You thought it was over, didn’t you?

Until today, I had no idea that Stephenie Meyer published Life and Death, the gender-swapped version of the first Twilight novel.

Yet, I will keep an open mind. Every book deserves the benefit of the doubt. Even if this novel makes my left eye twitch so much that it falls off, I will continue reading with my remaining eye to complete this chapter-by-chapter review.

Now, we venture into the depths of this glitter-infused lake of doom – I mean, I will keep an open mind.

Chapter One: First Sight

We are introduced to our male protagonist and narrator, Beau Swan, who is wearing a Monty Python shirt and sulkily bidding farewell to the warm and sunny state of Arizona on his self-imposed exile to Forks, Washington. After contradicting himself by saying he is not willingly leaving Arizona yet later clarifies that it was his own decision (first twitch), he expresses his concern over his mother, whom he has taken care of for years by this point.

Beau’s father (and Forks’ Chief of Police), Charlie, picks him up at the airport. Small talk ensues. Charlie mentions he found a cheap car Beau might be interested in. Beau interrogates his dad, poking for more details about the truck. Charlie reveals he already bought it – a homecoming gift of sorts.

“‘You didn’t need to do that, Dad. I was going to buy myself a car.’

‘I don’t mind. I want you to be happy here.’

‘That’s amazing, Dad. Thanks. I really appreciate it.’ No need to add that he was talking about impossibilities. Wouldn’t help anything for him to suffer along with me.”

Behaving in the spirit of his parallel-universe female version, Beau doesn’t even try to look at the perks Forks is already offering – *cough* free truck *cough* – and plays the martyr card again. Smile though your heart is breaking, little man. Be strong.

Source: Giphy
Source: Giphy

At Charlie’s home, Beau sees his new old truck, and it is love at first sight between boy and machine. He genuinely thanks Charlie, and they carry Beau’s bags to his room for him to get settled. Charlie decides to leave Beau with his thoughts for a bit as he unpacks, and the latter contemplates the arrival of his first day at Forks High School with dread.

“There was no hiding the fact that I was not that guy – not the football star, not the class president, not the bad  boy on the motorcycle. I was the kid who looked like he should be good at basketball, until I started walking. The kid who got shoved into lockers until I’d suddenly shot up eight inches sophomore year.

Unlike the other guys, I didn’t have a ton of free time for hobbies. I had a checkbook to balance, a clogged drain to snake, and a week’s groceries to shop for.”

Okay, Beau is a pale, quiet, uncoordinated fellow who had to grow up sooner than most boys his age. Is it strange that I feel more sympathy toward him than I did for Bella? It may be because she never quite described why she did not fit in, or the depth of how she felt responsible for her mother. Let’s see how this continues.

Source: Giphy
Source: Giphy

The next morning, Beau arrives at FHS and comments on the school’s visible lack of chain-link fences and…metal detectors. Exactly what type of high school did he attend in Phoenix? Is this hinting at a future saga called ‘Prison Break: Beau/Bella Swan Edition’?

“It won’t be that bad, I lied to myself. Seriously, though, this wasn’t a life and death situation–it was just high school. It’s not like anyone was going to bite me.”

HAH. Bite! Get it? Because it’s, like, a story about vampires and – nothing? *clears throat* Yep.

Walking into his first class, Beau feels comforted at the fact that – get this – he is not a mythical creature due to extreme paleness since there are other pale people in a town where it rains the majority of the year. Good observation skills, Beau.

Source: Giphy
Source: Giphy

A gal named Erica guides Beau to his next class. Beau makes a sarcastic joke that Erica doesn’t understand. Naturally, he sighs as his biting wit goes unnoticed (Biting! Because it’s about vampir- alright, I’ll stop that). On a side note:

“It had taken me years to live down Beaufort–thank you so much, Grandpa, for dying just months before I was born and making my mom feel obligated to honor you.”

Beau, I am so sorry that your mother’s father inconvenienced you with his death. Truly. I mean, why couldn’t he have scheduled dying until after you were born? The nerve.

Source: Giphy
Source: Giphy

Lunchtime. A curly-haired fellow invites Beau to his lunch table and introduces him to his friends, who warmly greet him. Beau reciprocates by immediately forgetting their names without even trying in the slightest to remember them. At this point, Beau notices the sexy, sexy Cullens. Still gawking from a respectable distance, Sir Curly Hair tells Beau what he knows about the Cullens; they moved from Alaska to Forks, the teens are adopted and living with Dr. Cullen and her husband.

*Here, we have Edythe/Edward, Archie/Alice, Royal/Rosaline, and Jessamine/Jasper.

Interesting: the male version of Rosaline has a man bun. Actually, the descriptions of the gender-swapped Cullens are far more entertaining than in the original book. Kudos, Meyer. Kudos.

Source: Giphy
Source: Giphy

Lunch ends, Beau heads over to his Biology class and discovers his table partner is the bronze-haired Edythe Cullen, who seems inexplicably pissed off at him. She leans as far away from Beau as she possibly can based on the limitations of a lab table, then sprints out the classroom once the bell rings.

Joining Erica in the growing list of Beau Swan’s admirers: McKayla.

“‘McKayla lingered by me instead of heading to the dressing room. ‘If I were lucky enough to sit by you, I would have talked to you.’

I smiled at her before walking through the boys’ locker room door. She was kind and seemed to like me. But that wasn’t enough to make me forget the last strange hour.”

McKayla, you are entering a very dangerous and pale territory that you really do not want to get into.

Beau’s first day at FHS finally comes to an end, but not before he accidentally overhears Edythe Cullen trying to switch her Biology class to a different time. A miserable Beau heads to his truck and begins to drive home. It’s too bad the one girl who didn’t automatically consider him one of the wonders of the world turned out to be a bit psychotic.

Source: Giphy
Source: Giphy

This is merely day one with Life and Death, and it actually made me cringe less than Twilight. Meyer’s revised dialogue and descriptions did improve the novel overall – at least this first chapter. Character-wise, Beau is still self-centered, but the way he phrases his dialogue makes him a less tiresome character than Bella. I am curious as to how Meyer plays off the, ‘I watch as you sleep, Bella [*smolder*]‘ incident.

YouTube Channel: Aprilius Maximus

 

Featured image via Hypable