Sarah Keliher's Reviews > New Moon

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
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Aug 08, 09

bookshelves: read2009, shelf-of-shame, ya

First of all, just so you know where I'm coming from, you should know that this is not the worst novel I've ever read. In fact, I don't think the installments of the Twilight series can even be called novels. They're barely books. It's as if aliens had come to Earth and constructed a shoddy simulacrum of a book, based on an imperfectly understood idea of what a Book is like.
A Book should come out in hardcover, and so the Twilight novels appeared, though with cheap, feather-light boards that make them feel insubstantial, like styrofoam models. A Book should have a certain number of pages, and so the texts of Twilight are strained and stretched to cover the requisite amount, though the result - page after page of mostly margin, with wide spaces between lines and huge black typeface - results in an impression of a desolate wasteland, like small human tracks across the face of a glacier. I even gave some thought to the relationship between the format and the plot: as if the typeface, like our hero, was reluctant to sully the virgin whiteness of the paper.
I use the word 'hero' with some misgivings. There are no actual characters, only sketchy representations of such. Our heroine is clumsy, and in love with a cipher - we know he is perfect and brilliant, because she tells us so, but because there is no dialogue in addition to the repetition of these facts, we don't get to see why she'd think so. We learn little more than this, but it doesn't matter - the plot is pulled along by Events and Life Threatening Fights and Declarations of True Love, because that's what happens in Books. The characters drift through, unchangeable, ill-defined, unsympathetic, like icons.
Some morals are imparted: the vampires talk about their souls and heaven, there is no sex before marriage, everyone is monogamous, and hope is held out that the Cullens will be able to bring their Good News about redemption to save the souls of the other vampires. We also learn about the noble savages of the northwest coast, who step in with some tribal wisdom at key points in the narrative.
Of course they're wildly popular. It's the perfect book series for our times: prudish and reactionary, valuing form over substance. It's more of a long text message than a novel, really, and maybe that's where the appeal lies.

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Moira Russell I don't think the installments of the Twilight series can even be called novels. They're barely books. It's as if aliens had come to Earth and constructed a shoddy simulacrum of a book, based on an imperfectly understood idea of what a Book is like.

YES. Perfect.


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