I received a free eARC of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb: Eleven fresh vampire stories from young adult fiction’s leading voices! In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breath-taking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.
Title: Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite
Editors: Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C Parker
Authors: Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, and Kayla Whaley
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Fiction, YA, Fantasy, Gothic
Rethink what you know about vampires and their world of shadows in these eleven short stories that really flip norms on their head.
As I’ve mentioned many times on the blog before, vampire stories were most definitely my gateway into becoming a fanatical bookworm when I was a young teen. I devoured everything from the incredibly popular Twilight series to the lesser known Darke Academy books so when this book popped up on NetGalley, I simply had to request it. A few things I really loved about this collection of stories was that they’re not like most of the vampire books I’ve read before (and there have been a lot!) which was refreshing. In every single one of these stories we see characters of all sexual orientations, skin tones, cultures and body shapes which this genre has certainly been lacking previously. I also particularly enjoyed that each story came with a little commentary from the editrixes. Córdova and Parker use this to question what we believe/have read before and take a moment to praise the authors for shaking something up – as well as leaving you with a really thought provoking question concerning your hypothetical eternal life.
Now, it would be otherwise impossible to give general descriptions of these stories as they’re all so different so here’s a little, spoiler free, break down of each of the eleven tales:
Seven Nights for Dying by Tessa Gratton – This is a story that focuses on giving the typical ‘victim’ a choice as to whether they want to embrace an eternal life or not. The main character is openly bisexual and we also get to meet a trans vampire which is something I’ve never read before!
The Boys from Blood River by Rebecca Roanhorse – I particularly enjoyed this story. It has a really creepy feel to it when you combine a small town in the middle of nowhere, a diner at closing time and an old tale about a group of boys that emerge from Blood River…
Senior Year Sucks by Julie Murphy – Imagine Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the 21st century. This story puts a focus on whether a vampire is inherently a bad person simply because their heart has stopped and they now have a thirst for blood. Also, our heroine here is also plus size and a cheerleader which I loved!
The Boy and the Bell by Heidi Heilig – This was another favourite of mine. Take another look at why Victorian’s added bells to their coffins – oh, and throw in some grave robbing for good measure!
A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed – Now, this was unlike anything I’ve ever come across before and it was fabulous. Written as a guidebook for a newly sired desi vampires, this covers some really interesting parts of immortal life that we’ve never seen mentioned in the stories of white vampires that are everywhere.
In Kind by Kayla Whaley – Another stand out story for me. Here we see the part vampirism can play in mercy killings. When a father can’t bring himself to take care of his chronically ill daughter anymore, he takes matters into his own hands – and the town gives him all the sympathy he could possibly want (for murder???). My favourite part of this story, other than the deliciously creepy feel, was that our main character doesn’t magically gain the use of her legs when she becomes immortal. She still uses a wheelchair and we get to flip the ‘vampires are all ‘perfect” myth on it’s head.
Vampires Never Say Die by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C Parker – This story felt the most classic of them all, just dropped into the 21st century. Here we have a typical perfect, cold, powerful and ancient vampire who rules New York reassess everything she knows when she meets a girl on Instagram and gains her first friend for many long years.
Bestiary by Laura Ruby – This was perhaps one of the most interesting stories as it’s another one as I’ve never come across anything even slightly similar. Instead of being our stereotypical vampire, Jude still has the thirst for blood but the wings that threaten to emerge from her back are far more beastly…
Mirrors, Windows and Selfies by Mark Oshiro – A new look at the classic myth of vampires having no reflection but combined with a whole world of vampire lore that I wish we’d gotten to see more. I did really like that this story was written in Tumblr entries, complete with notes and comments from avid readers!
The House of Black Sapphires by Dhonielle Clayton – This was another of my favourites! Even in such a short time, Clayton envelops us in a world of immortals, not just vampires, and their customs. I would jump at the chance to read a full length novel about this world which has obviously been so well thought out. We meet a family of Black immortals who run their own apothecary and each have some special power, even if that is being able to take still beating hearts from chests…
First Kill by Victoria “V E” Schwab – This was another Buffy feeling story where the Slayer is more than just a person with a wooden stake. A contemporary feel featuring high school and a game of truth or dare, we get an insight into both the vampire and slayer worlds and ask ourselves the question, who deserves to live?
As for what I disliked, I would say that I didn’t absolutely love every story in this collection. I won’t say which ones I could have skipped as they will all appeal to someone but I didn’t feel like they all lived up to the same enjoyment level. I’d also note that, and this goes for most short stories in general, I was left with so many questions with most of these stories. While they didn’t all leave me dissatisfied, there were definitely a few that I wanted to know more of. Maybe that’s just a sign that some of these would do really well as full length novels!
Overall, I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants some vampiric stories that aren’t just like everything else you’ve ever read! Forget Twilight and Vampire Academy and take a look at these tales, crafted with some deliciously fresh blood.
Have you read this book? Or maybe you’ve read something similar? What did you think? I’d love to know!
You can always find me over on Twitter if you’d like to discuss this book (or any others that I’ve featured) in more detail 😌