Gone with the Cullens
In the first act of New Moon, Bella celebrates her 18th birthday, an ominous sign that the good old days of Twilight can't last. Exit Edward, curtain up on Act Two, which has none of the sparkle of the preceding chapters--in the text as in Bella's life, the magic is gone with the Cullens--but which has a feeling of homeyness created by Jacob Black and the La Push gang, who become Bella's new family, a family where she is an equal, not a child to be patronized and protected. The third act sees Bella reunited with the Cullens and leaving Forks for some entertaining, fast-paced action that sets up the next instalment in the series, no doubt already eagerly awaited by fans.
New Moon's writing is enjoyable, though not as neat as Twilight's--as is evidenced, for example, by the ubiquitous mentions of eyes and the use on nearly every page of the adjectives "cold" and "hard". The pace is also more erratic and readers may find the story drags until the return of Alice Cullen--though again, this parallels Bella's life. While many will mourn the long absence of Bella's magical prince Edward, they will love her new best friend, Jacob Black, a very human boy who comes to need Bella in a way the superhuman Edward never did. Though the Cullens constantly struggle with their nature, neither Bella nor the reader is ever fully involved in the conflict--nor can we see the psychological changes caused by the physical ones. Through Jacob Black, the fear, regret and gradual acceptance of the change from human to something else hit home, and the psychological effects of the transformation are so well demonstrated that readers will feel deeply for him.
New Moon succeeds in opening up a story that seemed to end with Twilight. Now much more than just a tale of star-cross'd lovers or even the struggle of a few vampires to go against their nature and live without killing, it's come down to a war between vampire clans, with a pack of werewolves and some in-the-know and interested humans thrown into the mix. What's more, Bella now has a mission: the link between the Cullens and the La Push gang, she must convince the enemies to join together against an even greater threat. In many ways a transition piece from the idyllic Twilight to the certainly high-action Eclipse (scheduled for Fall 2007), New Moon nevertheless does stand on its own as a fun page-turner destined to be a number one bestseller.