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Review, nay Ramblings: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer


I'm sure this book has been reviewed a lot already, and that the Twilight fans will definitely read it (or have already read it), while the non-fans aren't going to go one step near this book. So instead of a typical review, I'll just do some me-history-talk.

Until last summer, I would read only a couple of books a month. Not that I read slow, but once I completed a book, I waited a long time before picking the next book. This was mainly because, well, when I start a book, I would neglect work just to read. (Sssh!) Of course, I still do that but am disciplined now, and it took a lot of restraint to get here. So just to get more book choices, I joined a few online book clubs. I was still expecting to read one book, followed by a long break and only then the next book. And then, one of the book clubs chose Twilight as its monthly read. Now mind you, I hadn't even heard of this series. Stephenie Meyer who? But I liked the name of the book, and I had absolutely no idea what the book was about. I don't recollect if I knew it was about vampires. Probably not, else I would not have picked it up at all. So I placed a hold for the book at the library.

Then I started reading it. The rest, as they say, is history.

Well, not quite, I'm supposed to be talking about that history here.

So Twilight was .... engrossing. That's about the best adjective I can use here. I didn't like the book. I loved Edward, of course, and their tame vampire clan. I didn't like Bella. I hated her clinging-to-Edward's-shoulder actions. And I hated the writing. But I found it engrossing. So I got the remaining three books and devoured them over a weekend. Three books of 500+ pages. And I still found the books engrossing, although I complained about each book. So what is it about books like these that keep you turning pages? Even as you squirm and cringe at every page?

And then I realized that although the book ends on a cliffhanger, there are no new books staring at me from the horizon. Meyer recently confessed to being burned out on vampires. So I promised myself that I will not read another book in this series until I get a guarantee that the last book is out. So I was barely interested in The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. I mean, I barely remembered Bree. I just recalled one scene where she was being killed. And let's be honest, by that point of the story in Eclipse, weren't we all coaxing the Cullens to kill her? That was enough of drama, and we really didn't need another new vampire in the mix. And then, Meyer announces that the book will be free to read online between June 7th and July 5th. I considered that I would be a fool to pass up the opportunity to read a book free - it didn't matter which book. This was like a giveaway, except that everyone got a copy.

So after reading this book, I didn't exactly feel anything. I liked reading from Bree's perspective, but it wasn't exactly engrossing. It was like telling the same story from another perspective, but without any "Oh" moments. Bree was one of the newborn vampires recruited (rather, created) to get rid of Bella and the Cullens. Much of the book focuses on her days till the day of the battle. I did feel some sympathy for her and her circumstances, but not enough to feel it tragic. The story was pretty plausible, and it was refreshing not to have Bella or Edward in pivotal roles. Whooosh! The writing was a lot better than in the remaining four Twilight books, but it still lacked some depth. I blazed through the novella within two hours, and just rolled over to sleep. I didn't exactly feel there was something momentous in this book, rather it smacked of a gap-filler.

So, to continue my history, Twilight did do a good thing for me eventually. I read more. Not overwhelmingly more, but more than I've ever read. I guess that's when I got interested with this whole until-then-non-existent world of book blogging and online bookish websites. Like many would say, if a book can get you to read, or read more, as in my case, why blame the book?

 

Check out this book published by Hachette Book Group (Little, Brown and Company) @ Goodreads, BetterWorldBooks, Amazon, B&N.

I read this book on Stephenie Meyer's website.

Comments

I read all of the Twilight series, but after the last one decided I had my fill. I'm not planning on reading this one, and it sounds like it was just so so.
bermudaonion said…
I haven't read any of the Twilight books, so I probably won't read this one either.
Tales of Whimsy said…
I gotta read this...SOON :)
That's a great way to look at it! While Twilight obviously isn't a masterpiece by any means, if it can get people to read more often I have no problem with it.
Ash said…
This is a great post. I haven't read the Twilight series, but the reason I advocate for it is exactly the reason you mention here. Twilight gets people hooked on reading, it just does. I can't explain it. People keep looking for the feeling it gives them to devour a book. And that is really why I started my blog, because the people who are out there complaining about people who read Twilight are reading a lot less than the ones who are. So what's wrong with reading something that is junky if it makes you read?
I agree with Ash. While I haven't read the Twilight series, I was sucked into the magic of Harry Potter. I think any book/series that gets people reading is a gift.

Cheers to the authors that might make the critics squirm, but get formerly non-readers into reading again!
Julie said…
My oldest daughter rarely reads for pleasure (which is odd, as she is the only one that came out of my bookish household like that - she's a black sheep, I guess) BUT .. she read Twilight - every single one .. then she read "The Host" ... and now she's itching for me to get done with The Short Second Life so that she can read it ... so I say .. sometimes a fun, escapist read is awesome - if you enjoy it, it doesn't have to be intellectually stimulating! and you don't have to feel guilty for saying "I liked reading it; it caught me up" Fun is fun! :)
Athira said…
Diane, that's absolutely how I felt. I'm done too, unless she completes Midnight Sun.

Kathy, I won't tempt you. :)

Juju, looking forward to your thoughts.

Emidy, that's about the only thing I feel was positive - more people reading. But what a shame to see the Twilight books on bestseller lists.

Ash, you said it so much better! Why complain about a book if it gets someone reading? In the end, we want more people to read.

Gwen, ditto to what you said!

jewelknits, that is so wonderful! I don't think a book has to be of intellectual quality either to be worthy of reading. To each, his/her own tastes.

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