Saturday, September 11, 2010

'Guilty Pleasure Reads'- New Moon

Publisher: Atom Books

ISBN: 978-1-904233-88-6

Length: 497 Pages

Opening Line:

'I felt like I was trapped in one of those terrifying nightmares, the ones where you have to run, run till your lungs burst, but you can't make your body move fast enough.'


The next 'Guilty Pleasure Read' I'm reviewing is 'New Moon', the second part of the 'Twilight' trilogy.

When Edward Cullen, a vampire who controls his thirst for blood for hunting animals rather than humans; leaves Isabella Swan to save her from getting into any more trouble due to their relationship, Bella sinks into a deep depression which alienates herself from her friends and loved ones.

However, when she discovers that she can hear the voice of Edward in her mind during dangerous situations, she will stop at nothing to feel closer to him. So she buys a motorbike, an item discouraged by her father Charlie and asks Jacob Black, a boy living in La Push reservation, to help her to fix the bike in secret.

During this time the two become close, so close in fact that Bella has to make a decision about who she really wants.....Edward or Jacob? However, Jacob has a secret. When he is angry, he turns into a werewolf and this throws Bella into turmoil about where her loyalties lie, as the vampires and werewolves have been enemies for centuries.

When the death of one of Charlie's friend's leads Edward to believe that the funeral being held is actually for Bella, he travels to Italy, to annoy the 'Volturi', a sort of the vampire Mafia if you will, in the hope that he will be able to 'die' and be with Bella. However, when he decides against this method, Bella races against time to save Edward from walking into the midday sun and 'dying'. However that's not all. After saving Edward, the 'Volturi' get word about Bella and after an altercation between Bella, Edward and Aro, the boss of the group, they make Edward promise that Bella will be turned into a vampire and if not, then the group will do it themselves.

Of course, this is what Bella wants, however Edward isn't enthusiastic about the idea. So she holds a meeting to see whether or not the Cullen family will consent to her joining their 'family'. The book ends with Edward reluctantly promising to turn Bella into a vampire himself, to secure the safety of Bella and her parents but with the condition, that Bella marries Edward. Will Bella accept Edward's proposal? Can Bella have Edward but still be friends with Jacob, despite the hostility between the vampires and the werewolves?

Well again, I've probably given away too much as it is, so you'll just have to read this for yourselves!
I was a little disappointed with this book to be honest. It's more the first half of the book I had a problem with. It didn't quite match the intensity and subtlety that 'Twilight' did. The relationship between Jacob and Bella wasn't quite as convincing as Edward's and Bella, in fact the relationships between Bella and most of her high school friends, were more convincing in my opinion. I felt like Jacob was just a bit of a plot devise to try and spice things up a bit.

I also found Meyer's writing to be good, but a bit contradictory. I don't understand why Bella finds being in love with a vampire so easy to accept, but when she find out that Jacob has turned into a werewolf, she has such a hard time about it. It didn't quite sit right with me.

The other problem I have with this novel, is that it seemed that Meyer had simply recycled elements from other books and conveniently put them in her own novel. For example, she takes the idea of star crossed lovers killing themselves to be with each other, featured in 'Romeo and Juliet' and also the part in Italy when Bella is racing to save Edward, is reminiscent of a large portion of Dan Brown's 'Angels and Demons'. I felt that 'New Moon' should have been a little more original than that.

On the plus side, the pace was well balanced and I still enjoyed the later half of the novel, it was a lot more interesting than the first half, which was just a lot of teen angst in my opinion.

I enjoyed reading this novel, despite its flaws and will definitely continue reading this series even though at times, it is a bit silly.

On the issue of reading novels within a series, I have been wondering whether I should judge these novels as a whole or individually, what do you think? Can you see each novel in a series individually or do you reserve judgment until you have read them all?

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  1. Well you know I have a love/hate relationship with Twilight, but I'm not as horrified by the books as I thought I would be. To me the whole series should be read as one, they don't stand up individually.
    As far as Bella being horrified about Jacob being a werewolf but not Edward being a vampire, I don't see it. She's horrified at first but only because she thinks the werewolves are killing people. When she realises they're not, she's OK with it. There are a couple of other issues though that might explain what you see as her hypocrisy:
    1. She knew there was something 'different' about Edward from the start. She never thought he was normal so to find out he was a vampire was less of a shock, more a relief at having an explanation. With Jacob she never had that. She got to know him as a normal boy - more than that even, she got to trust him more than anyone else and feel comfortable with him, largely because of his sweet humanity. So I think to find out he's not all she expected was a huge shock and so far harder to get over than finding out about Edward.
    2. I think the enmity between the vampires and werewolves worries her. Dealing with vampires is hard enough but she's got to grips with that. Finding out the world is yet stranger and contains werewolves is one step harder, but the fact that those two want to kill each other is one dimension of horror too far. She cannot reconcile the two most important parts of her world and has to be constantly on guard about them being around each other, as well as the general difficulties of being involved with vampires. The werewolves have added a complication she could do without.
    3. She hasn't fully grasped the power of the werewolves and how adept they are at hunting vampires. She's fully convinced by the strength of vampires, she's seen them in action, but she's really worried that Jacob and the other wolves could get hurt on her behalf and can't face that. She feels more than her fair share of guilt about various things without adding that to it.

    Hmmmmmm. Are you convinced by now that I'm taking this too seriously? ;-)

  2. You raise some very interesting points and you're right about the whole thing with Jacob and the fact that she takes time to accept the situation.

    You're also right about the way in which Bella is drawn into more weirdeness, I think in the book somewhere it says that weirdness and danger follow her wherever she goes. However on a basic level, it also illustrates about loyalities to certain people. My main problem is, I couldn't quite grasp whether Meyer was saying that vampires are less dangerous than werewolves, I suppose it was more the fear of the unknown than anything, as she already sees her life with Edward mapped out for her, Jacob is a symbol for doubt.

    I'm trying to see the Saga as a whole, but so far, I'm finding that 'New Moon' isn't quite as good, as the first novel, I'll just have to see what happens next!

  3. I'm one of the few people who hasn't read a any of the Twilight books... yet!

  4. Have you watched any of the films? If not, I would say to read the books if you want some escapist sillyness! Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  5. I have read part of this book online and must say i still prefer the film as i think the relationships are intensified in the film and its more belivable.

    I love the films now and think you SHOULD watch them xx

  6. I don't know whether it'd be better watching the films or not as the people who are Edward and Bella in the films, are not the Bella and Edward in my head! I think it's a case of if you read the books first, the film versions pf those books never seem quite the same.I think that I might blog about that idea, on a future post!