I had planned to read Patricia Briggs’s Cry Wolf next, but it got misplaced in the disaster area that is my office, so I picked up The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance, edited by Trisha Telep. Since this is an anthology, I’m going to review it in a series of posts focusing on a few stories each. Because honestly, if I wait until the end, I’ll forget what I thought about the stories at the beginning. Reading film theory texts has eaten my brain cells.
I’ll try to keep the spoilers mild, but beware! There will be some stories that I can’t help myself with the spoiling.
Buy it now: Amazon
Description: The biggest names in paranormal romance have created a fascinating array of 30 short stories of hot blood and inhuman passions that will leave you thirsting for more. Authors include Sherri Erwin, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jenna Black, Jenna Maclaine, Raven Hart, Delilah Devlin, Keri Arthur, Kimberly Raye, Alexis Morgan, Lilith Saintcrow, C.T. Adams, Cathy Clamp, Susan Sizemore, Dina James, Colleen Gleason, Barbara Emrys, Savannah Russe, Shiloh Walker, Vicki Pettersson, Rebecca York, Rachel Vincent, Amanda Ashley, Karen Chance, and Nancy Holder. These ainâ€™t your motherâ€™s vampires! (from Amazon)
“Fade To Black” by Sherri Erwin
Okay, I’ve got to admit that the first half of this story intrigued me. It’s about a depressed, bored English professor (why hello there, personal identification with the main character!) who hooks up with a very sexy student… who turns out to be a vampire. The premise is interesting enough, as is the explanation for vampirism: it’s a virus. However, a short story is the wrong vehicle for this idea. Within the space of 23 pages, Erwin turns the main character into a vampire, has her and her student beau kidnapped, introduces a love triangle, introduces some sort of plot to “cure” vampires, and introduces Dark Past Events that transpired between the two male vamps. And then the main character runs off with her student beau. The end.
Wha? This feels more like the first chapter of a novel with a hurried bit of the end tacked on. Or the treatment for a novel. It doesn’t feel like a good, self-contained short story. “Fade To Black” is an appropriate title, considering that’s what the story does. Unfortunately, it fades to black on a rushed, unpolished story.
The Fangirl Says: D
“Ode to Edvard Munch” by CaitlÃn R. Kiernan
I’ve been interested in Kiernan since I ran across Murder of Angels in the bookstore, but this is the first chance I’ve had to read any of her writing. Color me impressed.
I’ve seen a few reviews of this story that complain about its lack of romance, and I can definitely understand where these reviewers are coming from. “Ode to Edvard Munch” is by no means a traditional romance. It’s dark and twisted, focusing on a lonely piano player’s obsession with a “daughter of Lilith,” a strange young woman who lives in Central Park. Much of the story deals with the bizarre nightmares the piano player has after allowing the woman to feed on him. I love Kiernan’s visceral style during the dream sequence. It’s vivid and creepy and fascinating all at the same time.
If you’re expecting a more traditional vampire romance, this isn’t the story for you. But if you’re a fan of horror or more straight urban fantasy, I’d definitely recommend this story. I can’t wait to read Kiernan’s second contribution to the anthology.
The Fangirl Says: A
Keep your eyes peeled for the next set of story reviews!