When it was announced that Stephenie Meyer would be publishing a short novella to accompany Eclipse titled ‘The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner’ a lot of peoples first reaction was ‘who’s Bree?’ Not mine though, I remembered her story straightaway, the reason being that the newborn vampires and Bree in particular, were amongst the very few sections of Eclipse I actually enjoyed. I make no bones about the fact there were huge issues with Eclipse as a book that I really struggled with. As this review isn’t for Eclipse, I won’t bore you with them now and I’ve already let rip elsewhere about my feelings. So it may come as a surprise that I was actually really excited about this novella. Why? Because despite the huge issues I have, I’m still only human and find Meyer’s Twilight saga as irresistible as the rest of you! I was instantly intrigued to read the other side, one that didn’t come from Bella (resists ranting again)
So, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner tells the story of the young, newborn vampire caught up in Victoria’s war with Bella and The Cullen’s. The novella came about when Meyer was editing Eclipse and began as nothing more than a writing exercise. It begins with Bree just 3 months after she was turned into a vampire and being prepared, along with the rest of Victoria’s newly created army, to go to battle (although this is unbeknown to them) We know how the story ends, or at least you will do if you have read Eclipse. This book takes us on Bree’s journey to that point, as an unwitting pawn in Victoria’s deadly game of revenge.
I loved this take on the story. Seeing things from Bree’s perspective gives a whole new slant to Eclipse, and I enjoyed this way more. Bree hasn’t chosen to be turned, she’s been kept in the dark about the truth of being a vampire (literally!) yet there is masses of spirit and curiosity there along with her vulnerability. Bizarrely hers is an incredibly human tale, 15 year old Bree is caught up in a gang of wicked vampires, but it could quite easily be a real life drug or criminal gang. She’s a victim and I ended up right on her side.
The newly created army of vampires are terrifying and it’s amazing to see what life was like for them, how driven their thirst actually is. They are dangerous, wild and uncontrollable- a complete contrast to the vampires we have met previously in the Twilight saga. I’m not going to give too much away, because the book is only 190 pages long and like I already said, we know how it ends, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone yet to read. I will say there is a touching love story (with a couple of brilliant scenesand much sparkliness!), plenty of action, excitement and intrigue and new insights into the days leading up to the battle. It’s not all perfect, Meyer’s tendency to over describe is still there and I did feel that some elements of certain characters were too sketchy and vague, making me want to know even more. However the scene at the end of the battle through Bree’s eyes is fantastically written and very emotional, the opportunity to read this almost makes up for the flaws. I was willing things to be different, even though I knew they couldn’t be.
Overall The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner is a success in my opinion, and is everything that I want from Meyer and was missing in Eclipse. I’m glad I read this, having this ‘behind the scene’ insight makes me all the more excited to see Eclipse at the cinema. A must read for anyone who has read the Twilight series.
You can read The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner for free until July 5Th 2010 at www.BreeTanner.com