I got over all the Twilight hoopla early on, becoming obsessed with the first movie when it came out in late 2008, then devouring the four tomes in quick succession.
While I stand by my contention that the first film was great—indie-esque and unselfconscious, before all the money started rolling in and they tried to top themselves. Bring back Catherine Hardwicke, I say!—the books are so bad they could’ve been written by a grade sixer.
And that goes for The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, too.
But at less than $15 and 178 pages, I flew through it in a few public transport sittings, and it is a must-have for fans, if only to add a hardback edition to the bookshelf’s collection of black and red spines.
The novella follows the “short second life” (duh) of 16-year-old Bree Tanner, who was a newborn vampire introduced in Eclipse, created by Riley and Victoria in their quest to overthrow the Cullens and get to Bella Swan.
In a nutshell, she falls in love with fellow newborn Diego, and they discover together that Riley has been lying to them about what Victoria created them for, amongst other things. One night when they’re hunting, they get sidetracked and stay out too late. Diego shows Bree that the sunlight won’t turn them to ashes, contrary to what Riley asserts. Enter fellow coven member, Fred, who has the ability to repel others with his mind, but chooses to befriend, or rather protect, Bree.
Then comes the action which Twilight fans will be familiar with, when Victoria and Riley lead their coven into battle against the Cullens and the werewolves, who definitely possess the element of surprise, and are devoured by them. Diego dies early on, and Fred diverts his focus to escaping the Volturi, who were liaising with Victoria in her attempt to capture Bella and who arrive after the slaughter to claim Bree’s life, as we all know from Eclipse.
A kind Carlisle Cullen offers to let Bree, the sole survivor, go if she promises not to fight. However, when Jane arrives, Bree realises she has nothing to live for anymore, with Diego dead and Fred gone, and succumbs to the Volturi quietly.
There are no chapters, and the action takes place mostly via dialogue between Bree, Riley, Diego, Fred, and later, Carlisle and his family.
All in all, a pretty tiresome effort by Meyer, but could we reallyexpect much else?