New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

When I started reading Twilight, I did so with extremely low expectations. I only ever heard about it mentioned in the context of being one of the worst things ever written. As it happens though, I thought it was okay. Sure, Edward is a complete loser who doesn’t deserve Bella’s love, but he had his moments, and I thought that vampirism was explored interestingly enough, and that Bella was comically endearing in the way that she looked down on all the other teenagers (even if that would be annoying in real life).

New Moon, was quite a contrast to the first book because Edward, and indeed the whole Cullen family, are not present for most of the story. Though I missed the vampirism, I actually really appreciated the change in direction here. With Edward gone, Bella mourns their relationship and ends up trying to reintegrate into normal teenage life again. She even starts to form a bond with Jacob Black (who appeared in the first book) and I actually thought the two of them were pretty cute together.

Unlike Edward, Jacob makes Bella feel relaxed, is laid-back, and doesn’t take himself too seriously. Their relationship felt much more real, and though it didn’t seem to be a romantic connection on Bella’s part, I was really rooting for the two of them because I was invested in their friendship and felt that they had the capacity to enhance each others lives. It was a lovely story about overcoming loss and finding comfort in new connections… at least at first.

After a while, Jacob starts to becoming strangely aloof and disrespectful towards Bella, just like Edward. I won’t spoil it, but a new supernatural element is introduced. There’s a lot of mystery about what happened to Jacob, and as I didn’t really know, I found this quite compelling and intriguing. I really wanted the rift between them to be healed, which I guess shows that Stephenie Meyer can make a compelling relationship, even if she didn’t do it with Edward.

Sadly, I thought the ending was extremely disappointing. I guess, partially, it was just a case of things not turning out the way I wanted them to turn out. Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that even though I already thought Edward was a predatory loser in the first book, by the end of this one my respect for him had plummeted even lower. He does not deserve Bella’s love, and I just felt it reinforced toxic behaviours that are already really prevalent in our society.

In the end, because I was so disappointed by the final 25% or so of the book, I don’t know if I really liked this any more than the first one. It’s got some weird eye-rolling religious stuff rather shoe-horned in as well, which left a bit of a sour taste for me. I thought the book had the capacity to go in a pretty interesting direction, but didn’t really live up to it. I still enjoyed it overall, but I’m not left keen to read the next one.

Rating: 6.6/10

Buy it here.

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