Review: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner3 comments

By Sarah
Posted on 11 Jul 2010 at 7:41pm

Those of you who’ve watched the Twilight Saga movies, but never read the books may be asking yourself, “Who the heck is Bree Tanner?” Even if you did read the entire Saga you may still be wondering, “Why the heck did Bree get her own book?” You are not alone.

I read the entire saga and have seen all of the movies so far and this is the question I asked myself before reading this novella as well. Of all of the characters in the entire series, why Bree? She was hardly a notable character, only being seen briefly at the end of the battle against the newborns in Eclipse. I could certainly think of several other characters that would be better suited to have their own story told. (Like finishing “Midnight Sun” from Edward’s perspective.) So again, why Bree?

Stephenie Meyer states in the beginning of the book, “Personally, I never figured out why some of my characters take on strong lives of their own, but I’m always happy when they do. Those characters are the most effortless to write, and so their stories are usually the ones that get finished. Bree is one of those characters,…” as her reasoning for releasing this novella. I suppose as a writer myself I can relate to how some characters speak to you more than others and for this reason I gave the book a shot with an open mind. And I’ll admit it wasn’t bad.

About Bree: (Warning – Spoilers to follow)

Bree Tanner was your run of the mill troubled teen runaway, which in Stephenie’s Twilight world equates to newborn vampire target. Riley, on a mission directed by Victoria, sets out to create an army of these degenerate teens, kids that in their eyes won’t be missed. This is also how they teach them to hunt; they are only allowed to feed off of the trash that litters Seattle’s street corners (druggies, hookers, and the likes) as well as the occasional traveler. Their instructions aren’t always followed though, thus the rising concern hitting the front pages of Seattle’s newspaper which infuriates Riley as he struggles to maintain power over twenty out of control newborn vampires.

Under Victoria’s direction, Riley makes the newborns fearful of sunlight and demands that they make it home before it rises everyday, but one night Bree doesn’t make it back in time. She and her new friend (would have been boyfriend) Diego find themselves hiding in a cave underwater to escape the sunlight. But Diego is brave and curious, his mind not completely captive to blood lust, and he discovers that sunlight doesn’t burn them at all, but instead just makes them more beautiful (and sparkly). They spend the day above ground, pondering whether Riley has lied to them or is being mislead himself by Victoria (who by the way remains nameless to them). Diego decides to approach him about it, which ends up being a bad idea. Bree never sees Diego again after that, their possible love story cut short because of his trust in Riley.

So Bree befriends a repulsive newborn named Fred, the only one of their bunch with an extra ability – the ability to make it impossible to even look at him because he’s so repulsive. Somehow Bree can stand it though so she remains invisible as well. After days of not seeing Diego and being told by Riley that he will be waiting for her at the battle, the day has finally arrived, the day that they go after the strange yellow eyed vampires (the Cullen’s).

They are lured to this fight by the scent of Bella’s shirt (one that Riley stole from her house), but before Fred and Bree make it to the clearing Fred finally speaks and lets Bree know that he’s on to Riley’s lies and plans to leave the group and live on his own. Despite his offer to join him Bree is set on finding Diego first so they can run off together. Sadly once she reaches the clearing, reality sets in as she admits what she already knew, that Diego is dead.

Carlisle Cullen finds her as the battle dwindles to a close and because she is so young, scared, and willing to surrender he offers to teach her the proper way to be a vampire, or in his world how to live like them on animal blood. But the Volturi show up (knowing full well all along what Victoria’s intentions were) and inform her that they do not give second chances and end her “second” life.

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What I liked:

I liked how the newborns were tricked into believing they were fighting for domination of land, how they were tricked into believing that sunlight would burn them, and how different their newborn-like thoughts were in comparison to the control we see Bella have once she becomes a vampire in Breaking Dawn.

What I didn’t like:

Bree’s voice wasn’t that different from the voice we get from Bella. She was fairly whiny like Bella and innocently stupid like her as well.

I didn’t like that once Bree arrives at the battle scene there’s hardly any recognition of the wolves presence. Stephenie does make mention of a few wolves names and the sounds of growling, but she makes Bree think they must just be some sort of stronger vampires. I find this a little unrealistic. Even with Jasper telling her to keep her eyes closed and covering her ears I would imagine she’d had at least one glimpse of them as she approached the clearing. And truthfully I would have preferred her too. I would have liked to see her reaction to the wolves since we never get to truly see anyone’s perspective of their unusual alliance.

And lastly I didn’t like that there was never one break in the book. It was 178 pages without a scene break or chapter break. Not that that was long, but it felt drawn out like one long run on sentence. There was no natural place to take a break from the book as if you are expected to read it all in one sitting (which I did), but still there should have been some sort of pause somewhere, even if it was just once.

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It wasn’t a bad read and if you’re a fan of the series I imagine you will be interested in reading it just because of your dedication to the story it stems from. It’s not overly challenging and like I mentioned can be read in one sitting since it’s far shorter than the saga. I still would have rather read a completed version of “Midnight Sun,” but I suppose we will just have to keep hoping she’ll actually finish that one sometime in the near future.

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3 comments

  1. Heather H.

    Wow, you actually made this book sound interesting when summarizing it! (And being a non-Twilight fan, that’s saying a lot!) It’s doubtful I’d read it, though, because–duh–I’m not a fan. Plus, the dislikes you mentioned would very likely annoy me, too. (Especially the voice thing. It’s always disappointing when authors don’t make an effort to differentiate their characters that way!)

  2. @Heather – It might seem out of context since you’ve never read past Twilight if you tried to read it and I wouldn’t advise buying it anyway, although 1$ did go to the Red Cross so that made me feel good – lol.

    And yes, the voice thing was a disappointment, especially after reading some authors who nail it so perfectly it makes you expect more of ones like Stephenie who are as popular as they are.

  3. SakuraMoon

    This book is fantastic! The movies are great, but this book really puts things in a new perspective. If you’re worried about being commintted to a big book, it’s not that big and reads very fast! Trust me, once you pick it up you will not be able to put it down! I wasn’t a mega fan when I read it. It bought it on my way out of town to read on a plane just to read something. It turned me into a fan. Now I’m reading the other books and am enjoying them too. This one is almost best read first because you get to experiance something unique that draws you in. Bree is “like” you in a way of conventional vampire beliefs and you get to experiance her learning what it means to be a Twilight vampire. It’s worth the time.

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