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The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella (The Twilight Saga) Hardcover – June 5, 2010
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My favourite aspect of the Twilight novels was the supporting cast of characters, who were so fascinating they always left me wanting to know more. This short novel from Bree's perspective works as a supplement to Eclipse, and as a tragic story in its own right. If the main aspect of the Twilight novels you enjoyed was the romance between Edward and Bella, then I don't think you'll enjoy this one, however if you liked the wider politics of the Twilight vampire universe, then this is one for you.
I enjoyed the way the details of Bree's conversion to the vampire life were revealed gradually throughout the first half of the story. There was a great sense of tragic irony in the fact that Bree ended up trading her humanity for a cheeseburger, of all things. The contemporary culture references in Twilight always act as a nice reality contrast to the more fantastical elements.
Riley came off as a sympathetic character in Eclipse, another sad victim of Victoria's evil. From Bree's perspective, there is nothing to pity, as Riley is as much a perpetrator of evil and manipulation as Victoria. His referral to the newborns as his 'kids' felt like a sad, twisted mirror of Carlisle and Esme's loving parental relationship with their own coven.
Fred was a fascinating new character. Most of the vampire powers we've seen so far have seemed as much of a curse as they are a gift, but Fred's ability to repel people would be every wannabe hermit's greatest dream. I wondered if he was a social phobic when he was a human. The progression of his relationship with Bree was nicely done - very subtle. I especially liked the card playing: from solitaire, to assisted solitaire, and finally two-player.
The best scenes came towards the end, when the story meets up with what we know from Eclipse. One of my favourite was between Carlisle, Esme and Jasper when they discuss Bree's fate. I don't think we ever saw those characters interact in the Twilight saga, and the dynamics between the various personalities of the Cullen family make for good drama.
I can see a lot of potential for these supplemental stories for expanding the Twilight universe. I'd love to read one about Maria, or Peter and Charlotte, or the rest of the Cullen family. And, of course, Fred ... I hope he did meet the Cullens some day.
Bree Tanner was a fifteen year old runaway before she became a vampire. Now, a three-month-old vampire, Bree has to find ways to stay alive, to feed without getting caught, and to find the truth about her new life. But Riley, the leader of this gang, is spurring them to war.
Right off, I need to say that I have recently finished Eclipse and did actually find myself interested in the character of Bree Tanner. She seemed interesting and was the first time we had seen a newborn vampire that wasn't so hostile. This book expands on her small part in Eclipse and there are many fascinating aspects.
Bree Tanner, for one, is not a Bella clone. She is far more independent and curious, a lot more proactive and a lot more involved in her own life. I thought she had way more spunk than Bella has ever shown. Sure, Bree has no hobbies either, besides reading, but Bree is a newborn vampire. I don't expect to find her in a knitting circle.
Fred needs to seriously have his own novella. He has a power that is absolutely creative and interesting and this novella (focusing on Bree) barely gives him a chance to show it off. Maybe if this book does well enough, Meyer will write his story (starting, hopefully, before he goes vampire).
Learning more about newborn vampires in general was eye-opening. Finally, Meyer gets to explore her creation. We get to see newborn vampires have absolutely no loyalty to each other, no self-control, and no qualms about sinking their teeth into their poor human food banks. I liked reading Bree and Diego roam Seattle.
I also loved how Meyer acknowledged the other vampire mythos by having our newbie vampires believe that sun is bad, they can get staked through the heart, and to fear garlic.
I Didn't Like:
You know it's a Stephenie Meyer book when after meeting a boy for two seconds, the girl cannot live without him. Yes, my fellow readers, Bree becomes very friendly (never exactly romantic, though) with Diego and when he is gone, she is devastated to the point of giving up on living. Oh, please. Spare me.
Another part that really irked me is how, when the whole "army" of newbies appears in daylight, they spend most of their time commenting on how "pretty and sparkly" they are. Uh, the girls, maybe, but the guys? Particularly fifteen year-old guys? Have you been around fifteen-year-old guys? I can almost bet you they would comment on it, but I bet it would have a far more negative tone than "My you are so pretty and sparkly" (I won't recount it because I have no desire to reproduce such offensiveness here). Geesh.
I guess one of my biggest complaints is that Meyer takes a character, who was in the big battle with vampires and werewolves, and TOTALLY AVOIDS WRITING THE BATTLE SCENE! Bree ends up avoiding it by hanging in the back for two seconds, and POOF! When she appears, the battle is all gone, the werewolves are elsewhere, and I am so confused about how long this battle took, who was where, who did what, and what was the point of writing from Bree if you can't even write the battle that she would have taken part it? Lord!
Lastly, I have to mention that Meyer's writing is a little sloppy. I mean, she's not the best writer in the world (most elaborate, most spellbidning, most whatever), but this is her first book I had to reread certain parts over again to figure out what she was trying to say.
I didn't catch anything.
Victoria and Riley head off to a "gingerbread house" in the middle of the forest to "smoochie smoochie".
There is a lot of violence near the beginning, with multiple feedings, vampires' losing limbs, and burnings.
I did like this book. But I wasn't happy when I learned that Meyer is hosting this novella on her site for free while I spent nearly $14 (okay, not quite) on it. Yes, the free version is only up until July 5th, and I probably would have bought it anyway because it is a rather nice looking book (and I have a terrible time reading books on the computer and don't want to fight with my printer to print out nearly 200 pages), but I still want to warn those who are on the fence. It may be better to read it online, see if you like it, and then shell out the 14 bucks or whatever sale you can snag (and there are tons of sales to be found).
So, nice book, neat insights, new characters. Is it brilliant? No. Is it interesting? Yes. Is it absolutely vital to understanding Eclipse? No. Do I recommend? For a nice, quick "time waster", sure.
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