Book review: ‘The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner’ by Stephenie Meyer

For Bree Tanner, life as a newly-created vampire has consisted of following orders, avoiding squabbles in a household of other newborns and being told, under strict penalty, never to go outside in the daytime. Sent out in the streets of Seattle, Bree’s only goal is to feed — as much and with as little trouble as possible. Human blood, even from the “dregs” of society, is her sustenance.

But something feels strange about her situation, about life with twenty other vampires and little knowledge of how they got that way. Bree was a troubled teen, true, and she’d been living on the streets when discovered by Riley and offered a meal. She became the meal at some point, taken to the dark home where she “lives” now, told that she’s a member of a coven whose purpose is still unknown. After she befriends Diego, another vampire and friend of Riley, Bree begins to think about getting away — especially when Riley’s lies begin to stack one atop the other. And something is beginning to happen. Something is coming after them.

Stephenie Meyer’s The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner is a novella to supplement Eclipse, the third in her bestselling Twilight Saga, and centers around the life of a minor character from that third book. I’ll admit to reading and enjoying all four of Meyer’s novels several summers ago, pre-blogging, and getting lost in the complicated love story of Edward and Bella. The shadowy world of modern-day vampires was a new one for me, I’ll say, and while I know the series faces criticism (and rightfully so), I liked the Twilight books as the escapist fun I found them to be — and, in that vein, I enjoyed Bree Tanner.

Like all of Meyer’s books, the emotional depth was lacking — or non-existent, depending on your perspective. Things happen. Lots of talking. Many questions — entire paragraphs of questions, most of them centering around, “What is happening? Are they telling me the truth? Should I believe them? What if they’re wrong? What should I do?” And after the third or fourth set of Bree’s thoughts in that realm, I started nodding off a bit. (Well, not literally. I was reading it online. But if I were at home, that’s around the time I’d have gotten a big bowl of ice cream, put on some “Glee” and forgotten about it for a while.)

For me, the appeal of the books seems to center around being able to picture yourself as the heroine — the Bella, or the Bree — and imagining your own place within the adventure. The Twilight books hinge around a familiar formula: the slow building of a problem; gearing up for a fight or battle; the confrontation; the resolution. Bree Tanner doesn’t break from this, though it bothered me less in a 200-page story than a 700-page clunker of a book.

Twilight devotees will enjoy another glimpse at life within the newborns, a group which played an integral role in the plot of Eclipse and the fate of Bella. I liked watching the attachments forming between Bree, Diego and “Freaky” Fred, another mysterious coven member with special powers, but never got completely attached to Bree — especially knowing, as I did, how it all would end. That’s what’s strange about a book like this: we know the ending long before we open the first page. I didn’t find it particularly enlightening, moving or powerful, but hey — it filled an afternoon.


3 out of 5!

ISBN: 1907410368 ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Website
Read for free online at BreeTanner.com

Musing Mondays: OMG Twilight!

musing_mondays This week’s Musing Mondays question from its new home at Just One More Page:

How do you feel about wide-spread reading phenomenons — Harry Potter, for instance, or the more current Twilight Saga? Are these books so widely read for a reason, or merely fads or crazes? Do you feel compelled to read — or NOT to read — these books because everyone else is?

Well, how incredibly topical is this?! Especially since I’m still riding ridiculously high from my Twilight-filled weekend (much more to come on that later, either to your joy or dismay).

I’ll be the first one to tell you I don’t usually jump in with the hype. Even when practically everyone I knew was reading the Harry Potter series — including my dad and sister — I stubbornly refused to read them, even though I never stopped hearing good things about them. My only rationale was that I didn’t “like” that type of book, and I thought, stupidly, they were just for children. I actually read the entire series last summer — books one through seven, all in a row — beginning around April and ending last September, after Deathly Hallows came out. I initially started reading them as we were gearing up for the midnight release party of book seven last July at my bookstore job; I wanted to be excited like everyone else was. And once I started reading them, pushing straight through, I loved it. I felt silly that I’d put it off for so long.

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The same is (mostly) true of Twilight — I’d heard customers buzzing about the series randomly over the past few years, but never paid much attention. I don’t typically read anything with a science fiction / fantasy / mystery slant, and all anyone had to do was say the word “vampire” and I was out. But as we got ready for the midnight release of Breaking Dawn in August — and I found myself as mistress of ceremonies once again — I wanted to be excited about the release and be able to discuss the books with customers. So I bought Twilight around June, hunkered down with all three books and read and read and read. Then, of course, I got to wait around for the fourth and final book with everyone else — although I waited considerably less time. And I loooooved them (OMG EDWARD CULLEN! lol lol), despite the fact that I wasn’t necessarily in the targeted “age bracket” anymore. (And for the record, I have several good friends in their forties and fifties who have read and adored the series, too!)

To some extent, I guess these books are “fads” — just in the way that popular things can only stay popular for so long. I don’t believe the Twilight Saga has the staying power that the Harry Potter franchise does, mostly because Twilighters are a certain demographic (women) and Harry Potter appeals more to both genders. Plus, they’re just much better written with much more dynamic, interesting plots (sorry, Stephenie Meyer). But Twilight had a dramatic pull for me — something absolutely compelled me to read like the wind, dying to figure out the fate of, basically, two star-crossed lovers. There’s an emotional element to them that surprised me. I know many people don’t agree, but that’s what’s great about art — we all draw from it what we want to draw. And though the books can only fly off the shelves for so long before something new breaks in and draws the attention away, readers will continue to discover these book series long after we’ve stopped hearing about them daily.