Life & Death Chapter 23

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. This story fails because it fails at characterization. That’s not to say all stories need depth and characterization. Some can just be good fun and an adventure or about bigger things. As an example, I’ve always been of the opinion that Dune is not about the characters as it is about the universe they inhabit.

Twilight has never been about big ideas or a large universe. Meyer isn’t about exploring the relationship of vampires with the environment or humanity and mortality. It’s supposedly about romance between Ed and Bella/Beau. I know more about the meals the Swans have had than any reason those two are in love. And that’s all because Meyer doesn’t show us the characters who are supposed to make this romance.

So when Beau walks into danger, it’s hard to feel anything other than frustration. We get to watch characters do stupid things because they’re the designated moron of the day. Meyer could have used character building to make it all justified. It’d still be obnoxious watching Beau walk into an obvious trap. Though it we knew the character, and it fit, we’d just say “of course Beau would do that.”

For example, if we saw evidence of Bella/Beau’s naivete at some point. Say they regularly missed out on sex jokes or maybe they didn’t see the danger with that crowd of random criminals that was ready to assault them. Then we’d have learned that Bella/Beau was a little inexperienced and might just have believed James/Joss when they made their offer. We’d still know the villain was lying but at least we’d understand why a character would walk into it.

There’s another scream on top of Beau’s shrieking. “The hunter”, having evolved from “tracker I guess”, lunges at Beau. Joss is stopped and flung away. Status update on how Beau is feeling, the burning has spread to his elbow now. More in eleven seconds. Most importantly though, is the fact that he’s not alone. Edythe is there and she’s sobbing his name. Normally women only sob his name after the disappointing sex so this is an improvement.

Beau wants to answer her but can’t because he can no longer breathe. She screams at Carnine to help her help Beau. Edythe begins by blowing breaths into him and not bothering with chest compressions all while telling him to keep breathing. Kinda hard for him to do if you’re doing it for him. And once you’ve had a sexy toy vampire start doing your breathing for you, who the hell can go back to manual breaths?

Carnine tells Archie to get to work on splints for Beau. Which sounds really important but its more busywork than anything. Broken bones are pretty serious but unless it’s an open fracture, bone poking through muscle or something, probably not going to be the first thing that kills you. And unless Carnine has vampire x-ray vision, then she can’t tell where the breaks are without taking Beau to a hospital. Carmine/Carnine is a bit of an asshole then, making their “children” keep busy.

Then Carnine focuses on the important part, the bleeding, which would kill Beau pretty shortly. He has some wounds which Carnine gets to work on while Edythe rummages around for analgesic or, as Meyer calls it, “something for the pain.” There’s probably a bottle of “No-Pain” in Carnine’s bag.

Beau tries his best to draw attention to his hand. It takes a few tries and labored gasps to get the rock stupid vampires to notice the bite mark he’s now sporting. Edythe is horrified that Beau has been bitten by a vampire. Edythe is convinced she can stop it and asks for a scalpel. Archie warns Edy that she might kill him in the process.

Is this a metaphor for virginity? Because I can’t see why this bothers them all so much. So Beau is going to turn into a vampire, so the fuck what? It sure would be awful if the useless protagonist suddenly turned into something useful before the next installment of the series. Then there couldn’t be any bullshit tension from Bella/Beau being endangered by a wobbly step stool or a passing tow truck.

Edythe slashes his hand and begins to suck harder than she’s ever sucked in her life. Beau says the fire now feels like it’s moving back down his arm. Archie declares he can now only see two futures; one where Beau lives and transforms or another where he dies. Of course Archie, being clairvoyant, and seeing all futures as merely possibilities must be correct. It’s not like there could be a third, remote option.

Nope, Meyer wrote Alice/Archie in as the only character able to see the outline the whole thing is based on. It’s all predestined and will happen and there’s basically no free will. Archie says this doesn’t need to happen slowly and looks at Carnine. Carnine says she took an oath.

What kind of oath are we talking about, Meyer? Do you mean the Hippocratic oath? Because the oath doesn’t prevent you from doing minimal harm for the greater good. Otherwise no doctor could ever perform surgery. Do you mean some sort of vampire oath not to ever drink blood? ‘Cause I would like to have seen that. It would have required character building and we just didn’t have time with the description of pop tarts.

Edythe then says that he deserves a choice. She leans over and says she won’t make the decision for him. If he doesn’t want to live as a vampire, she’ll let him die. She starts lamenting how she’d die right then to give him his life back and oh, if only there was another way. Never mind any pleasure she’ll get out of it when he allows her to bite him. That’s incidental and in no way influenced her decision.

How is this any kind of choice, Meyer? How many people would turn down vampirism on their deathbed? How many fewer could say no as they lay bleeding from wounds? I don’t think Beau would have said no under any other circumstances but it’s a rather thin veneer of choice you’re throwing around. Which a better author would want to explore. Meyer is just eager to get Beau into the vampire clan and dispense with everything else.

Edythe says to tell her what he wants. Beau says just her and Edythe has to ask if he’s sure. Good god, vampire, just turn the little bitch already! He affirms, yes, that he’d prefer to stay with her in the land of the living rather than dying. Archie tells Edythe to get out of his way before Edythe says she didn’t make any oaths. The chapter ends with Beau telling us that he couldn’t feel it but he could hear the sounds of her teeth cutting his flesh.

This was a very short chapter that took a rather unexpected turn. I can’t wait to see how things turn out now. The question I have though is why deviate from Twilight at this point but not the rest? If you’re going to change things, feel free to mix it up more than just who gets a penis or vagina and two scenes.

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