The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

By Stephenie Meyer

Copyright 2010 by Stephenie Meyer, published by Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group, 237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017

ISBN 978-0-316-112558-1

Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, other online bookstores as well as your local independent bookseller.

Like J. K. Rowling before her, Stephanie Meyer has become a literary phenomenon. Her latest installment in the Twilight Saga, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a change from the past volumes in the Twilight Saga. The “book” is actually a 178 page novella. As a comparison, Breaking Dawn, the last novel in the Twilight Saga, weighed in at a hefty 768 pages. This is quite a difference in the size of the books, and in the ability to develop characters and storyline.

It is said The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner began as Meyer’s attempt to explain the character’s personality and motives to the cast and crew of Eclipse. While the book does in fact do some of this it is highly flawed. It moves too quickly through the storyline; motives aren’t fully developed; and the character development leaves much to be desired. There is a love interest for Bree, but whether it is a “typical” vampire romance with the subsequent strong bonding is never fully explored. It could be your average teen romance for all the reader knows, even though this is not the case in the past novels.

Amongst all the new vampires recruited for Victoria’s “army” – of which Bree is a part – there are only two who show any type of special ability, compared to the Cullen family of whom three out of six have special abilities. Also, the new “army” of vampires is essentially allowed to fun free causing havoc, but somehow manage to miraculously come together as a cohesive whole when it comes time to attack the Cullen family, drawing in even the reluctant Bree.

Meyer doesn’t do nearly as well with the novella form as she does with that of the novel. There are many scenes and characters that could have been better developed and there was, no doubt, sufficient material for a novel had she chosen to write one. Instead she truncated storyline, characters, scenes and background in the name of expediency. After reading it you will definitely feel that something is missing and wonder why you spent the money for the book.

On the plus side, this is not another “Bella and Edward” book. It does show some of the character of Bree Tanner and what is happening in her vampire life. It does help you to develop sympathy for the character of Bree Tanner who has found herself caught up in events far more significant than she is. It also helps to explain a few events that are only alluded to in Eclipse.

But, having said that, there are characters whose stories would have been much more interesting and relevant; There are Leah and Seth Clearwater, Sam and Emily, Alice – if she could discover more of her story, Jasper, or even Rosalie or Jacob. The back stories of any of these characters would have been more interesting and far more pertinent. Even stories of the Volturi, the “guardians” of vampire peace and law would be better than this travesty that devotes 178 pages to a character who appears in only one book for perhaps a total of ten minutes worth of reading time.

What follows is a short excerpt from the novella:

“Everyone knows that old-timey vampires had to stay in coffins during the day,” I went on. “To keep out of the sun. That’s common knowledge, Diego”

“You’re right. All the stories do say that.”

“And what would Riley gain by locking us up in a lightproof basement – one big group coffin – all day, anyway? We just demolish the place, and he has to deal with all the fighting, and it’s constant turmoil. You can’t tell me he enjoys it.”

Something I’d said surprised him. He sat with his mouth open for a second, then closed it.

“What?”

“Common knowledge,” he repeated. “What do vampires do in coffins all day?”

“Er – oh yeah, they’re supposed to sleep, right? But I guess they’re probably just lying there bored, ‘cause we don’t…Okay, so that part’s wrong.”

As you can see, this is the kind of junk that fills the pages of the novella; discovering and then arguing amongst themselves, or working to disprove vampire lore they’ve been taught to accept as gospel. The book is a bore and when it comes to the Pigeon scale it definitely falls into the category of Pigeon Droppings.

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