So how did she get her own story in the series?
According to Stephenie Meyer's introduction to the book, she's not sure why. No seriously. She says she just became intrigued and started writing a bit of back story to flesh out the newborns and got carried away. Sounds like the famed Midnight Sun but finished right?
It is and it isn't.
The first thing I noticed about the story, and I haven't decided if I liked this or not yet, was there were no breaks.
No chapters, no natural story breaks, basically no place to breath if you read it out loud. And in one way it makes you rush right through it to the end like a roller-coaster, and in another way it makes me feel like it needed a bit of editing before becoming a Novella. Even the unfinished, just for fun, Midnight Sun has chapters and story breaks.
Because I read this over a day and a half (I do work, and cook suppers ect. you know, living life things, between bouts of reading after all) the no breaks thing was a bit difficult. Honestly, every time I picked it up again I had to back track to adjust to the abrupt re-entry. This had to have been done to intentionally make you read it in one sitting, but that's a bit frustrating, I mean how often does the average reader clear 178 pages in one go? I'm no average reader and I don't do it all that often.
Secondly, for a brief novella, it took me a surprising amount of time to care about the characters. I know she's talking about a violent, crazy, newborn army and all, but it was nearing the end before I was invested enough in these characters to worry about what was happening. I don't remember that being the case with the Twilight books.
On the other hand, the things I liked about The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, I really liked. I loved the closer look at the whole newborn army stuff. Of all her twists to the vampire mythology my favorite were Jaspers stories of the newborn armies and the epic fights for humans. The thought that the American civil war wasn't what it appeared to be was really really cool when I read it.
I also really enjoyed seeing the Cullens, and Bella from a completely disconnected third party perspective. When she realizes the red head is the mind reader and thanks him in her mind for killing Victoria and Riley, I was totally satisfied.
The Novella made me do what Midnight sun made me do, open up my Twilight books to re-read the opposite side of the scene. And now I'm tempted to just read all four all over again and see if they live up to how much I enjoyed them the first time. I really want to know if Fred makes an appearance in Breaking Dawn, but it will take a full re-read to know for sure.
All of Stephenie Meyer's books are two things, a compulsive read, and good fun. Nobody will ever credit her with being a poet with words, or even with coming up with a one of a kind idea (though she did manage to make the very over done vampire thing all her own) but the woman knows what women want (and yes, the occasional odd ball boy) and she gives it to them in full in her books. And although The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner doesn't do that itself, it is part of a greater whole which is why it works. On it's own I don't believe it would stand up to much scrutiny.
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, By Stephenie Meyer
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers, June 2010