Stephenie Meyer,
Twilight #2: New Moon
(Little, Brown, 2006)

Whereas the debut story in Stephenie Meyer's hit vampire book series, Twilight, was about finding true love, the followup is about losing true love, or put another way, coping with the loss. This is because just pages into New Moon, Bella Swan's vampire boyfriend, Edward, along with the rest of his family, escape the town of Forks, Washington, after a birthday party for Bella put on by Edward's family goes terribly wrong. (Surrounded by vampires, Bella accidentally cuts her finger. I think you can fill in the details.)

And so begins Bella's new depressing, solitary life in Forks, a life that very much mirrors, in fact, her early days in Forks, which Meyer meticulously documented in Twilight one year ago.

New Moon is also a revenge novel, where vampire Victoria, former girlfriend of the slaughtered James (at the hands of Edward), seeks to balance Edward's destruction by ending the life of his own girlfriend, Bella.

Though Meyer quickly lays down the premise of her novel in just the first few chapters, it isn't until page, uh, 300 that I finally got interested. (The book is just over 560 pages, so about halfway through.) Yes, it's irritatingly slow and regrettably not that captivating, either. That is, of course, until two big things happen:

A) Bella's relationship with younger boy Jacob takes off to the next level.

B) Bella, and readers much like myself, are treated with the discovery of Jacob's surprising secret, which Meyer gently hints at through Bella and Jacob's blossoming relationship.

Once these two items occur, coupled with the return of a remnant of Edward's family, the novel is as gripping as Meyer's debut, and finally I could recall why exactly I so ravenously scooped up Twilight's sequel in the first place. New Moon surely tested my patience, but even so, I'm oh so glad I stuck around to the very end. Because it's there that Meyer lays down what's expected to come in her series' next entry, Eclipse.

And based on the troubles Bella will soon have to face -- too revealing to be discussed in this space -- Bella's situation at the conclusion of Twilight and the beginning of New Moon was absolute cake.

review by
Eric Hughes

4 October 2008

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