The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
by Stephenie Meyer
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
I raced through this companion novella to the incredibly popular Twilight series. This was a very enjoyable, fun read. What I liked about it best, was that it returned (or so it initially appears) to a more traditional take on vampires. Bree Tanner, a down-on-her-luck juvenile delinquent, has no idea what's in store for her when a friendly stranger offers her a meal. Before she realizes what is going on, she finds herself turned into a vampire. Told that she must remain out of sunlight, she believes all of the traditional mythology. Crazed by a powerful bloodlust unique to newly made vamps, and possessed of a fierce will to survive amongst the combative and dangerous nest of fellow newborns, it never occurs to Bree to test out any of the information she's been given. She ekes out an existence by keeping herself in the shadow of "Freaky Fred," a fellow newborn whose special talent is the ability to create a repellent aura around himself.
Deeply distrustful of their leader Riley's story that they will be safe during daylight hours due to a rare celestial alignment but not knowing where else to turn, Bree reluctantly joins the newborn army for their ill-fated march to Forks, WA.
In theme and content, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner reminded me very much of a lighter, faster-paced version of M.T. Anderson's dystopian vampire novel, Thirsty. If only Bree had put two-and-two together a little faster. If only she'd been slightly less incapacitated by her thirst for blood. If only her sire, or another vampire had taken her under their wing. A wily survivor, she had so much potential, particularly if the Cullens had been allowed to adopt her into their vegetarian clan. If only.
The book races at breakneck speed to its inevitable conclusion. With deftly-handled parallel storylines, this short novel packs much more dramatic punch than the rest of the series (particularly the turgid Breaking Dawn) and will be considered essential reading by many Twilight fans, yet is easily accessible even to those unfamilar with the series.
I recieved a free copy of this book from the publisher.