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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021

Stephenie Meyer disappoints fans with the release of “Life and Death”

Stephenie Meyer, author of the popular Twilight series, released a gender-swapped version of the original novel Oct. 6.

Entitled “Life and Death,” the novel is told from the point of view of Beaufort (Beau for short), a human boy who moves from Arizona to live with his dad in Washington. The story follows the budding romance between Beau and a vampire name Edythe.

As someone who grew up reading “Twilight” and watching all of the movies, the concept of “Life and Death” sounded intriguing. While the concept was interesting, the book itself fell short.

My foremost issue with “Life and Death” is that, because the book was essentially the same as “Twilight,” I had a hard time imagining Beau — Bella’s counterpart —as a boy. Throughout most of the book, I kept imagining Kristen Stewart as the narrator. Personally, it was hard to become invested in the book when I could not visualize the main character.

Another problem that I had with this book was Meyer’s choice of names. To keep the book similar to “Twilight,” Meyer swapped the sexes of the names, but she kept the same first letter. There is nothing wrong with keeping the same first letter, but Meyer seems to have worked hard to come up with the strangest and most antiquated names that she could think of. To give you an idea, here are a few of the new names: Beaufort, Edythe, Royal, Archibald, and Jessamine. I can respect that Meyer wanted to ensure that she included original names in her book, but this is like Renesmee all over again.

Meyer did make some changes to the book, including the clothes that Beau wears and the ending of the story.

Some of the changes, however, were not necessary or well-thought out. One of the best examples is that while Bella is able to describe beautiful scenery in vivid detail in “Twilight,” all Beau — as a male — can say is, “It was probably beautiful or something.”

One can only assume that Meyer was trying to give Beau more masculinity and make the character seem less feminine. Similar circumstances occur at other points in the book. These changes are completely unnecessary and simply serve to enforce the same gender stereotyping that Meyer said was the reason she wrote the new book.

At the end of the day, I personally would not read “Life and Death” again. I found the cross between Beau and Bella too confusing and did not appreciate some of the ways in which Meyer compensated for Beau being a male. While not horribly written, the novel was not very original and was unnecessary.



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