I'm a huge fan of anything that Stephenie Meyer writes, so when I heard about Life or Death, I HAD to read it!
I found the reason that she wrote this gI'm a huge fan of anything that Stephenie Meyer writes, so when I heard about Life or Death, I HAD to read it!
I found the reason that she wrote this gender-swapped book to be interesting -- that Bella had always been referred to as a "damsel in distress," but that she was actually a "human in distress" -- being in distress was everything to do with how Bella was human and surrounded by supernatural creatures, and not because of her gender. I'd always known this while reading, but perhaps that's because I've read other books where the supernatural creature in a romance is female, and the human is a male (for example, Blood and Chocolate, and Nightshade.) Still, I was interested to read this to see what changes Stephenie made.
In this reimagining, I was able to picture everyone as "gender-swapped," except for the main character, Beau. I think this is because I'm SO accustomed to reading the story in Bella's point of view, that it was hard to replace her as a male in my mind. But I also think it might be because the book is told from Beau's point of view, and there weren't *enough* changes made to convince me that he was male. He struck me as an extremely feminine male, which is fine, but there were some points where it just felt off. While Stephenie did change a bit to make him seem more male, I think that more needed to be changed to make it fully believable. There were parts where he just struck me as a wimpy, feminine guy, and it didn't really work for me all the time. One scene that stuck out to me where the gender-swapping worked well was the blood typing scene -- Stephenie changed more in this scene to make Beau not seem like a total wimp. I wish that she had made changes like that through the whole book!
Now, onto Edythe. The gender-swapping worked with me there -- probably because the story isn't told through her point of view. But she was softened up. She smiled more than Edward, and she seemed generally nicer and more bubbly than him. I really was able to see her as a completely fresh character, despite much of her dialogue being the same as Edward's. Stephenie did a fantastic job with her.
The other characters all worked for me as gender-swapped, too. Some that stuck out to me as being exceptionally well done were McKayla (Mike), Jessamine (Jasper), and Carine (Carlisle). I liked McKayla a lot more than Mike -- I think because Mike following Bella around made him seem like a lost puppy, whereas McKayla just seemed like a really nice, sweet girl who had a crush on the new guy -- she seemed like someone I would like to be friends with. Carine (Carlisle) had a different background story about how she became a vampire, which I found very interesting. It went more in depth than Carlisle's story. And Jessamine just sort of ... became her own person to me. I didn't think of her as Jasper at all -- I always thought of her as an individual. Whereas Archie (Alice) was cool, but I loved Alice so much that I wished Archie were Alice!
(view spoiler)[Now ... onto my favorite part, and the reason why I gave this book five stars. THE ENDING. I knew going into reading Life and Death that Stephenie had said that she would only be gender swapping Twilight, and not the rest of the series. So about midway through reading the book, I thought, "Wouldn't it be cool if she ended it by actually having Beau turn into a vampire after being attacked in the ballet studio, because Edythe can't suck the venom out?" When I read Twilight for the first time, I was REALLY hoping that would happen to Bella, and I was so disappointed when the venom was sucked out and she was still human at the end of the book. So when I got to the ballet studio scene and realized that what I wanted to happen was actually HAPPENING and that Beau was changing into a vampire, I was SO EXCITED! This really MADE the story work for me. I loved the alternate ending. After that scene, the gender swapped characters became even more alive to me, since I was reading all new material.
It was definitely repetitive to read the majority of the book, since it was the same story, just gender swapped (and I'm not one to really re-read books -- a lot of joy I get from reading is in not knowing what's coming next, and it's impossible to re-create that feeling while re-reading.) I was going to rate it four stars, just because I do love Twilight so much and the concept was interesting, but the alternate ending is what bumped it up to five. I LOVED the alternate ending. Really glad that Stephanie decided to write it. And after reading it, I'm really happy that Bella had to go through more as a human before becoming a vampire. I think that the trials she faced as a human made her more ready to become a vampire, and more appreciative of it, too. (hide spoiler)]
All in all, if you're a huge fan of Twilight, this is definitely worth a read. Try to look at it with fresh eyes while reading, and I think you'll enjoy it more!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
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