But it has been published to benefit the Red Cross (because vampires = blood, and...), and it's the thought that counts. You can buy it pretty much anywhere, or you can read it for free on the website; one dollar from each physical book, the site says (I don't know about e-books) goes to charity, and you have the option to donate if you read it for free. So please, if you are going to read this recap in lieu of buying the book (or even reading the free download), please consider donating at least $1 to the Red Cross anyway. I don't want to take away from that effort.
So. As always, this is largely based on notes I took ;as I was reading, then went back and fleshed out; bold font is to indicate that this is definitely real, actual text from the book. First, let's revisit the first/last time we saw Bree:
This is not Twilight. If you are looking for Twilight v.2, you will not enjoy this. This is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Sparkling. And Dead. Also Dead. In some ways, it's even Opposite Twilight. You'll see.
Writing Bree was the first time I'd stepped into the shoes of a narrator who was a "real" vampire
I feel very sad for Edward right now.
Mostly, though, the introduction focuses on how most of her readers must not have guessed the true importance of Bree Tanner, a character who existed for six pages.
When you read the Eclipse scene in which Bella stares at Bree, assessing her as a possible future, did you ever think about what has brought Bree to that point in time? As Bree glares back, did you wonder what Bella and the Cullen look like to her? Probably not. But even if you did, I'll bet you never guessed her secrets.
Did you? DID YOU? Because Stephenie Meyer didn't tell you any, but you should have told yourself for her! SO THERE.
And yet her story is so important to an understanding of the novel.
This is a thing that she actually says, y'all.
Chapter... wait. We don't have chapters. Oh dear.
We open with the headline SEATTLE UNDER SIEGE--DEATH TOLL RISES AGAIN. I find it a bit strange that CNN is not just camped out on top of Washington State at this point, but okay. Maybe they're just used to the idea that weird shit happens there.
Given that we've just been told what a big deal it is to find out How Bree Tanner Came to Be a Vampire, I thought we were going to begin with her pre-vampire life and lead up to her vampiration all suspenseful-like, but... no, when the story begins, she's already a "newborn," as they call them, out hunting in an alley with some dumbass feral fellow newborns who are arguing about what kind of superhero they are most like. One kid (who is hereafter known in the story as "Spider-Man kid") says that he is totally like
And Bree is standing there with this guy named Diego, and they're both rolling their eyes like, seriously, this is why we can't have nice things. Scary leader dude Riley sends us out to get some eats, and this is what we have to put up with. No wonder the the newspapers are up our ass. So Kevin and Spidey rip the woman in half (yum) while Bree and her burning throat fret about whether to join in and possibly end up getting her ass beat, because "I so did not need to be on Raoul's hit list." So, instead, she follows Diego across the roofs of lowlife Seattle to the docks. We find out that Bree is three months old, in vampire terms, but Diego's been around more like a year, and he is surprisingly calm and normal and, you know, not an uncontrollable car-punching asshole. Also, he says things like "Amen, sister" and "She's looking for vampires with skillz."
Page 8: Chow time! Bree and Diego come across "a pimp and his two employees" (...) because Riley has told them to feed on society's "dregs," a word you will see a lot. Feed on the dregs! You came from the dregs! These are the dregs rules! But Diego is better than the regular dregs (the dregulars?), because he is a smart and patient hunter, and he even lets Bree have the extra hooker with a chivalry that borders on the Edwardian. Aw.
And Diego is also scrupulously tidy! He shows Bree how to hide the remains of their meal under ocean boulders, and then they have to go clean up Kevin and Spidey's mess, because Kevin was all like, "If I stack two cars on top of the car I ripped open like a soup can, no one will ever notice." So Bree helps Diego rearrange everything into a more plausible "accident" site, and then Diego takes his Riley-provided lighter and turns it all into A GIANT FIREBALL, which is obviously more discreet.
And then they go kick it in a dark bookstore for a while.
Page 18: We learn a little more: Like Bella, Bree likes books (hence stealing from the bookstore); like Edward, Diego likes music. What kind of music? You know... music. When in doubt, assume Muse. Bree tends to keep her head down around the House of Feral Newborns by hiding behind a certain Freaky Fred, who apparently has astounding powers of repulsion (dude, I think I knew that guy). I'm a little confused as to what Freaky Fred's power is--everyone is physically, viscerally repulsed by him? "It's not so bad behind him as it is in front"? So... his power is not deadly sparkle farts, then? I took way too long pondering this--at this point I was genuinely at a loss.
We do, however, learn that Freaky Fred is one of Riley's favorites; Diego knows this because he has heard Riley say so on the phone to Her. And what is Her interest in Freaky Fred?
The vaguely-mentioned Raoul, on the other hand, may have the power of attracting asshole minions, which Riley also finds useful. Except when Raoul loses his temper:
Then Raoul would get mad and take somebody else apart and burn him up. Then Riley would be pissed off and he'd do another search to confiscate all the lighters and matches.
While this is not stated, Bree seems to have the rare power of logic, a gift precious damn few of the other newborns have. She and Diego spend a little time logicking out that Riley wants them all to keep their heads down because they are not the only vampires in the world (but there must not be too many others), and Riley wants them all for something. Diego decides that SOMETHING IS COMING, and She wants a "front line" to protect her, and it's Riley's job to create this.
And then they swim on out to the island where the House of Newborns is, and... it's totally gone. Like, that shit is burnt out. And nobody left a forwarding address! So instead, they hide in Diego's favorite underwater cave because the sun is coming! The sun is coming!
Page 26: OH MAN, YOU GUYS. BREE THINKS SHE'S A REAL, LEGIT VAMPIRE. SHE HAS NO IDEA.
So Bree and Diego chill in the tiny water cave for a while. They compare scars where they've had limbs ripped off and put back on, as you do, which seems to be Riley's preferred punishment. Diego starts up some of that logic again, wondering why Riley keeps bringing in "stupid gangbangers" instead of smart kids like Bree; Bree replies that she was pretty down on her luck at the time herself. What about Diego? "You weren't a troubled teen runaway like the rest of us?" After some hemming and hawing, Diego (age 18) reveals that he tried to stay out of gangs and get out of the ghetto and go to college, but his younger brother wasn't so lucky, so he went out and shot the guy who killed his brother, and then when the gang had him cornered, behold! Riley, "the whitest guy I'd ever seen"! (It took me a moment of loling to realize this was because of the marble vampire skin.) CHOMP.
(While we're here: Diego's vampire smell is "some spice like cinnamon or cloves.")
Meanwhile, this causes Bree to reflect on her own past, namely, "Riley and the cheeseburger of pain."
It turns out that Bree was a 15-16 year-old abused homeless runaway. Riley ("the hottest boy I had ever seen, tall and blond and perfect... And his voice was so gentle, so kind") offered to get her a burger. Bree figures she knows "what he would want in exchange," but she's eaten nothing but trash for two weeks, so small-scale prostitution it is. So... let's go over this one more time: abused and homeless, Bree is willing to sell her body for a cheeseburger to an Opposite Planet Edward. That's... just... grim. Only, they don't ever get to the "exchange," because CHOMP.
This is probably as good a time as ever to point out that someone had mentioned a story with a similar title by Anne Rice (well, it turns out to be a chapter in Queen of the Damned) called "The Short Happy Life of Baby Jenks and the Fang Gang." So I went and looked it up. There is a sentence in the summary that strikes me:
Baby Jenks is a newly made vampire who was a fourteen year old heroin-addicted pregnant prostitute who died while having an abortion and was turned into a vampire at the last moment by the leader of the "Fang Gang," a nomadic group of young vampires.
If Bree's story sounds like the Disneyland version of Baby Jenks, well... make of that what you will.
Page 34: More discussion! They must be nothing but pawns in Her plans! GASP. They start discussing vampire lore. Riley has fed them all the lines about sleeping in coffins and not going out in sunlight, so they basically... sit around and fight with each other in a dark locked basement all day. Yeah, Bree and Diego are starting to have some thoughts about this. They are also starting to have some sexual tension, with the electric hot-cold touch of their underground high-five.
And then Diego, intoxicated by logic, decides to test out various vampire superstitions. Driftwood stakes shatter against his chest! Indirect sunlight doesn't hurt! What about--direct sunlight?
Page 47: Thirteen pages of this later, there is SPARKLING. Like "a zillion tiny mirrors"! "The light was bent and colored, more like crystal"!
"So pretty," he said. He held his left hand against my cheek.
Hey... you think Riley knows about this? He couldn't, could he? DUDE WE SO HAVE TO GO TELL HIM!
Page 50: Bree realizes she's in love with Diego. Sparkling still in progress. Mutual dazzling, even. They are a team now! A ninja club! There is copious hand-holding! If they can ever let go, they will totally come up with a secret handshake!
Page 56: Diego kisses Bree. But quickly, and it's not excessively dreamy.
O hai! There's the new House of Newborns. Yes, it is a bit suspicious that no one really cared if Bree and Diego got toasted or left behind. Bree and Diego, for their own safety, pretend not to really know each other, but he still nearly gets into a rumble with Raoul and his gang, which the surly, antisocial Freaky Fred shuts down with a wave of mind-stank that brings everyone to their knees, including Bree, who realizes he has pretty much just saved her life. But why? Could Freaky Fred secretly be... awesome?
Pages 62-63: Life in the House of Newborns blows. Mostly, everyone's in one of two gangs, either with Raoul or with Kristie. It's a lot of reading and hiding and fighting and limb-tearing and mind-stanking. It's boring for Bree, so you can imagine what it's like for the reader.
Page 64: Nightfall! Some of the newborns are given leave to go hunt; others just sneak out, including Bree, who has a ninja club rendezvous with Diego. Diego has gotten the bright idea to follow Riley to Her house and show him "the disco ball effect." I have a bad feeling that Diego is not long for this world. I mean, even less long than everyone else in this book is.
Page 69: She--Victoria (the redhead vampire chick who was with James in the first book/movie and then spent the second book/movie hunting Bella as revenge for his death at the Cullens' not-fangs, who has now been recast as Bryce Dallas Howard for her final attempt to fuck some some Cullen shit up), as I'm sure you've figured out--is holed up in a gingerbread house (you know, in architectural terms) "painted bright pink, green and white, elaborate to the point of ridiculousness, with fancy trim and finials on every conceivable edge." I gave this whole bit the side-eye at first, but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of Victoria as a fairytale witch deep in the woods, with Hansel and Gretel eavesdropping in the trees above. I also like that Diego in his tree is a teensy bit reminscent of Edward angsting at Bella from his tree, only the emotional reverse. You know, not eat up with monstrous, virginal self-loathing.
Page 71: Up in the trees, Diego blows a marble-skinned kiss to Bree. Bree looks down at the gingerbread house, realizes the "low, romantic sounds" of marble lips are also emanating from within, and wonders--wait, are Riley and Her, like... you know... kissing?
Page 72: Bree flashes back to Her: "It's too small." Dayna doesn't want us to step on her lines, so I'm not allowed to say "That's what she said?" anymore. Anyway, Bree flashes back to the night Riley brought her over and She chomped her, recalling her high-pitched, spoiled-little-girl's voice complaining that Bree is too small, but Riley insists that any
Page 76: OH SNAP ACTUAL JANE ACTUALLY SHOWS UP. In actuality. Actually.
Long story short, the "Dark Cloaks" arrive and Bree, terrified, realizes they are the Vampire Police, that Victoria has created them all "illegally," and that Victoria's enemies are a powerful clan that she plans to destroy. But Victoria has managed to stay "off the radar"--you realize here that Jane means Alice Cullen's clairvoyant radar--because Victoria hasn't actually committed to the decision to attack, and decisions (and the results thereof) are what Alice foresees. So Jane is like, seriously, fish or cut bait, I'll give you five days to get this done or there will be SEVERE CONSEQUENCE. And of course, now that Victoria is forced to "decide" to move forward, Alice will see and the Cullens will know, so they best get on that. Riley loyally declares that he will not fail her.
Page 82: Diego kisses Bree again ("His smooth lips pressed against mine for one long second while we stared at each other"). I don't know why I keep waiting for something more passionate, considering that sparklepires don't believe in tongue--wait, no, that's just Edward, never mind. So really, considering that Bree's just as sturdy as Diego and they're both already vampires, there's no reason to not have the sexy treetop makeouts. I am disappoint on Bree's behalf.
And with that, Diego stays behind to show Riley his sparkle. I do not expect to see Diego ever again.
Page 83: Back at the House of Newborns, omgwtfvampirebbq. (For real, the ashes have a "sweet, smoky scent.") For a moment, I was like, "Wow, Riley don't play. Nice knowing you, Diego." But it really does turn out to be some random sparklepire no one cares about, and the point is simply that Raoul pitched a hissy and set someone on fire again. Meanwhile, Bree stops fretting about Diego to notice that Freaky Fred is tall, blond, and "pretty." "Smiling, he was really spectacular." Oh, and also, Diego, where are you, etc.
Pages 86-91: Bree logics for several pages. Again. Some more. As much as I appreciate her very realistic attempts to make sense of what's going on, it's a little frustrating to watch her go on and on and on, given that we already know the whole plan from Victoria's end of it courtesy of Eclipse. Bree does conclusively realize, however, that she and Diego should have gotten the fuck out of there back on page 52. P.S. OMG DIEGO WHERE ARE YOU.
Page 94: Riley comes back, sees the newborn roasting over a scented fire, and loses his shit. He tears off Kevin's hand, tears off his forearm, tears his forearm into two pieces, and flings these various body parts smack into Kevin's face, leading to the following line a couple of pages later:
"Kevin looked up in surprise. He had just finished putting his arm back together."
But for now, Riley is raging at his dumbass dregulars: "What is wrong with you? Why are you all so stupid?" And then he starts shouting at them to GROW THE FUCK UP, SERIOUSLY.
Page 102: Wow, a Department of Back Story? This basement has everything!
So the Enemy Coven, Bree learns at some length, is dangerous, and talented just like Freaky Fred, only all of them, and a lot less stank. They even have... a mind reader (O NOES). Riley also insists that they'll all be safe because the Enemies don't know the newborns have anything to do with Her! And Bree's like, wait... doesn't that mostly help... her? Shhhhh, Bree. This is no time for anything so inconvenient as logic. In conclusion, a new, colder, harder, calmer Riley reads them all the riot act:
"I will not tolerate any more stupidity. If you think you don't have to listen to me, you are wrong." He paused for a short second, the muscles in his face shifting into a new arrangement. "And you will learn how wrong you are when I take you to her"--I shuddered and felt the tremor through the room as everyone else did, too--"and hold you while she tears off your legs and then slowly, slowly burns off your fingers, ears, lips, tongue, and every other superfluous appendage one by one."
Also, DIEGO WHERE ARE YOU?
Diego's dead, baby. Diego's dead.
Page 107: OH NOOOOO, Riley wants to talk to Bree. And he's being really sweet to her. You know, like... that time he bought her the cheeseburger. Can she come upstairs (IS DIEGO THERE) and talk (WITH DIEGO)? Huh, Bree, you sure aren't scared of possibly getting into the sunlight and exploding the way Riley swore up and down you would! Bree mentally smacks herself for nearly blowing her own cover. But for now, Riley does not seem suspicious. For now, he reveals that Diego has received the honor of scouting in advance, and that he sent word back to Bree: something about a ninja club? A secret handshake? You would think this was intended to secretly tip Bree off in some way, but Bree is like, "I honestly have no idea what Diego meant by that." Good tip-off? Bad tip-off? She can't tell. Riley then smiles and says that it's too bad, he thinks Diego likes Bree more than Bree likes Diego, and that she should give him a chance. Bree is a little Bzuh? at Riley taking the time to give a shit about this, but okay. Can she get Freaky Sullen Fred on board with tonight's battle practice? Sure, whatevs.
Pages 111-113: In a companion scene to Jasper training the Cullens and the wolfpack the best ways to fight the newborns, Riley begins training the Raouls and the Kristies to fight the Cullens. And while Bella sits and watches with Jacobwolf, Bree, who is now suddenly in Riley's good graces, gets to take it easy with... Freaky Fred. I am wondering if her not having any combat training is going to bite her in the ass, so to speak, when the grand climactic battle shows up.
Training. Training. Training. By means of. Constant. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.
Fred plays solitaire.
Repetition. Repetition. Constant. Repetition.
Diego went on in advance? Hell, Diego's getting to go do surveillance with Her, as a matter of fact.
Bree and Fred play rummy.
Page 118: Riley treats the army to an all-you-can-eat ferry boat buffet. Raoul's basking on top of a heap of bodies, and Kristie shouts, "That was amazing--three cheers for Riley!" and all the other Kristies go "WOOOOOOOOO!" This is the most real, actual, respectable vampiring that occurs in the entire series.
Meanwhile, Bree and Fred swam out to the ferry together "like an old married couple." This is, like, the most mellow love triangle ever. When Diego gets back, he and Fred are probably gonna, like, play vampire hackysack for Bree's affections or something. As it is, Fred has been watching Riley, and he seems to want to tell Bree something.
Page 122: The Cullens have yellow eyes, you guys! YELLOW? EW THAT IS SO GROSS. YEAH IT IS, IT MEANS THEY'RE WEAK AND OLD, THEY'RE OLD PEOPLE AND YOU KNOW HOW GROSS OLD PEOPLE ARE. Apparently Bella has a feral newborn twin somewhere in here. Maybe with the Kristies.
Speaking of Bella, Riley has something to show them: the shirt of Bella's that went missing in Eclipse. So the newborns pass the shirt around and take turns huffing it. Bella, you see, has "seriously sweet blood," which would be "awesome" (totally, dude) to taste. This is their "dessert." Shirt-huffing.
Wait, no! Dessert is Bella! Whoever gets to her first... gets her.
No one, meanwhile, ever notices Bree, even when she's standing right beside them, to the point where she is well-nigh on invisible. I thought this was Fred's doing, but now I'm wondering if this is Bree's ~*power.*~
Page 127: Back at the House of Newborns, it is time to reveal more secrets! Riley feeds everyone a story about how vampires can only go out in the sunlight four days a year, and today just happens to be that day, but something really weird and unexpected happens when you do, you guys gotta hold on for this, it's gonna be awesome! So Riley goes upstairs and outside and tries to sparkle for them. The Raouls and the Kristies are frightened and confused. Riley is frustrated that they won't ACT LIKE VAMPIRES, GODDAMMIT: "Don't be a bunch of babies! You're vampires! Act like it! I'm embarrassed for you!" This from the guy who's out twinkling in the front yard. But finally, he coaxes them all up and out, and "most people [were] enjoying how very pretty they were," although Kristie pretty much has to be pried from the door jamb like a wet cat. It's a disco ball garden party!
Page 135: A last-minute battle practice and a final Huffing of the Shirt.
Fred, however, has figured out that Riley is full of shit, which is what he wanted to talk to Bree about. He's gonna blow this ice-cold marble-hard popsicle stand, does Bree wanna come with? No, she must find Diego (WHERE IS HE)! But Fred'll leave a trail and wait for her in a park (Riley Park, har) and everything! No? No. Bree is so totally doomed as of right now. Like, check your watch and mark the time: right now. She is finally in possession of all the facts--not the whole truth, but all the necessary facts--to know that she needs to get the sparkle out of Dodge, and yet. And yet.
Page 139: And now! Racing to battle! Bella's intoxicating freesia (or lavender) scent is soooooo potent that everyone is throwing elbows and tearing heads off to get to her first! Aaaaand Riley's battle plans go all to shit, because no one cares about strategy anymore. THE TASTYBLOOD IS TASTY, WE MUST EAT HERRRRR.
And then Bree realizes that Riley is ditching them. At first it looks like abandoning them was his Cunning Plan all along, but then she realizes he's genuinely distressed that Victoria seems to have stood them up. You go on, Bree! DIEGO IS TOTES DOWN THERE AT THE BATTLE, DIDN'T YOU SMELL HIM? I AM SO SURE YOU CAN CATCH UP WITH HIM IF YOU LET ME GO BETRAY YOU ALL RIGHT NOW.
It's okay. Edward will tear Riley's arm off, and then Edward will pelt Victoria with said arm to knock her down, and then while the arm is crawling away Edward will bite her head off and Seth the Junior Werewolf will nom on Riley. Riley will get his.
Page 145: Bree immediately gets captured. She reaches the battle, and Team Stupid Babies has already gotten its ass kicked, as evidenced by the headless torsos and sweetly smoking sparklepire corpses (none of which, as you will recall, belong to the Cullens). Knocked down, she cries out, "Please!," meaning "kill me," so of course, the one who takes charge of the captive turns out to be... Carlisle Compassionate Cullen. Yeah, so much for that. And then Esme comes over and they're all cooing over Bree: "Child, will you surrender to us?"
That whole line in the introduction about "Did you wonder what the Cullens looked like to Bree?" made me think, actually, that Bree was going to see them as monsters. You know, kinda like that scene in Batman Begins where everyone's tripping their brains out on the fear chemical and Batman looks like THE SCARIEST GODDAMN THING EVER. I mean, it would be pretty cool for someone to see the Cullens as less than ungodly perfect. Instead, what happens is that she sees the Enemy Clan and is like... wait, they're actually pretty calm and nice and not-old and not-weak, wtf? So Bree finally comes to two realizations: Riley lied his ass off about the Yellow-Eyes. Also, Diego is totally dead. Logic dictates it to be so. : (
And then Jasper rolls up with his Mexican Vampire War scars and his game face on and scares the shit out of her. Even once he's calmed down, he's all like, "Um, yeah, so: she has to die." Keep in mind, this is someone who was like, "Edward, my longtime not-brother, your true love is delicious and we should eat her." And that's before his hair went rogue and tried to snarfle Bella. Jasper is not going to be impressed by whatever random straggler showed up late to the war, no matter how big the kill-me-quick puppy-dog eyes she makes at his not-parents are. But Esme is! Because her power is love! She puts herself between Jasper and Bree! Carlisle is a little concerned about what might happen here! Bree is like, that is totally the kind of thing Diego would do. Diego, who is DEAD.
So Jasper gives in, and he's like, SIT HERE BY THIS SPARKLEFIRE BONPIRE AND CLOSE YOUR EYES! WE CAN'T HAVE YOU SEEING THINGS THE READER WOULD ACTUALLY LIKE TO KNOW!
And now, with a little time to reflect, Bree realizes that when Riley said,
"And you will learn how wrong you are when I take you to her and hold you while she tears off your legs and then slowly, slowly burns off your fingers, ears, lips, tongue, and every other superfluous appendage one by one."
Riley had specifically been describing Diego's death. Aw... snap.
(Every other... superfluous appendage. Oh.)
Page 153: Bree hears howling and the names of characters we know ("Jacob, Leah, Sam"), but because she doesn't know them (and Jasper, for reasons of which I am unsure, never lets her open her eyes while they're around), she doesn't realize they're wolves, and I'll go ahead and tell you that she spends the rest of her Short Second Life thinking they're some weird secondary species of thumping, yowling vampires.
Bree also thinks about Fred, the one newborn survivor, heading for safety--someone who could make her invisible and safe. Ah, so I guess logic was her only power, now that I think about it, or else she could have just invisibled herself on out of there.
Page 158: I got confused here for a moment by Bree wondering if they were putting someone on the ground back together--i.e., a vampire--until I finally realized that it's not a vampire at all passed out there. HARK! IT IS THE TASTYBLOOD.
If you've read Eclipse, you know that Bree also spends the rest of her Short Second Life snarling and frothing because Jasper's keeping her from tearing Bella (who had passed out from the acute mental strain of watching everyone else have action scenes instead of getting to do anything herself) to delicious freesia bits. I, meanwhile, was still back on that paragraph where the unnamed character was passed out and Carlisle and "a male vampire with dark red hair" were leaning over her. I am not even kidding you--those of you on Twitter saw this unfold as I was reading--this is where my personal reading experience COMPLETELY WENT OFF THE RAILS. Bree can't mean--Edward? She can't really be reducing our copperbronze-haired, velvetunicorn-voiced, goldenscotch-gazing cupcake marble Adonis to a mere "redhead," can she?
(Dude, I seriously saw his hair as being more on the light bronze side.)
The redhead spoke to her in a low voice. "She surrendered. That's one I've never seen before. Only Carlisle would think of offering. Jasper doesn't approve."
Well--wait, there's one way to find out, isn't there?
Edward saw my [Bella's] bewildered expression.
"She surrendered," he told me quietly. "That's one I've never seen before. Only Carlisle would think of offering. Jasper doesn't approve."
It's like... either the movies, the graphic novel illustrations, and the fan-artists haven't been paying close enough attention to these books, or Stephenie Meyer hasn't. Which--yeah, no. I don't even know how this is happening. Look, I don't actually CARE what Edward Cullen looks like--it's just that it's like finding out after all this time that the Weasleys were "ginger," if by "ginger" you meant "blond." I have been writing about this godforsaken series since May of 2008. THE FOUNDATION OF MY SNARK UNIVERSE IS CRUMBLING. WE ARE GOING BACK TO THE FIRST BOOK TO CHECK ON THIS SHIT.
Edward Cullen stood at the desk in front of me. I recognized again that tousled bronze hair.
The last was lanky, less bulky, with untidy, bronze-colored hair.
"Which one is the boy with the reddish brown hair?" I asked.
OKAY I WILL CONCEDE YOU "reddish" WHICH IS NOT RED ITSELF BUT RATHER "tinged with red" AND IS CERTAINLY NOT ITSELF "DARK." And I don't see how bronze is indicative of "dark red" in any way. If anyone's hair was dark, I always thought it was Bella's, and I always somehow thought Edward's was lighter than hers. Although really, the whole discussion is subjective. Fuck it, let Google be the judge.
It's entertaining that Bree is immune to dazzle, though. "The redhead." Color issues aside (bronze is dark red? Really? I'm sorry, I will just never get over this and I'm not even sure why), we had 2000 pages of OMFG It's ~*EDWARD FUCKING CULLEN*~ and now we just get "the redhead." WHERE WAS THIS NARRATIVE RESTRAINT FOUR BOOKS AGO? I'd say this must be what all sparklepires are like--not easily impressed by their own kind--except that Bella's still literally (in the literal sense of "literally") tearing off Edward's clothes even as she's Vampiring Better Than Him, so I don't know.
Wait, wait, let us take a moment to view the True Love of Edward and Bella through the eyes of a character who briefly exists in the other book merely to get killed:
The vampire had both arms around the human girl, and the girl had both hands pressed to his chest. Her throat was just inches from his mouth, but she didn't look frightened of him at all. And he didn't look like he was hunting. I had to wrap my mind around the idea of a coven with a pet human, but this was not close to what I had imagined. If she had been a vampire, I would have guessed that they were together.
The Redhead, meanwhile, is all like, "Yeah, Bella, Jasper's fine, he just got bit a few times trying to protect Alice, like Alice needs help, lol," and Bree is just foaming at the mouth there with Bella's scent blowing into her face all like WHY ARE YOU NOT KILLING HER YET? OMFG WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU SOMEONE EAT HER I CAN'T STAND IT. And then Edward notices that Bree is struggling not to murder Bella and everyone else gets snarly and Carlisle's all like, you can control yourself, right? Seriously, my not-son will snack your ass if you look cross-eyed at that girl, you have no idea. "I want her," wails Bree.
And Bella's just staring at her, "fascinated," and Bree's sitting there like, come on, pet human, help me out here? Move over a little? Out of the wind, at least? Something? Come on! Cut me a break, DIEGO IS DEAD.
But no, we all have to sit here and wait until the plot points arrive.
(Aw, bless her, Bree is wondering if she can get away and get revenge on Riley for killing Diego. Who is dead.)
Page 164: HERE COME THE
I am deeply disinclined to recap all of this, because it's all exactly the same dialogue from Eclipse (naturally enough), but in a nutshell: Jane puts on a good show, acting like she's as surprised by the carnage as deadpan Jane could ever possibly be, but Bree knows that she's lying. I guess the payoff of the novella is that we find out that the Volturi were in on the whole Victoria revenge thing? I guess those are Bree's "secrets"?
So Jane and The Redhead discuss what happened. Jane is at least somewhat shocked by the size of Victoria's army. And also, that Victoria is dead. Riley, Bree overhears, is also dead.
My fierce pleasure intensified. If--okay, when--I died today, at least I didn't leave that loose thread.
Wow. That is almost as ham-fistedly meta as the "I wasn't sure exactly what to do about the leftover, unresolved character. Where was his happily ever after?" line that appears, my hand to God, near the end of New Moon. But it's okay this time, you guys! This story's all tied up and Bree's totes okay with dying! BECAUSE DIEGO IS DEAD AND RILEY IS TOO.
And then Jane turns on Bree, and we get to find out what Jane's Jedi Mind Taser (which Bella was always immune to) feels like:
Jane smiled at me, the bright, happy smile of an innocent child, and suddenly I was on fire. It was like I'd gone back in time to the worst night of my life. Fire was in every vein of my body, covering every inch of my skin, gnawing through the marrow of every bone. It felt like I was buried in the middle of my coven's funeral bonfire, with the flames on every side. There wasn't a single cell in my body that wasn't blazing with the worst agony imaginable. I could barely hear myself scream over the pain in my ears.
So, now that Bree is willing to talk, she starts spilling her guts as fast as she can, filling the Volturi and the Cullens in on her end of things. She also tries to get The Mind Reader's attention, whoever he is, to thought-signal to him that Jane is a LYING LIAR who SPARKLES. And then, in the process of Jane discussing this with the Cullens, we establish that killing Bella was the real point of the whole exercise, which Bree of course didn't know because Bree is unacquainted with the fact that the world revolves around Bella Adoraklutz Swan. And then (Bree notices), Jane gives Bella the Crucio Smile, but nothing happens, except that The Redhead's like, CUT THAT OUT!! Because, as you will remember, Bella is special and immune to any mental vampire powers, so it doesn't actually fry Bella's brain the way it does everyone else's. Again, Bree contemplates Bella's specialness, wondering, in the precious few moments she has while waiting for death, why Tastyblood hasn't been made a vampire yet.
And then Edward snarks that Jane and the Volturi sure did take their sweet-ass time getting down to the field of battle, you know, maybe because they knew something ahead of time and just decided to see who killed who without having to do anything themselves, and Bree realizes that The Redhead is The Mind Reader, and that he's picked up all the conspiracy clues she's been thinking at him, so mission accomplished on that front.
So... wait. Bree's "secrets" that we didn't know aren't secret at all because Edward found them out and presumably told the rest of the family and, thereby, us? I mean, "presumably," because it's been a year or two since I read... oh, goddammit, let's go get the book again.
Page 563, Eclipse: Edward has finished battle-dancing with Victoria and is taking Bella down to meet up with the family. Alice has foreseen the Volturi coming, and their arrival is so prompt that he suspects they already knew the battle was going to happen.
Page 577: Edward snarks at Jane, as mentioned. Jane denies nothing. "Edward nodded once to himself, his suspicions confirmed."
So... for all we can tell, Edward figured this out on his own and never paid any attention to Bree at all. So... what deep revelations were we missing that were so important to Our Understanding of the Novel? That Jane actually met with Victoria personally and encouraged her, rather than just discover what was going on from afar and show up to see how the dust would settle?
Well. There you are.
ANYWAY. Carlisle begs for Bree's life, but Jane is just like, "lol no," so Bree, knowing her time is running out... meditates, again, on the important question of what the hold-up on the Yellow-Eyes vampiring Bella is. But, as you will recall, Bella wants to be a vampire but she doesn't want to be a vampire before she's had sex as a human, and Edward doesn't want her to be a vampire but he wants to get married, but Bella doesn't want to get married unless she can be a vampire, but Edward won't have sex with her until they get married. Maybe they should ask Bree to logic it out for them. Spoiler: you put the grain in the boat with the fox.
"Take care of that, Felix," Jane said indifferently, nodding at me. "I want to go home."
"Don't watch," the redheaded mind reader whispered [to Bella].
I closed my eyes.
So the last thing Bree Tanner hears in this world is Edward's Velvet Voice.™ Of course it is.
Again, you can donate to the Red Cross here.