Have you ever read a book knowing that the end only meant death?
In Stephenie Meyer's novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, Bree's second life is, in fact, very short. I read the book anticipating the demise of the protagonist, and my expectations were not disappointed. (Okay, I may have entertained the hope that Meyer had found a loophole that made it possible to save Bree in the end. She didn't.)
I suppose death works in this novel because of who the author is and what universe this story belongs to. But could this work in another novel? Would we typically invest our time reading a story that ends with the protagonist's death?
Bree wins in other ways (which I won't be so mean to spoil in this post, but you can read the novella by clicking on the link above). But in preserving her life (her second life...) she fails.
What drives us to read a book if it's not the idea that when we are through, the protagonist (whom we've grown to care about), will continue on thriving in the fictional world? I guess we have to ask if we read a story for the end or for the journey...or both.
Stephenie Meyer begins the novella with a lengthy intro, stating she'd like us to know Bree's perspective. I did come away knowing more about newborn vampires and the Twilight world, and so I won't say I'm disappointed in having read it. I did echo Meyer's wish when she stated...
The closer I got to the inevitable end, the more I wished I'd concluded Eclipse just slightly differently.
(I did consider that if Bree lived and joined the Cullen's coven, it may have spiced things up a little. I think she would have had a tragic crush on Edward, and maybe bit Bella herself.)
Can you think of another book in which the protagonist dies? Would you typically read a book that ended this way? Which is more important for you: the journey of reading the book or a happy ending?