Let’s talk about Life and Death.

Cover photo via.

And no, I don’t mean in a profound, soul-bearing way. I mean the new gender-swapped rewrite of Twilight Stephenie Meyer released today.

I first discovered this while lying in bed scrolling through Twitter half-asleep after getting home from the airport at 2 a.m. I saw the following:

I didn’t quite comprehend what I saw, so I continued to scroll. Then I came upon this one a few minutes later:

Oh god, I thought, This is for real. I clicked the link and read the article detailing that, yes, Stephenie Meyer did rewrite Twilight in Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, turning Bella into Beau and Edward into—wait for it—Edythe.

As the article states, Beau and Edythe’s personalities are “slightly different” from Bella and Edward’s. It also notes:

“In the forward, Meyer writes that she was inspired to write it partially in response to critics that call the original series’ heroine, Bella Swan, a damsel in distress.

“My answer to that has always been that Bella is a ‘human in distress,’ a normal human being surrounded on all sides by people who are basically superheroes and villains,” the author explains. “She’s also been criticized for being too consumed with her love interest, as if that’s somehow just a girl thing. I’ve always maintained that it would have made no difference if the human were male and vampire female — it’s still the same story.”

That’s great and all, Steph, but did you really have to rewrite your whole novel from a third perspective to be able to convince yourself of it? (No, Midnight Sun never did come out, but it was certainly in progress.) You’ve written from Bella’s perspective, Edward’s perspective, now Bella-as-Beau’s perspective. How much of this story can you possibly have left to explore?

Okay, I’m perhaps being a tad harsh here. When I was 16 when Twilight was originally published… I loved it. I was totally into vampires; I was a broody, moody, emotional, bitchy, brat of a teenager; and I loved love stories, especially when one of the two parties involved was supernatural in some regard (let’s be clear, I still do). Also, I just happened to be taking the exact same level of biology that Bella and Edward take in the novel.

I hate to admit it, but I completely identified with Bella, and I was sucked in.

And then New Moon came out a year later and Bella became a worthless pile of mopey damsel in distress (sorry, Stephenie, she totally was), and I no longer enjoyed the Twilight Saga. While I did have to force myself to read the whole series for me and my best friend’s honors thesis discussing teen vampire lit, I never connected with it again in the way I connected with it when I was 16.

Back to Life and Death, I can see where it would be interesting to explore your characters more in depth or from a new perspective, but I don’t know why gender-swapping them makes sense. I don’t disagree that it makes no difference as to whether the vampire is male or female or the human is male or female, but, to quote Buzzfeed, “Do you realize you’ve basically written your own fan fiction?”

Someone read this and tell me how it is. I’ll be over here re-reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of  Azkaban and waiting for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

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2 Comments

  1. This post is great! I LOVE twilight myself and am such a huge fan of the series however I believe that this book is unnecessary. In my opinion I feel that she doesn’t need to write another novel (especially from switched narratives which sounds weird to me!) because the saga ended so brilliantly. I feel that she has just written this for the sake of it (and a huge pay check!) but I really don’t think it will benefit the series at all. Also I am still confused on why she would need to write a WHOLE book on this just because she wanted to prove to critics that Bella is not a damsel in distress. I say have pride in your work and not care what the critics say! But sorry for this mammoth comment I just really loved your post it was really amazingly written and also you have an awesome blog (: keep it up!!

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    Reply

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate it! And I agree, did she have to write a WHOLE book with the swapped genders? Could she have written a couple scenes and gotten it out of her system? Definitely cashing in on some nostalgia on that one. Thanks again for reading and for your kind comment!

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