The Eternal Kiss: Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire (Anthology)

The Eternal Kiss: Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire (Anthology)

The Eternal Kiss: Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire edited by Trisha TelepIf you’re thinking of reading The Eternal Kiss to wean yourself off a Twilight high, think again. Pitting Twilight against this feast of words and emotions would be like comparing Passion Pop with a full-bodied Shiraz.

This review is based on a review copy of The Eternal Kiss generously provided by Random House Australia. This book is published by Running Press (Perseus) in the UK and USA.

The Eternal Kiss is a collection of 13 vampire stories for young adults written by some of the most popular authors in the genre. The stories in this luscious anthology are indeed bound by blood, but it’s the complexity of desire that gives the authors room to flex their skills.

This isn’t a romance anthology, but most of the stories incorporate some flavour of love, lust or both. Desire wars with reason, and the passion of youth is explored—sometimes tenderly, sometimes with violence. The authors offer different points of view—guys and girls, vampires and humans, predator and prey.

Most touch on one’s sense of identity and asks the question, What makes us unique? There’s no common sense of morality, and this is what makes the anthology, as a whole, so compelling.

Stories you can sink your teeth into

Editor Trisha Telep has put together an excellent sampler of the range of writing talent in young adult horror fiction. Some authors clearly excel in the short story form. Holly Black, in particular, has been a find. Her story, “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown”, had me almost in tears. I was both enthralled and devastated.

There are other revelations. In “Wet Teeth”, Cecil Castellucci challenges the reader to pick up on the barest hints to construct the relationships between characters. It’s fantastic to find an author who trusts her readers enough to do this. I read “The Thirteenth Step” in one go, I was so captivated bv the mystery and growing sense of horror that Libba Bray has woven. “Ambition” by Lili St. Crow has, I think, the most fascinating ending.

I would’ve preferred stronger stories to start and end the anthology, but I can’t fault the range of styles presented in the collection—from Rachel Caine’s snappy, urban characters in “All Hallows”, to the more poignant “Shelter Island” by Melissa de la Cruz, with plenty of variety in between.

Some stories could have been improved by paring down the plot or the breadth of characters—they simply try for too much in such a short form. Still, it was never a chore to finish any of them, even those where the narrative voice wasn’t my usual fare. There’s enough here to satisfy any palate and whet your appetite for more.

Australian edition

  • The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire edited by Trisha Telep The Aussie edition has a different tag line to the US/UK editions: “Vampire tales of blood and desire”.
  • The cover model looks different. The girl in the Aussie cover looks younger, more innocent—no corpse-like neck, no multiple piercings, no mole, but she does have bite marks on the neck.
  • The Aussie cover highlights different authors: Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Kelley Armstrong.

Yay or nay?

Because it includes such a broad range of styles, plots and ideas, The Eternal Kiss is best savoured in small bites. I’d like to give every teenage girl with a crush on Edward Cullen a copy of this anthology. There’s a reason we love vampires in fiction, and it’s not because they sparkle.

New Author Challenge 2009

AUSTRALIA: Booktopia | Galaxy | iTunes | Kindle | Other
WORLDWIDE: Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo | Library
AUDIOBOOKS: Audible

6 comments

  1. jenjen says:

    How did you know I needed to wean myself off a twilight high?? …but if this book’s going to give me a kick up the butt for falling in lust with Edward Cullen when I am waaaaay old enough to know better, then it’s going straight on my list! (if only because any book NOT about vampires holds very little appeal atm)
    ah, getting in touch with one’s inner teenager, how embarrassingly easy it is to do …

  2. SonomaLass says:

    I checked the full list of authors — there are some great ones in this anthology! Definitely a gift possibility for one of the teenagers, although I have a DO  NOT BUY reaction on one of the authors, so I’ll have to work on justifying it.  Thanks for the info and the insight!

  3. Our daughter absolutely loved this book. Devoured it in a flash and is now going back and re-reading the stories she loved most. She was a huge Twilight fan but I think this book has moved her on. I have a feeling this may broaden he reading all togeather.

  4. Kat says:

    jenjen — There are lots of Austen-based paranormals now. Best of both worlds?
    SonomaLass — That’s a risk with anthologies. Maybe wait until it’s in the library and see if the story works?
    AOB — The progression from Twilight was the first thing I thought of when I started reading this anthology. I couldn’t help but compare the nuances and complexities in these stories with the lack thereof in Twilight. Does your daughter have any particular favourites, moving on from Twilight?

  5. Gabriel says:

    This book is great.
    I walked in to my local bookstore and when I was asked if I needed help, my response was “I’m looking for a vampire book that isn’t twilight, because although it’s good I’m over the hype.”
    Its sad really Twilight was so good when we didn’t get responses to “Do you like vampires” with “Yes ohmigod Edward Cullen is soooo hot.” *appropriate look of disgust* Well I happen to think that the brothers from the Vampire Diaries are so much better (the show is nothing like the books).
    please bring an end to the “Twihards” and “Fanpires” its sad.

    Gabriel

What do you think?