The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
|Genre||Young adult, fantasy|
|June 5, 2010|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
Audio Book (CD)
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a companion novella to the Twilight series by author Stephenie Meyer. It tells the story of a newborn vampire, Bree Tanner, who is featured in the third book of the series, Eclipse. The book is written from the viewpoint of Bree, as opposed to the rest of the series which is predominantly narrated by character Bella Swan. Meyer let director David Slade, screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg, and a few of the actors read a draft of the story during production of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
The story begins with Bree and Diego hunting for human blood in Seattle, Washington. Bree has been a vampire for three months, and Diego has been one for eleven months. Together they kill and drink a pimp and two prostitutes. Bree and Diego discuss "her" (Victoria, who turned them into vampires). They hide in a cave and discuss their human lives, and how Riley came to offer them a second life as a vampire. Together they decide that Riley is using them as pawns, and that he might be lying to them. They also discover that sunlight does not kill a vampire, but makes their skin sparkle. They become friends and hunt for Riley and the other vampires they live with.
They find that Riley had relocated everyone to a log cabin and Diego gets into a fight. That night Bree and Diego stalk Riley, suspicious that he is meeting with "her." They eavesdrop on Riley's conversation with Victoria.
Eventually the Volturi show up, threatening to punish Victoria for amassing a vampire army but willing to give her army a chance to destroy the Cullen clan. The Volturi say that if Victoria does not attack within five days, they will kill her.
Bree returns to the log cabin and resolves to run away, while Diego stays behind to talk to Riley and inform him about the fact that the sunlight doesn't hurt them. Riley returns to the cabin alone and tells his vampire army that there are older vampires in Seattle (the Cullens) who want to kill them, and if they want to survive, they will have to work together and learn how to fight. Riley spots Bree and tells her that Diego is doing surveillance work with "her" and will return to join them in the fight. After three nights of training, Bree and the vampires hunt a ferry boat to drink the passengers' blood and regain their strength for the battle against the elder vampires. Riley then tells everyone that the vampires they will be fighting have yellow eyes and keep a human (Bella) as a pet, he gives them Bella's scent to hunt, describing her as the dessert.
They head off to fight the Cullens. Fred decides to run away to Vancouver before the battle, and agrees to wait for Bree for a day before leaving. Bree takes part in the battle in order to find Diego. But before the battle, Riley retreats, telling Bree that Diego has already started fighting with the group, and that he (Riley) has some other business. Bree arrives at the battle to find the newborn vampires being massacred by the Cullens, and thinks that Diego is already dead because she cannot see or smell him anywhere. She deduces that Victoria and Riley killed Diego for being disobedient the night he went missing.
She then turns to run away, but is cornered by Carlisle Cullen. They are joined by Jasper and Esme Cullen, who debate whether or not to kill her. They decide to restrain her until the Volturi arrive. Jasper forces her to close her eyes and presses his hand over her ears in order to protect the secret of the werewolves (howler vampires, as Bree calls them), because she can hear their howls.
Bree then spots Bella, and has trouble resisting the urge to drink Bella's blood (This was the scene which is shown in Eclipse). The Volturi (dark-cloaks) then show up and Bree starts logically deducing facts about the Cullens, and their attitude towards the Volturi. She begins thinking about of the conversation she and Diego eavesdropped on the night when Diego was killed. She guesses the redhead (Edward Cullen) to be the mindreader, and informs him about what Jane had told Victoria to do. Jane is dissatisfied with their explanations, and turns to interrogate Bree.
Jane then tortures Bree into telling everything about the newborns. Bree then pretends to act dumb, and hysterically states that Riley lied to her and everyone else, and they were ignorant of most things, and simply did as they were told, under fear of death. The Volturi decide to kill Bree, but Carlisle and Edward attempt to rescue her, by saying that they would take responsibility for her and teach her the rules. Bree can see that it is a futile attempt, and Jane confirms it by refusing to spare her life. Jane says that they do not give second chances, as it would adversely affect their reputation as law enforcers, and also warns them that Caius would display an interest in learning that Bella is still human, as he sees her as a threat to vampire secrecy. All of this is beyond Bree's comprehension, and she yearns for it to be over, since Diego, for whom she had developed a romantic affection, is dead. Jane grants her wish by telling Felix to take care of her. Edward warns Bella to shut her eyes, but Bree believes that Edward is referring to herself. And as she shuts her eyes, she is killed.
- Bree Tanner: The narrator of the story. She was 15, almost 16, when she became a vampire. Bree was introduced as a three-month-old newborn in Eclipse. Bree's father had been hitting her after her mother left them. She ran away from home and was living in the streets of Seattle when Riley found her. She was starving, and either ate out of garbage cans, or attempted to steal food. Riley asked, "Want a burger, kid?" and then took her to Victoria who turned her into a vampire. Bree, like other newborn vampires, believed in the urban vampire stories and was afraid of the sun and wooden stakes. Later when Diego showed her they were not true, she was relieved, but wasn't sure if they should tell Riley. She did not trust Riley that much. Bree is confused in Riley's true plans and tries to figure out the truth with Diego. She also doesn't know all the rules of the vampire world because Riley never explained to any of the newborns. She likes to read and develops a crush on Diego during the book. Bree could have run away from the fight and left with Fred but she went back to look for Diego. Bree surrenders to the Cullens, but in the end the Volturi destroy her.
- Diego: Bree's friend, who eventually falls in love with her and is alluded to be her "mate." He was 18 when he was turned into a vampire. He was trapped in an alley when he killed the leader of a gang who killed his brother. He was rescued by Riley, who offered him a new life. Diego considers Riley, besides Bree, one of his best friends and trusts him, but he still doubts Riley's motives. Diego confronts Riley on the urban vampire stories about the sun burning them telling Riley it wasn't true. It is suggested that Riley and Victoria brutally killed Diego.
- Riley Biers: The leader of the newborns. He gets his orders from Victoria. He is responsible for finding troubled children and bringing them to Victoria so she can change them into vampires. He is described by Bree as beautiful, just like all vampires are. At first she likes him, but after she has been changed into a vampire, she becomes distrustful and suspicious of him. Riley is said to be very fond of Diego and in love with Victoria.
- 'Freaky' Fred: Develops friendship with Bree. Fred has the power to repel others by making them feel repulsed by him. This is an illusion and therefore would not affect Bella. He uses this to keep other newborns away from him. Because of this they call him Freaky Fred. Bree has a habit of hiding behind him to keep herself away from the attention of Raoul and Kristie and their gangs. Fred is also described as handsome, has blond hair, and looked like his age is of a college student. Among all the vampires who have decided to fight, he is the only one who decides to run away. He asks Bree to join him but she decides to first go back to find Diego.
- Raoul: One of the leaders of a gang of newborns. Bree strongly dislikes him. He seems to have the power to attract people, although this power only seems to work on people who are dimwitted. He is very competitive and definitely not the smartest. He and his gang has a rivalry with Kristie and her gang until Riley forces everyone to work together against the Cullens.
- Victoria: Victoria gives Riley orders to create an army to battle the Cullen clan plus Bella. She gives directions which includes telling lies to the newborns but she also lies to Riley which is exposed in Eclipse: Victoria pretends to love Riley when she truly loved James (the reason for creating the vampire army). During the battle, she and Riley are destroyed by Edward Cullen and Seth Clearwater, respectively. Bree and the rest of the newborns have never met Victoria, their creator. Riley tells the newborns it is to protect themselves and that their minds were not safe but it was not totally true. Though the newborns' thoughts were not safe, the newborns could not see Victoria for her safety, not theirs, due to Alice's ability to read the future. She (Alice) was focused on Victoria's choices but was not 'tuned in' to the newborns. Victoria had known about Alice's power in her visions.
According to Stephenie Meyer, she began writing the story while she was editing Eclipse. Later, she planned on including it in the upcoming The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide:
"This story was something that I worked on off and on for a while, just for fun, in between the times I was writing or editing other Twilight novels. Later, when the concept for The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide came up, I thought that might be a good place for Bree. Her story is a nice complement to Eclipse; it explains a lot of the things that Bella never knew. So I dusted it off and finished it up for placement in the Guide."
The resulting story became too long to be included in the Guide, and so it became a stand-alone book.
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner had an initial print run of 1.5 million copies. It was released in stores on June 5, 2010, and was available for free viewing from June 7 to July 5 on the book's official website. For every book sold, one dollar will be donated to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts in Haiti and Chile. For those who take advantage of the free viewing there would be an option for the individual to make a donation as well. The online version of the book was for viewing only and not offered as a download.
Two weeks after its release, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner was on USA Today's best-seller list. Publisher Little, Brown estimated that 700,000 copies were sold in the United States, and 75,000 people read the entire book online for free. Bree Tanner also became one of the fastest selling books in the UK having sold 89,549 copies, at an average of 79 copies per minute, in less than nineteen hours. It is also the third fastest selling hardback title in the UK, behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Lost Symbol. In its first full week in the UK, it sold 136,995 copies and was described as an "incredible achievement for a book that has been free to view online" and making Meyer the second most successful young fiction author in the UK market, behind JK Rowling.
Tie-in with movie
In 2009, Summit Entertainment approached author Stephenie Meyer to ask for a draft of the book for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Meyer gave a draft to the cast and crew of the film to get to know more about Bree. Meyer also gave a copy to screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. The book was subsequently made part of the Eclipse movie.
Reception for Bree Tanner has been mostly positive. Fox News described the book as a "riveting story" and commented, "In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion." USA Today also responded with a positive review and noted, "Reading Bree's story enriches our reading of the Twilight saga and will enhance enjoyment of the Eclipse movie". Kat Lay of The News of the World lauded Bree Tanner as "bloody fangtastic", and the author's final word on the book was, "You really sympathise with this creature as she struggles not to kill heroine Bella. Meyer is great at tugging the heart strings one moment and making you draw back in shock the next".
- Carol Memmott (2010-04-02). "Meyer grants Twilight saga's Bree Tanner a 'Second Life'". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- "Eclipse Spinoff in the Works". ReelzChannel. 2010-03-30. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- Carolyn Kellogg (2010-03-31). "Stephenie Meyer's new vampire book will benefit the Red Cross". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- Keith Staskiewicz (2010-06-18). "Stephenie Meyer's 'The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner' tops best-seller lists in U.S. and U.K.". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
- Philip Stone (2010-06-08). "Bree Tanner boosts trade, selling 79 copies a minute". The Bookseller. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- Philip Stone (2010-06-08). "Meyer outsells competitor Cornwell five to one". The Bookseller. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "Stephenie Meyer's latest book tops UK sales chart". Foyles. 2010-06-16. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "Bree Tanner - Twilight Saga". MyFoxDC. Fox News. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Carol Memmott (2010-06-07). "Stephenie Meyer's 'Bree Tanner' will suck you in". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
- Kat Lay. "Twilight book launched and ... It's bloody fangtastic". Newsoftheworld.Com. Retrieved 2010-07-16.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Twilight series.|