Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on October 6, 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 752 (Twilight + Life and Death)
It won’t be that bad, I lied to myself. Seriously, though, this wasn’t a life and death situation—it was just high school. It’s not like anyone was going to bite me.
Okay, let me preface this by saying Twilight will always hold a special place in my heart. I am never going to be one of those people who hates on Twilight. I might hate on the first movie, but never the books. These were the first YA, full length novels I read as a sixth grader and all I read before Twilight was Junie B. Jones and whatever you’d find in an elementary school library. I went into middle school and everyone was reading Twilight so I picked it up too. I loved the books. So much. They were my first real book love. I know Twilight has its flaws, and a lot of people dislike it. I respect that because everyone gets their own opinions. But these books will always be good to me. I loved them through the years I was shamed for liking them at school. That is one of the reasons I’m open about how much I loved these books. Even if I can’t really sit through and read them again like I used to (my copies are so worn out with love because I loved these books dearly when I was 11), I will love them. These books got me to where I am today and for that, I can never hate them. So that gets you up to speed on why I loved this book.
I’ve seen a lot of complaints about how Stephenie Meyer wrote this gender swapped Twilight (Edward is now a girl and Bella is a boy. Same story line. Same personalities. Different genders.) and how it is no more progressive than the first one was (it wasn’t). And it’s true. There are plenty of circumstances where things were changed and you’re wondering really Beau? Is that really what you’re going to think? Or how Meyer portrayed the assault scene in Port Angeles and Royal’s (Rosalie) assault that led to him becoming a vampire quite differently than what happened to the original characters. I didn’t mind the gender-swap because somehow Beau was worse than Bella ever was. What I did mind was the fact we got this book instead of Midnight Sun. I still wish Meyer would write the rest of Midnight Sun because it’s all I’ve wanted since that one person leaked it years ago. Anyway, Meyer states her reasoning for this reimagining and it’s to prove that Bella wasn’t just a damsel in distress, she was a human in the midst of powerful supernatural beings. Whether you want to believe that or agree that it is just a money pit, makes no difference to me.
One of the people I really want to talk about is Beau. For me, Beau had many unbearable moments. He could be unbelievable at times and your complete stereotypical teen boy. I never minded Bella in the original books. I knew she had plenty of flaws but I never heard the down pouring of hate she gets until after New Moon or Eclipse came out in theaters. Beau seriously got on my nerves a few times in this book. He was so completely awestruck and dumbfounded by Edythe’s beauty sometimes. I feel some edges of his personality still had kinks that needed to be worked out. He was almost there, but definitely more pathetic than Bella because he had the whole I’m-a-man-and-I-must-carry-your-bag-or-hold-the-door-to-show-I’m-macho-thing going on. He always seemed to off put by the fact Edythe was better than him at many things. Also, Meyer completely changed the description of how sunlight hit the vampires skin. It was no longer like diamonds glittering, Beau thought she was on fire. Which I think might’ve helped some in the original to fight back the hate that her version of vampires gets for reflecting sunlight (okay, I get it some people might not like it, but it’s an original idea that hadn’t been done yet so props for that, right?) to this day.
The strangest thing was that while male-Bella got worse, female-Edward got better. I liked Edythe better than Edward. Edythe was much more confident in herself and less broody than Edward. She definitely had her moments, but she was constantly able to touch Beau. During the scene when they are at dinner after Port Angeles, in the original Bella kept trying to touch Edward but he was like ‘nope’, but Edythe let Beau touch her and they held hands on multiple occasions by the time Edward was able to touch Bella’s cheek. The biggest problem I had with Edythe was the fact she wasn’t intimidating at all. Edward had his scary side. He had the whole factor where you didn’t want to mess with this dude because he could kill you. And the fact Edythe isn’t intimidating has nothing to do with the fact she is a girl. Victoria was intimidating. Edythe lacked something to make me rethink Beau going after her in the meadow scene when she was throwing trees around and telling him that she would always win in a fight against him. Like Beau, Edythe also could’ve used some buffing at the rough patches to make her more believable.
My last bone to pick is that ending. Meyer completely disregarded the original ending and rewrote it. There is around 50 pages of new storyline there. But… It felt rushed, jumbled, absolute information dump over the course of a couple pages, confusing, and sad. The epilogue got me really sad. Then had even more info-dump. The ending is what is keeping me from giving this book an absolute 5-star review. I still don’t know if I liked it or not, though I prefer the original compared to what she gave us. Maybe if she spent more time on it or had handled it differently, it would be better but I still feel a little blindsided despite the fact I thought that was what was going to happen.
Despite the book’s flaws, I loved it. I enjoyed getting to see a new version of these characters I grew up loving was fun. It was a fun read. Not to be taken seriously, but like a new twist with the air of fanfic. It was funny to see all the new names and how she was going to take everything differently. The book had me seeing the fun in Twilight again and brought back all these feelings I had when I first read the books. It was entertaining (and frustrating at times), but I still want Meyer to release Midnight Sun. Please.