Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Book Review: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Inside Jacket: 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 trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth? In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.

Review: Okay, guys: I've got to be honest. When I saw SMeyer had published a "companion novella" to the behemoth that is the Twilight series, this was basically my reaction:

But the draw was too strong, and I ended up reading it anyway. =(

The first several pages are the most interesting: We're introduced to the wry, skeptical Bree (this is me being generous; she has but a trace of personality), who soon pairs off with another newborn named Diego for a hunt. Shockingly (I jest, I jest, it was not shocking at all), Diego is good-looking. After they prey upon "the crying prostitute, the zoned-out prostitute" and "the angry pimp," Diego proves that chivalry is alive and kicking (undead?) by stepping in to carry Bree's dead prostitute for her before she can protest. Take him home to meet your mom, girl.

I was kind of taken aback by the banter between Bree and Diego; it seemed out of place in the larger context of their story. It is so hip! So young! So now! They each run around saying things like "true, that" and "skillzzz" and "super-secret ninja club." It makes me feel bad that I'm not kidding right now. However, it wasn't
all bad: Meyer has her moments of comic success, as when the self-aware Bree says, "I'm a vampire. If that doesn't prove that superstitious people are right, I don't know what does" (p. 40).

Because these are sparkle 'pires, several pages are devoted to a sparklegasm in the sun, which I thought was actually one of the prettier, more enjoyable scenes in the novella. After that, it got very boring and hard to sit through because the book tried to be about the larger political climate of the vampire world, but it felt like a lot of writing about nothing. I didn't leave with a better understanding of vampire politics or rules than I got from the original series. Also, there is a particularly mind-withering passage wherein Bree attempts to use logic and it ends up being three pages of her asking herself questions. "Is it? But if it isn't, what then? I cannot be logical without Diego by my side." Repeat, repeat, repeat, omg this book is so badly written *stabstabstab*

Conclusion: It has its moments, but is ultimately uninteresting, poorly written, and can't be read as a standalone book. 2/5 for the cheeseburger of pain. I'M NOT JOKING, THAT IS IN THERE. You can read it in its entirety here until July 5th. (Click here for an overview of my rating policy).


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