So, I finished New Moon a few nights ago, pushing through the last one hundred pages of the book felt like passing a kidney stone (which, I’ll be honest, I haven’t had yet but I’ve heard is horrifyingly painful). I thought the first part of the book was bad but it’s…it just gets worse. The pace picks up a little but beyond that the rest of the book doesn’t have anything else going for it. Tyler, my hopeful partner in Your Book is Why Daddy Drinks, is already done with Eclipse. I envy his tenacity and pity him taking so much punishment so quickly.
Since I’m going to be doing over one hundred and fifty pages of this, I’ll try to keep it brief (haha).
Jacob shows up and Alice beats feet to give them space. Jacob, beginning to realize that he’s playing second fiddle to a bunch of corpses, is understandably upset. He and Bella have a tense conversation where he makes sure she knows he doesn’t like the Cullens by constantly referring to them as bloodsuckers; Bella makes sure he knows he’s kind of a jerk. They sort of make up and when Jacob goes to hug Bella he recoils, saying she stinks “sickly sweet”, like “them” but to Bella Alice smells super awesome. Again, I ask, what’s with all the smells?
Jacob goes to make his move and, of course, the phone rings, interrupting the groove. He answers, and gets all angry while telling the person on the other line that Charlie isn’t home, that he’s at a funeral, and then the person hangs up. When Bella, pissed, asks who it was Jacob says it was Carlisle, only Alice shows up freaked out and it turns out that it was Edward on the line and, in melodramatic fashion, thinks that the funeral Charlie was at was Bella’s, on account of Alice telling Rosalie that she saw Bella jump off a cliff and Rosalie, being a complete and utter bitch, passed that info along to Edward. So, Edward does what any other immortal would do: plan on going to the enclave of ancient and powerful vampires and piss them off so they kill him. I mean, other vampires just greet the sun but not Meyer’s vampires, no.
Frantic plans are made to rescue Edward from himself and Jacob gets firmly slammed in the friend box as Bella basically ignores his pleads to not go and asks him, like a pal, to make sure Victoria doesn’t sneak in and help herself to Charlie.
Alice and Bella fly to Italy and on the flight we get some history on the Volturi, the ancient vampires that Carlisle once lived with. They’re your standard “spooky, elder vampire royalty”, five of them in total, and, obviously, incredibly dangerous. While on the plane from New York to Italy Alice let’s slip that she once saw Bella, in the future, getting turned into a vampire and she thinks it’s silly what Edward is doing (i.e. not doing anything to change Bella into a vampire); Alice has considered turning Bella herself. Bella latches onto this like a lamprey and Alice has to practically beat her off with a stick. They land in Italy and Alice steals a car, driving them up towards Volterra where the celebration of Saint Marcus is happening so there will be plenty of people to be witnesses to Edward’s plan. Edward’s plan is very simple: no feats of strength, no murderous rampage. Nope, he’s going to do one thing and one thing only:
Yes, by stripping down in the middle of the main square of the city at high noon, the elder vampires would be forced to give Edward the world’s first suicide by sparkle.
Alice and Bella race against time, trying to make their way up the hill of Volterra to the main square where Edward would make his DISCO DEBUT. Having been in Sienna and seen how narrow those streets are (and having the pleasure/terror of taking public transportation through them (their bus drivers could teach ours a thing or too, those people are hardcore)) I could really envision the narrow streets of the city but mostly due to my personal experience. We get the color of the buildings but the details of the city itself are fairly lacking IMO.
When the car can’t progress through the crowds any further Alice lets Bella out and gives her some directions of where Edward should be; Alice can’t go herself because if she stepped out into the sun then she’d be the
Masquerade-violator Volturi-angering screw-up in this situation and not Edward. So Bella wades through the crowds, makes her way into the huge plaza that is packed to bursting with people, fights through the press, finds the one shady spot in the general vicinity of where Alice told her Edward might be, finds him, gets to him before he can step out into the sun.
I call BS on all of it. Meyer makes no bones about the fact that Bella is a wee thing of a girl and so her getting through the crowd, for me, stretches my suspension of disbelief but being able to do so in two minutes, and find the area that Alice talked about, AND find the right shady spot that Edward had hidden himself among all of the other shady spots? Yeah, not following that at all.
This has an immediate effect on Bella and Meyer’s writing:
It was very strange, for I knew we were both in mortal danger. Still, in that instant, I felt well. Whole…It was like there had never been any hole in my chest. I was perfect – not healed, but as if there had been no wound in the first place. Which is saying the exact same thing from the prior sentence.
Edward sees Bella and thinks he’s in heaven, believing that Bella is dead and the Volturi have killed him quick-like, and Bella convinces him that he’s not dreaming and that they need to pull it together because the Volturi are probably on their-oh, they’re there right then. Alice shows up as the two Volturi henchmen are telling Edward that Aro, one of the three prime elders, wants to speak with him. There’s some quibbling back and forth until Jane, a tres spooky sparklepire who intimidates everyone present, says it’s time to get moving.
Bella, Edward, and Alice are led through the underground of Volterra and up into the Volturi’s sanctum where they meet Aro. There’s some back and forth about the two Cullens special gifts and how the Volturi would be totally down if they joined up; they both refuse. And then the Volturi take a look at Bella. Aro finds out that she’s pretty much immune to all special vampire gifts when Aro tries to read her mind (he’s like Edward, only better because he can read every thought you’ve ever had, but he has to touch you) and Jane uses her super-powerful pain-causing gaze to no effect. Aro makes Bella the offer to turn her into a vampire, presumably on the spot. You’d think that Bella would be all over the offer but maybe it’s that Aro is creepy or he’s not Edward because Bella refuses with a terrified, “No thank you.”
Which leads to a predicament in that if Bella’s not going to die and become a vampire, then she’s stuck with “going to die” because the Volturi take the secret nature of sparklepire kind very seriously and, as she’s a human, she’s not supposed to know. They’ve pretty much decided they are going to kill her until Aro gets the great idea that, even though she’s not a sparklepire now, she could be a sparklepire later and so they let Bella, Edward, and Alice go on the condition that Bella eventually be turned into a blood-sucking disco ball.
At this point I lost all respect (ok, I didn’t have any respect to begin with but if I did have respect I would’ve lost it) for the Volturi. They’re supposed to be the royalty of sparklepire kind, the enforcers of TEH RULEZ, and they just let some slip of a girl go on a promise, a promise they have no way of knowing will ever be followed up on, with no way of knowing that Bella’s going to keep her mouth shut about sparklepires. Elders or not, the Volturi would not last long in the Camarilla, I’m telling you. Don’t you judge my geekness.
The three of them flee just as the Volturi’s dinner is being delivered to them and then run back to the US. The Cullens are waiting for them when they arrive in the US and various “welcome homes” from everyone and “I’m very, very sorry I almost got you to kill yourself because I’m such a bitch” from Rosalie. Bella is exhausted to the point that she’s falling asleep standing up and Edward gets her home, Charlie promptly grounds her until the day after forever, and forbids Edward from ever stepping inside his house, which is about as useful as you’d think considering Edward’s ability to read minds and climb silently in through windows all stalker-like.
Bella wakes up the next morning to find Edward hanging over her and we have either the second or third instance of someone “coming to” and not initially believing that what is going on is real. I mean, “OMG, this can’t be happening, I must be dead and in heaven/dead and in hell/dreaming!” is cliché enough but when it’s used multiple times in the same novel it’s worse.
Edward apologizes for being a douchebag to Bella and putting her through hell, explains that he was only doing it for her own good (don’t all abusive jerks say this at one point or another), and then proceeds to imply that she, who has only had one boyfriend in her entire life, is an idiot for believing all of the words he said when he, supposedly, had never lied to her in the past.
“Bella,” he sighed. “Really, what were you thinking!”
Translation: “Stupid girl, how could you not know that I was lying when I said all that hateful stuff to you?”
Edward promises to never hurt her and never leave her again (which has worked out so well for him and other characters in the past) and then, of course, they get around to the fact that Bella doesn’t want to get any older but Edward doesn’t want to do anything about it, promising to love her even when she looks like she could be his grandmother. This doesn’t sit too well with Bella, for one thing the Volturi are expecting to show up at some point and find a sparklepire Bella waiting for them, and so she decides to go to Casa de Cullen because the family is back in town (I guess when you can move at super speed and don’t need to sleep you can unpack seriously fast) to get their opinions on the matter.
On their way to his house they get to discussing how badly Edward can, and has, screwed her up but, despite the fact that we spent four hundred pages exploring Bella’s shock and dismay over Edward saying he didn’t love her anymore, she now says she always knew he loved her because she could hear his voice. He asks about that and she tells him about how when she did “something dangerous or stupid” she could hear his voice again, like that’s a rational thing to do or say. Edward then reacts the same way most of us who didn’t like this series did when we were reading what Bella was doing:
His words came out half-strangled. “You…were…risking your life…to hear –”
I’d like to think that he was choking with incredulity at the reason for what Bella was doing, at unhealthy it was, but really Meyer probably just meant that he was over-come with emotion for Bella.
But it’s ok because Bella figures out that, no, duh, Edward really did love her all the time. Edward then admits that he’s pretty much a wuss and that Bella was better at going on after the “break-up” as she at least went on and continued her life, albeit in a zombie/robot-like fashion, and he did the sparklepire version of not changing out of your PJs for three days and eating nothing but tubs of Ben and Jerry’s while watching movies that make you cry. On purpose.
Finally they get inside and Bella addresses the Cullens about her situation (that she’s alive), what she wants (she wants to be “dead”), and why (because if she’s not “dead” then the Volturi will make her dead dead). They vote and everyone but Edward and Rosalie are for it. Bella’s down to go right then and there but Edward points out how idiotic it would be for them to change Bella at that time because Charlie, the police chief, might be a little suspicious if his daughter turned up missing after returning home from being missing for three days and that wouldn’t be the most inconspicuous thing ever. So Bella negotiates a compromise that they’ll turn her to sparkledom after her graduation when, in theory, she’d be out on her own and away from her father.
Edward doesn’t like this of course and so he tries to negotiate something, anything, to get her to change her mind and when she doesn’t he attaches his own stipulation: she has to marry him before he’ll change her. *dun dun DUNNNNNNNN* Bella tries to get out of this, even so far as saying she’d just go to Carlisle after graduation, but Edward successfully calls her bluff because she really wants Edward to make her into his baby sparklepire (sparklepire incest wut?). Bella balks at the idea, not surprising considering what happened to her parents’ young marriage, but, really, I don’t understand how she can be all over being eternally linked to Edward through sparklehood and get uncomfortable of adding the tiny detail of marriage to that.
Charlie tries to tell Bella he doesn’t like Edward and doesn’t like her seeing him but her response, more or less is, “I don’t care, I’m eighteen, and I DO WHAT I WANT!”
Life goes back to normal, mostly, for Bella. Edward comes back to school and things in that reward are swell and dandy except for one little thing: Jacob. Bella keeps calling him, almost daily, and, wouldn’t you know it, he won’t return her calls. You might think he might be hurt or angry or something.
It’s just plain rude!” I vented one Saturday afternoon when Edward picked me up from work … “Downright insulting!”
I’d varied my pattern, in hopes of a different response. I’d called Jake from work this time, only to get an unhelpful Billy. Again.
“Billy said he didn’t want to talk to me,” I fumed, glaring at the rain oozing down the passenger window. “That he was there, and wouldn’t walk three steps to the phone. … It’s not fair!”
It’s totally not fair! It’s not like Bella used him to assuage her pain over Edward leaving, used Jacob’s mechanic skills to get a bike running, used him to do to stupid stuff to hear Edward’s voice, totally dumped him once Edward was back in the picture and doesn’t think about him except when Edward isn’t around.
I mean, how could any of that upset someone? Hell, I’m surprised he isn’t over at her house every night helping pretty her up for when Edward sneaks in!
This rant regarding Jacob happens on the way home from school with Edward. Guess what is waiting for Bella in her driveway when she gets home?
Her motorcycle. The Charlie-aneurism-inducing motorcycle. The one she never told her father about. The one passive-aggressively left by Jacob there to get her in trouble.
This goes over about as well as a lead balloon.
“No!” I gasped. “Why? Why would Jacob do this to me?” The sting o betrayal washed through me. I had trusted Jacob implicitly – trusted him with every single secret I had. [Well, except the one about how you’d ditch him the moment a vampire crooked their finger at you –Matt] He was supposed to be my safe harbor – the person I could always rely on. Of course things were strained right now, but I didn’t think any of the underlying foundation had changed. I didn’t think that was changeable. What had I done to deserve this?
Essentially, Bella’s upset that Jacob would dare to have a personal issue with what she’d done to him and that he didn’t stay in her carefully constructed role in her life. The fact that she doesn’t get this does NOTHING to change my mind that she’s not a wonderful example of a horrible human being.
Jacob’s still lurking around and Bella has some choice words for him. Then he drops the petulant bomb: the treaty between his people and the Cullens, the one that keeps them from slaughtering each other, states that it would be a violation of the treaty if a Cullen bites a human. Not kills them, just bite, meaning Edward would be breaking the treaty if he changes Bella and thenit’d be on like Werewolf vs. Vampire Donkey Kong. Charlie sees Edward’s car and orders Bella in the house. And that’s where the book ends, Edward is back but Victoria is still on the loose and the Volturi will kill Bella if she isn’t changed into a vampire, however, if any of the Cullens do it then the treaty will be broken and there will be a werewolf vampire war.
Oh, yeah, Victoria.
So, the big threat of the story, the one that’s been killing hikers and terrorizing the land?
Yeah, she just runs away once the Cullen family shows back up. Yet another weak ending to a fairly non-essential, non-threatening threat.
New Moon is the book where a lot of people had an issue with Bella, saying that she was a horrible example to set for young women because she was risking her life to get the attention of a boy. While I disagree with the intent of what Bella was doing, she wasn’t suicidal after all, I have to agree with the first part of that criticism: Bella’s a horrible example to set for any young woman going through a break-up. Even if she’s not intending to kill herself, the fact that she’s taking such risky actions for the reasons she does isn’t healthy in the slightest.
Regardless, moving on to Eclipse. Tyler says this book is even worse in the “characters as role-models” sense. Fun times.