The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer
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.
Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood... life before she became a vampire.
All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don't draw attention to yourself and, above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn't know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.
Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they know only as "her". As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trus. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth? (courtesy of Goodreads)
The new Bree Tanner book is a great addition to Stephenie's vampire canon. If you're a fan of the Twilight books, you'll love Bree's novella. But I don't think this book will make Twi-haters fans of the series. And if you haven't read the books yet, you'll just be confused.
The book starts out about a week before the big fight with the Cullens and wolves. Bree is 3 months old. She's living in an old house with 20 young vampires who generally would rather fight and hunt than think. Bree is both different and the same. She has constant thirst and feels no compassion for the stupid, ignorant humans she kills. She is a very typical newborn vampire. But she's not a fighter. Bree spent her human life hiding from her abusive father; as a vampire, she also learns useful ways to stay low. Unlike most of her "colleagues," she thinks and questions - Why are we here? Is Riley telling us the truth about anything? As she and her newfound friend/soulmate Diego question more about their lives, things start to happen very quickly and with great consequences.
The cast of characters in the novella are great. Diego, Bree's soul-mate, is also quiet and thoughtful; he's older than the others, more independent, and trusted by Riley. I liked him as a character and thought he was wonderful with Bree, but he wasn't around long enough for me to develop any personal feelings toward him. Most of the other vampires - Raoul, Kristen, Kevin, and the blonde guy were just mindless idiots. Freaky Fred was fascinating. He has a unique vampire talent. I'd love to know more about him. We learn more about Riley in Eclipse. In the novella, I pity him a very tiny bit but hate him a lot more. He's cruel and arrogant toward the newborns, treating them more like animals than former humans. But he's also misled, used, and betrayed by Victoria. Victoria is another character explored in more depth. She is much more evil than I ever thought. Even the Volturi make an interesting appearance. At least now I understand why the movie trailers feature them prominently.
I particularly loved Bree's interaction with the Cullens, particularly Jasper and Carlisle. We get to see all the Cullens in their true vampire forms. But I learned more about Jasper and Carlisle's characters. There wasn't anything that changed my impression of them, but it's just helpful to see them from a different viewpoint.
The Bree Tanner novella is a fascinating portrayal of "normal" vampires. It was easier to relate the way Stephenie's vampires see the world. Stephenie did say that Bella would have been much like Bree if she didn't go into being a vampire with as much knowledge. It gives me even greater admiration for the Cullens' lifestyle choice, since I understand more how difficult it is.
Bree's second life was short and painful, but in an odd way more fulfilling and happy than her entire first life.
Rating: 5 / 5 (probably deserves a 5, but regardless, all Twilight books get a 5 from me)