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review 2017-07-15 04:22
"Life and Death" by Stephenie Meyer
Twilight Tenth Anniversary/Life and Death Dual Edition - Stephenie Meyer

Well, I was at least halfway done writing this and then my computer decided to restart for updates, so I have to start all over. FUN!

*deep breath*

Anyway, I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this book. It was definitely interesting... But hard to read without constantly comparing it to or thinking of it as the original. For instance, I kept forgetting about the gender swap. Like, I read the story as Bella until something reminded me that she was really Beau. And I kept having to think about who was whom. It was like I was translating Eleanor into Emmett and Earnest into Esmé, etc. I probably wasn't supposed to be doing that, but there it is. This book would probably benefit from a second reading. I really want to read a review by someone who hasn't read Twilight...

I think that Bella and Edward should have been the only characters who were swapped. I think the story would have been way less confusing and distracting that way, and would have seemed more natural. I just had a really hard time with the gender-swapped Cullens. I could buy Carine as the doctor, but big strong Eleanor was hard to picture. And I kept imagining Archie in a white tank top and sagging jeans (because of the petit frame and buzzed hair, I guess), which did not at all endear him to me.

Many of the names seemed weird to me too. I remember reading something about Meyer looking at old census information to find names for her characters that would work for the time periods they were born into and it really didn't seem like she was that thoughtful about their gender-swapped names. Beau and Edythe, I was fine with, but Royal is a very modern name, so I wasn't buying that he was a super-old vampire.

It was interesting to me what Meyer felt the need to change about the protagonist along with the gender. As a male adaptation of Bella, Beau retains her housekeeping skills and her disinterest in cars, but dumps Jane Austen for Jules Verne. I don't see the need for the author swap. I had a male friend in high school who enjoyed Pride and Prejudice (and Twilight) and it's not like he was a feminine guy or anything. Beau Swan is definitely the kind of guy who could appreciate Jane Austen.

As for a few other changes... I'm glad that Meyer changed the "Do I dazzle you?" conversation. That always made me cringe. And I thought it was interesting that she continued to call the Quileutes "werewolves" even though she reveals in Breaking Dawn that they are really just shapeshifters. But I kind of hated that she changed the sparkling thing because I felt like she was giving in to the people who've ridiculed her books. I'm not a huge fan of the sparkling, myself, but I feel like it makes sense. Definitely more so than the vague rainbow effect she changed it to.

I love the quote "I drifted to sleep with her cold body in my arms." That cracked me up. Suddenly, Beau is a psychotic killer who sleeps with the corpses of his victims. XD

The ending seemed rushed to me, but I'm not sure if that's because it was actually rushed or if it's just because I'm used to waiting for three more books for the protagonist to become a vampire. I am glad that ending was explored, especially since Renesmee wasn't an option in this version. But I'm glad it's not the actual ending, because my heart broke for Charlie and Renee.

(spoiler show)


Next, I have a few comments that probably apply to the original books as well:

So, I know that Edythe/Edward and Beau/Bella were Love at First Sight and everything, but Edythe giving up on trying to stay away from Beau after, like, a day doesn't make sense to me. First, one day should be nothing to someone who's been alive for more than 36,500 of them. Second, Meyer told us in the original series that vampires take a while to change and grow attached to someone. Third, Edythe is so über cautious and protective of Beau that she should have held out longer before giving up. It just doesn't make sense to me.

A few more things that didn't make sense to me:

As smart as the vampires are and despite the fact that they live with a doctor, they still believe that one gets sick from being cold... You don't get sick from being cold. Just FYI.

It was mentioned a couple of times that Edythe became paler than usual when she was scared, but that should be impossible because she doesn't have any blood... Meyer even says in the original series that vampires can't blush. Shouldn't the opposite be true as well?

Edythe asks where Archie and Jess are when they are in the near vicinity and she can read minds. 

I also had the thought while reading this book that Edythe is always being super careful not to accidentally pulverize Beau's femur or whatever, but the vampires do things regularly like play piano and close car doors that require them to control their super strength unless they want to go on daily shopping trips for pianos and cars. So it seems like they shouldn't have that much trouble being gentle with humans.

And one last thing. I definitely wouldn't buy this book as a dual copy with Twilight. I already have a copy of Twilight and I don't want to carry around two huge books when I'm only reading one. Is this really the only option? Will there ever be a single copy? The world may never know!

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review 2017-07-13 16:22
The Chemist (DNF) ★☆☆☆☆
The Chemist - Stephenie Meyer

Welp, I gave it my best shot and powered through 25% before giving it up. It wasn't really terrible, but it was remarkably boring for something in the thriller genre. The MC is eyerollingly stupid.

(I mean, she seriously jumps to the conclusion that the subject she's been told to torture must have a multiple personality disorder as the most likely explanation for his radically different affect and body language. It was apparent to me, long before she even tortured him, that it was most likely that the government agency that had been trying to kill her for several years had misled her about the subject, and the guy was an innocent body double or close relative/twin or something. You can't tell me that she's never tortured an innocent person, or one who has no real information, before. That's patently unbelievable.)

(spoiler show)

The strong elements of Romance being introduced were also pretty off-putting

(especially in the context of a professional torturer and her torture victim)

(spoiler show)

But mostly, it was something about the prose. I've tried to think through it, but I'm not a literature scholar, so I probably can't articulate it well. There was just a relentlessly mind-numbing focus on telling the reader everything. She looks like this, she went here, she did these things, she drove this car, this is her strategy, she's taking these precautions and this is why. The author tells you EVERYTHING. Nothing is implied. Nothing is left to the imagination. The reader's senses are not engaged. Everything is explained, except a few clues about an apparent mystery that's not very mysterious. It was like listening to a technical manual being read aloud. After a little over 4 hours, I found myself engaging in stalling tactics to actually avoid listening to this book. 

 

All I know is that I'm only 15 minutes into another book, also in the thriller genre, and the difference in listening pleasure is just night and day. 

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive, using the Libby app. Ellen Archer's performance is okay. 

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text 2017-07-12 01:45
The Chemist: 9%
The Chemist - Stephenie Meyer

Well, so far it's... not terrible. There's certainly a lot more exposition than I like in the first two chapters, but she's mixing it up a bit. 

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text 2017-07-11 13:27
The Chemist: 0%
The Chemist - Stephenie Meyer

I have very low expectations for this book, but perhaps that's my inner book snob coming out, because I'm prejudging this book on my prejudice toward the author, whose other books I've never read. I find book snobs laughable on principle, especially those who pass judgement on books and authors they've never read. 

 

So here we go. I put this on hold half a year ago, because my best friend, who reads voraciously but who doesn't at all share my taste in books, enjoyed this one very much and insisted that I try it. It finally came available last night, so I'm trying to suspend all judgement and dive in. 

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review 2017-05-30 17:09
"The Chemist" by Stephenie Meyer
The Chemist - Stephenie Meyer

So, the synopsis didn't really draw me in with this one, but I figured that since I've enjoyed everything else I've read by Stephenie Meyer, there was a good chance I'd enjoy this one too. I was right.

I've noticed that, while I usually don't put forth much of an effort toward imagining the settings in a book, I often have very clear images of settings from Meyer's books. I'm not sure why that is.

I particularly liked the attention to detail regarding the precautions Juliana takes to stay alive, though I can understand how some people would grow bored of that. And I loved Daniel, though I did think the romance was slightly unrealistic, particularly in the beginning when I'm sure Daniel would have had to overcome some psychological obstacles before he could think of Juliana in a romantic sense.

(spoiler show)


I also thought that the dogs were sometimes unrealistic in their behavior and I noticed a couple of grammatical mistakes, but neither was too bad.

 

My last complaint is that there were elements of this story that reminded me a lot of her other books. Mostly, it was the female protagonist with two male "sidekicks". And the dynamic between the three reminded me a lot of The Host. Again, not a huge problem. Just a weakness I've noticed in her writing.

Even though most of what I've said in this review is negative, I did really enjoy this book, I promise. Haha.

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