Jamie Reviews: "The Eternal Kiss: Vampire Tales of Blood & Desire" - Trisha Telep (Editor)

Anthologies are always a hit and miss affair; when a dozen or so authors cook up their own stories on a single theme the results are eclectic at best. Vampire romance adds another steaming heap of possibilities on top of an already questionable method of storytelling.

I approached The Eternal Kiss with as blank a mind as I could; the fiction world has been inundated with vampires and the like, glittering undead that have no right glittering, and far too much romance along for the ride.

Nevertheless, giving a book like this the chance it deserved was a hard-won thing. The first few tales, well written enough as they were, were not enough to truly capture my attention. So the book lay on my desk for a week or so in order to give me a chance to come back in a clean slate for my next foray into this rather solid book.

The benefit of anthologies is that no story will ever last long enough to be truly tedious; several of the stories are exactly what you would expect in a collection brought out in the same time as certain overly fanatic vampire series of movies and books. Scattered throughout this standard fare, however,  are tales that really captured my attention. Here are three of my favourites:

Coldest girl in Coldtown by Holly Black provides both an interesting new view of the process of becoming a vampire, the mentality of those afflicted and those already changed, and beautiful insight into human ingenuity. Irony plays an important part in the creation of this tale and makes the ending all the more entertaining.

Wet Teeth by Cecil Castellucci combines the flavours of grit and distress in a short but bittersweet tale of love for the unlovable. This is not a pretty story and does not end well; but the greatest tales are either comedy or tragedy. I was surprised to see such a tale of the latter in what promised to be one of neither.

Other Boys by Cassandra Clare is a favourite purely on the basis of the nasty twist that the author felt it necessary to conclude this story with. This story starts tame and dare I say it, predictably, for a tale in this theme. But, like a spider waiting beneath its trapdoor, this story presents a mediocre facade to lure you in, or possibly to draw you away by a dull exterior. But waiting for the consistent reader is something ready to pounce into your brain.

The Eternal Kiss is a collection of love stories. It’s full of romance from one perspective or another, and as different as all kinds of love can be; there isn’t much more that can be said for this anthology without ruining what is available within. I came to this book with few expectations and I am glad to say that, for the most part, those expectations were worn away with good writing.

If you have the time and a taste for the occult it is well worth picking up this book.

The Eternal Kiss: Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire – Edited by Trisha TelepAugust 3rd 2009 by Random House Australia

Paperback, 416 pages

ISBN 9781864719413

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