New Moon

New Moon

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel, Twilight. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last nine years, I expect you’ve probably heard of the Twilight Saga. This series was written by Stephenie Meyer and focuses on the forbidden love between a vampire and a human. The first novel, Twilight (2005), was swiftly followed by New Moon (2006), Eclipse (2007), Breaking Dawn (2008) and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (2010). The immense popularity of the series sparked a trend of paranormal romance novels – an effect that can still be seen in the market today. For the purpose of today’s review, I’ll be looking at New Moon only.

A few months have passed since the events of Twilight and Bella Swan is finding herself constantly tested by her relationship with Edward. As her eighteenth birthday approaches, she releases that she will continue to age while he remains forever seventeen and the thought of this horrifies her. After an accident at her birthday party almost leads to her death at the hands of Jasper, Edward comes to the decision that his world is just far too dangerous for a human. After painfully declaring that he no longer loves her, he and the rest of the Cullens leave in the night, never to return.

Bella is plunged into depression and finds it impossible to come to terms with his departure. Discovering that she has vivid hallucinations of Edward whenever her life is in danger, she begins to perform increasingly dangerous acts just to hear his voice again. Her daredevil lifestyle leads her to a new friendship with Jacob Black, beginning with a mutual desire to repair a motorcycle and gradually blossoming into something more.

However, all is not well in Forks. Bella is still haunted by nightmares about Edward and is plagued with confusion with regards to her growing feelings for Jacob. On top of this, Victoria has returned to town, harbouring a bitter resentment for the death of her partner at Edward’s hands. Driven by her desire to take Bella’s life – a mate for a mate – she begins to mercilessly hunt the teenager. With the Cullens long gone, who can protect her from a messy end at the vampire’s fangs?

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Dante’s Kiss

Dante's Kiss

I have focused on a couple of paranormal romances that centre on vampires over the last few months and so, for the purpose of today’s post, I’m going to be looking at one that is slightly different.  As this review has been written on the basis of an advanced reader copy that I received from NetGalley, please bear in mind while reading this entry that it may not represent the quality of the published novel.

Dante’s Kiss was first published in 2014 and was written by S.L. Nadathur. Although it reads as though it is the first part of a longer series, at the time of writing there has been no word regarding future instalments.

The story focuses on Kiriela, a three-quarter angel who has recently been exiled to earth after her relationship with a fellow angel (Jadiel) sparked a fight with her father. Forced to spend her rehabilitation in Puerto Rico, she chooses to attend school like a human teenager in order to make her new life feel as normal as possible.

She quickly discovers human life to be neither simple nor peaceful. Teenagers within the school are roughly divided into two groups – rockers and reggaetón – and Kiriela (in her human disguise of ‘Krystal’) is quickly accepted into the latter. However, the young angel quickly finds herself drawn to a young rocker called Dante.

Dante is horribly unpopular, frequently picked on by his peers and possessing a deeply negative outlook on life, but Kiriela has been friends with his guardian angel, Malakiy, for years and over that time has nurtured a deep affection for the human. Yet her feelings for Dante attract the jealousy of another. Jadiel has fallen further that Kiriela and accepted a place as one of Satan’s generals. Still determined to win Kiriela, he has made it is mission to deliver Dante’s soul to his master.

Caught in a battle for a human’s soul, Kiriela is forced to make a life altering decision. Does she risk falling further to protect the soul of a human or does she allow Dante’s life to be utterly destroyed?

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Vampire Diaries: The Awakening / The Struggle

Vampire Diaries 1 + 2

With the release of Twilight came a boom in popularity for the paranormal romance sub-genre. Its roaring success encouraged many authors to churn out cheap carbon-copies in the hope of making easy money, but also lead to the re-releases of older titles that also focused on forbidden romances between human girls and boys who were far less ordinary.

The original Vampire Diaries first hit the shelves fourteen years before Twilight, though became better known following the release of the TV series of the same name in 2009. The initial series was written by L.J. Smith and consisted of four novels: The Awakening (1991), The Struggle (1991), The Fury (1991) and The Reunion (1992 – titled Dark Reunion in America). In recent years, this original run has been followed by three further trilogies titled The Return Trilogy (2009-11), The Hunters Trilogy (2011-12) and The Salvation Trilogy (2013-14).  For the purpose of today’s review, I will be looking at the first two novels.

Elena Gilbert is used to having things her own way. As the most popular girl in Fell’s Church, she has always been idolised by girls and had her pick of the boys. When she first sets eyes on stunningly handsome Stephan Salvatore, she knows that she must have him. Yet Stephan shows no interest her whatsoever, even going out of his way to keep his distance. For Elena this is unthinkable and it just makes her want him all the more.

Yet what Elena does not realise is Stephan hides a terrible secret. Although he looks like an ordinary teenager, he was actually born in 15th Century Florence and is struggling to resist Elena (who reminds him of his lost love). What Elena also does not realise is that Stephan is not alone. Another figure from his past has also come to Fell’s Church – his brother, Damon. While Stephan is desperate to fit in and live an ordinary life, Damon wants the opposite. He possesses a terrible power that Stephan does not and is intent on using to make Elena into his Dark Queen…

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Twilight

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Twilight really is a novel that needs no further introduction. It was written by Stephenie Meyer and published in 2005. Rapidly gaining popularity worldwide, it caused a boom in popularity for “paranormal romance” novels – typically books that crux around the relationship between a human girl and a boy who is far less ordinary. Twilight was rapidly followed by three sequels: New Moon (2006), Eclipse (2007) and Breaking Dawn (2008). It also has one short spin-off novella based around a character introduced in Eclipse, titled The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (2010).

The story is told from the perspective of Isabella “Bella” Swan, a teenage girl who has chosen to move away from her beloved life in Phoenix to live with her father in Folks, Washington. Although she is initially depressed by the thought of living in such a remote area, she is quickly accepted by the locals and finds that she fits in well at her school.

Although she is approached by a succession of boys who are all interested in inviting her to the school dance, Bella finds that she only has eyes for one. Edward Cullen, mysterious and beautiful, quickly comes to occupy her thoughts. The only problem is that he seems to be utterly repulsed by her, going at great length to avoid any kind of contact.

However when Edward manages to impossibly save Bella from being crushed by a van, Bella begins to suspect that he is actually hiding some sinister secret. How is it that he can be so impossibly strong and fast? And why does he seem so intent on pushing her further away? As she investigates Edward and his strange family, she quickly comes to realise that the answer is far stranger – and more dangerous – than she ever could have imagined.

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