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Friday, 22 April 2016

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Saga, #3.5) - Book Review

5/5 Stars

I turned off my brain.

It was time to hunt...

7937675

Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 178
Chapters: -- (Isn't broken up in any way.)
Publisher: Atom

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner surprises me, and reminds me not to make preconceived expectations of a story before I read it (most of the time I happily stick by that rule). But, unfortunately, I did with this short for the Twilight Saga. I worried that because most people will have read the core series, and thus know the ending to this short, that any emotion or building would be too rushed.

Thankfully, I am completely wrong. The length of this novella is perfect: It allows enough time to convey not only a solid story, but also build compelling characters and dynamics. Our knowledge of the finale also doesn't work against us; instead, it serves to ramp up the emotion and tension as we progress to a heartfelt and heartbreaking ending.

SPOILER WARNING

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

Bree Tanner's life has never been easy, even when she was human, but now she's a newborn vampire, and that comes with its own dangers.
She might be supernaturally strong, fast and lethal, but she's surrounded by newborns just as powerful, and they're always angry.
But, she has nowhere else to go.
The newborns, led by Riley and a mysterious, unseen woman, have been tied together by fear.
And for what purpose?
As Bree grows closer to a sceptical Diego, they both come to wonder what endgame their growing numbers are for.
Death lurks at every corner, but nothing condemns more seriously than curiosity...

Plot - 5/5 Stars

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner takes place during the Twilight Saga's third entry, Eclipse, and follows a newborn Bree as she and the other fresh vampires are manipulated and pushed into a war with the Cullen Clan. Most of you will have already read the entire series before coming across this novella, and I think it works better that way. Our foresight adds layers of tension and inevitability to Bree's and the other newborns' fate. 

There's an inherent sadness to the story that works well with just how darn sweet it is. It gives us some nifty action and some compelling insights into Bree's - as a newborn filled with the thirst for blood - perspective. We also gather more concrete knowledge on the Volturi and their goals, despite knowing how that's going to end. 

It's made all the more enjoyable by how quickly the reader connects to the cast, and when the end finally comes, it's heartbreaking in a way Eclipse couldn't show us.

Pace - 5/5 Stars

More action-orientated than most of the core entries are, which, when balanced, is awesome. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner does this balance well, with character progression never overtaking the thrilling hunts and battles, and vice versa.

Plus it's under 200 pages, so it's concise.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

I think what makes this novella is Bree. I am completely and wholeheartedly brought in by her voice and personality. She's smart, compassionate (for a newborn vampire, anyway), and observant. The chemistry between her and Diego is warm, and while there are romantic notions, it feels more like an intense friendship, which works wonders. 

It's all the more engaging as the two sift through the lies and manipulations, doing their best to get to the truth, even if it is right there in front of them. Their fates get to you, even though you've only spent a short time with them.

The rest of the cast fills out quite nicely. Maybe not as fleshed out, some characters do sit comfortably on being a certain type and playing a certain purpose, but the likes of Fred and Riley make up the difference.

Writing - 4/5 Stars

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner doesn't hold any revelations, at least not for readers who've journeyed the core series, but even then the writing reflects a telling direction. Which is hard to avoid, but becomes a little uniform in its execution.

Aside from that Meyer conveys the plot and its characters extremely well. The action is fun and the emotion is genuine.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

A nice little dip back into the Twilight Saga's world and a must-read for fans who haven't got around to it yet.


Previous Instalment: Eclipse
Next Instalment: Breaking Dawn


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