Brief Takes: New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2), by Stephenie Meyer

This is probably my favorite book of the series, although the beginning is horribly depressing. The author really captures Bella’s despair and apathy in a way that resonated all too familiarly with me, then charms the reader by having her Native American friend, Jacob Black, fall in love with her.  It’s deja vu all over again (as Yogi Berra said), however, when she finds Jacob beginning to pull away from her too.  His reason for doing so, however, is the last thing Bella expects.

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Brief Takes: Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, Book 3), by Stephenie Meyer

More action than in the first two novels of this series. This book also showcases Jacob’s character, as he comes to empathize with others who are completely different from himself.

Brief Takes: Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4), by Stephenie Meyer

Some people think the end novel of this series jumps the shark in asking the reader to suspend disbelief, but I believe if we’ve gone for sparkly vampires that can go out in the day and werewolves the size of ponies who can control their transformations, I think we’re gonna buy Bella’s strange pregnancy and her eerie daughter.

Brief Takes: From Dead to Worse (Southern Vampire Mysteries No. 8), by Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris is in fine form for the 8th of the Sookie Stackhouse series about a telepathic barmaid and her entanglements in an alternative reality where vampires have come out of the closet and admitted their existence. This one is funnier than usual, and I’m enjoying seeing Sookie’s prim facade start to give out.

Book Review: New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that this book is about what happens to Bella, the regular teenage girl protagonist of “Twilight,” when Edward, the vampire she loves desperately, leaves her. She is devastated. She is depressed. She is inconsolable. I myself had a couple of very intense relationships a little like this when I was in my twenties, and I could definitely relate to Bella’s predicament and how author Stephenie Mayer expresses it. In fact, it was so realistic that I was considering not reading any more when Bella finds a new source of comfort: her friendship with Jacob, the Native American boy she has known from childhood. Obviously, he’s not the “perfect” Edward, but Bella begins to suspect that allowing herself some small measure of happiness away from Edward would not be “selling out.”

Jacob, who is 2 years younger than Bella, has his own period of painful growth to endure. Both his physical and emotional progress is laid out for the reader (eventually), as he comes to terms with the kind of adult he is becoming and tries to make peace with it.

This book contains some of the history, mythology and philosophy that the first novel lacked, and it finishes with an even better and more suspenseful flourish. Some Romeo and Juliet comparison is included, which may be appropriate, if cliched, for the age of the characters. Fortunately, Bella is modern enough, and sophisticated enough, to handle the comparisons her mind insists on making without getting too sentimental about it.