Adventures in Reading


Fiction: New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

I was thrilled that I finished Twilight just before I had to go to work so I was able to almost immediately begin Meyer’s second book in her supernatural series New Moon. The second book in the series gets off to a bit of a rough start and the novel suffers from some “series syndrome” until roughly 20 to 30 pages in. I admit, I do not envy any writer composing those first pages of any books in a series. Bella and Edward pick up from the prom Twilight left the reader at, the two shortly part at Edward’s request, and Bella spends the next 300 pages emotionally suffering and discovering the secrets of Jacob Black.

New Moon is a novel of pathos. There is relatively little action that occurs and I found the plot line weak. In fact, nothing much really happens in New Moon. The book reads as a 500+ page stepping stone Meyer’s uses to get from the first book to the third and eventually fourth books of the series (I assume). I left New Moon with the sense of a very long serial providing near endless cliff hanging questions: What will happen with Victoria? What about the Volturi? Will Bella finally become a vampire? What about the treaty between the vampires and the werewolves?

I felt the book was too long and despite the emotional conflict resulting from Edward’s and Bella’s separation, I didn’t feel the novel in any way developed their relationship. Granted, New Moon turned to develop a relationship between Bella and Jacob, but I am sure most readers would agree it’s not nearly as dynamic and in part do to Bella’s immediate and ongoing rejection of Jacob. Upon finishing it, I felt the book could have been greatly condensed and been just as good.

Despite all of this, it didn’t stop me from gorging on New Moon within a little more than one sitting. I anxiously turned the pages (I confess to some scanning), my heart throbbed for Bella, and I am not ashamed to say my eyes were damp more than once. New Moon is a canvas that brilliantly displays one of Meyer’s great talents: representing emotion tension and demanding a response from her reader. [1] The novel also created a landscape I assume the remaining two books of the series will catapult from. Still, I didn’t feel as if it was as tightly packaged as Twilight and Meyer’s writing was not as well done (or as well hidden) as in her previous novel.

However, if you’ve read Twilight you have to read New Moon. And New Moon is by no means a bad book. But it’s a thinking book for Meyer, delving further into her created world, creating twists and turns that may otherwise have proven difficult in other settings, and constructing a firm enough base that the next two books ought not need such prolonged development.

[1] I must say that at least a few of my ~40+ co-workers have attempted this series and were wearied by it. They found the emotions draining, unconvincing, and unrealistic.

Other opinions: Kay’s Bookshelf, In the Louvre, In the Shadow of Mt. TBR, American Bibliophile, Ax For the Frozen Sea, Muse Books Reviews, Book Nut, J. Kaye’s Book Blog, Literate Chick, and Stephanie’s Written Word.

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6 Comments

This is the best review of this book I’ve seen so far. It enumerated New Moon’s weaknesses without being dismissive, and still saw the book’s strengths.

I’ve encountered reviews saying that the book could’ve been tighter and better, a lot of pages could’ve been done away with. Was this a fault of the author or the editor/s?

Comment by ria

ria: First thank you for the compliment and I do sincerely believe that Meyer’s novels New Moon and Eclipse are both books displaying the author’s strengths and weaknesses.

As for the length of the book, I do think the editorial staff perhaps could have given Meyer a steadier hand. After all, at least with the second book she was a relatively new author and perhaps some exercises in condensing the emotional aspects of the book could have been beneficial.

Then again, a lot of new books, and particularly children/young adult books, seem to gravitate towards lengthy volumes. Do we blame Harry Potter? I have no idea. But often I find myself reading a novel and believing it could have been more succinct. Sometimes it seems a mysterious equation exists that length equals genius, and that is not always true.

Comment by bookchronicle

I’ve been thinking of starting the series over from the very beginning because I have yet to re-read any of the books. Although the writing makes me cringe at time, it’s like cotton candy. Can’t get enough.

Comment by Andi

Andi: There is definitely aspects of the book that are pure cotton candy, and I confess I think it’s this sticky sweet attraction that is the only temptation left to read Breaking Dawn.

Comment by bookchronicle

[…] in Reading reviews New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. “I felt the book was too long and despite the emotional conflict […]

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i really love your books about vampires stephanie meyer!!!!!!!!

Comment by Cedric kim




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