Loyal Twilight fans, take a deep breath and release a collective sigh… Stephenie Meyer’s Life and Death is not the long-awaited Midnight Sun (the expected ‘Twilight as told from Edward Cullen’s perspective’) but an exploration into gender roles – a theory that Meyer wanted to indulge.
Stephenie Meyer describes the novel as ‘a pretty straight-across-the-board gender swap’, which it is, but she also wrote it to address the criticism that Bella Swan received in the original Twilight novel, as consistently being the ‘damsel in distress’.
In Life and Death, we are introduced to Beaufort Swan and Edythe Cullen, male human and female vampire respectively, with Meyer striving to highlight the species juxtaposition where Beaufort is depicted simply as a ‘human in distress’ who only appears weak due to the fact that he is constantly surrounded by superhuman characters.
While the novel follows a similar path to the original storyline, it is refreshing to see events recounted from a male perspective. Beau is an insightful protagonist who is less flowery with his words and less emotional than Bella. Life and Death also puts forward a whole new development of character personalities; including changing tough vampire Emmett to intimidating Eleanor and a pack of female werewolves that prove a force to be reckoned with.
Some may see this new installment as Meyer trying to resurrect the series and fit in with society’s current interest with gender fluidity or a thought-provoking new take on the popular novel. Either way, Stephenie Meyer proves a point, making it clear that gender and species has no effect on intense passion which is first love.