Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Warning! This review contains spoilers unless you have read Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer.

Bree Tanner spends her days trying to remain invisible in a world where keeping a low profile is the only way to stay alive. Her human life was not a happy one, but the new life she's been forced into by the seemingly sympathetic Riley isn't much better. As a newborn vampire, Bree spends her time alternately fighting the blazing thirst and fighting for her life against her fellow newborns, crammed into a dark and dank basement for the long daylight hours she's been told are fatal to her kind. Unfortunately, after a long night of hunting the scum of Seattle's grimy back alleys with the bizarrely friendly Diego (who, as far as Bree can tell, has no interest in ripping her head off or setting her on fire), they return to the rundown house they call home to find it burned to the ground and their makeshift coven nowhere in sight. With the first of the sun's deadly rays peeking over the horizon, there's no time for a search party. Instead, Diego spirits Bree away to a pitch-black underwater cave, one he's created for just this kind of emergency. With hours to kill and nothing to do, Bree and Diego are forced to make small talk...only to discover that the stories they've been told don't quite line up. Determined to find answers, Diego braves the sunshine and, much to Bree's surprise, doesn't instantly turn to ash. Armed with this startling revelation, the two rogue vampires are left to wonder just how many other lies they've been told about their new life. Why would Riley lie? Who is the nameless, faceless "she" who changed them? What threat could possibly drive an immortal and indestructible vampire to create a ruthless, bloodthirsty army?

Fans of the Twilight Saga will remember Bree as the newborn who was crazy enough to surrender in Eclipse. What may be surprising, however, is that she is not the fiend she appears to be through Bella's human eyes. Stephenie Meyer has once again proven that she is a master of characterization. Bree is, at best, a minor character - one whose last name readers didn't know until The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner was announced. In spite of all this, Meyer has taken Bree and turned her into someone readers will want to befriend, defend, and mourn when she's gone. Though Short Second Life is ostensibly a rewriting of Eclipse, the narrative is fresh and unique, thanks to the drastically different perspective from which it's told. Bree is scared and alone in a dark new world with no idea who to trust. Through Bree's eyes, readers see the vampire world and the army sent to destroy Bella and the Cullens in a whole new light and will be left to wonder just what else they miss by watching things unfold through Bella's eyes. It is a relief to return to the Twilight world, which has become like a second home to fans of the Saga, and the only problem with this highly entertaining novella is the inevitable tragic end - it hovers threateningly over the entire plot, a menacing Fury waiting to snip the final thread.

Premise: 4/5
Plot: 3/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Writing: 3/5
Overall: 3.6/5

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Bruna Britti said...

I did my review about this book on my website. In spite of I don't like unhappy endings, I like this one. Nice to know more about Bree, and was a pity she lives so short.

The Bookish Type said...

I definitely agree! I really enjoyed learning more about her, despite knowing all along how it ended. It still made me sad though. Sigh. Why, Stephenie Meyer? Whyyy??

alisonwonderland said...

Nice review! I read the book yesterday. I thought it was fun and imaginative - and a good prelude to going to see the Eclipse movie this coming week.

The Bookish Type said...

Thanks alisonwonderland! I agree - perfect timing for seeing Eclipse! I haven't seen it yet, but I'm really eager to now - especially since the actress playing Bree got to read this before playing her part. I hope you enjoy the film! Thanks so much for stopping by!

lisa :) said...

I think we had a quasi-discussion about this on your Breaking Dawn review, but I do love how Stephanie Meyer has fully-realized characters, even when they're very minor players. Bree was an interesting choice for a novella, but I'm still hoping Meyer returns to the Twilight universe with some of the other characters introduced in Breaking Dawn. There's almost limitless potential for story writing and I'd love to see her keep on writing!

The Bookish Type said...

I definitely agree! She introduced a whole host of new characters in BD and each one of them has huge potential for future novels. I just can't leave the Twilight world behind for good. I'd also love to see a book about Leah - the only character who didn't get a happy ending =(

Lily Child said...

I am still on the fence about this one. I might wait until it comes out in paperback before picking it up. Great review.1 It gives me an idea of what lies ahead!

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