Literary Criticism and Significance
New Moon, published in 2006, is the second in Stephenie Meyer’s wildly popular Twilight series, which also includes Twilight (the first novel),Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.
It debuted to a large fan base that was eager for the continuation of Edward and Bella’s romance. It spent 156 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was published in countries all over the world.The book was so well received by popular audiences that a major motion picture film was released of Twilight in 2008, followed by New Moon in 2009.
Inspired by a dream that Stephenie Meyer had, the Twilight series captured the attention of preteen readers almost immediately upon publication. While it is unlikely to ever earn a place in the literary canon, it has become essential reading for many teens and preteens. It holds a place in popular culture due to the marketing behind the book that has resulted in movies, toys, posters, clothing, and other items. The actors that have played in the movies have become stars because of its success, and Stephenie Meyer has become a household name.
From an educational standpoint, librarians and teachers are grateful to Meyer for getting children to read. The series has been compared to theHarry Potter series for its fantastical elements and appropriate content for younger readers. Since the Twilight series became successful, many similar novels and series have been written, bringing vampire literature back to the forefront of popular reading.
Critically, the series has sparked the emergence of analytical writings on the reemerging trend of vampire literature in popular culture, and its influence in modern young adult literature. In part because of Stephenie Meyer’s work, the idea of a “new vampire” has become popular in vampire fiction. This new kind of vampire is different from traditional gothic vampires such as Dracula or Camilla; in these modern stories, vampires are saddled with ethical and moral dilemmas, looking for love, and trying to fit in. Many modern vampires are productive members of society with families and friends, often trying to mask their vampirism and rise above the stigma of being evil. This idea of a more loveable vampire has been used in popular young adult novels such as Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith, Evernight by Claudia Gray, Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber, Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause, and many more.
Not everyone, however, is a fan of the Twilight series. Stephen King criticized Stephenie Meyer’s writing, remarking that while her works have a similar audience as J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Meyer “can’t write worth a darn.” Regardless of Stephen King’s opinion, theTwilight empire continues to grow.