Have you read Emily Giffin’s wonderful two-book set Something Borrowed and Something Blue? The first book is the story of a woman who wakes up after a drunken night wherein she slept with her best friend’s fiance. In the second book, we see the conclusion of the best friend’s story. The two books dovetail beautifully and the second one answers all the questions the first book raised.
This is not the case with The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner, a novella that tells the story of one of the evil, baby vampires who dies at the end of one of the Twilight books. I can’t remember which one now. The one with the big Battle of the Vamps at the end. Maybe Eclipse? Doesn’t matter. The point is Stephanie Meyer found a way to make more money off the Twilight series. Brava Stephi-kins!
So, here’s the deal. In an introduction that reads like the liner notes of a first album by a college garage band, Meyer explains to us all that sometimes her characters haunt her dreams or something like that and Bree was one of them. Meyer at one pint wrote a character sketch of Bree that told the story of the day in the life of a newborn vampire and it taught the author so much about vampires! OMG! And that character sketch turned into this very lovely little book, one dollar of the price of each copy sold goes to the Red Cross. Which is nice.
I was willing to give Meyer the benefit of the doubt, here. I thought the best parts of the whole Twilight saga were after Bella became a vampire and she talked about the changes from human to vamp. I actually would have liked the whole middle section of the last book, the part where the werewolf guy whines about Bella’s pregnancy, to be replaced with a really cool detailed exploration of Bella’s transformation. So, I really hoped the Bree Tanner book would give me some of the good stuff I’d been longing for. Thirsting for, even, if I were prone to employing vampire metaphors. Which I’m not.
Instead, I got..Diary of a Vampire. But a pathetic, wimpy, girly vampire who is rootless and lacking in solid identity or goal until she meets…da-da-dummmm! A hot boy vampire!
Why, oh, why can’t Stephanie Meyer at least give the 21st century a nod and write one heroine who has goals and aspirations that exist even when there isn’t a boyfriend in the picture? I mean, we all knew Bree was going to die at the end of this story anyway so why not give her some autonomy during her short life?
No, Bree, like Bella before her, longs to be inconspicuous. She hides from the other vampires to avoid getting ripped apart (a recreational activity the Cullens never engaged in). Then one night she goes hunting with Diego (Ooo! Sexy Latin vampire!) and he is…different. More thoughtful. More compassionate. They become friends or maybe more? Young vamp love!
Oh wait. No. Skip the love because Diego dies about 30 pages later. Oops. Sorry Bree! No hot True Blood-style vamp sex for you!
The book screeches to the same conclusion as whatever Twilight book it’s part of and…that’s it. No insight. No closure. No, anything. Except one loose end having to do with a character named Fred who escapes the Battle at the Vamp Corral and could conceivably part of another Twilight-based money grab. A vampire who, I might add, has the amazing talent of being utterly revolting to everyone around him. WTF?
The two best things I can say about this book are a) at least young girls won’t be swooning over the idea of being like Bree because she gets all…you know.. decapitated. And b) the book is really short. I read it in just a few hours. And now I’m free to read supermarket tabloids because at least sometimes Hollywood types are gloriously single and don’t prefer getting their heads ripped off by the Volturi to having a life of their own.