Although really: did it have to be the tenth anniversary edition of Twilight?
Somewhere between an homage and a Take That! to Twilight, As Dreams Are Made On chronicles the life of Cassandra Reardon, a gay/trans neo-pagan and unabashed sci-fi/fantasy fangirl, after she inexplicably lands in the body of a teenaged Bella Swan on the day of her arrival in Forks. Fearing Edward's reaction when she rejects his romantic advances, Cass immediately acts to get the attention of Alice Cullen and try to come up with a plan - only for Alice to form a mating bond on her the moment they meet face-to-face.
This is only the first of many changes to the plot Cass thinks she knows.
Originally published on Archive of Our Own starting in October 2015 (unsurprisingly, not long after the tenth anniversary edition of Twilight and the companion novel Life and Death were published), the story has subsequently been crossposted to FanFiction.Net and Wattpad. The author also maintains a Tumblr for story notes and commentary.
The story is listed as the first volume in The Tempest Trilogy, and a sequel, Brave New World, has begun as of July 2019, available on AO3, FFN, and Wattpad. A series of side stories from the perspective of other characters, grouped under the title These Our Actors, can likewise be found on AO3, FFN, and Wattpad.
This work provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual (invoked): Though her memory isn't perfect, Cass has read all four of the main Twilight novels as well as the Illustrated Guide, and is at least aware of the Twilight Saga Wiki, so she is aware of some details that may not be apparent to anyone working from the novels alone.
- Alternate Universe Fic: Though the story leans heavily on the actual Twilight saga, particularly the books, several key differences have emerged over time. Most notably, of course, Alice Cullen, Jasper Hale, and Leah Clearwater are established as gay early on. In addition, Leah was the first Quileute shifter to transform, and now leads the pack. Cass's presence and her knowledge of the books has only led to further changes.
- Berserk Button: You probably shouldn't tell Cass she's cute when she's angry, especially if she's already angry at you.
- Cerebus Syndrome: The author admits the story started as something of a lark, and this shows in earlier chapters, but it grows stranger and more serious as time goes on. There are still elements of humor, but later chapters have revealed that Cass actually comes from an alternate 2025, not an alternate 2015 as she previously assumed; that she has lost all her memories after October 2015; that the Earth of 2025 was destroyed in the fallout of a massive war; that The Magic Came Back in the process and Cass was a leading witch rather than just another neo-pagan practitioner; and that her friend Callie, who had also become a witch by that time, was somehow dragged into the world of Twilight and landed in the body of another Forks High student, though not anyone named in the books. Oh, and Callie still has access to magic, and has recently discovered that Jessica Stanley seems to have a natural talent for it. Phew.
- Deadpan Snarker: Cass herself tends toward fairly snarky narration, but is easily bested in dialogue by Leah, Rosalie, and later her friend Callie.
- Genre Savvy: Cass knows exactly what kind of story she's in, or at least thinks she does, and isn't shy about sharing that knowledge with the Cullens or the Quileute shifters.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Cass does not have Bella's mental shield, or any power that really seems to benefit her personally...but she does have a power. Specifically, the power to modify the powers of other supernaturals, or at least vampires. Sadly, as shown below, it appears to come at a price.
- Lesbian Vampire: Alice doesn't fit entirely into the classic mode, but she's unabashedly gay, worldly, flirtatious, and downright seductive. Her sexual interest in Cass only rises when she finds out Cass is relatively experienced, and she seems to relish her role as initiator.
- Alice has mentioned other lesbian or at least bisexual vampires among her exes, including Maggie (from the Irish coven), Tanya (from the Denali coven), and Jessamine (possibly a reference to Life and Death, where Jessamine is the name of Jasper's female counterpart).
- Lipstick Lesbian: Definitely Alice. Sometimes Cass, but mostly with the help of others.
- Love at First Sight: Alice toward Cass. Edward later clarifies that not all vampires instantly form mating bonds; most form relationships over time, which can eventually solidify into eternal, unbreakable bonds. As in the books, the Quileute shifters are also prone to imprinting, though this mostly appears to take the form of male shifters imprinting on wholly human women.
- Meaningful Rename: After seizing, losing consciousness, losing a bunch of memories and almost dying, Cass stops thinking of herself as Cass and starts going by Bella. Some characters still use the former name. By a similar token, Cass eventually stops calling Charlie by his name in her narration and dialogue with others, and begins referring to him simply as "dad".
- Older Than They Look: Applies to the Cullens, of course, but also to Cass herself. Though she's in the body of a seventeen-year-old Bella Swan, she has thirty-two years of life experience from her own world. It later turns out that she and her friend Callie are both in their forties; Cass simply does not remember the last decade of her life before she was dropped into Bella Swan's body.
- Our Vampires Are Different: As in Twilight, though As Dreams Are Made On sometimes diverges somewhat from canonical details as well.
- Orwellian Retcon: Owing to its online nature, the story is fairly easy to edit and readers of earlier versions may notice some changes in the current version. Most notably, a joke Cass made about realizing she was in a femslash version of Twilight has been removed (as some readers felt it broke suspension of disbelief), and Charlie, previously described as looking like a young Jim Beaver, is now described as looking a little like Billy Burke.
- The author has, however, stated that she may publish a full "author's preferred text" for the story at some point, which will hopefully cut down on future changes to the original published text.
- Power at a Price: Unfortunately, Cass's power carries certain side effects, starting as a mild static shock before progressing to pins and needles, temporary paralysis, and eventually an outright seizure, loss of consciousness, and memory loss on top of what she'd already suffered in the transition to her new world. As of the current chapter, she has been told outright that even one more use of her power as a human may kill her, and it's unclear what will happen when she's a vampire.
- Self-Insert Fic: Though the protagonist and narrator is a (sometimes heavily) fictionalized version of the author, she is also an undeniable self-insert by the writer's own admission, and some personal details do come into play, including the lyrics of a song the author wrote for her mother's memorial service.
- To Power Rangers. Cass is a fan, and on at least two occasions imagines morphing into the Pink Ranger.
- To ElfQuest. Cass quotes the comic when Alice explains the mating bond is triggered by physical presence; Alice surprises her by finishing the quote and revealing a mutual interest in comic books and graphic novels.
- To City of Heroes. Cass adored the game, it turns out Emmett plays it, and so she, Emmett, Jasper and Rosalie end up spending an evening fighting bad guys online. Cass urges them to buy out any company that might threaten the game's existence so as to prevent its shutdown. Emmett seems amenable.
- To Tossing Stones, another Twilight fanfic in which a woman with knowledge of the books is thrown into Bella Swan's body and throws the story into chaos. By the author's own admission, though she was an avid City of Heroes player and genuinely misses the game, she was inspired to bring it up in As Dreams Are Made On after a reader drew parallels to Tossing Stones (which also makes use of City of Heroes/Villains) and she gave it a read.
- Take That!: Cass is very prone to bringing up various disagreeable elements of Twilight in narration even if she doesn't discuss them aloud, but most notably, while describing the existence of hybrids to Carlisle, she goes off on a tangent about the varying number of chromosome pairs among humans, vampires, hybrids, and Quileute shifters. Carlisle's response? "All of that sounds extremely unlikely."