My pal Whiskey isn’t going to make it through the end of New Moon. I think I’ll have to go looking for his brother Scotch.
*deep breath* New Moon.
As I stare down at this book I have to wonder: what the hell was the cover artist thinking? I mean, I certainly don’t remember anyone offering anyone any apples in the first book; is that supposed to be some kind of Snow White reference, that Edward is her apple and thus having tasted it she’s gone to sleep (mentally that is)? And the flower on the cover of New Moon, does that hint at some kind of soiled purity? Well, considering where we left off with Twilight, with Bella wanting to be with Edward forever as a vampire or the number of hints about Bella’s body she drops to him in this first section of New Moon I could see how the soiled purity thing might work into it.
New Moon (and for some reason I keep wanting to type it as Noo Moon…don’t look at me like that, I blame Whiskey) opens up much like Twilight did with a melodramatic foreshadowing of HORRIBLE DOOM THAT HAS YET TO HAPPEN BUT IS HAPPENING RIGHT THEN, to which as a reader and a writer I can only offer my only response, which is to yawn. Foreshadowing is best used as fine line in a painting, something subtle; Meyer uses it like a sledgehammer, practically shouting “OH MY GOD LOOK AT WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN YOU GUYS BECAUSE I’M GOING TO TELL YOU EXACTLY WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.”
The real story starts up with a dream. In the dream Bella sees a woman who resembles nothing so much as dried fruit with a mop of frizzy white hair on top. It’s Bella’s grandmother, staring at her, but before Bella can say anything Edward joins them, walking up to Bella and putting his arm around her. This would normally not worry Bella, since she was pretty sure she was dreaming (I was ninety-nine point percent sure I was dreaming, oh, well, ok then), but just in case it is that .01% the landscape is filled with sun and Edward looks like a disco ball so she’s a little nervous what Gran might say. When Bella looks back at her grandmother to explain, Bella realizes that her grandmother is in the exact same pose as Bella, only her arm is hanging in mid-air instead of around an angelic, beautiful, god-like, blah blah blah Edward. In a total “OH MY GOD IT REALLY IS A DREAM” fashion a gold frame appears around her grandmother and Bella realizes that it’s a mirror and that’s not Gran (what’s with vampire-involved heroines and dead grandmother’s named Gran?) but Bella looking like dehydrated fruit. Old dehydrated fruit. That’s seen way too much sun and hasn’t been taking care of itself.
Bella wakes up from the dream (whew, sure glad it wasn’t that .01% chance that she was actually staring at her dead grandmother, because that would’ve just been weird) and we learn that today is a momentous day:
Edward is no longer a pedophile it’s Bella’s eighteenth birthday.
Oh, I get it, the dream was a poorly done cliche for Bella’s fear about aging and Edward abandoning her when she looks like a Troll doll that’s been left under a heat lamp for too long. Now I get it…
What follows this totally harrowing dream is Bella basically acting like a petulent child where she all but stomps her feet while declaring “I don’t want it to be my birthday and NO I WILL NOT BE HAPPY.” Because, you see, now Bella is eighteen which means she’s older than Edward.
No, I’m not kidding. Bella is upset because, in theory, she’s a year older than Edward who was turned at seventeen, despite the fact that the vampire is over a century old. I guess it’s the spirit of the thing. The very stupid spirit of the thing.
The rest of the day is spent with Bella trying desperately to be unhappy about everything and denying anyone the chance to try and change her mood. She has told Edward to not get her any presents, to not wish her a happy birthday, to pretty much ignore everything about the day.
Bella’s also unhappy because Edward has refused, and refused and refused, to turn her into a vampire like him so they can be together forever. This argument seems to be the wrinkle in their otherwise totally idyllic relationship, well, other than the fact that Edward can’t stop telling her how he could kill her at any moment. But, psh, that’s totally not as serious as not being made into a vampire. Apparently, being made into a vampire is so serious that in the list of Bella’s life goals getting killed by Edward is at the top.
College was plan B. I was still hoping for Plan A, but Edward was just so stubborn about leaving me human…[Edward] was ridiculously enthusiastic about Plan B.
Because nothing says planning for the future like hoping your boyfriend will kill you and make you into a blood-sucking creature of the sparkle like him.
To kill time afterschool before they head to the Cullens’ home for the party that Bella doesn’t want, the two of them go back to her house to watch Romeo and Juliet for class. It’s at this point that Meyer introduces a description that really bothers me.
So, I said in my review of Twilight that I thought the explanation about the sparklepire’s bite being venomous to be a decent take on how vampires are made. In New Moon, while talking about how Edward has to be careful when kissing her, Meyer says that he has “venom-coated” teeth.
That’s not how venom works. Venom, typically, is injected in some fashion through hollow teeth or fangs, thus enabling the biter to not poison itself while trying to bite the bitee. If Edward’s teeth were “coated” in venom, that would mean that his mouth contained the venom and then all of this snogging the two of them have been doing since they first proclaimed their purple passion for each other would’ve ended in her getting poisoned a long, long time ago. I guess I chalk this up to the same issue I had with super-strong vampires using normal sporting equipment in their extreme sports and not having the sporting equipment be damaged by the abuse; it’s a thoughtless attention to detail, IMO.
I also have an issue the idea that vampire bodies project cold. Ok, I can understand them not having a body temperature, but that doesn’t mean that their body will be colder than the ambient temperature around them to such a degree that Bella would need an afghan around her to cuddle up to Edward without freezing; even a marble statute, in the sun, will be warm.
Moving on, Edward mentions that he envied Romeo for the ability to kill himself. Bella, of course, gives him the side-eyes and asks, “What do you mean…?” and Edward explains that he’d considered killing himself if Bella didn’t make it after James attacked her and Bella, quiet honestly, and hypocritically, flips out but Charlie comes home, interrupting their conversation.
Conversations are had with Charlie, who seems to have gotten over the fact that he blamed Edward for his daughter running away and almost dying “falling through a window”, and then they head to the Cullens home. Alice has emptied about every Party’s ‘R’ Us store in the state of Washington in dressing up their home and everything is going fine until Bella gets a paper cut.
Yes, a paper cut. One single, small paper cut that produces one tiny drop of blood and then Jasper is GOING CRAZY, which of course necessitates Edward pushing Bella out of the way, into and over a table covered in glass plates, causing her to land in shattered glass and cutting her forearms open.
Let’s not forget that Jasper, and several other Cullens, was on the scene for the end of Twilight, when Bella almost bled to death, and didn’t turn into a rampaging, blood-lust-driven monster. And yet a paper cut and a single drop of blood and suddenly every Cullens aside from Carlisle is eyeing Bella like a steak. See, attention to detail?
Emmett drags Jasper outside while everyone else aside from Carlisle makes themselves scarce, because it seems that constantly being exposed to Bella’s delicious smelling blood apparently wears down their self-control. Carlisle cleans up Bella and the two of them have a talk about his life, why it’s easy for him to do good (he’s apparently still a Christian), and we learn that pretty much everyone else thinks they’re creatures damned to hell (if they even have an opinion about what would happen to them after they die). Carlisle also tells her about when he made Edward.
Eventually Carlisle does everything he can for Bella and Edward takes her home. They have a tense conversation about her life expectancy in his presence and Edward said that it’d be better if she were with Mike Newton. Bella’s response, of course, is to say she’d rather die than be with Mike Newton, proving that if anyone is allowed to die melodramatically in the relationship, it’s her.
After she gets home and talks to Charlie she goes up stairs to find Edward waiting in bed for her. Edward spends the night most night it seems, having perfectly platonic cuddle sessions only this time there is a tension present, one that probably has to do with the fact that Edward’s brother went berserk and tried to eat his girlfriend.
The next chapter is titled “The End”. You can probably guess why.
Edward is noticeably more distant in the morning and throughout the day, hardly talking to Bella the way he had at the beginning of the book. Bella asks him to come over and, when she gets home, he finds Edward and Charlie being all buddy-buddy and watching ESPN. Bella knows something is wrong because A) Edward apparently never watches ESPN and B) he doesn’t immediately fall over her with attention.
This change in behavior causes Bella to, IMO, go slightly mad. She starts envisioning a future where she and Edward have left everything behind, Forks, her family, his family, and just left because it’s his family that can’t be trusted so obviously running off with him is safe…or something. With this fantasy in mind, she develops the manic need to go around and photograph everything because “Maybe I didn’t have that long left in Forks.”
Ok, I get that this is her first relationship, but come on.
Through the rest of that night and the next day Bella takes pictures. Edward is even more distant than the day before and doesn’t come over that night. Bella continues to spiral down into frantic depression, reaching out for any kind of possible shred of hope because not even Bella could be missing the clues at this point. On the third day Edward asks to come over and they take “a walk” into the woods, basically just getting out of sight of anyone else, and Edward let’s her have it: they, the Cullens, are leaving. Like, now, as in their bags are packed and everyone else has left for parts elsewhere and he only came around to break up with her.
To put it mildly, Bella doesn’t take it well. Her mind basically shuts down and she goes wandering in the woods because “Love, life, meaning…over.” Wonderful lesson to give to young women there, Meyer, it’s nice to see a person’s existence wrapped up in their boyfriend.
She doesn’t come home, instead tripping through the woods until she can no longer get up. A search party, made up of Charlie and some Native Americans from the reservation, find her eventually and bring her home. While Bella was wandering the woods in a daze, Edward had gone back to her house, written a note as Bella for her father explaining where she was, and stole everything out of her room that had to do with him. Well, at least he left a note.
The last of what I “read” were pages. Each page had the name of a month on them, the next page after had the next month, etc. How terribly unoriginal to convey the passing of time.
In many ways New Moon is the same old junk. Telling, not showing (those “month” pages are a perfect example), the same old “I’m a horribly dangerous vampire and yet I can’t not be with you” lines, and an internal inconsistency with the characters that I can’t even fully express here.
Some of the descriptions aren’t quite as atrocious, although the part Bella describes Edward as “…so…so…beyond description”, after calling him things like beautiful, angelic, etc. etc. in this book alone, let alone Twilight, makes me wish I had more than two eyes to roll because two eye rolls are definitely not enough.
And then there’s bits like “Time passes. Even when it seems impossible.” When what is impossible? Time? Why is it impossible that time passes. Gah.
Well that’s it for the first ninety or so pages of New Moon. Only 473 left to go… *tear*