Before I write this review, I think I'd better state my position on The Twilight Saga. I LOVE the books but I am well-aware that they are not examples of quality writing. I like the atmosphere, the plot, the characters. I do not like the way they are written and do not consider Ms Meyer a good writer. I would have rated all 4 books as 5 stars for enjoyment and 3 for writing. Hasn't stopped me reading them over and over, so she has got something right and I acknowledge that. Just wanted to be clear that as a fan, I see the flaws of the series and do not give it praise where it's not due.
So, with that out of the way, Bree Tanner. I was always going to buy it, because I expected more of the same things that I enjoyed from the other four books. Well, I was right but I got all that and more. The quality of the writing has seriously improved! The word choice is better, the flow is better, the characters are more fully fleshed out. A bonus that I wasn't expecting at all!
Before I started reading, I wondered whether knowing Bree's fate (from Eclipse) already would spoil it for me. It didn't at all. If anything, it made me more engaged with the story. I really wanted her to make the most of her "short, second life". It is all told from Bree's point of view a short while after she has been turned into a vampire against her will. She is with all the other newborns but she is sitting back, keeping out of trouble, trying to get a sense of what is happening to her. We meet Riley and get a better feel for his character. We also meet two of the other newborns, Diego and Fred, both of whom end up being important to Bree's attempt to survive. Their characters are quite a highlight. Diego and Bree are somewhat thrown together and tentatively explore their doubts about Riley and his motivations.
Without spoiling the plot, here's what I liked about the story:
1) Bree is not at all what we thought when we met her briefly in Eclipse.
2) We find out a lot more about what it's like to be a newborn (puts Breaking Dawn and Bella's experiences into better perspective)
3) We find out what the newborns did and didn't know before they went into battle
4) We find out exactly what Victoria and Riley were up to when they were out of the picture in Eclipse.
5) We find out what the Volturi were thinking during the newborn problem and then the battle.
6) We find out more about the battle.
That and the fact that I just really liked Bree herself, made this short novel into a winner for me. I read it in 2 hours and really enjoyed it. Obviously, if you don't like the saga and didn't enjoy Eclipse in particular, you won't like this!