Review: “New Moon” by Stephenie Meyer

Stephenie Meyer’s sequel to her debut novel and the second volume in the Twilight series deepens the vampire love story into a painful narrative of rejection, betrayal, and the ever present dangers of vampirism itself.

It’s been nearly half a year since Bella Swan’s brush with death, and she’s never been happier.  Edward Cullen is a perfect boyfriend, and the Cullen family is welcoming and receptive.  However, Bella is always in danger around Edward and his family because of what removal from Bella’s life not only begins the storyline of New Moon but also leads Bella along an evident path of despair.  Jacob Black, a character introduced in Twilight, becomes Bella’s best friend, but the comfort she finds in her newfound companion is ruined by a sudden, mysterious hiatus in their relationship.  Bella’s fear and loneliness are aggravated by the reappearance of Laurent and Victoria, two dangerous vampires on a personal, vengeful hunt. 

New Moon is the author’s attempt to continue the romance she initiated in Twilight.  However, Meyer’s references to Shakespeare’s tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, demonstrate how parallel the plot of that play is to New Moon‘s storyline.  Of course, the author does fantasize beyond vampires this time and also involves werewolves within the story, an impressive tribute to her creativity, for she contributes original characteristics to that myth.  Moreover, the werewolves’ natural enmity toward vampires saves Bella from death, thus preserving her character without Edward’s help.  The majority of New Moon is a “journal” of Bella’s mental torture during Edward’s absence and her growing friendship with Jacob.  The most enjoyable and memorable parts of the story are when Jacob permanently enters Bella’s life.  With more attention given to the Native American reservation as a setting for Bella’s “adventures,” the reader has a chance to become even more familiar with their communities.

While this novel has more action, bittersweet romance, and a darker theme than its prequel, it is encumbered by Bella’s inscrutable feelings for Edward.  She would forgive him for all the pain he caused her by leaving, but she does this for selfish reasons.  Bella’s desire to become a vampire herself is only more perplexing than her continued attachment to someone who clearly states that he doesn’t want her love.  Her dependence on Jacob becomes a paradox in view of her denial of their obviously growing feelings for each other.

When Bella is faced with a logical, sane path for her life to follow, she desperately obscures it by clinging to her painful memories of the Cullens.  The paradox in New Moon is that eventually the heroine realizes through her perceptive and intelligent observations that she cannot live without Jacob or the Cullens in her life, despite the fact that Jacob’s tribe and the Cullens are mortal enemies.  Her “weak love” for Jacob is not as strange as her impossible love for a vampire, and yet she can’t survive without either one.

The novel’s length is necessary to reveal the depth of Bella’s thoughts and her love for Edward, but it is undeniable that Edward’s character is exasperating by the end of New Moon22s to this unlikely romance.  Aside from that, a closer look at vampires’ “laws” and hierarchy occurs during Bella’s forced visit to the Volturi in Italy, a “royal” group of vampires only briefly mentioned in Twilight.  It is notable that this is the first time in the series that the author has stepped out of her settings in the United States.

Overall, New Moon is mainly about love lost and love regained although Jacob Black’s character completes the love triangle, which is an example of another complication for Bella’s life.  By the end of the novel, it seems almost pointless to anticipate the sequel to New Moon when faced with Bella’s obvious, unalterable choice—Edward Cullen.  However, her determination to maintain her strong friendship with Jacob is persuasive enough that, out of compassion and curiosity, the reader may advance to Eclipse in order to experience more of Stephenie Meyer’s romantic and literary revelations in this mythical, semi-realistic series.

Original review: Part 1: ‘New Moon’ is even more complex than ‘Twilight’; Part 2: ‘New Moon’ is even more complex than ‘Twilight’,


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