I’ve started on Life and Death, Stephenie Meyers’ 10th-anniversary version of Twilight with Beau [human] and Edythe [vampire] instead of Bella and Edward. I’m not sure how far I’ll get with it, but I do have a few thoughts:
- Life and Death is bound upside-down with a newly edited version of Twilight so that one can read one novel, then flip the book around and read another. I find this very distracting, as every line in LaD makes me want to compare it to the analogue in Twilight. Thus I’ve been juggling the book in a very time-consuming manner. To read LaD in the way that I would find most interesting would ideally require two E-readers side by side, one with each book on it.
- Meyer claims on the first page of the foreword that she didn’t do Midnight Sun for the 10th anniversary because the “problem was time — as in, there wasn’t any. Certainly not enough to write a novel, or even half of one.” I don’t understand this protest of hers, as she clearly had time to write 387 pages of LaD. I suspect that she just didn’t want to write Midnight Sun because she was still angry that it was leaked online.
- P. 4: Beau reports his mom’s unusual comment that he and she “look so much alike that I could use her for a shaving mirror.” Of course, he then goes on to describe his mother as very youthful in appearance, with pointy chin and full lips, which, he emphasizes, he does not share. We thus have a disjunction between his mom’s perception of his appearance and his own observations thereon. His mom’s kinda disturbing insistence on their similarities suggests that she is forcing some sort of identification between herself and her son that Beau’s not really feeling. Maybe she wishes she had a daughter? Of course, any sort of psychological ambivalence is probably just an artifact from Twilight, in which Bella and her mom do look similar. This comment of Beau’s mom illustrates Meyers’ superficial, search-and-replace approach to her rewrite; rather than thinking through the implications of how a [supposed] similarity might have different effects on mother and son instead of mother and daughter, Meyer just hits all the same notes in each case.
- P. 7: Beau looks out the window at Forks: “It was probably beautiful or something. Everything was green: the trees were covered in moss, both the trunks and the branches, the ground blanketed with ferns. Even the air has turned green by the time it filtered down through the leaves. It was too green — an alien planet.” This paragraph reads as both wrong to me and not enough. We already know that Beau keenly observes appearances and aesthetics, so the sentence “It was probably beautiful or something” doesn’t make sense for the character. It sounds like a grudging admission from a more typical teenage kid who thinks aesthetics are bullshit. I imagine rather that he would appreciate that the land was beautiful in a certain way, but looked alien and ugly [and dank and forbidding?] in contrast to his hot, dry home state of Arizona. I’d rewrite something like this: “Everything was green: [blah blah blah]. Maybe it was beautiful to the people who lived here, but not to me. There was too much greenery, too much moisture, too many shadows. It was an alien planet compared to Arizona. I wished I was back home.”