It’s a testament to just how addictive Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga is for fans that a short novella about a fleeting character in one of the books instantly goes to the top of the bestseller list.
Just as the title says, this is about the short second life Bree Tanner, a fifteen-year-old girl “turned” by villain Victoria as part of the newborn vampire army she creates to attack the Cullens and Bella.
Told in the first person, Bree is struggling to understand what her role is in the vampire group she’s found herself in. She doesn’t know her maker’s name (readers of course know it’s Victoria), and her world is one of aggression and violence as the undisciplined newborns regularly tear each other apart.
In this brutal environment, she befriends Diego, and together they try to separate the lies from the facts about what it means to be a vampire – and what their “leaders” have in store for them.
For me, just as interesting as the story, is the exercise by Stephenie Meyer of exploring the back story of a peripheral character.
Meyer openly admits she began to care for Bree once she started on the back story (which she started during the editing phase of Eclipse at the suggestion of her editor), and wished she’d given Bree a different ending.
It’s one of the reasons I think Meyer’s stories are held so closely to the hearts of readers: she loves her characters (especially narrative characters) and it comes through on every page. It’s just as much the case for Bree as it is for Bella.
It certainly works as an addition to the Twilight canon (and prompts a re-read of the corresponding chapters in Eclipse).
An interesting exercise would be to have someone who hasn’t read the Twilight books read it, and judge it on its merits … but anyone who hasn’t read the other four (or even the first three) is unlikely to be curious enough to pick it up.
I’m interested to hear from fans who’ve read the new release, and see what they think.
(By the way I love the cover.)