Review – The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
  • Posted:
  • June 9, 2010

So, like many people I recently started Stephenie Meyer’s new novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. Note that I said started, but not finished. I couldn’t get into this, and part of me really wanted to.

I’m not sure why the disconnect. Perhaps because it’s been 3 years since I read the first books. Perhaps because the last book really lost me on Meyer as a writer (I was terribly happy that The Host came out prior to the release of Breaking Dawn, or I might never have read it otherwise). I found Breaking Dawn to be tedious and poorly structured, not to mention the terrible messages for young women and the wretched plot devices that Meyer chose to include. To me the Twilight books end with Eclipse. Period. End of story.

So why read about Bree Tanner? Why should I care at this point? Call it a sick curiosity. Call it a chance for Meyer to redeem herself… whatever you want to call it I’ll just say this, I could not make it 60+ into a novella that spanned under 200 pages.

Ouch. That’s a bad sign. So what went wrong?

Perhaps it was the stream of consciousness style of writing. Meyer never breaks anywhere in the story. You can do this if you are a great technical writer. The trouble is that Meyer is not and six books under her belt has not changed that fact. You need to leave a break to give the readers a chance to stop and process, if they so wish to do so. When you do not include breaks, and you are not the best writer, the work begins to suffer… in this case drone. I felt like the character was droning at me and I didn’t like that. Perhaps Meyer chose to write this character’s story as such to imply the continuing thought patterns and experiences of an immortal being. Why ever the reasons this did not work for me. I found myself stopping inconveniently just to break and I was resentful about having to do that the whole way through.

Besides this there were just weird little plot points that made little sense. Meyer almost lost me when she had Diego and Bree walked into the book store to get books. Meyer wrote her as “walking into the H section” to pick up her next few books. Umm, last time I checked book stores are shelved by different genres or topics and then broken down alphabetically by the author. There are no “H” sections in book store. There is not a case with the letter “H” in bold type above it. I might be nitpicking on this point but this tells me that Meyer has not stepped into a book store in I don’t know how long and as a bookseller this offends me to my core. “H” section, good gods. Maybe I’m just jaded but really? Three words were all it would have taken to make this make sense; the whatever section, the fiction section, the non-fiction section, the sex section. I don’t care, but specify a damn section! Please. Is that too much to ask?

I’m not even going to dignify the scene with Diego and Bree learning of their inability for the sunlight to kill them… sitting out in the sun smiling and sparkling… and smiling and sparkling, and sparkling…and sparkling… and smiling…. and sparkling. Please. That’s literally where I shut the book. It was ridiculous.

I think I’m officially off Meyer now. I feel duped that I even picked this up. I am hoping that curiosity does not kill this cat wherever (and whenever) she chooses to publish another book. My money’s on near or about the release of the Breaking Dawn film (whether it’s broken up into two parts or not, I keep seeing rumours about this happening). I feel like that’s when Meyer (or, rather, Meyer’s publishers) will pull something out, whether it’s the much-anticipated Midnight Sun, a Host sequel, or something entirely new I expect it to coincide with the release of the last film. I still believe the Midnight Sun leak to be a publishing strategy to create buzz for the books. But you know, I could be wrong.

I don’t think I’ll finish this, ever. Maybe if I ever reread the series, and that’s a huge “if” at this point, Meyer has burned me too many times. Still, 1 of 5 stars. I can’t even wrap my head around how much I didn’t enjoy this book.


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