I Read It So You Don’t Have To: Life and Death

Life and Death
Life and Death

OMG- Life and Death suuuuuuuuccccckkkkkss

A confession: I am the reason my sister, Katie, is obsessed with Twilight.  I am sure if I had not done it, someone else would have.  Still, it was me because I am an addict.  Twilight hit just as Harry Potter ended (for me).  The thrill of a series is just as much about the anticipation and preparation for the next book as it is about reading the book.  Once Harry Potter 7 had come out, and I had read it 3 times, I needed a new focus.

Enter Twilight.  I managed to ignore it for a long time even though all the Harry Potter fans kept suggesting it.  Then the movie was announced and then the cast was announced.  The actor who played Cedric Diggory was playing Edward.  Have I told you about my Cedric Diggory obsession?  He is lovely and under used and died too soon. I named my dog for him.

Twilight is a drug.  Meyers writes well enough to be a speed read.  In my desire to consume at a pace that would have me ready for the final book once it came out (yes, I was that late to the game), I sped through the first three.  I was pre-disposed to love Edward and ignore his flaws because of the actor.  I was caught up enough to just roll my eyes at liberties taken with vampire mythology.  I was familiar enough (and remembered enough) of teenage obsession that I could dismiss the stalking and questionable behavior so that I could consume quickly.

Even Cedric/Edward doesn't like Twilight!
Even Cedric/Edward doesn’t like Twilight!

I detoxed when book 4 left me feeling dirty.  Forget the half vampire half human kid.  Forget the name of the kid.  It was the build up and let down of a boring, action free ending that woke me up.  WTF!?  By then I had passed it on to many.  I wanted the books out of my house ASAP.  I also wanted to see the movies… damn it.  I DID!  I wanted to see them so bad!  I did… I saw all of them, but did not pay for more than the first 2.  I saw 1 and 2 in the movie theater.  I wanted to see how they managed some details… ok, I wanted to see how well they did the sparkle (they ruined it).

I have repented for my sins.  I was still in my addiction when when the Edward POV Midnight Sun was a hot topic, so I did read that.  I repented by reading better things.  I suggested better books to people I had once suggested Twilight to.  I did good in the world of reading.

Then the 10 year anniversary of Twilight came with the announcement of Life or Death.

Meyers was criticized for not being a feminist and she maintained she was.  Poor writing aside, the biggest criticism of Twilight is how it handles a teenager’s relationship and obsession with a creature who is over 100 years old.  Her obsession with him is in no way equal to his obsession and need to control her.  He has power, he is controlling, and he should know better (more on that another day).  Meyers maintains that she is a feminist.

To be fair, people do say she did an amazing job showing how depression can feel (in the second book).  I agree with this, but I don’t think it makes up for the sins.  I personally feel Bella accurately represents a teenage girl. Further, Meyers is not the first or last author to have these sins.  There are many novels about women who fall for abusive men.  Hell, LIFE is full of women who fall for abusive men.  What you can debate is if she is reflecting society to bring this to light OR if she is perpetuating the problem by making young women think this is OK and wonderful.

Thus, Life or Death has a lot of weight to carry.  If we reverse the gender roles of our main characters, do they behave the same?  Vampire fiction is built around male vampires and female humans (some deviate, but even Dracula fits this trope).  Is the dynamic a gender issue or a power issue?  Will the vampire character always be possessive and controlling because he/she has more power than the human counterpart?

Now, with all that build up, where does Life or Death fit in?


Here is what you should know:

  • Other than Bella/Beau’s parents, EVERYONE has had a sex change.  EVERYONE.  It was completely unnecessary to change everyone.  In fact, many characters are defined by their sex and changing it doesn’t work because these characters are not developed enough to understand their personality quirks.
  • Other than that, very little has changed… except the ending.  This is spoiler free, but let’s say there will be no switched sequels.
  • Meyers believes she has edited it to make it better for grammar and syntax.  I think she didn’t get it all.  In fact, she still has a lot of burning eyes… and lack of thesaurus.
  • Almost everyone has a stupid name.  I am not being subjective here.  Edythe is not the worst; McKayla or Royal are even worse.  I miss you Rosalie and Mike….
  • I started glossing over parts of the book and realized: hey, I did this during the read of the original!  Apparently, this is how I deal with crap.  I just start speed reading and skipping things.
  • If you ignore me and decide to read this book, the title is actually: Twilight Tenth Anniversary/Life and Death Dual Edition.  You will have a copy of both books.  There is no stand-alone Life and Death edition.
His eyes burned with some emotion...
His eyes burned with some emotion…

In her introduction Meyers talks about how the biggest complaint was behavior of her two main characters.  She did this to show that they would act the same.  Well, of course they acted the same, she made them act the same.  This is where my biggest problem with the story lies: Beau isn’t a believable teenage boy.  He thinks his mother is his best friend, he cooks and cleans for his perpetual bachelor father, and he has the worst case of impostor syndrome.  These work for Bella, but not for Beau.  I got as far as chapter 7 before wanting to punch something.

Meyers got her criticism wrong.  The problem was never Bella. The problem is Edward.  Edward is controlling and abusive.  He isolates Bella.  He pushes her friends away.  He tells her what to do.  He does it all to keep her safe.  It doesn’t matter if it’s Edward or Edythe: the character is the worst.  Making Edward into Edythe doesn’t excuse the behavior or make it more acceptable. An abusive relationship is an abusive relationship because woman can be just as abusive as men.  It just isn’t as common.

Should you read this book?  NO!  That’s why I read it.  Actually I didn’t really finish it.  I skimmed to the ending after the sparkle reveal because it SUUUUUUCCCKKKS.  Did I mention it sucks?  I like 50 Shades of Grey better.  No seriously, I do and let us recall how much I disliked that book.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.