Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

563 pages
Little, Brown
Copyright 2006

If you thought the hubbub over Stephenie Meyers Twilight saga was coming to an end now that the saga, consisting of four novels, is complete, well you would be wrong. From the little research I've done online the number of Twilight fans and their excitement just seems to increase as time goes by. Of course it probably helps that the movie adaptation of the second novel, New Moon, is set to arrive in theatres this November.

And yet the fad doesn't stop there. I've noticed more and more authors and screenwriters are turning their attention to the living-dead, the immortal. In the last week I've seen two new vampire novels (i.e. Mr. Darcy, Vampire... Argh!!!! Don't even get me started!) and at least three new television shows about vampires that are set to air this fall.

If this annoys you, as it does me, there's only one thing to do. Find something else to read or watch and just wait. Like most fads, this too will pass.

That said... I make no apologies or excuses when I tell you I went ahead and read New Moon.

The Plot:
"For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning..." (Summary courtesy of the publisher)

My Thoughts
Like its predecessor, New Moon is a dark romance. Of course because it is a story of vampires it follows that it is also a fantasy and a thriller. And yet as I read I was surprised to find it was also something more than that...

In the midst of the romance/fantasy/thriller Meyers weaves other threads that bring the characters and the story to life. Yes, Bella is a teenager who faces some unusual situations (i.e. vampire boyfriend), but she also faces some situations that are typical of any teenager. In New Moon she struggles with the loss of her first love, with figuring out who she is and what she wants in life, and with where her loyalties lie (family or friends). At the same time she makes new friends and loses some old ones. These are all things that modern teenagers struggle with on a daily basis. The unfortunate thing is Bella doesn't really know where to turn to find hope when all hope seems lost.

While I realize Meyer's doesn't hit a home run on many of these issues (there are things in the book I have problems with), I do realize that was never the point of the books. The Twilight saga is fiction. It's goal is to attract readers by creating a world they can identify with (for the most part) and at the same time entertain, be that through the romance or the thriller.

I found New Moon to be a little darker than Twilight, but I suppose that fits as the title itself not only refers to the darkest time in the moon's cycle, but also to this part of the story being the darkest part of Bella's life. Another subtle reference in New Moon has to do with the love story/tragedy Romeo and Juliet.

In Summary:
While I did end up liking New Moon, I didn't like it as much as Twilight. The story was definitely darker and there was one particular scene that gave me the shivers. At the same time, there were many unanswered questions from the first novel that finally got answered and as a reader I found that satisfying.

On a scale of 1-5, 1 being horrible and 5 being excellent I would rate New Moon a 3. I liked the story. I think Meyer is a creative author. She writes a book that is easy and entertaining to read, but they aren't classics. Her books are pure fluff and entertainment. Still, that's just what some readers look for in books. I enjoy it from time to time... I've especially enjoyed it this summer because my work has been so demanding. When I've read it has been mostly an escape to something that is creative, or mindless, or just fun.

What's Next?
I'm choosing to ignore the latest vampire novels, movies, and television shows that are riding the wave of popularity created by Twilight. So don't expect me to start reading Mr. Darcy, Vampire or watching Vampire Diaries on CW. I still plan to read Bram Stoker's Dracula at some point and I might finish reading the Twilight saga, but that's as far as I'll go.

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