Friday, 16 October 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: New Moon, Chapter 1

I did honestly intend to post this last week, but I sort of used up all my energy and motivation just getting as far as the Preface, so I'm going to actually pick things up now. Perhaps I'll really enjoy it once I get started.

Perhaps I'll win the lottery tonight as well.

So, on with Chapter 1: Party.

What Happens?

It's Bella's birthday and she is in a proper grouch about the prospect of getting older. No one is allowed to mention her birthday and she definitely does not want any gifts. This doesn't stop anyone. Not only that. Alice arranges a party for her, with gifts and everything. Unfortunately open envelopes is very dangerous and getting a paper cut when you're surrounded by vampires may be bad for your health!

Thoughts as I read:

I'm going to guess from the title of this chapter that there's going to be a party of some sort. My prediction is that there's going to be some sort of high school party. Perhaps Bella and Edward are pretending to be normal high school teenagers and are going to attend it. Or perhaps Bella's trying to find a way to avoid it.

You know the traditional method for the beginning of a Twilight chapter. I'll give you the clue, it's the same way that 99% of your stories probably started when you were at primary school; with Bella either dreaming or waking up. In this case it appears to be the former:

I was ninety-nine point nine percent sure I was dreaming.

The reason for this is that Bella is looking at her dead grandmother who is currently very much not dead. Either Bella is dreaming or Grandma Marie got turned into vampire before she died, in which case Carlisle Cullen is probably to blame.

Then Edward shows up and I have no idea what is going on. This must be a dream, the dead grandmother is the first clue but suddenly they're somewhere sunny so it can't possibly be Forks. Edward is sparkling all over the place. And Bella notices that there's something odd about her Gran, the odd being that Gran is actually old Bella and this is actually all just a dream.

She's dreamt that she grew old while Edward continued looking like a hot guy in his late teens. Does this mean that Bella is scared of growing old? She wants Edward to turn her into a vampire not just so they can be together but so that she can stay a pale and clumsy teenager for the rest of her life. Seventeen wasn't that bad a year for me, but I can't imagine being stuck at that age forever.

Also, random thought that just occurred to me. If becoming a vampire amplifies your latent talents, what talent would Bella end up with? Think about how dangerous Bella is now when she tries running; now imagine the chaos she could cause if she ran at vampire speeds!

Correction to the above. Bella wants to be eighteen forever. She's just woken up to discover it's the thirteenth of September; her birthday. She is now officially older than Edward. Except, y'know, he's still going to be about ninety years older than she is. What she's unhappy about is the fact that in actual years of physically aging, she's now older than he is and she's just going to keep on getting older, unless he does her a favour and bites her.

Bella's clearly been spending too much time with Edward because his mood swings seem to have rubbed off on her. She tries not to cry while her dad gives her presents because she's like, totally ancient now. Her mood takes an upswing when she gets to school and sees Edward and Alice, apart from her annoyance at the fact they've clearly got her a gift against her will.

Alice helpfully lets us know what Bella received from her parents, since she 'saw' it in one of her visions. Her mum sent a scrapbook and her dad gave her a camera. It'll be cool if they become a plot point later in the book.

We reached Edward then, and he held out his hand for mine. I took it eagerly, forgetting, for a moment, my glum mood. His skin was, as always, smooth, hard, and very cold. He gave my fingers a gentle squeeze. I looked into his liquid topaz eyes, and my heart gave a not-quite-so-gentle squeeze of its own. Hearing the stutter in my heartbeats, he smiled again.

'Liquid topaz eyes'? I don't know what that means. It's giving me a mental image of someone with really bad hayfever and watery eyes.

Bella comes out and says it; she's not happy about it being her birthday because she's older than Edward. Technically unless he was turned the day before his eighteenth birthday, then she's been older than him for a while. She's still dead set (no pun intended) on being his vampire bride, though by the sounds of things Alice knows something Edward doesn't because she placates our clumsy heroine with a reminder that a year or two isn't going to make that much difference in the long run.

I guess I would feel differently about this plot if I hadn't been inadvertently spoiled years before I even decided to read it. I know that sooner or later Bella is going to get turned so I'm just hoping it doesn't get dragged out too long.

Bella can't honestly understand why anyone would want to stay mortal when they had any other opportunity. You should read some Tolkien, honey. Watching everyone you know who isn't immortal dying, watching the world making the same mistakes time and time again without having the power or influence to stop them, living the same old life and knowing that it's never going to end. Immortality is not all it's cracked up to be!

The Cullens have apparently organised some sort of birthday party for Bella. Ah, that'd be the titular party then, wouldn't it? She starts making excuses why she couldn't possibly go, but these guys aren't going to take no for an answer. Edward pretty much puts her foot down. And who doesn't love a man who tells you just what you're going to do, even on your birthday. That's so romantic!

Attention is never a good thing, as any other accident-prone klutz would agree. No one wants a spotlight when they're likely to fall on their face.

So just. Don't. Go. Tell Edward you're not going and that's final. Jeez.

The next page is a discussion of money; namely Bella's parents don't have much, Bella has some which she's earning from a job in town just in case the vampire thing doesn't work out and she has to go to college, Edward has lots because Alice's ability to 'see' things is handy when you're playing the stock market.

Edward didn't seem to understand why I objected to him spending money on me – why it made me uncomfortable if he took me to an expensive restaurant in Seattle, why he wasn't allowed to buy me a car that could reach speeds over fifty-five miles an hour, or why I wouldn't let him pay my college tuition (he was ridiculously enthusiastic about Plan B).

Perhaps because it would get you out of his hair for a while? Possibly forever, if you found some college guy to obsess about instead.

We also learn that the 'older' Cullens have graduated now. I guess we won't see too much of Jasper, Emmett and Rosalie in this book.

School ends and Bella and Edward drive home together. She's in a cranky mood thinking about whatever it is Alice has planned for the evening. I don't feel sorry for Edward being on the receiving end of her crank since he gives as good as he gets. All is better when they reach her house. A quick snog and she's in a perfectly good mood and ready to go watch Romeo and Juliet for English class.

When the film ends, Edward starts talking about how easy it is for mere mortals to kill themselves compared to vampires. It sounds as though Edward contemplated ending his, well not life, undeath perhaps, when he thought that the tracker might have gotten to Bella. And so we finally learn a little more about the world of Twilight vampires. Edward's plan involved going to Italy to annoy a very old and power family of vampires called the Volturi. They're the ones Carlisle lived with for a while in the distant past.

This revelation causes Bella to tell him off because even if she was dead, she wants him to go on without her. She points out that if things were the other way around he wouldn't be impressed with her deciding to top herself if he ceased to exist. The conversation is interrupted by Charlie showing up with pizza. Bella's hoping that he'll stop her from going out but he's all for it and he wants her to take the camera to snap some photos.

I also think that Charlie has a thing for Alice:

"That's good. Hey, say hi to Alice for me. She hasn't been over in a while." Charlie's mouth pulled down at one corner.
"It's been three days, Dad," I reminded him. Charlie was crazy about Alice. He'd become attached last spring when she'd helped me through my awkward convalescence; Charlie would be forever grateful to her for saving him from the horror of an almost-adult daughter who needed help showering. "I'll tell her."

This is just awkward. As far as Charlie knows, Alice is a teenager. And I'm still pretty sure she has a thing for Bella, anyway.

On the way to the Cullens' house, Edward warns Bella to play nice, pointing out that the last time any of them had a proper birthday was before World War Two and it seems that this is an event they're all looking forward to. I bet Rosalie isn't. It turns out that even Emmett and Rosalie have come back from Africa. That's how big of a deal Bella's birthday is.

Bella does push Edward once more; what she really wants for her birthday is to be just like him. This does nothing to put Edward in a good mood, until she asks if he'll show up in the picture she took. Her camera has film in it? When was this book written? 2006? You could get cheap digital cameras then, why's she got a camera that takes film?

Alice has gone completely overboard with the party idea. I feel sorry for Alice. She's been stuck being a vampire for so long and she really just wants a shot at being a normal teenager. It must be so frustrating for her having to put up with new best friend Bella who wants nothing more than to give up all the normal person stuff to be undead. I think if I was Alice I'd have slapped Bella by now!

We catch up briefly with Jasper, Emmett and Rosalie before Alice announces that it's time for presents. You'd think just because they're dead they could still celebrate their birthdays. Is there some rule against vampires having birthday parties?

Then Bella is handed a big bow with nothing inside it. They've gotten her a new stereo for her truck which Emmett is already installing. Next is Edward and Alice's gift. Whatever it is it's in an envelope, which gives Bella a paper cut as she opens it. The single drop of blood is all that it takes to drive Jasper into a frenzy. He's suddenly lunging at Bella and Edward has to jump in between them. This is very dramatic.

Edward sensibly pushes Bella into a glass table to save her from Jasper's fangs; the table shatters and Bella ends up with rather more than just a paper cut.

Dazed and disorientated, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm – into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires.

I'm not too worried about her. They controlled themselves when they found her bleeding out after the tracker got her. Plus there's still another twenty-odd chapters to go. Bella's going to survive this.

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