Author: Stephenie Meyer
No. of Pages: 178
First Released: June 2010
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books): “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.”
Comments and Critique: It is so good to be reviewing a new work by Stephenie Meyer. I remain an unabashed fan of everything she has written, and The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner does not disappoint. Released in advance of the upcoming release of Eclipse, Ms. Meyer recommended to all of her fans that we are to read this novella before watching the movie. Even though I have not yet seen the movie (I do have tickets for the 1 PM show on opening day), I can see why Ms. Meyer recommends this. In The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, she does give away some interesting happenings that directly pertain to what we know happens in Eclipse but which Bella would never know has occurred. Suddenly, certain statements and events make sense or take on added meaning because of Bree’s experiences as a newborn.
One of the most compelling angles of this novella is the fact that it is told from the perspective of a newborn. Fans who have read Breaking Dawn know what Bella’s experiences are as a newborn, but everyone agrees that she is not your “typical” newborn vamp. Rather, we get life as a new vampire as Jasper experienced it, full of blood lust, a lack of rules and a lack of restraint. Bree’s transformation also hints as to how Bella was able to avoid the blood lust and the lack of restraint. In general, the entire experience allows the reader to garner sympathy for the newborns and their fate at the hands of Riley and Victoria, even while enforcing the idea that life is full of choices and that we must accept those consequences.
I enjoyed my time with Bree and hope that Ms. Meyer branches out into following other characters. She has such a way with words that makes a reader feel like s/he is more than just a remote observer of the occurrences. The reader feels Bree’s confusion, her fears, her thirst. For 178 pages, the reader becomes a newborn vampire trying to make sense out of a confusing life. Few writers, for me, have this ability to make the reader become more than a passive participant in the action, and I have missed this ability to lose myself in the action more than the words.
In general, this is a great addition to the Twilight Saga. It was fun to connect the dots between Seattle happenings and what we already know is occurring in Forks. It is a great chance to again experience the vampire world Ms. Meyer created so many years ago and a wonderful reminder of how much I love her novels. For those who have not fully embraced the Twilight phenomenon, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is not worth the read, while true fans of the series will welcome this novella with open arms.