Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
I've got to admit, I didn't plan on reading this. I looked at it in the store and thought, "Nah, it's so short, and I already know the ending, so what's the point?" Then my good husband bought it for me as a surprise. Who am I to turn down a gift?
If you are wondering whether to spend the $14 or not, you may want to save your money for something else and check this out at the library or borrow it from a friend. It's not badly written, but--unless you're a teenager and/or uber-obsessed with these vampires--it won't rock your world. What I do like is how Meyer takes a doomed character and makes you wish for a different outcome. For a writer, seeing the mechanics of this is worthwhile. There are moments when Bree could have changed her fate if only she had . . . I like that in a suspense novel. Let your reader know something terrible is going to happen, present a clear escape hatch, and then have the character pass it by. These "if only" moments create fantastic page-turning tension.
The ending has an interesting (to me) tidbit. Spoiler Alert! When Bree realizes her love interest is dead, she welcomes her own death. Did Meyer want to cushion the blow of Bree's impending doom after taking the time to make her readers care about her? Or is it a character thing, because feeling suicidal after losing your (almost) boyfriend reads like classic teenage angst. Yet Meyer seemed to take the moral high ground with sex by having Bella and Edward wait until marriage. This novella, on the other hand, revels in a teenager's reckless attitude toward life and death. Perhaps the contrast is deliberate, another way to enhance the "goodness" of the vegetarian vampires against the evil of the rest.
I'd be interested in your opinion.