We all know that I cannot stand the Twilight series or the 50 Shades series. When new books in both series were released, I obviously wanted to read them so I can make fun of them. Of course I wasn’t going to pay for that privilege though. I haven’t paid for any of the other books, why would I pay for these? Well, you all think you have the best friends, but I clearly do because one of them sent me the newest Twilight book called Life And Death: Twilight Reimagined. The author performed a gender swap. Bella is now Beau and Edward is now Edythe. Based on the terrible names alone, I was practically frothing at the bit to see how bad this was going to get.
Is it a good book? Nope. But is it better than the original. Absolutely. Though that’s still damning it with faint praise which, let’s be real, it all it deserves. All of the genders have been swapped except for the protagonist’s parents. Apparently, letting a man get full custody in the ‘80s was too absurd for the author to allow – in a book about vampires. I’m not even being snarky here – the author herself confirms this in the prologue! Why the AARP-aged vamps continue to go to high school when home school, college, or none of the above is an option is still not touched upon. I have heard multiple celebrities say that whatever age they become famous is the mental age they stay at forever, so I guess the same goes for vampires? It’s the only reason I can think of for why an 80-year old would want to hang out with a teenager.
The gender swap turns out to be interesting. Beau is much less a damsel in distress and much more a guy who makes choices. He doesn’t hem and haw and cry and bitch and moan about them either. He just makes them. He has actual conversation with Edythe (just typing that ridiculous spelling makes me giggle), seems to have an actual personality, and is pretty much a fully-fleshed out character. Plus, he never cries! I hate to admit it, but he’s actually likable! Edythe, on the other hand, is the typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She exists more as a plot devise than a person.
The rest of the gender swap is silly and the names are flat-out painful. They don’t serve a purpose, they don’t add to the story and in fact, they take away from it significantly because the change is so in your face (and the names are so very stupid) that it keeps pulling you out of the story. Jessamine sounds like a sugar substitute, not a vampire.
Let’s get to the nuts and bolts though, shall we? It takes 199 pages for a teenage boy to notice Edythe’s breasts. He never once mentions getting a hard on or being horny. He loves her in the purest way possible and it is ridiculous. Although he actually asks her about sex and they discuss it, it is very roundabout and he seems perfectly happy just getting to hold her hand. However, the scenes of them discussing how slowly they have to go physically are interesting because it stops being about him controlling her (as in the original) but more of the two of them understanding that they don’t want to hurt each other. It is more a mutual (if unrealistic) decision, than a command.
If you are a fan of the originals, I say read it. The author does make some interesting changes. I wonder, though, if this reimagining came out first, if the series would have been such a big deal, or if it would have been slightly popular, but not necessarily a phenomenom.
WARNING: HERE THERE BE SPOILERS. STOP NOW.
IF YOU HAVE ANY INTENTION OF READING THIS BOOK – PLEASE STOP NOW!
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
GO BACK! GO BACK!
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO KEEP READING?
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
So, the book ends very differently.
Beau dies. And it is glorious. God, I hated how Edward was such a wet blanket about turning Bella into a vampire. Sure, his life is miserable, but he’s a sparkly vegetarian vampire who has never had sex and has been going to high school on a repeat loop for almost 100 years. That would suck for anyone! I also hated how Alice and her visions were handled as she was able to see whatever served the plot best. She flat out tells Edward that Bella will be a vamp someday, and he’s still like, but not today! Today I will just allow her to suffer these incredibly injuries, continue to piss and moan about our lack of life together, and then eventually dump her – all because I love her so much. Then we as readers have to suffer through three more books that make less and less sense until she finally, finally, finally becomes a damn vampire.
In this version, it is much clearer. The bad vamp bites Beau, the Cullen family rush in to save him, they realize he has been bitten and Arche/Alice makes it very clear – either Beau dies as a human or he dies and becomes a vampire. Edythe bites him. Yes, he still transitions easily, but has to deal with the fact that he will never see his parents and friends again. His funeral is devastating to his family and friends – as it should be. Bella cheated. She never lost anything. She got to live happily ever after with both parents. This version makes more sense. Plus, it completely rules out the ridiculous vampire/human baby, all the nonsense about imprinting, most of the werewolf stuff, and pretty much the next three books entirely. It is a much tighter, much more fitting ending. As I heartily approve of anything that stops more books in this series from being published, I am all in favor of this new ending.