We open in a dream that is so obviously a dream that even our protagonist can tell it is, in fact, a dream.
She dreams about what she thinks is her grandmother. She has a mild panic attack when Edward steps into the sunlight in front of “gran.”
It’s a dream. And the payoff for it is almost non-existent, since it hardly impacts the plot of this book at all. This comes back to one of many “Meyerisms” as I like to call them. Meyer likes to get a lot of exposition out through dream sequences. I get the idea of the subconscious knowing things the brain does not. But it seems like Bella’s subconscious knows a lot more than her conscious mind does. It takes Bella an infuriatingly long time to realize things that are blatantly obvious to someone with even half a brain. Bella is constantly hailed as smart, but there’s little to back that assertion in the books.
In Bella’s dream she begins to notice that “gran” is mirroring her movements. She becomes aware of a gilt frame around her grandmother and suddenly everything clicks.
She mimicked the movement exactly, mirrored it. But where our fingers should have met, there was nothing but glass.
With a dizzying jolt, my dream abruptly became a nightmare.
There was no gran.
That was me. Me in a mirror. Me–ancient, creased, and withered.
Edward stood beside me, casting no reflection, excruciatingly lovely and forever seventeen.
He pressed his icy, perfect lips against my wasted cheek.
“Happy Birthday.” He whispered.
Good grief. This is more of the “wah I’m so old” stuff that I commented on in Twilight. Bella’s freakouts over her age are so asinine. There isn’t much, if any, visible difference between a seventeen year old and an eighteen year old. Even three or four years wouldn’t change her face that drastically.
Speaking as someone who is having a birthday as she types a commentary on this drivel, I find this a tad insulting. I’m twenty-four now. I’m not too worried about how old I am until I hit the big 3-O. Maybe not even then.
The crux of the matter is that she’s older than Edward. Even though people repeatedly tell her that it makes no difference, she insisted on getting really pigheaded about a teensy year. Edward is over a hundred years older than Bella. So the point is moot.
And it just drags on, and on, and on…
And now that it had hit, it was even worse than I feared it would be. I could feel it–I was older. Every day I got older, but this was different, worse, quantifiable. I was eighteen. And Edward never would be.
Bella then starts looking for wrinkles on her face.
Edward and Alice are waiting for her at school. Bella is ungracious about the party and gifts the Cullens get her. I know I myself am not a good gift receiver, but if someone spends money on me, I try to accept it with good grace. It’s just rude to do anything else.
Bella concedes the point that a few years is not a big deal, but makes the caveat in her brain that she’ll only accept aging a few more years if she can be guaranteed sparkly immortality before she turns twenty. Cause twenty is sooo gross, right?
Edward tells Alice to expect them at seven, so Bella can watch Romeo and Juliet. Because it will have supposed plot significance later on, and we need to get our lame-ass Chekhov’s guns on the mantle now.
Bella goes on for about a page and a half how she hates gifts and attention. And how she doesn’t deserve them anyways.
But how could I let him give me things when I had nothing to reciprocate with? He, for some unfathomable reason, wanted to be with me. Anything he gave me on top of that just threw us more out of balance.
So I want to be a sparkly vampire. Because being a bloodthirsty immortal will somehow fix my deep seated inferiority complex and low self-esteem.
Meyer expressed in her post about writing New Moon that Bella had to realize that Edward is hers as much as she is his. Honestly I don’t see it. Bella remains insecure until the moment she becomes a vampire. If Bella’s insecurities had been a character flaw, and painted as such (author awareness is important on that point,) and it had been resolved through character development, it would be one thing. This is never really addressed or changed until Bella gets what she wants.
So they get through the day, and she and Edward go home to watch the movie. Edward criticizes Romeo, which raises Bella’s ire.
“What’s wrong with Romeo?” I asked, a little offended. Romeo was one of my favorite fictional characters. Until I’d met Edward, I’d sort of had a thing for him.
Which is stupid, because Romeo was really nothing to be admired. He was impulsive and a a bit of an idiot. I’ll address this here, since the parallels to Romeo and Juliet are all over the place.
Meyer loosely based each of her plots on a classical novel. And she missed the theme of every single one of them. It’s a mistake I see a lot of people make with Romeo and Juliet. They are not relationship goals. I know a lot of girls who find the relationship romantic for some reason.
Romeo and Juliet acted on infatuation, made bad choices, and each died at a tragically young age. The tragedy is that it took the senseless death of two young people to reconcile their families.So if you want to parallel to be right, you’d have to have Charlie Swan and Carlisle Cullen in some sort of blood feud. Which honestly would have been a more compelling story than New Moon.
Edward whispers the lines of the play into Bella’s ear until they reach the part where Romeo commits suicide. He makes a comment about envying him.
“She’s very pretty.”
He made a disgusted sound. “I don’t envy him the girl–just the ease of the suicide.” He clarified in a teasing tone.
Bella freaks the hell out about him having thought about suicide, even though she routinely throws herself into harms way for no freaking reason.
Edward gives us some additional exposition about the Volturi, since they’re going to be competing for the title of series big bad. He explains that the Volturi are an old family that act as something of the ruling body, making laws and dispensing justice.
Here’s an example of Bella’s hypocrisy. These lines happen within a paragraph of each other.
“You must never, never, never think of anything like that again!” I said. “No matter what might ever happen to me, you are not allowed to hurt yourself!”
“What would you do, if the situation were reversed?” He asked.
“That’s not the same thing.”
He didn’t seem to understand the difference.
Because there is no freaking difference. What is good for the goose is good for the gander Bella.
When they get to the Cullen’s house the place is done up. Bella doesn’t like it. Surprise. Bella gets a car radio from Emmett, Rosalie and Jasper. Emmett installs it so she can’t return it.
She protests when Alice gives her the gift from her and Edward. Possibly because she can feel the inciting incident coming on.
Bella gets a paper cut unwrapping the gift and sheds a single drop of blood.
All hell breaks loose.
Jasper tries to attack Bella. Edward pushes her into the table full of glass plates, and it makes the situation worse, cutting her arm up and spilling more blood. Now Bella is in danger from the whole family, not just Jasper.
And even though its the end of the chapter review and I’d like to end it, I have to call bullshit once again. The entire family managed to resist Bella’s blood at the end of Twilight. And that’s when she had a gushing head wound. A paper cut should not have set Jasper off.
Some fan theories hold that Jasper felt the collective hunger of his family, and it drove him to attack, but that’s not right either. If that were the case, he should be attacking people right and left when his family is hungry. And again, we have to go back to the ballet studio. Why didn’t he attack her then? This plot point falls apart upon closer inspection.
This would have been better if it had been Edward, not Jasper who had attacked. The guilt would be more justified, the danger presented more real to Bella and the reader.
So that’s all I have for this review. Join me for chapter two wherein we discuss religion.