Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Moon Chapter 13: Killer

Quick Note: On the day I posted this I also bought a new copy of Eclipse (and because it was there, The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide. That one looks really funny). So I'll probably do the next book eventually too.

1. Bella drives out to La Push, intent on telling Jacob “to this face that I couldn’t just overlook what was going on. I couldn’t be friends with a killer and say nothing, let the killing continue…That would make me a monster, too.” Don’t think too highly of her yet.

“It was bad enough that my best friend was a werewolf. Did he have to be a monster too?” I see what you did there, Steph.

Billy actually deigns to talk to Codependent Ranger and is somewhat surprised to hear Charlie and a bunch of crackers are hunting down the giant wolves. He gently warns her, probably accepting he’s not getting rid of the crazy bimbo by ignoring her, that maybe she shouldn’t disturb Jacob but she mutters “It’s my turn.” If that sounds like an awkward transcription, it was an awkward line in the book.

When she goes up to Jacob’s room and sees him asleep, “Pity shook me.” Just can’t stay mad at the men in your life, huh Bella? Wuss.

She asks Billy to pass along that she’s waiting to talk to him. “I wondered if he really would. Well, if he didn’t, I’d tried, right?” Yeah, you really pulled out all the stops there

2. While she waits Bella monologues to herself. “Seeing Jacob like that--innocent and vulnerable in sleep--had stolen all my revulsion, and dissolved all my anger. I still couldn’t turn a blind eye to what was happening like Billy seemed to, but I couldn’t condemn Jacob for it either.” And just like that, she’s not blaming Jacob anymore. I know I kept saying that because the legend about the Cullens was true, the one about the wolves could’ve been too, but that doesn’t mean werewolves can learn to control themselves the way vampires can. Vampires change once and that’s it, you know? Werewolves change, physically and mentally, all the time. Probably makes it harder to subvert whatever urges they develop during that change, if such a thing’s even possible.

As an addendum to the above quote, “Love didn’t work that way, I decided. Once you cared about a person, it was impossible to be logical about them anymore.” And if anybody’s an expert on love, it’s her, right? Jacob’s her second relationship ever, and both of those relationships have been with creatures with inhuman drives. Then again, that’s the real deal in Meyer’s eyes, isn’t it?

“When I pictured him sleeping so peacefully, I felt an overpowering urge to protect him. Completely illogical.” Yeah, but given what we’ve seen of Bella’s “logic” at the best of times, I don’t see how being in “love” has affected her much. And if she honestly expects the “happily ever after” feeling where she can’t be rational about her partner to define her relationships, should they even survive a significant period of time, then she’s a big silly. But I already knew that.

3. Jacob does come along, and cue the plodding dialogue! He’s warned about Charlie and his buddies looking for Jacob and his buddies. Bella asks if “Could you…well, try to not be a werewolf…?” Because hey, it worked for vampires, right? Even though they warned her most of them had never quite conquered those temptations.

Jacob: “You’re such a hypocrite, Bella--there you sit, terrified of me! How is that fair?”
Bella: “Hypocrite? How does being afraid of a monster make me a hypocrite?”

Because that’s the only possibility, huh? Even when she knows an evil vampire it out to get her, and being evil she probably has no compunctions about snacking on people in the area should the need to feed hit her. And having been the girlfriend of a hunter might prefer that method of acquiring food herself.

Jacob: “Well, I’m so sorry that I can’t be the right kind of monster for you, Bella. I guess I’m just not as great as a bloodsucker, am I?”
Bella: “No, you’re not! It’s not what you are, stupid, it’s what you do!”

Because like I just said, obviously the ability to subvert the unconscious desires of their kind is the same for a creature that changes once and one that changes constantly. Guess so, at least according to the incredibly wise Bella, “Is it really necessary to kill people, Jacob? Isn’t there some other way? I mean, if vampires can find a way to survive without murdering people, couldn’t you give it a try too?” Because they obviously kill for the same reasons vampires do, too.

4. That last question takes Jacob by surprise, and he asks “You’re just scared because I’m a murderer? That’s the only reason?” That leads to this scintillating exchange that, seriously, solves everything.

Jacob: “I’m not a killer, Bella.”
Bella: “Really?”
Jacob: “Really.”
Jacob: “Sorry I called you a hypocrite.”
Bella: “Sorry I called you a murderer.”

That’s it. Jacob says he’s not a killer, and all’s forgiven. Not only that, Bella’s bad feelings that people are dying morph into fear of a few certain people (Jacob, Charlie) dying rather than the fact that people are dying once she figures out who’s really doing the killing.

He reminds her that the werewolves are protectors, but they only protect people from their (the werewolves’) natural enemy. Seriously, again, Bella needs this spelled out for her. “I thought you, of all people, would have realized what was really going on,” indeed.

Once she gets it she tries to tell Jacob how much danger he was in by attacking Laurent before. I admit it’s kind of hard to make fun of someone for being an idiot when they themselves just said they’re not behaving logically, but since I already pointed out this isn’t really a change for Bella, I’m going to do it anyway.

He tells her that they are, in spite of Bella’s worship of the sparkles, a danger to vampires, and that he’s worried about being around Bella, because “If I get too mad…too upset…you might get hurt.” So they might kill people thanks to their bestial nature after all? Frankly I'm glad that he largely drops that right after mentioning it, we don't need another contender for Bella's affections regularly angsting about the threat he poses just by being around her.

Sweeping that aside, he laughingly tells her “Hollywood’s version doesn’t get much right.” Even if the truth behind the legends was known to screenwriters, maybe somewhere along the line some changes were made to make the stories more compelling? Not that that’s something I’d expect Meyer to understand.

Anyway, Jacob goes on to say he knows about Victoria but she acts weird, like she’s trying to find a way through their defenses rather than attack them to avenge Laurent. Even though she knew Victoria was out to get her, thinking about this with any intensity actually makes Bella sick. She does pretty well, all things considered? This is also when it seems to occur to her that the, you know, evil vampire she’s known was after her for a while is the one killing people in the woods.

Bella doesn’t have to disembowel people with her bare hands (like I said a long time ago, I don’t need every female protagonist to be Wonder Woman), but she can at least be intelligent. Like the book would have you believe.

5. Bella does eventually recover enough to tell Jacob about what Victoria’s doing, even though “things aren’t like that with us anymore. Not for Edward, anyway.” Maybe not, but Victoria’s “mate” is still dead, and Edward did leave Forks for Bella’s sake, because he does care about her for some reason. Killing Bella's still striking back at him.

I just love the way she reveals Victoria’s goal.

Jacob: “Did he tell you anything else, Bella? This is important. Do you know what she wants.”
Bella: “Of course. She wants me.”

Well of course. Everybody wants something big from Bella. Or resents the way everybody wants something big from Bella.

Bella begs Jacob not to risk himself protecting her, even though they’ve already killed one vampire. And, you know, he’s probably not entirely in control of what he does in this regard, as implied by his behavior during their midnight rendezvous.

Also, seriously, why does the book insist on using designations like “her mate” and “the female”?

6. Jacob leaves to tell his wolf buddies about this new development. “Seconds after Jacob was out of sight, I was hyperventilating. I dragged myself into the cab of the truck, and mashed the locks down at once. It didn’t make me feel any better.” Nothing makes you feel better. Even when you were surrounded by vampires willing to go to the ends of the Earth to protect you, all you did was bitch and mope.

Bella’s experiences really haven’t fostered any growth whatsoever. “No matter what Jacob said, the thought of him coming anywhere close to Victoria was horrifying. I didn’t care what he could turn into when he got mad. I could see her in my head, her face wild, her hair like flames, deadly, indestructible…”

Would I be picking nits if I pointed out Bella’s only seen Victoria once at this point in the story, and it wasn’t for that long? Then again, being in life-threatening danger does wonders for her attention to detail. Like she was some kind of huge drama queen or something.

“Only another vampire could do the job.” For someone experiencing the things you are, boy are you a closedminded little twerp. Damn, I never thought I’d miss Edward. Yeah he’s an ass, but at least I wasn’t focusing all my disgust on one character with him around.

“None of us were safe! Jacob the very least of all, if he was trying to put himself between Victoria and Charlie…between Victoria and me.” Because everything’s about you, Bella. I mean that. And would Victoria really kill Charlie unless Charlie tried to interfere? I mean, he would if he knew to, he’s actually a caring parent. But that makes it sound like he’s one of Victoria’s priorities and the book says it so often, yet they don’t know Victoria’s not planning to just sneak into Bella’s bedroom and kill her in her sleep. Edward proved it’s not that hard. And Victoria’s stealth abilities are probably even more impressive than his.

7. More disbelief that anything could threaten a vampire. Jacob laughs, “You’ve got to have a little more confidence in us than that. It’s insulting.” What does Bella think? “I just shook my head. I’d seen too many vampires in action.” And even with the revelation that other supernatural creatures exist too, I’m too in love with Edward to think there might exist something that’s as dangerous as he says he is. Besides, when did she actually see a vampire fight?

“I’m sort of used to weird by this point, you know,” she goes on to say. Yeah, so used to it she can’t shake her preconceived notions about vampires being God.

8. Jacob explains that he and the other werewolves are telepathic with each other. “It’s embarrassing--having no secrets like that. Freaky, eh?” Oh I get it, it’s ironic or something because the only edge Bella has on Edward is being immune to his mind-reading. Very clever, Steph.

Bella: “Is that what you meant last night, when you said you would tell them you’d see me, even though you didn’t want to?”
Jacob: “You’re quick.”
Starofjustice: “If she was, these books wouldn’t be 500+ page long.”

“Is anything just a myth anymore?” Bella asks after she surprises Jacob with the news that some vampires have special powers. See, she sort of makes it sound like he’s the one who’s silly for thinking stories he’d heard about vampires with extra gifts are just stories. When she’s the one unable to process that maybe another supernatural race really is a threat to vampires. And when she was the one who took so long figuring out that whole “descended from wolves” thing.

I hate these damn chapters where nothing happens except twenty pages of talking. That’s why I say these books are so full of nothing. You keep things from dragging by having things actually happen in your narrative. But hey, Bella can’t perform, you know, actions, so that option’s out.

9. Jacob tells Bella he’s afraid Sam “would tell me I couldn’t bring you.”

“ ‘That wouldn’t have stopped me.’ I couldn’t get rid of my perception of Sam as the bad guy.” Yeah, we’ve been over that. You’re closedminded and have a black and white worldview. We know.

Jacob tells her it’s more than that; Sam is the alpha of the pack, and if he tells them to do something, there really isn’t anything the rest of them can do to directly disobey. There’s just something about being a werewolf that forces the others to obey him.

“ ‘Huh’ was the best response I could think of.” Says volumes, really.

10. Jacob hopes that Bella’s exposure to vampires will give them some inside information they can use against Victoria. “I wasn’t a spy, though. I hadn’t been collecting that kind of information.” No you didn’t, you just stared at Edward and argued about him letting you become a vampire too.

She notes that it seems like Jacob can read her mind, and he replies, “Naw. I just pay attention.” Something she might try sometime. He also apologizes for bringing up Edward, which brings up a small but nagging question. When did Edward ever apologize for anything, except for bringing her to the baseball game which led to her being targeted by James and his girlfriend who’s back to get even?

Jacob: “Yeah, I had a hard enough time keeping a secret from you for two weeks. It must be hell to not be able to talk to anyone.”
Bella: “Hell,” I agreed.
Starofjustice: “Aside from the guy she’s currently orbiting like her life depends on it, when does Bella ever want to talk to anyone in the first place?”

11. To send us off a note of idiocy, as Jacob takes her to meet the rest of his pack to discuss how they’ll deal with Victoria, “My hands were trembling like Jacob’s had been before, but with fear rather than rage.” Even though he assured her they’re not killers unless you’re a vampire (making this probably the only time Bella’s grateful she’s not one) and she apparently believed him. Maybe not about them being able to handle vampires, but at least about not killing innocent people.

1 comment:

  1. I think want gets me is that the other books are like romance novels, but not this one. Like she tried to write something else and just failed.

    Really enjoying your reviews. You made my night.