Thursday, 10 June 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
by Stephenie Meyer

Summary (sort of, from the Bree Tanner site): Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the newborn vampire world she inhabits.

In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.

I'm not exactly sure what to say about this one to be honest. I liked it. A lot.

But the thing is, I honestly can't tell if I genuinely liked it as a story or if I just like it when comparing it to the standard of the other Twilight books.

Bree, for example, was a way better protagonist than Bella. She wasn't whiney or shallow and she wasn't a blatant Mary Sue. She managed to be a strong female character without actually being particularly strong - her strength was in her will, the way she thought, the fact that she fought really hard to think for herself instead of following the crowd and she held onto that strenght, that defiance, right up until the last moment. I wasn't especting that given how she was portrayed in Eclipse.

I know in Twilight we're led to believe Bella is supposed to be this *awesome* character but that's more us being told that than actually being shown and the fact she's such a Mary Sue overshadows anything good about her. With Bree it was kind of the opposite, she was given all these flaws and a strong personality that maybe people shouldn't sympathize with but they do anyway, much more than with Bella because Bree is more real.

The writing was better than in Twilight and with the bitter taste of Breaking Dawn still fresh in my mind (or perhaps sickly sweet would be a better term to use for the too-cheesy Disney ending we were given?), Bree's story was refreshing... but still, I think the balance between happy and sad was a little off, I would've liked Bree to experience a little bit more happiness before the end (but that is more a personal preference than a flaw with the book), I think the summary is kind of misleading because of the mention of romance, it makes it sound like more than it actually is.

Weirdly, seeing the Cullen's through Bree's eyes made them look so different. Jasper is usually a favourite of mine but I wanted to slap him in this, and Edward often annoys me but I liked him here... and Bella (I'll consider her a Cullen) she irritated me more in Bree's story than in the Twilight series because it was still so painfully obvious how much of a Mary Sue she is even through Bree's eyes.

I loved how Stephenie wove aspects of Bree's story really well with the events of Eclipse but one thing did bother me. And I can't really fully explain why it bothered me without giving spoilers so I'll just say one word and leave it at that: Volturi.

Basically, it was a good book. As far as writing goes, it's up there with The Host in being some of Stephenie's best (which still doesn't blow me away, but it was good), the story was interesting and it was great to see vampires behaving like vampires (see, Stephenie, you can write from a normal new born perspective without it totally screwing up the rainbows and butterflies) and there was a few characters I adored; Bree, of course, Fred and Diego.

Oh, how my heart broke for Diego, I hated that he trusted Riley so much and even though I knew how the story would end there was still that tiny part of me hoping it would end differently. Probably the same part of me that is there whenever I watch Titanic and I find myself hoping that even though it's impossible somehow Jack will be okay.

One thing I really didn't like about the novella was the fact there were no chapter breaks or anything - now, it's short enough to easily read it in one sitting but I literally couldn't read it in one sitting because I had things to do so I had to struggle to find good places to stop reading. That was kind of annoying.

What did you think of the book? Discuss in the comments? (Read: there may be spoilers in the comments for anyone who hasn't read the book.)



  1. I'm torn about this book. I kind of think it was a cop out. That the publishing house asked Meyer for another book to release, and this was something she had lying around from when she wrote Eclipse. I would have hoped that as an author she would want to continue one with new projects but instead she's just riding the money train all the way to the bank.. and not putting any effort into anything new...anyways totally just my opinion.
    Even though I'm so over all things twilight, I may end up buying this book just because it's a different perspective. Through almost all of the twilight books we only see things through Bella's whiny annoying eyes, and I'd hope this would shed some light on things that Bella didn't witness in Eclipse. But again I'm torn, if I do end up reading this I'm sure it won't be for a long long time

  2. Ooh! Someone else who was frustrated by the lack of chapters! I agree with a lot of what you said, but for me, personally, I didn't find much interest in Bree, though I like her more than I do Bella. Bree did, however, grow on me towards the end, when the raw nature of her character took over. It was great to see the battle from the other side, and the extra information it provided in terms of the Volturi was definitely interesting, if not a little confusing.

    I actually just posted my own review of the novella before running across your blog and found it interesting to compare my notes with yours. Thanks for posting this great review!

  3. @BookRants... Actually, it was supposed to be an extra thing published in the Twilight guide but it was so long they decided to make it into a novella.

    And it wasn't about the money, seeing as she released it for free in ebook form meaning no one actually had to pay to read it if they didn't want to - the physical hardback copy was cheap and was raising money for the red cross.

    Plus, we don't actually KNOW she's not writing anything new right now. Some authors take a few months to write a book, others take years. She has mentioned she has new projects but she doesn't want to speak about them because if she does then people assume that they're going to be released, they expect the book to be out really quickly.

    You should read the free ebook version on the Bree Tanner website to see if you like it.

    I'm far from being Stephenie's biggest fan (actually, she kind of irritates me and seemed to come across as increasingly arrogant as the series became more popular), but this was a good thing she did to raise money for charity (like J K Rowling with Tales of Beedle the Bard).

  4. thats interesting...

    if its against her religion or moral fibre or whatever to write about evil blood sucking sex romping (not that shes sex romping but hey...) vampires...

    isnt she going to be struck down now?

    good review by the way hehe



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