Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Early Review - Teeth: Vampire Tales Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

Teeth: Vampire TalesReading level: Young Adult 
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror 
Size: 480 pages 
Publisher: HarperCollins  
Release Date: April 5, 2011 
ISBN-13: 978-0061935145 
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone 
Source: ARC from Book it Forward ARC Tours 
Rating: 4/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this book through Book It Forward ARC Tours.  This was an excellent anthology with a lot of really great vampire stories.  It is young adult, but I would recommend for older young adults because of swearing and sexuality.  Most of the stories were more horror/urban fantasy than paranormal romance. 

I am going to highlight some of the stories I really enjoyed, and there were a lot of them that I really enjoyed.  The first story "Things to Know About Being Dead" by Genevieve Valentine, was hilarious and bittersweet; I really loved it.  The title pretty much explains what the story is about.  I also loved "Flying" by Delia Sherman, it was a wonderful story about young girl who is a trapeze artist with Luekemia and struggling to find a way to join the circus.  "Vampire Weather" by Garth Nix was another highlight; an excellent story about a young man who lives in an almost Amish like society in a world where vampires are everyday occurrences. 

Then there was "The List of Definite Ending by Cecil Castelucci" where a vampire finds a more merciful way to take her prey; this was a sweet story and well written.  "Sit the Dead" by Jeffrey Ford gives us a gruesome story about recessive genetic vampirism that was interesting and action packed.  "Slice of Life" by Lucius Shepard gives a look into the life of a lonely girl who is contemplating becoming a serial killer to free a vampiric friend.  "Why Light?" by Tanith Lee was one of the best stories in the anthology, it was a beautiful and touching story about vampires in an arranged marriage. 

There were also a number of stories in here that, while not outstanding, were very good and engaging.  I have listed the complete set of stories with brief synopsis/thoughts below.

Overall if you love vampires and creative takes on vampires, I think you will love this anthology.  It starts out strong, there is a bit of a lull two third's of the way through, but it also ends strong.  Give it a read is short stories and vampires are your thing.

- Things to Know about Being Bead by Genevieve Valentine: Very funny story that I enjoyed a lot.  About a girl finding herself as a vampire.  Bittersweet. (5/5)

- All Smiles by Steve Berman: About a boy who flees a vicious boarding school only to find out it is not what he thought it was.  Entertaining and action packed. (4/5)

- Gap Year by Christopher Barzak: A story about vampires being revealed to the human world and how it affects a young girl.  I loved the irony in this one. (4/5)

- Bloody Sunrise by Neil Gaiman: Short poem by Gaiman from a vampire's point of view. (4/5)

- Flying by Delia Sherman: An excellent story about a trapeze artist with Luekemia who joins an unlikely troupe.  I loved this story. (5/5)

- Vampire Weather by Garth Nix: An interesting story about a young man who lives in an Amish-like community in a country threatened by vampirism...or is it.  Also really enjoyed this story! (5/5)

- Late Bloomer by Suzy McKee Charnas: About a kid who doesn't know what he wants to do with his life.  While working at an antique shop that all changes.  It was okay but the story was kind of scattered and I didn't like the characters much. (3/5)

- The List of Definite Ending by Kaaron Warren: About a vampire who has find another way to satisfy her need for blood.  I enjoyed this story and the way it was written a lot. (5/5)

- Best Friends Forever by Cecil Castellucci: This is a story about two best friends: one who is dying and one who is dead.  I enjoyed it, the characteres, and the irony. (4/5)

- Sit the Dead by Jeffrey Ford: Excellent urban fantasy about a family's dark genetic secret, loved the strange open ending on this one.  (5/5)

- Sunbleached by Nathan Ballingrud: Gory and disturbing story about a boy who has a vampire living under his house.  To be honest it was a bit too disturbing and creepy for me.  (3/5)

- Baby by Kathe Koja: A disturbing story about a girl who has a special doll.  This was okay and well-written but extremely creepy. (4/5)

- In the Future when All's Well by Catherynne M. Valente: About a future where vampirism is as contagious as the flu and as preached against as teen pregnancy.  A bit vague, like Valente's stories often are, but I enjoyed it all the same. (4/5 stars)

- Transition by Melissa Marr: About a girl who gets turned into a territorial sort of vampire.  It was okay and I liked the irony.  (3/5)

- History by Ellen Kushner: A historian student is dating a vampire and constantly frustrated by the vampire's inability to remember all of the important events he took part in.  (4/5)

- The Perfect Dinner Party by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black: A vampire girl (who appears to be fourteen) explains dinner party etiquette.  I liked the twist at the end, but thought the rest of the story was only so so. (4/5)

- Slice of Life by Lucius Shepard: A girl who wants nothing more than a friend has to decide if she will become a serial killer to release her vampire friend from its curse. Great description, I loved the writing and really enjoyed the story.(5/5)

- My Generation by Emma Bull:  An excellent poem about how a vampire views the passing generations. (4/5)

- Why Light? by Tanith Lee: Absolutely beautiful and heartwarming story about a vampire girl who is sent off for an arranged marriage.  She dreads meeting the man she is forced to marry but ends up finding out that things are different than they at first seem.  Absolutely wonderful writing, captivating characters and story. (5/5)

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
- 100+ Reading Challenge

Teeth: Vampire Tales 

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