Book Review: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of 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.
Well, I got this book today and devoured it in less than an hour and a half. I'm writing this review without having talked to anyone about it or reading any reviews online about it. I wanted to get my feelings out before hearing or reading anyone else's opinion.
I was fully prepared not to like this book, because I can't help thinking that Stephenie Meyer is just fleecing us, her woefully addicted fans. She hasn't pubished anything in nearly two years besides that pitifully meager "bonus chaper" to The Host. For my thoughts on that, click here. S.M. will neither confirm or deny that The Host will be a trilogy and will not say what she's working on next, if anything. So yes, I have some issues. Movies are not the same as books. Movies are not enough to keep me satisfied. Most Twilight fans that I know like the movies because of the books, not the other way around.
I can't help thinking that S.M. won't release another book until, say about a month or two before the Breaking Dawn movie comes out? Hmm? And I predict that she'll drag out the Twilight saga even more, giving us tiny morsels at a time. We know what she's doing, but like a kid being bribed with candy, we eat it up anyway. How about the story of Reneesme's life? Yes, I'd have to say that's my official S.M. prediction: no new books until a Breaking Dawn novella about Reneesme or one of the wolves. We'll get nothing more of Edward and Bella, and no totally new stories until after the Twilight mania has faded (if that ever happens).
But I digress. On to The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. If you haven't read the book yet, stop here because this is your official spoiler alert.
We first meet Bree after she's been a vampire for three months. She has no vampire friends and hides behind Freaky Fred, the only talented vampire in Riley's coven. Fred can repel other vampires at will, thus making the fighting newborns, who kill each other at regular intervals, leave him alone. Bree makes friends with an older vampire, Diego and she wants to run away from the group with him once they find out that Riley has been lying to them. Bree has retained a human habit of reading---wait, that sounds familiar! I like reading about characters who like to read. I guess S.M. does too because she made Edward, Bella and Bree all readers. Interesting---don't you think she could have come up with another character development angle?
Anyway, the book is written in typical S.M. style: lots of descriptions, feelings (Bree discovers her attraction to Diego in a really unexperienced way typical of a much younger girl), some weak plot elements, and more descriptions. The characters feel flat to me. Bree's life is just about surviving from hour to hour and quenching her unslakable thirst. I think that this is because S.M. develops her characters over hundreds of pages and we have only 178 pages here.
Twihards will probably not like the book until we meet up with the Cullens on page 145. And then they will be enraged that the fight scene, surrender, and subsequent confrontation with the Volturi is maddeningly inadequate.
With all that said, will I keep buying S.M.'s books? Of course. She can tell an enchanting story. Every time I read one of her books, I have to finish it in one sitting. I just can't put them down. Apparently, I'm not alone in these feelings or else the Twilight series would not have sold 226 million copies (according to wikianswers).
Just One Gripe:
See above. My most prominent gripe: After buying and reading this book, I feel cheated. Like I totally bought into the mania---and I didn't get a good love story in return. I knew that this would probably happen, but I still couldn't stop myself! Why is that?
The Best Thing About This Book:
I liked Fred. A lot. I also liked the little tête-à-tête between Bree and Edward. Oh, Edward. Even when I try not to like you, I just can't. You are the first vampire I ever fell in love with. Though there have been others (Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse series, Kisten from the Rachel Morgan series, to say nothing of JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood vamps) you'll always be first. See??? I'm an addict along with millions of other women---look at how distracted I get just by a description of Edward's hair and the way he holds on to Bella. Sigh.
Appropriate for a younger audience:
Probably---it's no more graphic than the fight scene in Eclipse.