Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Moon Chapter 14: Family

1. When she’s brought before the rest of the pack, “they weren’t what I was expecting. I’d gotten the image of the wolves stuck in my head. These were just four really big half-naked boys.” If that’s not the most thinly-veiled attempt at making your audience go “squee” I’ve ever heard, I don’t know what could be.

2. As they approach Sam demands, “What have you done, Jacob?” Really. You hooked up with HER??

“One of the others, one I didn’t recognize” (like it really matters) forces his way past the others to get all up in Jacob’s grill. These guys do have names, but it just annoys me the way Meyer will give everyone, no matter how small their part or non-existent their distinction, a name and then keep using it like it means anything. That’s why I coined the term “whoever friend.”

“What the hell are you thinking? Is she more important than everything--than the whole tribe? Than the people getting killed?” the whoever wolf demands. Exactly. What’s so great about Bella? What about her attracts people, especially guys like Jacob and Edward? What makes her worth fighting for or giving special attention when they’re protecting everyone in the area from Victoria? What makes someone like Edward or Jacob call up all the resources and allies they have in the name of her defense?

Yeah, the relationship between her and Jacob is less far-fetched than the one between her and Edward, but she’s still stupid, judgmental, thinks she’s worthless, habitually jumps to the worst possible conclusion…Sure Jacob says the reason is she can give them inside information on their enemy, but of course his interest runs deeper than that. But WHY??? Does she hide her real personality well? Maybe she should hide it from the reader a little better, then.

3. Things get so heated Jacob and the other guy wolf out and start fighting, soon disappearing into the woods. “The black and white scraps--the remains of Jacob’s clothes--fluttered to the ground where he’d disappeared.” Oh thank you so much for clearing that up, Steph.

Enhacing Bella’s appeal even more, she thinks of Jacob in his wolf form as “Jacob-wolf.” I could kind of see that if they showed up in their wolf forms again, but here it sounds like she’s demeaning him. That he’s not her Jacob, he’s some creature that used to be Jacob. That just doesn’t sound right after she’s forgiven him for all the bad things she thought he was doing.

After they run off to have their little macho fight Embry Call (did we ever even hear his last name before now?) comes to take Bella someplace to wait for them to get back. “Suddenly, he seemed to remember me” and asked if she was “going to faint or puke or anything?” Turns out she is feeling that way. Used to weird by now, huh?

“ ‘Well, the wolf’s out of the bag now.’ Embry sighed.” Wow that was an incredibly stupid and not clever in the slightest thing to say.

4. It turns out Jacob’s incredibly special too. “Even Sam couldn’t have phased on the fly like that. He saw Paul losing it, and it took him, what, half a second to attack? The boy’s got a gift.” Only the best for our Bella, after all.

Meyer tries to have some interaction between the werewolves by showing they like to make bets. This one is about whether Bella will puke on the ride to their house, which being the first example makes the practice seem really stupid and juvenile. Given that the wolves are supposed to seem like a credible threat to sparklepires, it’s not a good thing. I can’t believe Embry’s the one who thinks she can make it. Because she hung out with vampires, you see.

5. They take her to the house of an Emily, who turns out to be Sam’s girlfriend, and warn Bella not to stare at her. When Bella asks why she might do that, she’s told “hanging out around werewolves has its risks.” Fine, plausible. But after all the shit we got along those lines from Edward, we really don’t need more from anyone else.

Oh, and when Embry says her truck’s slow, she apologizes. Because she didn’t even pick it out. Wait, what? Again, this isn’t really that big a deal, but with the many, many previous examples of Bella apologizing for things that weren’t her fault, it transforms into pure aggravation, dilute before using.

6. When they meet this Emily, “I thought the reason Embry had told me not to stare was because the girl was so beautiful.” Well she’s not. “The right side of her face was scarred from hairline to chin by three thick, red lines, livid in color though they were long healed. One lined pulled down the corner of her dark, almond-shaped right eye, another twisted the right side of her mouth into a permanent grimace.”

Bella’s going to mention Emily’s scars or her once-beautiful face or something like that every time she brings Emily up. Emily’s not around as much as Edward so it’s not as annoying as Bella’s overtures to his perfection, but damn, could you make Bella more superficial, please?

“She stared at me, and neither half of her once-beautiful face was friendly.” Considering you’re an intruder in their affairs, not to mention kind of a bitch, I can't say I feel much of a compulsion to jump in on your side. This is yet another of those things that could have just been an innocuous remark, but with the way Bella seems to think she implicitly deserves people’s trust…

And before we move on, “Emily rolled her good eye.” Shit…

7. The wolf boys strike Bella as being awfully like a family (with Emily being the one who cooks and cleans for them all, it seems). I’m amazed this doesn’t dredge up any unpleasant memories of the supernatural family that was almost hers. Amazed and grateful. I'm a little disturbed by how Emily is so happy with Sam and his buddies when he lost control and mauled her, though. This book doesn't really address that, even with Bella's fixation on her marred features.

More about Emily’s deformity. “I could see that the scars extended all the way down her arm to the back of her right hand. Hanging out with werewolves truly did have its risks, just as Embry had said.” Kind of a new experience to be around supernatural creatures where the evidence of their wild side is there from the beginning instead of a year into the relationship, huh?

Sam shows up and kisses Emily’s “ruined mouth.” Why am I expected to hope for a happy ending for this twat again?

“This was worse than any romantic movie; this was so real that it sang out loud with joy and life and true love. I put my muffin down and folded my arms across my empty chest. I stared at the flowers, trying to ignore the utter peace of the moment, and the wretched throbbing of my wounds.” I repeat my previous question. And maybe this would actually carry some weight if we had any idea what she missed about her time with Edward. Remember how I complained about Bella describing their happiest summer ever with one sentence?

8. Jacob and the guy he was fighting come in and Bella finds out werewolves heal really fast, although this won’t really matter until the end of the next book. They discuss strategy for dealing with Victoria, and Emily doesn’t like that Sam’s in the smaller group. Just pointing it out at this stage, but in case it’s not clear Sam’s the one who ruined her beautiful face. Anyway, looks like none of the women in this stupid story have any faith in their supernatural friends, even Emily who’s presumably around hers more often than Bella was around the Cullens before the so-called “climax” of the last book.

They discuss keeping Bella at La Push as much as they can for safety, from Victoria if perhaps not from the wolves. Meyer, could you please let it go? If that’s a danger, fine, but could you please at least stop bringing it up so the wolves aren't annoying in the exact same way Edward is? Anyway, Bella asks after Charlie and they figure he’ll probably be up there a lot too, what with it being March Madness and Charlie possessing this strange alien commodity called “friends.”

So. Bella’s just going to be sitting on the sidelines again. Love how Booklist said “Teens will relish this new adventure and hunger for more.” Not my emphasis, but serves my purposes well enough. I know I can safely ignore anything said in that review if this is what whoever wrote it considers an "adventure."

Anyway, the wolves are willing to do what they can to shelter Bella. Sam asks “If there was somewhere else you felt safe…” She again thinks about not wanting to bring her mom into this, but I again ask why not Alaska? The vampires there are friends with the Cullens and would probably be willing to offer another friend of the Cullens their help. Plus, anybody she’s worried about getting mixed up in Victoria’s little quest for revenge would be pretty well out of the way.

9. For his part, Sam’s kind of satisfied to have Victoria’s prey right on hand, means they won’t have to go far from home to “end this.”

“I flinched. I didn’t want Jacob or any of the rest of them trying to end Victoria.” What’ll it take to convince her maybe he can kill a vampire after all? Or at the very least that this is the most ideal of their available options? Maybe if the books weren’t quite so long, all the “I’m just a weak little human, I’m not worth the risk” stuff wouldn’t be quite so irritating.

Then Emily “met my eyes, and I could suddenly see the symmetry underlying her deformity.” Hold it in, star, hold it in. “Her face was still beautiful, and alive with a concern more fierce than mine.” Bella can’t even compare to other people when it’s about being concerned for other people. I mean, I knew that, but damn. You’ve got to give a character flaws, but you’ve got to give them positives too. I see what you’re saying, Liz (can I call you Liz?).

“Her expression clearly stated that this was her family. All in all, it wasn’t exactly what I’d been expecting from a pack of werewolves.” Isn’t she used to the movies being wrong by now?

10. While both Charlie was up on the reservation for the night, he was “eyeing the two of us suspiciously all night.” It’s not even like Bella’s been up to anything behind his back, either.

Jacob informs Bella that “since they’d chased her away from the hot springs last night--chased her halfway to Canada, according to Jacob--she’d yet to make another foray.” That was during the previous night, was it? So why are they acting like they expect Victoria to make another move already? And during the day? Wouldn’t that risk bringing the Volturi down on her (I’m getting to that part)?

“I had no hope at all that she might just give up. I didn’t have that kind of luck.” Because you have an author with no idea how to write balanced characters or compelling conflict, sweetie.

Jacob leaves to join his buddies on another night’s work, leading to this.

Jacob: “You’re silly. Hunting vampires is fun. It’s the best part of this whole mess.”
Starofjustice: “Notice he didn’t say anything about getting to hang around Bella…”
Bella: “If I’m silly, then you’re dangerously unbalanced.”
Starofjustice: “He thinks you’re girlfriend material, doesn’t he?”

11. “I wondered where Sam and Jared and Embry and Paul were…” Oh cut it out already, Meyer. The names don’t matter and you know it.

When Bella gets back to the Swan household, she tells Charlie some of the day-to-day stuff to silence his questions and mentions about Emily being Sam’s “fiancée,” which prompts Charlie to say “I hadn’t heard that he and Emily had made it official. That’s nice. Poor girl.” There’s just something about this that makes me doubt Charlie’s ability to back up his threat against Sam’s gang, if he doesn’t hear news like that when he actually has friends on the reservation

12. Alone again, Bella starts to think about Jacob’s accusations of hypocrisy. Which he apologized for, remember? “I didn’t like to think that I was a hypocrite, only what was the point of lying to myself?” I’m not completely sure what she means (which some might say isn’t a good sign), but I think it’s automatically assuming Jacob was a murderer but automatically giving Edward the benefit of the doubt when he said to her face he wanted to drink her blood. Yeah, that is pretty hypocritical. Welcome to Bella Swan, huh?

We follow up with “No, Edward wasn’t a killer. Even in his darker past, he’d never been a murderer of innocents, at least.” What proof do you have either way? Then again, a simple “no, I’m not the one killing people in the woods” was all she needed. Stupid bimbo.

13. Time for another nightmare. “I was holding Emily’s scarred hand as we faced into the shadows and waited anxiously for our werewolves to come home.” Since when have they been “our” werewolves?

1 comment:

  1. I had been waiting to get home from "vacation" to read this. I don't think Charlie was ever serious about his threat to Sam's gang. He just wanted to keep Bella happy enough from freaking out again. Getting closer to my favorite train wreck ending.