BY MICHELLE MAISONVILLE
Over the past decade the Twilight saga has gained quite the loyal following, but it also received its fair share of criticism. One was that Bella was just a damsel in distress.
At the end of 2015 Stephenie Meyer released Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, a novel that swapped all genders in Twilight, with the exception of Charlie and Renee, Bella’s parents, and Beau’s parents.
In Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined Beau moves from Arizona to Forks, the rainiest town in Washington, to live with his father. Beau made this sacrifice so his mother could travel with her husband, Phil, an amateur baseball player, to his games.
It’s there in Forks that Beau meets Edythe, a beautiful and mysterious girl. He later finds out that her and her family are vampires. Being with Edythe puts Beau in immediate danger and some difficult decisions need to be made.
I went through a stage where I was obsessed with Twilight and all things vampire, as I’m sure many girls did in their teenage years, so when I received this novel for Christmas I thought I would give it a chance and read it. I was thoroughly disappointed and left with a bad taste in my mouth.
Regardless, Meyer deserves credit to how well she reminds us that gendered biases and assumptions still exist today.
The book begins with an introduction written by Meyer where she talks about the criticism that’s surrounded Bella since Twilight was first published. Meyer dismissed the idea of Bella being a damsel in distress.
“She’s also been criticized for being too consumed with her love interest, as if that’s somehow just a girl thing. But I’ve always maintained that it would have made no difference if that human were male and the vampire female – it’s still the same story,” she wrote.
She also challenges us with the gender swap of the character Emmett, known for his incredible strength. In the new novel Emmett is now called Eleanor. It is admittedly harder to picture a woman with more brute strength than a man.
However, there’s very little difference between Twilight and Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, other than the gender swaps until you reach the ending.
The huge plot twist would have stopped New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn from being written, had it been used as the ending to Twilight.
I think it would be safe to assume that Meyer probably would have explored this alternate ending when writing Twilight so it would have been easy for her to plug this alternate ending into Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined.
I don’t think the gender swap and alternate ending was deserving of a whole new novel. In its place Meyer could have just released the alternate ending as an e-book. The gender swap was an interesting concept but I could have done without it.
Overall, the book comes off as a bad attempt by Meyer to hold onto the Twilight saga and the success that came with it.
If you’re a die-hard Twilight fan this novel may be of more interest to you but I don’t suggest going into it with high hopes. I give it two and a half out of five stars.