Bella Swan is in love with Edward, a vampire. In this second book of what seems clearly destined to be a trilogy, she has to come to terms with Edward’s abandonment and attempt to reconstruct a life for herself, neither of which she manages to do successfully. She buries herself in her platonic friendship with Jacob but cannot reciprocate the love he has begun to feel for her and withdraws, not realising that the issue is complicated by the imminence of his transformation into a werewolf, part of his Quileute Indian heritage.
When she is reunited with Edward after a daring race to the Italian seat of the Volturi – the Royal Family of the vampire world – to save his life, she is immersed in the conflict between Jacob and Edward, who, as a result of Jacob’s transformation, are now mortal enemies.
This is a complex and lengthy book for flexible and enthusiastic readers. It contains moments of great tension, poignancy and humour but it is often overwritten and would have benefited from a sterner editorial hand to distil its finer qualities. Meyer explores first and overwhelming love with insight and compassion and the extreme nature of her character constructs emphasises the frustration and bitterness of unrequited love. The narrative has a cinematic quality which would translate credibly to the big screen.