Review: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

The Twilight Saga Eclipse Novella: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Funny story about this: one day I got a call from The Book Man saying that the book was in and available for me to pick up—and I had no idea what the employee on the phone was talking about. When she finally mentioned that it was part of the Twilight Saga, I clued in, but I had no idea I’d put a hold on this book. I’m glad I got it, though!

Read: October 14 – October 14, 2023

Book contains: graphic violence, death

A Cool Take on the Lives of Newborn Vampires

Bree Tanner is a newborn vampire, about three months old, and her world is kill or be killed. She lives in a coven of about twenty others, all clustered together in a crowded basement, and everyone gets shifts to hunt out in the nearby city, Seattle. They’re meant to be keeping a low profile, but the papers are reporting on a mysterious string of murders, and she knows that it’s their fault. She just hopes to stay out of their leader’s way.

I read Eclipse and Breaking Dawn before reading this book, though I could’ve read it right after Eclipse. I recognized the name of the vampire, anyway, so I already had an idea of what this book would be about. I wasn’t expecting reading about and liking the characters of Diego and Fred so much though.

I tried reading this book just on my own at first, but it wasn’t as engaging, so I found Benjamin Vega on YouTube. He read this novella about seven years ago. It was okay, though I didn’t like how many interruptions there were; he kept stopping, not only to discuss the book, but because of unrelated things like errant thoughts that popped into his head. Overall, though, it was more enjoyable than reading on my own, and he had some helpful insights as well.

This book was told from the first-person perspective of Bree, one of the Newborns that Victoria tried to use to hunt down Bella during Eclipse. It deals with the perspective of a newborn vampire that we haven’t gotten yet, and I found it quite interesting, though it wasn’t as in-depth as I would’ve liked. It gave another angle to the final battle during Eclipse too.

I found it kind of funny, though, as we get to know a bunch of new characters—Bree, Diego, Riley, Fred—that there was so much more character development in this short book than I found in the entire first book of the series. Only 55 pages in and Bree and Diego have a better developed relationship than Bella and Edward at the end of Twilight. They just clicked in a way that I didn’t find in the other relationships that Meyer has written. I also really liked Fred as a character, even though we don’t know much about him throughout a lot of the book.

The quality of the book is consistent with the rest of the series—decent, not mind-blowing. Meyer gets the story across in a way that emphasizes the emotion of the characters, though there are, in my opinion, some questionable decisions in regard to conflict. A lot of the time, the conflict feels manufactured.

Though it has no real impact on the series, I highly recommend finding and reading this novella. It gives insights about how the world works, and how unfair it is—for humans and vampires alike. If you read Eclipse, then you know that Bree dies shortly after being created (this is also hinted at in the title), but it was by no fault of her own. She didn’t even take part in the battle, and honestly, the only reason she was there at all to be caught was because she didn’t want to abandon her friend. She was still a Newborn, volatile and vicious as she was, but she was nothing like the other newborns, who only cared about killing.

This book gave a lot of things for me to think about while writing my Vampires in Fiction II article, which will be edited and posted shortly after the review of Midnight Sun; stay tuned for that!

Related Articles: Vampires in Fiction, Werewolves in Fiction

Related Review(s):
The Twilight Saga book 1: Twilight
The Twilight Saga book 2: New Moon
The Twilight Saga book 3: Eclipse
The Twilight Saga book 4: Breaking Dawn
The Twilight Saga Companion Novel: Midnight Sun
The Mortal Instruments book 1: City of Bones

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