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Stephenie Meyer just released a surprising new novel, Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, that swaps all of the genders in Twilight. Throughout the beginning of the new storyline she adjusts a few scenes that stray from the original book. However, in the final chapters, everything changes. (Warning: spoilers below.)
The biggest shift occurs when Beau is bit by the vampire Joss. In the original novel, Bella is bitten by James but Edward sucks the venom out of her and she survives, continuing on as a human until the final book in the Twilight series, where she must turn into a vampire to save her own life after giving birth to a half vampire-half human baby.
In Life and Death, the Cullen family gets to Beau too late to save him from Joss’s bite. “There are only two futures left, Carine,” Archie (the male version of Alice) tells the vampire matriarch after seeing visions of what could happen to Beau going forward. “He survives as one of us, or Edythe kills him trying to stop it from happening.”
Edythe tells Beau he can choose whether he wants to transform into a vampire or just die a normal human death. “I’ll respect what you want,” she tells him. “I know it’s a horrible choice.”
Beau decides to become a vampire so he can be with Edythe, and as he’s turning he gets the full rundown on the Cullen’s and Hale’s family vampire history. He also learns that Julie’s (the female version of Jacob) great-grandmother was a werewolf. In the original series, Jacob doesn’t turn into a wolf until New Moon, the second novel. That is also when he becomes one of Bella’s love interests. In the new book, there is not really a love triangle between Beau, Edythe and Julie and Julie never becomes a wolf.
In the Life and Death epilogue, Bonnie Black, Julie’s mother, attends Beau’s funeral that occurred after the Cullens faked his death. She spots Edythe and Beau, now a vampire, as she leaves Beau’s funeral. She and the wolves confront the Cullens, believing that they had broken their treaty and changed Beau by choice. Beau explains why the change was a necessity, and asks Bonnie to look after his father Charlie.
Meyer said she does not have plans to write sequels to Life and Death, nor does she think it will become a film. The Twilight fans that are likely to be the most disappointed by the reimagined novel are the ones that were Team Jacob. Julie’s importance in the new gender-swapped version is very minimal in comparison to Jacob’s in the Twilight series. Plus, of course, there is no “Renesmee” equivalent, but some fans may feel that is for the best since Jacob “imprinting” on Edward and Bella’s baby was a controversial plotline.
In the afterword of Life and Death, Meyer said the new novel is not just about changing Bella’s gender to become a male. She said she wanted to see what would happen if the series had ended with the first Twilight book and if the timing of the plot had been different.
“This change also does not mean that I prefer it to the original or think that the original was ‘wrong,’ ” writes Meyer. “This has always just been the big ‘What if?’ and I wanted to see what it would feel like if Twilight had been the end of the story. If, like Beau, Bella had left the airport just five minutes earlier.”
“There’s a lot of happiness in Beau and Edythe coming together, in taking away the stumbling block between them, so much earlier,” Meyer writes about Life and Death. “But there’s also great sadness. As a human, Bella had to endure a lot more pain than Beau did, but in the end I know she would tell you it was all worth it. Beau will be fine — more than fine, he’ll be very happy — but he’ll always have the one big regret.” Meyer is referring to the fact that Beau does not get the same closure with his parents that Bella did.
“Bella was able to put her house in order, and she’s confident she got the best version of the story,” says Meyer in the afterword. She adds, “So that is the end of Beau and Edythe’s story. You are free to imagine the rest.”
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