I’m going to admit straight away that i’ve already read this book before; but i promised that i would review every book i picked up regardless of if i’ve read it before… so here it goes.
This book was beautiful! As a fan of the Twilight Saga myself i was seriously looking forward to this book coming out, but not just because it was a different book this time around because of the gender of characters, but because I was looking forward to how Stephenie Meyer would personally improve upon her techniques used in the first book. She lived up to all of my expectations.
Let’s start at the beginning. The book opens up to a familiar scene of Bella… wait, sorry, Beau saying goodbye to his mother before heading off to Forks. Already i can see the difference in character and the writing techniques. Beau’s character has already been outlined as someone who always feels responsible for the ones he loves, already he is portrayed as ‘the man of the house’ who has spent his entire adolescence in adulthood, by paying taxes, buying groceries etc. And Beau’s mother is improved as well, her personality is already better outlined and solidified in the beginning of the book.
As the story progresses you can see the improvements in descriptive pieces about the environment and the locations had been specified and expanded upon, and although the plot line seems to follow the original Twilight flawlessly, I was still enraptured by how different Beau seemed, as well as trying to translate characters across genders. Already Beau is seen to be more sarcastic, OCD, and organised than Bella. I don’t think these changes are based on gender alone, it’s almost as if with every character whose gender she changed, they became their own characters who have diverted from their original mirror images.
Ah the Cullens; we are introduced to the Cullens in the same manner as in Twilight. But, already we can see differences in who they are as characters from the very beginning…
Emmet/ Eleanor is still the strongest of the Cullen clan, but instead of a physique that was filled with intimidating muscle, Eleanor is more lean but still built with muscle; Stephenie Meyer described her as looking like a star volleyball player. Eleanor is less dominant in personality than her counterpart Emmett, whereas Emmett was more free spirited with an attitude towards Rosalie that was basically the repetition of “nah, she’ll get over it.” Eleanor was more subdued, with the same cheeky sense of humour and easy going demeanour no doubt, but she was more subdued as a character, didn’t play a huge part and was merely the conduit to allow Royal (Rosalie) some space away from Beau. While we’re on the topic of Royal…. Wow! i hope that Rosalie’s uncanny beauty would be translated across, but what i never imagined was that Stephenie Meyer would gift him with a man-bun. i admit to cackling a little about that. However, i almost forgot that Royal and Rosalie were supposed to be essentially the same person. Royal is very different from Rosalie… Where Rosalie was more egotistical because of her breathtaking looks and self-centred; except when it came to the safety of her family Royal was different, he was still the good-looking one (described as Prom King type…. man-bun and all) who instead of catty, was standoffish barely paying Beau any unnecessary attention – besides glaring at him hatefully every once in a while- and was mainly focused on the family he left behind in his Vampirism and hated Beau because of what he had that he was giving up by being with Edythe.
Alice and Jasper/ Archie and Jessamine come next. Jessamine and Jasper stayed to basically the same character outline; both still having golden blonde hair and a strained look about them. She’s still quiet with a sense of an aura that makes her seem dangerous, like a fighter. She also still keeps to her archetypes outline of being the support for Archie whenever he has a vision. In the original series Jasper doesn’t really show his personality til later books in which his military experience comes into play, so I wasn’t really surprised. Archie has differentiated hugely from the Original Alice; he is described an have thin wiry muscles, the kind you would find on a Gymnast, with close cropped shaved hair; a little more intimidating than Ballerina Alice. Archie is still inhumanly graceful with sometimes the same habit of getting ahead of himself in the friend department with Beau, but he is definitely friendlier and his gift comes more into play this time around; actually all of their gifts come more into play this time around, except for Edythe (Edward) whose gift was one of the main plot points anyway. Archie was less vague about his abilities and less of a mystery about who he was as a person. Archie is much friendlier, when Beau first goes to the Cullen’s house he greets Beau with a huge man-hug which takes just about everyone by surprise, with Beau feeling a little more at ease around him. Especially when the mortal danger comes into play and Beau is forced to retreat to Phoenix with Archie and Jessamine we are given a more clear representation of howArchie’s gifts work and the budding friendship between the two is shown to be apparent and less awkward, which in Twilight the awkwardness between Alice and Bella is palpable.
A lot of Carine (Carlisle) and Earnest (Esme) stays basically exactly the same. Although Earnest is less like a mother hen and more like a slightly more distant doting father. Carine still remains kind and caring with an empathy towards others and an uncanny leadership quality when it comes to the family.
Finally, the leading lady; Edythe. Edith is almost completely different from her original archetype of Edward. Edith is much more affection and open with Beau, still with the iconic self-loathing streak a mile wide; but her emotions and thoughts are communicated so much better making that character seem less emotionally constipated and completely drowning in self-loathing. Edith however, shows only her self-loathing when she feels that she’s placed Beau in danger, admittedly many times in the book. Otherwise she acts completely like someone who is experiencing her first love. it was kind of refreshing to have that new outlook form Edythe’s perspective as a girl who loves a boy without all of that angst ruining every sweet moment. Something that really struck me about the gender swap of it all was how Beau felt towards Edythe putting herself in danger. Like a man wanting to protecting the one he loves, he looks at her and can’t understand how something so beautiful and angelic could possibly be deadly which plays a large role in their relationship and his acceptance of her vampirism; most people think that this mentality of Beau’s is solidifying gender roles in the book, however I believe that Beau feeling that protective over Edythe is merely the expression of his character rather than how she feels a specific gender acts.
Now all that’s left to talk about is that ending. Personally, I love the ending. i know it differentiates from the original story in that Beau ends up a vampire quite early in the story. But I feel like if Stephenie ended it any other way it wouldn’t be suited to Beau’s personality, I also like it how he seems to elegantly flow into a life of vampirism which helps to further understand Bella’s journey into Breaking Dawn, that it wasn’t just because she chose to be this way but rather because it was their shared personality or rather destiny that means that they become vampires with ease. The only really negative thing i have to say about the story as a whole is just that it saddens me that Charlie had to suffer this way, i don’t like that he had to deal with the loss of his child leaving him without anyone in his life. That and i really want MORE of Beau’s story to find out what happens with Victor and the Voltouri it doesn’t feel like i got enough of a peek into Beau’s life… like i only have half a book. But otherwise I loved every moment of it 🙂