The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer Review

I’m assuming if you’re reading this you like Twilight and have already read the other books, yes?  And you want one of two things from me here–a recommendation about whether this new novella is worth picking up and paying the $9-$14 for (discount dependent), or a discussion of OMG What It Revealed.  In the interests of pleasing everyone (myself included!) I’ll do both.  Clearly delineated, so if you’re in the first camp you can get your recommendation spoiler-free, and then come back later to talk about it.

 Bree Tanner

Because the short answer is, if you are into the series, you need to pick up this little book. It follows the last week in the life of Bree, the young vampire in Victoria’s army who surrenders at the end of Eclipse only to be executed by the Volturi, anyway.  We pick up with her on a hunting spree in Seattle and see the army of newborns from the inside as they finalize their attack on the Cullens.  So you know going in that it can’t end happily, and, thus, kind of like a Shakespearean tragedy, you girder your heart from the beginning.  And it still doesn’t quite work. I didn’t cry, but I was definitely sorry to see Bree go.

Don’t be disappointed by this book’s slender stature (134 pages) or sad premise; the story told feels complete, unrushed, and is oddly satisfying despite its tragic end.  The writing style is a little different but no less readable than the full novels; Bree is more straightforward than Bella, less guilt-ridden and emo, and she tells her story unflinchingly.

It was an easy read–took me perhaps two hours–and it was fabulous fun to see all the characters we already knew through new, and perhaps less sympathetic eyes.  I loved how much Jasper was involved (Team Oh Hale Yes FTW!), and I especially enjoyed seeing Bella as a vampire other than Edward does.  Don’t be afraid this story will ruin anything; it won’t.  But it will change your perspective on a few things in the Twilight universe, in a way that you’ll be glad you read, and if that’s not enough, it also serves as a prologue to the next main character, because there is no way this Fred guy is not getting his own story.  He was just. That. Awesome.

Now, if you haven’t read it and just wanted a review, stop reading.  Because I want to talk about those things we learned, and you are totally wrecking my groove.

(Are they gone?  Excellent.)

Right.  So, big thing, the Volturi are even bigger jerk-faces than we realized!  They totally want the Cullens wiped out.  I mean, I know in Breaking Dawn that comes up, so this made a good set-up for it, but I did not see it coming.

Because Jane?  World’s best liar.  Except maybe for Edward.  The part with Bree pointing out Jane’s mad skills at lying was HILARIOUS.  Also hilarious?  Bree thinking everything she could to Edward, so that he’d know about their treachery even if Jane and her Three Stooges had the werewithal not to let such thoughts cross their minds.

Also, how awesome was Freaky Fred?  Holy crap!  I seriously hope Meyer writes his book, stat, because I want to know what happens to him!  I’ll admit, I was kind of skeptical when she said she might write about other characters than the Cullens, thinking, oh, she’s just milking it, now, but you know what?  MILK AWAY, STEPHENIE, HONEY.

The woman writes entertaining stories, and this one proved that she’s not just hacking on herself at this point, that makes her continuing to use this universe fine, in my book.  I was drawn into Bree’s story, and Fred got his hooks in me, and as much as anything I’m curious to see how someone with his observation skills and logic skills and making himself invisible skills views the world.

And what kind of girl (human or vampire) would fall for him.  I feel like Napoleon Dynamite–girls only want boyfriends who have great skills!  Fred has great skills.  So let’s see what he does with them.

And am I the only one who was kind of…at peace with Bree’s ending?  I mean, it was kind of sad, but kind of not, because Diego had already died and I was just thinking about what happened to Bella and Edward apart from each other and it seemed almost better for her not to have to live without him.

Which of course is a Terrible attitude and In Real Life I would never take that point of view, but that’s what fiction is for, being able to take that Romeo and Juliet attitude and mean it.  So that actually made Bree’s death less tragic.  Like, if she hadn’t already found and lost Diego, I think it would have been more sad.

In all, super-glad I read it and super-glad they released it before the Eclipse movie so we can know what’s coming!

But what did you all think?  Dish, girls!

Elena Nola is the imperial movie critic and the colder half of the Ladies of Ice and Fire.

35 Replies to “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer Review”

  1. You know, the paid hacks at the Guardian and the Washington Post could take a page from you on how to review this book. They’re too filled with bitterness and hate to even hear how they talk out of both sides of their mouths. Anyway, I really enjoyed your take and esp glad you noted the humor. I think people really underestimate SMeyer’s ability to write laughs and to laugh at herself.

  2. it was an illuminating read though wasn’t at all surprised to see the Volturi popping up, visiting Victoria & Riley re the potential demise of the ‘yellow eyes’ – that was pretty obvious from the mainline books…I would like to know more about Fred too. Again, well done, Ms Meyer.

  3. I loved it! Probably going to be reading the series again because it just wasn’t enough to satisfy my thirst 😉 I did find myself hoping for other endings for her even though I knew her outcome! I could definitely have seen Bree and Diego joining up with the Cullens! And I loved her getting one in on Jane! The only thing that I was confused about was the fact that Bree referred to Edward as the dark red headed one? That just through me off? I guess it was just her interpretation? I loved it loved it loved it! And will read it many more times just like I have the rest I am sure of it!

  4. well i just finished reading it and i loved it too… it was a good read made me understand alot more..I had not understood about how they knew the Volturi was is on it so that was great and knowing Bree well that was nice too and just everything was pretty cool the only thing she referred to Edward as a “redhead” i was like uhh!? but its okay i liked i want her to do more stories on other characters like obviously Edward c; but anyways it was good i enjoyed and glad it came out before eclipse so ill understand better 😀

  5. oh and how she instantly like the Cullens and trusted them and stuff and also seeing the Cullens and Bella from someone elses view was great too! i hope Stephenie does more books!

  6. What do you mean, “and I especially enjoyed seeing Bella as a vampire other than Edward does.” Bella isn’t a vampire at the end of Eclipse, so how could anyone see her as a vampire? You didn’t find Bree to be almost a clone of Bella? She’s mousy and likes to read? She finds her own version of Edward? If Stephenie wanted to write something it’s too bad she didn’t finish Midnight Sun. That’s the book fans are waiting to read.

  7. nyycc!!!
    i likee it!
    i hope stpehenie meyer writes more novels and especially completes midnight sun

  8. Thanks for the compliments everyone! Especially FriendsofUST, that was a very lovely thing to hear.

    @More Skeptical. I think you’re misreading the sentence…I mean see Bella the way a vampire who isn’t Edward sees her. And, no, I didn’t see Bree being a copy of Bella at all, just because she is also quiet and likes to read. To me, Bella’s defining characteristics are her self-abnegation, her emotion-based decision making, and her almost martyr-like need to give everything to people she cares about. Bree seemed pretty logical and self-interested. But superficially I guess they did have common traits.

  9. I especially enjoyed reading your review. My auntie brought me this book yesterday for my birthday and I wanted to read a review today before I began to read it. This review is what I expected and I’m happy for Stephenie Meyer for making yet another fantastic book. (Well, from your point of view, it’s good. For mine however, I’ll have to see for myself.) I can’t wait for the film of Eclipse to come out. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Twilight series and watching the first two movies. The actors in Twilight and New Moon are fantastic and I would like to say congratulaions to Rob and Kristen; you’re a good couple. I hope everything goes well between you. I also hope Stephenie makes yet another book for all fans out there to read. Kind regards, Chloe. x

  10. I thought that your review was great. I got this book yesterday and also read it within two hours it was very good, and it was nice to be able to read a new book and have that excitment of not knowing what will come next. It reminds me when i first read all of the twilight saga in six days i just couldnt put them down 🙂
    i think its great she has brought it out before the film because seeing the other side of the story makes it so different.
    i also want a book to be written about fred he is just awsome 🙂 but i wsh diego had survived so a book could have been written of him.
    very good review melissa x

  11. I adored the book, and I loved your review. I felt pretty much the same way, except that I was actually pretty sad when Bree died. I loved having insight on what it was like to be a newborn, because before I guess I just sort of pictured them as soulless bloodsucking fiends, whereas this book made at least a few of them seem like more dimensional characters for me. I guess I only wish it could have been longer. =]

  12. I expected more. I wanted to know Bree’s life before she became a vamp. I thought the first year they shouldn’t be able to think of anything but blood. Why are Diego, Bree, and Fred so rational? Why are they able to think of other things rationally ie: kissing, card playing, reading, being careful to cover their tracks at such a young age? Like someone said before me, Bree is the mirror image of Bella. I didn’t get anything different from newborns.
    Oh and I have a feeling that Fred is meant for Tanya- he is headed north.
    My favorite so far of all SM’s books is the unfinished Edward’s perspective. I had butterflies reading it. She should stick to finishing his side of the story (of all 4 books), then move on to Jake and Nessie.

  13. Like all SM books I had to read it as fast as I could. Although I knew that she wouldn’t, I wanted Bree to catch up with Fred. He is a very interesting character. I found myself wondering if one of the Cullens tracked him down the next day to let him know what happened to Bree and to clue him in on the vampire world. I thought I had put my books back up on the shelf but now I find I’m thirsting for more.

  14. I enjoyed the book but with it being so short I was dying for more. It was wonderful being back in that world again, experiencing something new. Very odd though wating for the Cullens to be mentioned. Was so confused when there was a mention of a “Redheaded Vampire”. Couldn’t understand where that was from but like you say it must just be her interpretation of him. Enjoyed the sneakyness of the Volturi also!!!
    Next MIDNIGHT SUN!!!!!!

  15. This book was great! I finished it in 2 hours also. I definitely like the idea of SM doing other books, any books she writes are good, but I am still mostly in love with the Cullen family so id mostly just love to see a book on Jake and Nessie! Although all the lose ends were tied up in that book I feel we were denied the happily ever after when it comes to those two characters, I want to know how their story plays out. Still this book was brilliant, fleshed out the background a bit more, loved it 🙂

  16. Fred, oh Fred. I hope that he’s all right. I hope that he didn’t turn back to try to help his friend Bree. I hope that he’s not the “hidden” newborn that Leah encountered in Eclipse, and who mixed it up with Jacob. But he could be. He could be.

    Bree was one smart, tough little vampire, but ultimately tragic, as you say, Sam C. I’m glad we got to know her.

  17. For a really small short book I enjoyed it . It was cool to see the cullens from a different side it was cool that Edward knew what was really goin on with the voltori from brees mind I got a lil bored from the other newborns I new right way that Diego died I felt hurt for Bree but all in all it was good I’ve been waiting for another twi book from mrs meyer
    and I’ll be waiting for more to come 🙂

  18. in twilight, edward is told to have bronze colored hair, although you probably thinking of a tuba, there is mentions of his hair being auburn or copper colored as well. which could translate, to maybe a strawberry blond, or a dark red like bree mentioned. Maybe when stephanie pictures him, he has dark red hair. She did throw us off there though. :]

  19. I loved it. I wasn’t so sure about the idea of it at first but gah Bree adds such a raw feeling to things.

    And Fred won my heart pretty quick. Cannot wait til his book comes out.

  20. You know I didn’t even read Eclipse but I know the synopsis of the story. I’ve read Twilight and New Moon. About the movie Eclipse, I was curious about who Jodelle Ferland was going to play, because I am a fan of hers, so I looked it up and saw she was playing Bree Tanner and I only read that she dies (but didn’t believe it) and I felt sad for her after I saw the featurette of “Introducing Bree Tanner” for the film. Then when I was at walmart I saw the book “The Short Second Life” and I felt like getting for no reason and I did. I went home and started reading it and I was hooked. I finished it in under 2 hours. I love this book and I actually prefer Bree’s point of view instead of Bella’s  I mean that I love readIng about Bree’s instead of Bella’s. Anywho I love this story and Im glad that I got this book. P.s. Love your review. 

  21. I liked the book overall but the fact that Bree had a sad beginning and a sad end didn’t go so well with me.I think Diego and Bree shouldn’t have died and that the Volturi let the Cullens’ teach Bree because she didn’t harm anyone, she actually tried to save someone and that was Diego.They should have been able to get they’re happily ever after.Also i felt that once Bree found her little happiness from Diego that was all taken away so quickly, then again the book was called The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, and even if she wasn’t with the Cullens’ she should have been with Diego because he didn’t cause any harm either, he was trained i suppose you can say.In my own opinion now all of Bella’s problems in the Twilight Saga all seem insignificant, because Bree dealt with the life of a “real” vampire she had to fight for what she wanted and she didn’t want much she only wanted to get away.And when Bella became a vampire everything was handed to her. Like i said in the beginning i liked the book overall but felt it should of had a better ending.

  22. Being a massive fan of the Saga, I was very skeptical when I first heard about this book, why write a 200 page book about a character that only features in the actual novel for ten pages, especially when there is a certain unfinished manuscript everyone wants to read the end of?

    But, I did thoroughly enjoy reading it, it definitely made me think about Eclipse in a different way, because when I read it, I was thinking more about Edward, Bella and Jacob’s love triangle than the actual battle with Victoria.

    Though, being a sucker for romances, I wish there was a little more between Diego and Bree, there was a few moments but I kind of want more, anyone feel the same?

    As for Bree referring to Edward as a red head; that threw me off a bit too, I had to look back to see who they were talking about. But it makes sense if you think about it, Bella is the ‘voice’ we hear in the Twilight Saga and she would naturally take in more details about his appearance, because firstly she is in love with him l, and secondly Bree is consumed with the thought of Bella’s blood so she wouldn’t have much else going through her mind, if you look all her descriptions of the Cullens are vague, so it does make sense.

  23. OMG… let me start with saying i didnt think that this book was going to be as good as the other twilight saga book, but i got it anyway. NOW i am super glad i did…. i couldnt put it down….i loved every part of it.even though i knew how it was going to end i could not help but to find myself wishing that BREE’s life would have ended differently…. at first when riley said that diego was off with victoria doing some secret mission i thought he was getting bella pillow case and shirt..but later i noticed that i was wrong…. 🙁 so now i find myself wanting more… Next BOOK MIDNIGHT SUN….(HOPEFULLY)

  24. I hate Riley!!!!…he killed diego and made Bree belive he’s alive…I hated that!…but overall the book was awesome…the Redhead bit got me confused too!…and ofcourse we knew knew bree was going to die but it still felt bad :(…I read brees part on eclipse and it seemed different because we got to know her so well…I agree with everyone Kevin was great and I loved the way bree was talking to Edward in her mind…

  25. I forgot to say I think the saddest part for me was Diego dying..he was a nice guy who didn’t deserve dying like that from someone he trusted…

  26. I guess I am definitely in the minority because I thought Bree was a complete waste of time for the reader and the writer. I didn’t care anything about Bree before or after reading about her. It provided nothing toward our understanding of or enjoyment of Eclipse. I think Stephenie could have made much better use of her time and talent on finishing Midnight Sun.

  27. Great book. Just wondering at the end when Edward said ‘don’t watch’ was he talking specifically to Bella or Bree?

  28. This book was not go good at all sorry: ( I didnt even remeber the girl and why would I even care about her point of view. She gave me no good inoformation the book was a waste of my time and my money. How about we try from Alice’s point of view? Or EDWARD’S? I have no idea why somebody would enjoy the book who honestly cares how the people the cullen’s fought got there? It say’s that Bree girl has a short life anyways… so why would anybody honestly care?

  29. I loved it and this review was great, I do also hope that Fred gets his moment..and also i really want to know what Edward was thinking as Bree was dishing to him the dirty work of Jane!!

  30. I just finished it today. I liked it more than I thought I would, and I did enjoy the review. I, too, was confused by the “redheaded one.” I could not believe Diego really died so early on; I kept expecting him to resurface, because Riley was such a liar (and had been lied to, as well), who knew the truth?? But when he didn’t come back, and the rest of the event played out, I was bummed. I guess it does give a Romeo and Juliet flavor, like someone else said…

  31. I am a complete skeptic about the books because Breaking Dawn was so disgusting, but I bought the book because I remembered when I still loved Twilight and I was heart broken when Bree died.
    The book was good. I liked that Bree didn’t angst, and I am so ready for a Freaky Fred follow up. But… I don’t know, the whole ending where Bree was just sooooo at peace with what was happening? Edward reading her thoughts and never bringing it up again? The mind-reader’s hair color changing, yet again? The book was a little lacking in consistency. Either way, I can’t wait for Fred.

  32. i love this novella more than the novel itself..in eclipse novel only fascinating or say interesting part was to see jasper in action..other than this novel was okiiii…but eclipse n new moon can never compette wid the level twilight acheives alone..
    but this novellla,however small,grip the readers attention…the climax z veeerry sad,it actually makes me cry but inspite of this fact the story was lovely…i m also looking forward to see freaky fred in action..the story could take another turn if bree survived and fred found her wid cullens and hence their love story……but anyways this story is worth buying 😉

  33. Very nice, honest, and fun-to-read review! I am glad there is atleast one person out there who is just stuck on hating this book. Though, I have to admit, the very last bit kind of annoyed me, though just a little. It isn’t just girls that love Twilight, hello??? I am a guy and I love Twilight just as much as any girl! But ya, kind of rambling here, thanks for the review! It definitely was a great read from beginning to end.

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