Friday, July 11, 2008

Hitting a bump in the road (or the night)

Review of New Moon

by Stephenie Meyer

Two of Four Stars

I am actually writing this review after having finished the third of what is slated to be four part series chronicling the adventures of Bella Swan and her vampire love muffin Edward Cullen. Sorry Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, but this winter, the premiere of Twilight has all salvos loaded, and the holocaust that this vampire love story is going to bring to bare on your notebook reading butts is going to make what the U.S. did to Nagasaki look like a kid knocking over a cabin made of lincoln logs.

Never mind that no adolescent nowadays will have not the faintest idea what lincoln logs are.

Yes, Twilight is the next event novel. Its rise may be a slower burn, but make no mistake, its crossover appeal between both paragons of moral virture (i.e. the Mormons) and it's undeniable appeal to emos (the new goth!) is going to make it a smashing success.

"So Mr. The House of Milo, why'd you wait to review this book?"

That's an excellent question Timmy! Let's get to the heart and soul of it.

I had to see if there was anything worth getting to. You see, for normal, well adjusted (generally) thirty somethings, slogging through the first two thirds of New Moon is going to be like walking barefoot through a room of rusty thumbtacks then letting your feet soak in in a vat of hydrogen peroxide for 2 hours. Okay, okay, maybe I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. A more apt analogy would be comparing New Moon to reading a soul crushingly bad teenage emo poem. And then reading another one. Then another one. Then another one. Until finally you're sitting in your room with your hair in your eyes listening to I'm Not Okay by My Chemical Romance on repeat until your fingernails turn black...

Because you PAINTED THEM THAT WAY!!!!!

New Moon starts out promising enough, with Bella, the klutz that she is, cutting herself open at a lavish birthday party thrown on her behalf by her adopted vampire family. Blood, as you can imagine, is quite the temptation for a family of vegan vamps. This, is the way you start a story!

This episode, however, convinces Edward that he must leave Bella.

What you say? Edward leaves? For a large portion of the book? Yes, and with him, much of what makes the Twilight books so good. Because no matter what some people will tell you, these books rise and fall with the dynamics of Bella and Vampy McGee, a.k.a. Edward. Without him, this book is a punch line to a joke about an emotional skater boy who wears girl pants that no one asked.

A large part of my criticism, however, can be swiftly sidestepped by one unbeatable argument. Ready for it? I'm a guy. While I'm not entirely convinced that Twilight was written with the singular purpose to connect with girly adolescents (and I'm launching a campaign with my male friends, mind you, to make sure I'm not the only guy to have read it) there are certain aspects to the story which will undoubtedly resonate more strongly with a female audience. That's the long and short of it. For every van crushing, torso ripping bit of awesomeness, there is some estrogen fueled claptrap that is, quite honestly, difficult to swallow. I can see how Bella's lonelinenss and despair after her velvety voiced Marble God (Edward) leaves might find a place in the hearts of cheerleading team rejects, but I couldn't deal with it.

New Moon is not without it's redeeming qualities. Indeed, another interesting character (not compelling mind you, interesting) is fleshed out in Jacob Black. If you're still awake, you'll figure out in about 2 minutes what he is. After reading Twilight, you should already know what he is. Again, women will no doubt appreciate how he heals Bella's heart after stone cold lover boy takes off. I didn't understand.

Oh yeah, the last third of the book is flippin' sweet too.

So what is New Moon? A somewhat necessary dip in the series that drags out over endless chapters what could have been for one man, taken care of in a chapter and a half. If you're going to read all of the books, however, don't skip, as there are (somewhat lamentably) details here that are crucial to your understanding and enjoyment of Eclipse. I guess that is one benefit to reading the next book before reviewing this one.

By the way, my wife just woke up from a nap. She told me as I was finishing this review that she had a dream that Edward died. If that isn't a sign of this being the next event novel, then I don't know what is.


Lyndsey said...

My husband read it and my next door neighbor's husband did too so you're not alone.

Tara said...

My husband refuses to read it.  I, however was totally obsessed with the books.  I read all 4 books in less than 2 weeks.  LOVED THEM!  Good for you for reading them.  I guess like most husbands, you were probably curious to see what was stealing your wife away for days on end!