So 4 days ago was Twilight’s 10th anniversary and in celebration of that, Stephenie Meyer dropped a new book out of the sky. Literally no one knew about it till the news broke on Twitter.
When I heard about this new book that was supposedly Twilight reimagined, I went crazy. I was so excited. Twilight was my life when I read it at 13 and till today it still remains something that is very special to me. So I immediately got the book and began reading (thanks a lot Stephenie for screwing up my reading schedule).
So let me firstly tell you what this book is all about because I think a lot of people are actually quite confused. Life and Death is basically Twilight. It’s the same story. Same characters and I found out by checking back with the original Twilight that all the scenes and even sentences were the same. There are only two differences from the original book. Firstly, this book tried to squish 4 books into one. So the ending is really quite different. Secondly, and probably most importantly, all the characters had their genders swapped. Yup. Stephanie Meyer decided to see what it would be like if Bella was a boy and Edward a girl. Why you may ask? Well simply because she had a lot of readers complaining that Bella was very damsel-in-distress and she was pathetic basically. So Stephanie wanted to prove that Twilight would have been the same regardless if Bella had been a girl or a boy. Basically she wanted to please the feminists of 2015. Bad idea.
So I went into this book with wild eyes and a beating heart. I’m not kidding. I was fangirling so hard and I was so excited to be going back into the world of Forks and the Cullens. I literally couldn’t breathe.
So I started reading and immediately one thing was very evident. Beau was not his own person. He was Bella with a ‘he’ at the end of the sentence. Now when you do something like change every single character’s gender in a book, you have to remember that it is a big deal. Which I think was Stephenie’s first major mistake. She tried to make light of the gender switch by keeping every single aspect of each character but putting them in different bodies. You can’t do that. I get that Stephenie was trying to say, “Oh look. Men and women are exactly the same.” But no. No no no.
Now I know it’s not politically correct to say this but the fact of the matter is that men and women are different. No matter how much you go out there protesting chivalry and the need to wear a bra, the fact is that we were made differently. So you can’t just dump all the attributes of a well developed female character onto a guy without taking into consideration the fact that he is now a guy and should be considered a completely separate character altogether. It’s like trying to squeeze a circle into a square.
I mean I have read countless numbers of books with male point of views. Men of all ages. And none of them compare to Beau. I mean you’re telling me that a straight, teenage boy feels nothing about the fact that he has at least 5 girls that are openly drooling after him and confessing their love to him? He barely batted an eye. That’s not normal. How was he not teased at school for following Edythe around like a puppy. How was that not addressed? Say what you want but that’s what happens in school. That’s reality. I mean, pathetic, clumsy and weak might have been somewhat acceptable on Bella but on Beau it was cringe-worthy. Yet nothing was said about it. Go ahead. I dare you to tell me that I did not just say what everyone else was thinking.There was no way Beau could have filled the role of Bella. Not unless a large part of his character and the characters around him, was rewritten. Guys and girls are different.
In Twilight, it was easy to accept Edward and Bella’s love story because it worked. Bella the clumsy little girl and Edward her knight in shining armour. But with Beau and Edythe, everything just seemed wrong. Everything that seemed okay in the previous book just seemed wrong now. For example, I was totally getting insta-love vibes from the story. With Edward and Bella, things seemed to move slower. But with Beau and Edythe, everything was rushed. It seemed like one second Edythe was glaring at Beau in the classroom that first day and the next Edythe was declaring that Beau was her life. It felt so staged. So fake.
Another problem I had was with the supporting characters. Do you guys remember that in 2010, there was a movie that came out called ‘Vampires Suck’? It was a parody film of Twilight and it was quite silly but it was also quite funny. Well Life and Death kinda felt like that. Every character besides Edythe and Beau just seemed so removed from the story. I couldn’t take it!
*If you don’t want to be spoiled about the new ending, skip this paragraph. Though there isn’t really much of anything to spoil…*
The new ending was something that I found quite interesting. I wasn’t expecting that the ending would change so I was pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately I think it was handled poorly. Stephenie basically tried to shove 4 books into 1 here and because of that, the whole thing seemed very rushed. Like she was getting tired of the story and just wanted to end it quickly. Beau didn’t even know that werewolves existed. It was not mentioned at all in the story. But suddenly we were thrust in the middle of the feud between the wolves and vampires. And compared to how the werewolf part of the saga was developed in the original novels, this was was so so so poorly done. I honestly couldn’t imagine that Stephenie Meyer would put such little thought into the werewolf aspect but she really did. I really wish she had just left the werewolves out of the story altogether.
*You can start reading again*
Overall the book was pretty bad. It was not the right call to switch the genders of the characters in my opinion. She should have just let it be because I feel like this novel just amplified all the feminist problems in the original novel.
I mentioned in a recent post about Twilight’s 10th anniversary that Twilight was something that was very special to me because it was my first proper romance and I also ended up becoming obsessed with it for many years after I read it. I also said that no matter how bad Life and Death was, I could never really truly hate it. Which is why I found it hard to give this book anything less then 4 stars but I have to be honest. I initially gave it a 3 stars but I am going to bring it down to 2 stars once this review goes live just because that is the true rating this book deserves.
I was reading an interview that Stephenie Meyer did for this book and she mentioned that when she first came up with the idea to write and publish Life and Death, she was not sure if she would have enough time to finish writing. She concluded by saying that the writing process ended up going much faster and easier then she anticipated. I can really see why. Novels that take months or even years show an author’s commitment towards their novel. Novels aren’t meant to be rushed. So when they are, you truly get crap. A lot of people are currently slamming Stephenie for putting this book out just to make more money and I unfortunately have to join this group of people. Stephenie obviously knew that the world would go crazy when she dropped the novel and so she just tossed together whatever scraps she had, served it up and waited for the money to start pouring in. I can’t put it any other way.
To conclude this depressing review, I would just like to say that the original Twilight books will always be special to me. I will never not love them. I just consider Life and Death to be separate from the saga. If you are planning to read the book, let me just say that you are better off re-reading Twilight.
*Just wanted to say that I know this review is very inappropriate for the 2015 culture that we live in but it is what I felt. In fact I left out chunks of my review because it just wasn’t ‘appropriate’ and I had someone read it through to get rid of any bits that were too offensive.
I have nothing against feminists. I support the fact that they want equal rights for women and equal education and job rights. I support that 100%. My only problem is when feminism becomes about how men should not be chivalrous or how its unfair that women have to wear a shirt when men don’t have to. I felt like this book was about that side of feminism which I hate. In my opinion, men and women were made differently and as long as it doesn’t affect our education, jobs and safety, we really should stop making a fuss. If you have something to say to that, do it politely in the comments. I would love to hear your side, because I know mine isn’t the only right one, and to debate respectfully.*