Bree Tanner's second life began three months ago. Tricked into becoming a vampire by a beautiful boy, Bree now spends her days craving human blood and trying to stay out of trouble with her fellow vampires. Then she becomes friends with Diego, a fellow newborn that's begun to question some of the “rules” they've been told about being vampires. As the two dig deeper, they begin to discover what their new lives mean, and the dark plan their creator has for them.
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a novella that takes place during Eclipse, the third book in The Twilight Saga. While reading this book, I couldn't help but compare Bree's journey to Bella's. Both are teenage girls that get drawn into the world of vampires after meeting a boy they find to be “beautiful.” But where Bella gets a happy ending after becoming a vampire, Bree is not so lucky. Bree has no family of friendly vegetarian vampires to teach her the rules. Instead, she is thrust into a violent community of bloodthirsty, meat-headed thugs whose entire lives revolve around violence. She is fed lies about what it means to be a vampire, and has to work out the real details either with the help of Diego, or by herself. The predator that opens the door to the vampire world does not turn out to be the love of Bree's life, but a manipulative monster. Any happy romance that Bree experiences is brief and far from the epic love story of Edward and Bella. Bree does not have the freaky, poorly explained immunity to blood lust that Bella has. Although she has more of a sense of self preservation than some of the other newborns, she craves blood just as strongly as any three month old vampire.
I had a complex relationship with Bella while reading The Twilight Saga. Although I did not despise her in the way that some readers have, there were some instances where I couldn't really understand her. I was surprised that I got along much better than Bree. I liked the fact that she was pretty smart, and enjoyed watching her discover more about the vampire world. At the same time, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is somewhat flawed. There is no wonky message shoved down your throat about settling down and making babies. Instead it seems to be poorly edited, as if it was released in a rush. There were several small incidents that just don't make much sense (for example, Bree and Diego hide out in a cave the size of a VW Beetle, but for some reason Diego is able to stand up straight in it, despite the fact that it would be too small for him). These weren't a huge problem, but it did frustrate me a little.
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is an interesting glimpse into the life of another girl drawn into the vampire world. The novella, which can be read for free online, feels to me like a gift from Stephenie Meyer to her fans. I would only recommend this novella to existing fans of the Twilight Saga. To be honest, I don't really think that new readers would find it all that interesting, and may even be a little confused with the end. As someone that has enjoyed the Twilight Saga as a whole, I'm glad I picked up the audiobook.
Rating: four stars
Length: The Print version is 192 pages. The audiobook I listened to was just over four hours.
Challenge: This book is part of the 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge
Similar Books: The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause (my review)
Other books I've read by this author: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, The Host (my review), Twilight: The Graphic Novel Vol 1 (my review)
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