilight' – I marked it as 'for hardcore fans only', not knowing that my sister is one of them and that I'll just happen to be the one to pick 'New Moon' up for her. She was away for that week, I had no other things to read and well ... I was curious.
But then, we all know that curiosity killed the proverbial cat. And even though 'New Moon' didn't exactly kill me (after all, I'm no cat), it surely tried very hard to do so. At least, I ended up feeling like something has eaten my brain, as if 'New Moon' wasn't a regular novel but rather a Tome of Un-knowledge. Yes, it's that bad, and from now on, I won't touch the Twilight series again. Unless I'm dying to read something and there are no other books available (which is not very likely!).

The thing is – I knew what happens in the book. Most of my girlfriends were talking about it for weeks, so it was really hard to dismiss everything being said. It really is fairly simple: Edward leaves, Bella is devastated and turns depressive, Jacob Black falls in love with her, Edward thinks that Bella is (after a series of unfortunate events) dead, so he wants to commit suicide; Bella rushes to Italy to save him at the last moment and he promises to never leave her side again. Awww. That is all I heard, and it was enough – you don't really need to know all the details (not that there is so many), and you most certainly don't need to read the whole book. Don't take me wrong, I have nothing against emo culture, but Bella really does create an impression of a most pathetic, wannabe-tragic and caricaturised emo, only the razors missing from the picture. I wallow in self-loathing; my heart is broken, torn and numb! - that sort of things.

I concede one thing to Stephenie Meyer – she kind of manages to pull it off despite everything. You read, read and read New Moon, until it suddenly hits you how pathetic everybody and everything is. Of course, you decide to bang your head against the wall for some time ... but then, you go back and read some more. I don't really understand it, but I know that it's not just because I try to finish books I read ... it's something else.

Well, whatever it is, it's not character development, because that does not exist in 'New Moon'. Characters who are given the most 'screen time' are Jacob Black (who is, despite all the physical changes he's undergoing, essentially still the same), Edward (since he's a vampire, the lack of change in him is at least explainable) and Bella (who, after months of being excessively emo, even takes a step or two backwards instead of forwards). Here's some of her typical problems:

*she is not able to hurt her loved ones. Okay, that's very nice, but begging Jacob to be her friend, even when she knows that's most likely to cause major trouble, because his feelings might be a bit hurt otherwise, still makes no sense whatsoever. Wasn't it said a million times that Bella is a very rational person?

*she is extremely perceptive (she figures out immediately that it was Sam who scarred his girlfriend's face), yet she cannot figure out what Jacob is changing into. I can't see how a sensible reader is supposed to believe that, I really can't.

*she is fatally in love with the most gorgeous guy anybody's ever seen and their love is the deepest, purest, most perfect love ever. She's also (almost literally) dying to become a vampire, and yet she'd rather wait for all those things than marry the above mentioned Mr.Perfect, which would result in instantly getting everything she wants. That's more than illogical - it already borders on plain stupid.

If plot was almost inexistent in 'Twilight', nothing's changed much in 'New Moon'. There are some uncertain attempts at creating an actual plot, but they all quickly end as the author returns to the thing she does best – dealing with Bella's feelings. The saddest thing is that in 'Twilight,' there was enough style to make it up for the ragged plot, but in 'New Moon', that’s not the case. It’s more like a recycled ‘Twilight’ – the problem is that describing a girl’s feelings just doesn’t give enough material to make up for another book. There are some (successful) attempts at humour and the style of writing isn’t really that bad, just worse than before – but even taking that into account, 'New Moon' doesn’t come even close to 'Twilight'.

I guess I have to repeat myself – Reading 'New Moon' is recommended only for hardcore fans of Meyer and for the utterly bored voracious readers. It’s an easy book to read, despite all the drawbacks, that much is true. But it also seems to simultaneously destroy your brain cells, so read it on your own responsibility. And to the guys (excluding those who enjoy the series, I guess, I heard that they do exist) out there, I’d recommend steering well clear of it, if my fellow blogger Thrinidir is anything to judge by – I tried to entertain him with excerpts from the book, but had to stop as he threatened to drain the whole bottle of whiskey otherwise.

- Trin -


Ana said...

LOL, I snorted some tea over your review and trinidir's reaction. I only read Twilight and in all honesty, I LOVED it even though I can see why I shouldn't have and my brain kept yelling at me to stop reading it.

I decided to stop after book 1 after I read the spoilers for the next books.

so, are you reading Eclipse?

Thea said...

HAH! Ok, add me to the liquid-snorting chorus of laughter. Brilliant snarky review!

Bella really does create an impression of a most pathetic, wannabe-tragic and caricaturised emo, only the razors missing from the picture. I wallow in self-loathing; my heart is broken, torn and numb! - that sort of things.

I think this sums it up rather perfectly. The thing is, when I first read Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse, I really liked all three! I had a huge soft spot for Jacob and the whole woe-is-me! doomed love sort of scenario. (Although I must say, Bella always did strike me as incredibly stupid and very...'self-insertion'-y for adolescent teen girls). But whatever, it was cool, I was completely caught up in this very emo series. Even though I probably should have known better.

And then...there was Breaking Dawn.

Trin, I think you have to keep reading the books just to see the pinnacle of flaming idiocy reached with the series (Keep the bottle of whiskey handy if you can wrestle it away from Thrinidir). In retrospect, the whole thing is pretty lame. I've already given away my copies of the books.

But thanks for the hilarious review :p

Trin said...

:) thanks for the comments; I'm really glad you like the review (which means my attempt at humour has succeeded xD).

I have to admit, though, that this review is pretty old - it was written two or three months ago, maybe even earlier - aaaaaand, well, I didn't really manage not to read Eclipse (thanks to my Twilight-crazed lil'sis). In fact, I found it a bit better than this one.

Then my sis bought Breaking Dawn and I guess she came to the same conclusion as you, Thea, since she proclaimed the series horrible. x) I've started to read Breaking Dawn then, to see what was wrong with it, got through the first few chapters, LOL'd and closed the book. I have no wish to proceed with reading. xD

Anonymous said...

in reality do people really change that much? are they really that complex? my head says so and i think thats actually the appeal for me with the twilight series. its like a chick movie that requires a good ending, or what "good" means with everything turning out ay ok with everyone.

i've been trying to figure out myself what had me keep reading through the whole series.

Second Opinion said...

I swear I'm not trying to piss you off!(I mean, it is a blog after all) ...but I think this review is a bit harsh. If anyone out there hasn't read the book yet I suggest you look at a couple more reviews before you decide either way.

I read this book and I loved it. I will admit, the beginning was a bit too marshmallowy-gooey for me (Bella was so needy/attached to Edward it was almost nausiating) but that only justfies the well needed break for her to have time to grow up.

The theme of the book is about heartbreak and changes in Bella and I think it really delivered in that perspective. I personally was going through heartache myself while I read the Twilight series and could relate to what Bella was going through on so many levels. (no I am not emo, haha) Any one who has truely been in love (and you'll roll your eyes if you never have been) and lost someone could appreciate how Stephenie Meyer put those heart wrenching feelings into words.

The way she saw it coming. Being literally abandoned and having everything change so fast. The numbness, and the physical literal pain. Not even being able to listen to the radio! And how she selfishly starts clinging to Jacob to take advantage of his affection. And how in time she starts to deal with the pain. It sounds weird because you would think this book would make me more depressed but I feel like it actually helped. afterall, misery loves company!

Who knows, maybe if I was in a different state of mind I would have hated this book until the very end (which I didn't think was very sappy, I predicted it would have a happy ending but I think the volturi part was cool). Anyway I reccomend this book to anyone who is going through the process of grieving a loved one, broken up, or a young teenager who is curious about what it's going to feel like to be in love (or have your heart broken...because you will eventually! It's inevitable darlin')

Hell, I even reccomended twilight to my little brother who is clueless in the romance department (and happens to have one of those needy lovey dovey girlfriends) and told him to take a few pages out of Edward's book...but not all the time. Don't be a Mike Newton. I think the sequel might be a little too girly for him though. I agree with you there.


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