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"Life and Death" by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight Tenth Anniversary/Life and Death Dual Edition - Stephenie Meyer

Well, I was at least halfway done writing this and then my computer decided to restart for updates, so I have to start all over. FUN!

*deep breath*

Anyway, I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this book. It was definitely interesting... But hard to read without constantly comparing it to or thinking of it as the original. For instance, I kept forgetting about the gender swap. Like, I read the story as Bella until something reminded me that she was really Beau. And I kept having to think about who was whom. It was like I was translating Eleanor into Emmett and Earnest into Esmé, etc. I probably wasn't supposed to be doing that, but there it is. This book would probably benefit from a second reading. I really want to read a review by someone who hasn't read Twilight...

I think that Bella and Edward should have been the only characters who were swapped. I think the story would have been way less confusing and distracting that way, and would have seemed more natural. I just had a really hard time with the gender-swapped Cullens. I could buy Carine as the doctor, but big strong Eleanor was hard to picture. And I kept imagining Archie in a white tank top and sagging jeans (because of the petit frame and buzzed hair, I guess), which did not at all endear him to me.

Many of the names seemed weird to me too. I remember reading something about Meyer looking at old census information to find names for her characters that would work for the time periods they were born into and it really didn't seem like she was that thoughtful about their gender-swapped names. Beau and Edythe, I was fine with, but Royal is a very modern name, so I wasn't buying that he was a super-old vampire.

It was interesting to me what Meyer felt the need to change about the protagonist along with the gender. As a male adaptation of Bella, Beau retains her housekeeping skills and her disinterest in cars, but dumps Jane Austen for Jules Verne. I don't see the need for the author swap. I had a male friend in high school who enjoyed Pride and Prejudice (and Twilight) and it's not like he was a feminine guy or anything. Beau Swan is definitely the kind of guy who could appreciate Jane Austen.

As for a few other changes... I'm glad that Meyer changed the "Do I dazzle you?" conversation. That always made me cringe. And I thought it was interesting that she continued to call the Quileutes "werewolves" even though she reveals in Breaking Dawn that they are really just shapeshifters. But I kind of hated that she changed the sparkling thing because I felt like she was giving in to the people who've ridiculed her books. I'm not a huge fan of the sparkling, myself, but I feel like it makes sense. Definitely more so than the vague rainbow effect she changed it to.

I love the quote "I drifted to sleep with her cold body in my arms." That cracked me up. Suddenly, Beau is a psychotic killer who sleeps with the corpses of his victims. XD

The ending seemed rushed to me, but I'm not sure if that's because it was actually rushed or if it's just because I'm used to waiting for three more books for the protagonist to become a vampire. I am glad that ending was explored, especially since Renesmee wasn't an option in this version. But I'm glad it's not the actual ending, because my heart broke for Charlie and Renee.

(show spoiler)

Next, I have a few comments that probably apply to the original books as well:

So, I know that Edythe/Edward and Beau/Bella were Love at First Sight and everything, but Edythe giving up on trying to stay away from Beau after, like, a day doesn't make sense to me. First, one day should be nothing to someone who's been alive for more than 36,500 of them. Second, Meyer told us in the original series that vampires take a while to change and grow attached to someone. Third, Edythe is so über cautious and protective of Beau that she should have held out longer before giving up. It just doesn't make sense to me.

A few more things that didn't make sense to me:

As smart as the vampires are and despite the fact that they live with a doctor, they still believe that one gets sick from being cold... You don't get sick from being cold. Just FYI.

It was mentioned a couple of times that Edythe became paler than usual when she was scared, but that should be impossible because she doesn't have any blood... Meyer even says in the original series that vampires can't blush. Shouldn't the opposite be true as well?

Edythe asks where Archie and Jess are when they are in the near vicinity and she can read minds. 

I also had the thought while reading this book that Edythe is always being super careful not to accidentally pulverize Beau's femur or whatever, but the vampires do things regularly like play piano and close car doors that require them to control their super strength unless they want to go on daily shopping trips for pianos and cars. So it seems like they shouldn't have that much trouble being gentle with humans.

And one last thing. I definitely wouldn't buy this book as a dual copy with Twilight. I already have a copy of Twilight and I don't want to carry around two huge books when I'm only reading one. Is this really the only option? Will there ever be a single copy? The world may never know!