It is official -- Stephanie Meyer is the oldest emo teenage girl on the face of this planet.
How else could she have written a book like "New Moon," the second sparkle-vampire romance in her bestselling Twilight series? Unfortunately this is no deep and intense romance -- it's basically a big oozing lump of teenage melodrama and horrendously purple prose. And the resolutely obnoxious heroine Bella Swan doesn't help with her endless moaning.
Bella's whether-you-like-it-or-not birthday party is wrecked when she cuts herself and prompts Jasper into a feeding frenzy, and the Cullens realize that she's just too tasty to be safe. So they leave town permanently. Cue emo music, for Bella's life is empty and worthless without Edward.
No, seriously -- it's empty. We have blank pages with month names on them, presumably to show that life is utterly empty and pointless when Eddie boy is absent -- "that I wasn't the heroine anymore, that my story was over."
But when she deliberately tries to put herself in danger, she hears Edward commanding her to stop. So she buys a motorcycle and starts immersing herself in extreme sports, hoping to hear him over and over again -- and she also gets to know local hunk Jacob Black, who has a supernatural secret of his own. But her near-suicidal antics have disastrous results for Edward, who believes her to be dead... and takes drastic action.
For the record, being seventeen-plus and/or breaking up with your True Luv are a fate worse than death. Teen Romance = True Luv. Catatonia and suicide are valid responses to being dumped. And life is an endless vile morass of nihilistic doom without a Sparkling Undead Coverboy to validate your existance and keep life from being ordinary.
At least, that is what "New Moon" would have you believe, since Stephanie Meyer smothers it in enough teenage melodrama and endless whiny angst to choke a blue whale. Thankfully her purple prose has been toned down -- presumably due to the absence of the "godlike" Edward -- but unfortunately page upon page of whining and suicidal despair is not a good substitute.
The entire story is pretty much devoted to the ever-passive Bella moping and whining as the sound of the world's smallest violin plays. Meyer attaches hilariously melodramatic significance to such scenes as Bella trying to get raped and murdered by a random bunch of guys, or having a recurring emo nightmare about being -- oh gasp of horror -- alone. You'd think being single was a death sentence.
Belatedly, Meyer realizes that post-breakup angst is not enough to carry even this thin plot. So she quickly spins up a bunch of Bad Evil Restrictive Vampires (with a not-so-subtle anti-Catholic bent), and Edward attempting suicide by the most hilarious method possible -- public sparkling. Such scenes almost mock themselves.
And Bella's endless woe-is-me-for-I-am-a-plain-mortal angst doesn't make her more vulnerable and likable -- it just eats up pages. And while Meyer tries desperately to show Bella's obsession as being True and Eternal Love, it never seems like more than a teenage girl's overwrought crush. And in a feeble attempt at a love triangle, Meyer makes Bella flirt callously with Jacob Black -- a sweet, nice, friendly guy who deserves way better.
"New Moon" is a prolonged, near-plotless slog of teenage melodrama, and it's nothing short of amazing that a grown woman could write such a book. Only for those who enjoy a fine whine.