A New Twilight?

This past week, Stephanie Meyer, the best-selling author of the teen vampire series, Twilight, upon which the blockbuster movies were based, made a big announcement.

With the 10 year anniversary of the first Twilight books’ publication, Meyer has announced a new Twilight book, Life and Death – A Twilight Re-Imagining sold in conjunction with the 10th anniversary edition . Well, it’s not really *new*, it’s a new version of the first book.

This release is not like her unreleased and incomplete version that was leaked and then given for free on her site at one point, Midnight Sun, which was told from Edward’s POV. The new re-telling is the same story with – wait for it- gender swapped characters! (Cue eye roll).

In this new book, Meyer now has the teenage vampire as a female character and the love struck human as a male. Instead of Bella, we have a Beau. Instead of Edward, we have Edythe. Other characters are also gender swapped, like Carlyle, but the story is the same.

Meyer has said that this “new book” is not really a new book and she views it as more like “bonus material”, however new book or not, it will get a lot of sales I would imagine, given the series success.

Here I will admit I enjoyed the Twilight books. I know, the writing wasn’t good. I know she totally ignored the vampire tropes and gave the world the sparkling vegatarian vampire. (Cringe) I know the female lead isn’t the strong character I prefer to read about and see portrayed in film. I know. But I enjoyed them. Yes, part of this had to do with liking the British actor who portrayed Edward in the movies. (I love the Brits okay?) It absolutely had to do with the fun of the first movie and the great soundtrack. For all of the books’ (and movies’) faults, I enjoyed them. Chalk it up to guilty pleasures if you must. I’m coming clean here. I liked Twilight. Judge me all you want. 😉

Having admitted to that, I can tell you I think it is absolutely ludicrous to re-tell the same story with changes. I’ve seen her defense that it’s a response to the harsh critisism she’s faced with her ‘damsel in distress’ main character. I think the flaws with Bella go beyond a simple gender swap to play with the weakness not being female. If she wants to respond to giving us a weak female character, she should write something entirely new with a kick-ass female lead.

If she wanted to capitalize on her well-loved existing series, she could take one of her other characters in the world she has already created and explore her story. Alice was a cool and capable character that she could make the heroine in a new series. It could still be in the same world people are already plugged into and could be either before Bella or after Bella.

She hasn’t done that with this new “book/bonus material”, so I have no interest in reading it. I hope for her that she gives her audience a better option in the future. Better yet, perhaps all the readers who fell in love with Twilight can continue enjoying all the great books that have been published since in the same young adult category that are really worth the read. Susanne Collins’ Hunger Games series is fantastic and has a kick-ass female lead. Marie Lu’s Legend series is a great read. Ally Condie’s Matched series is also great and her prose is beautiful. Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices Series are both captivating. (The Infernal Devices series was my personal favorite between those two series, by far.) I also enjoyed the very popular Divergent series but didn’t like the writing as much as others. The YA audience has a wealth of strong options to choose from, so I would say, let’s just skip this “new” Twilight book and look nearby on the shelves for another instead. 😀

What do you think? (Amanda and AJ you don’t get to chide me for my Twilight guilty pleasure! 😉 ) Is a re-tooling of an existing story ever a good idea? Does her gender swap accomplish anything? Should successful series ever be re-visited? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. (No, Amanda, nothing about the Twi-Hatred you may have haha).

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

~CJS

5 responses to “A New Twilight?

  1. “Is a re-tooling of an existing story ever a good idea?”

    Honestly, no. Most remakes are pale by comparison. They are little more then legal fanfiction – taking characters and plot elements we know and love and, too often warping them into something unrecognizable. See the new ST and BSG for examples. I loved the originals. I refused to watch the Neo-BSG. (I did finally see 1.25 episodes and hated it) And the NeoTrek has too many flaws in plot and logic for me to go into here. So, no reimages are not a good idea.

    One of the few exceptions I have seen was the 2010 Yamato. They did a decent job. But, the fans of Yamato/Star Blazers are accustom to the idea of multiple versions. (laugh, Arvidechi Yamato which got rewritten into season 2, heck yeah we’re use it. Yamato to SB, oh boy are we use to it.)

    “Does (her) gender swap accomplish anything? ”
    Arrrggg!! I detest gender swapping just to do it. See Starbuck/Stardoe. They *ruined* the character. If you are going to do that, just write a new story.

    Seriously, can anyone see Friday Jones as a man?

    “Should successful series ever be re-visited? ”
    Off the cuff, I’d say No. See my comments about reimages. Anne McCaffry (apparently) wanted to end the Dragonriders of Pern and wrote an end to Thread. Then changed her mind. None of the later books hold a candle to the first 6. (the less said about Todd’s work, the better) Even TNG was pale by comparison to ST. Let the story/series rest in glorious memory.

  2. Thanks for the comments. I tend to agree with your last statement to just let the series rest. However I do like JJ Abrams new Star Trek and how he re-opened the world. I’ve watched the old school Trek and have great respect for it. My mom is a Trekkie purist though and I do see that point of view. Abrams is enough of a storyteller though I think that he kept the heart of what we loved about traditional trek and gave it a fresh take. And then of course, for me, gave a hilarious new Scottie and Benedict Cumberbatch as a villain (though there can never be another Khan as great as in Star Trek The Wrath of Khan.

  3. Going back and redoing an old work reeks of an author who has run out of ideas. Once they’ve been published, just learn from the mistakes you made and move on. I realize that I don’t have enough experience to be making this comment, but I made it. So there! (I’m sticking my tongue out at you).
    Imagine Hemingway going back and doing a new edition of ‘The Old Man And The Sea.’ He’s decided that the old guy should fight off all of the sharks and get the big fish he’s caught back home in one piece. Oh brother!
    Let it go! Oh no…that song again.

  4. No? How about Gender Swapping Pride and Prejudice – where Lady Darcy marries Edward Bennett, rescuing him from poverty and giving him a new social standing?

  5. I agree with Joe. Has Meyer run out of ideas?
    It doesn’t matter whether you dress the horse up as a mare instead of a stallion, it will still be dead. Stop flogging it already!
    And what about The Host? Sorry, but I liked that one MUCH better than Twilight. And her heroine was much more believable and stronger than Bella. But, truthfully, who the hell cares whether Bella is a strong female or not? There are girls out there exactly like that. Yes, we need stronger female characters to help engender a sense of strength and independence in our young women today. But at the same time, there are moments when, as a woman, I feel the need for someone to wrap strong arms around me and hold me and take on the world for me. I don’t think there’s all that much wrong with both types coexisting.
    However, stop writing the same story over and over. Just move on already and write something with a new perspective.

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