Just when you thought the series couldn’t be commercialised any further…
Age: Young Adult
First Published: 5th June 2010
Date Reviewed: 12th June 2010
Bree, the vampire introduced in Eclipse for all of a few pages, is given a fair few more pages for her back-story. We get to hear about the week or so before she was destroyed and some extra information on the reasons for the battle that took place between Victoria’s minions and the Cullens.
Did we really need this book? Although Meyer says in her foreword that she wanted to tell this story so that we might feel for Bree as she does, the whole work was a totally unnecessary release, and I say that as someone who quite enjoyed the series. To read the foreword shows how Meyer has been changed from a woman who wanted to write stories into a powerhouse for making money and, I would take a guess, that although Meyer may be enjoying her money it’s the film studios and book publishers that are behind it. Meyer herself has even provided the fact that there were others behind this book when she talks about her editor.
The whole deal with the Twilight saga, Meyer has been keen to express, is that the romance is paramount – the vampirism isn’t so important. Bella’s story is central – why then a spin off that bares no relevance to any of the previous novels? If the saga revolved around vampires and their world it would make sense, but it doesn’t. More to the point perhaps is the fact that this book doesn’t have a point, its story is worthless and there is nothing to read it for. Readers love the characters in Twilight; they swoon over Edward and envy Bella – so what is there in this new book to take away? The story doesn’t go anywhere; it’s just an account of a vampire living with some other vampires in the days leading up to the battle. It even includes pages about battle training – those pages are completely irrelevant because we already read lots about battle training in the original saga where, in addition, it was more interesting. And Meyer wants us to feel for Bree even though, as she says herself, we know she dies at the end anyway.
The idea for this book was conceived during the writing of Eclipse (no doubt originally by the publishing house staff who made Meyer think she’d thought of it first) and although that’s better than it having happen after Breaking Dawn (and therefore even more obviously a money-making device) it just doesn’t sit well. Asking us to feel for Bree is akin to asking us to feel for an extra in a movie when he comes out of a shop with a battered sandwich. We never noticed him because he was background scenery and we’ll never see him again, so who cares about the sandwich? Ironically Meyer discusses how she never noticed Bree the first time round (in the first edit of Eclipse) because she was focused on Bella. She should have thought through that properly, as she should have also the idea that no fictional perspective is trivial.
The one thing this book has going for it is the cover – like the four other novels, it’s absolutely gorgeous. The same can’t be said about the writing. When I wrote about Twilight I described how Meyer’s writing was solid and how she could change for the better the language skills of our children. Well I’m withdrawing that notion – this novella is awful. And what are all these “all” sentences? “We all were out in the sun” and the like crop up constantly – has Meyer never been introduced to the less clunky and ultimately better structure of “we were all out in the sun”? The foreword itself is a mess.
No doubt about it, this book will be put forward for filming and another young actress pushed into the spotlight and stereotyped for the rest for her career because she’s not as old as Robert Pattinson, who had the foresight to sign on for other films. The publishers will keep raking it in and preying on love struck teenagers, no matter whether or not the teenagers are appeased by the story of yet another girl who was able to come into close contact with Edward.
The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner is overpriced and superfluous. It’s as unrelated to the saga as that man and his damned sandwich, which have now been rained on and we still couldn’t care less.
June 12, 2010, 7:45 pm
I like Twilight (even though I’m not sure I should come out and say it) and I felt no need to pick up this book for exactly the reasons you gave. I though that maybe I was a minority, because I really don’t care much about the vampiric stuff and I like the books for the romance story they are. I personally don’t really see the point of reading this novella and I had rather have a whole new short story. And I’m sorry to hear the writing is that bad. I personally don’t think Meyer’s writing is the best there is in Twilight, so I’m not sure I could handle this.
Charlie: I wondered if coming out and saying I liked Twilight would be ok too, then I figured I view it objectively so it’s ok. Yeah, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up but I liked the idea of a brand new book to review and there was a part of me saying “complete your collection, complete your collection”. Writing-wise, yep – plenty of throwing-book-across-the-room moments. Unless you really really really (definitely needs three “reallys” rather than one) like the books it’s not worth it, until the price goes down at least. I was lucky to find it cheaper, I can’t believe the regular price – more than a normal-sized novel!