Thriller Story - New Moon

THE early symptoms of the contagion were not easily noticed. MSN personal messages started carrying statements like 'sigh...Edward!' The words 'vampire' and 'twilight' kept cropping up in conversations.

And then yours truly noticed the book review last week, sitting smugly where she'd been expecting to see her review on a Stephen King thriller. Stephanie Meyer's series was getting infectious. New Moon is the second book in the series, and continues the travesty that one found in Twilight. The angsty relationship between the teenage drama queen Bella Swan and her broody vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen hits the rocks when Bella cuts her finger during her eighteenth birthday party, and the scent of her blood sends Edwards 'brother' Jasper into a frenzy, which Bella narrowly escapes. Convinced that he'll only cause trouble for his love by being with her, Edward promptly dumps her, and the entire Cullen family pack up and leave Forks. A heartbroken and depressed Bella manages to alienate all her human friends with her endless moping, until she discovers that she can hear Edward's voice whenever she attempts something risky. In a very masochistic frame of mind, she begins to seek out danger, just to hear that voice. In order to get her fix of danger, she seeks out old childhood friend Jacob 'Jake' Black, the whiz mechanic, and talks him into fixing up a motorcycle for her to ride. Jake's sunny personality turns out to be a welcome distraction from her pain, and so she keeps running back to him, well aware of his growing attraction to her, as a sort of antidote to her depression.

An encounter with a vengeful vampire from the previous novel leads Bella to a startling discovery about Jacob; her new best friend is actually a werewolf. Jake is trying to deal with his rather recent transformation, and come to terms with the fact that the girl he loves is in love with his mortal enemy, and Bella is wondering if she should finally give up on Edward and go for Jake, when she decides to try one last dumb stunt, and jumps off a cliff.

While this doesn't kill her, it brings back another complication. Edward's sister Alice comes back to tell her that Edward believes Bella is dead, and is now seeking his own death in Italy. Can Bella get to her love in time? You'll have to read the book to find out.

Stephanie Meyer takes up a concept that's been done to death, and tries to put a new spin on it. Sadly, the characterization falls short of the mark and may just be the undoing of what might have been something worth reading. Bella was probably intended to be one of those girl-next-door types whose strength of character shines through under extraordinary circumstances. Instead, she ends up as an overly dramatic, manipulative masochist. In trying to paint Edward as broody and mysterious, Meyer has left him with no personality, and despite the repeated declarations of 'love' and 'destiny', there is no actual chemistry between the protagonists.

The Romeo and Juliet references in the second book also felt rather superfluous. This is one of those books that you absolutely cannot put down because of its 'oh my God, what was she thinking?' factor, perhaps the same kind of attraction that makes those Hindi serials so popular. If you're not a vampire legend purist, and are looking for a light fluffy read you can pick apart without guilt, this is definitely the book for you.


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