Saturday, November 14, 2009

Immortal: Love Stories with Bite, edited by P.C. Cast

Vampires are hot again, thanks to Eclipse, The Vampire Diaries and TrueBlood, programs and movies about Vampires in all their seductive power.Here are eight stories of vampires and love, each from a different author.

"Haunted Love" by Cynthia Letitch-Smith has a vampiric teenager being chased by the daughter of the Town's new Mayor, and haunted by the ghost who lives in the old movie House he has decided to reopen. Each has their secrets, but who is the real monster among the three of them, and can the other two take care of the monster before it kills again?

"Amber Smoke" by Kristin Cast has a young girl being chased by the son of the Furies, the Greek punishers of the wicked. Monsters have escaped into her world, and unless she finds out how to use her new special abilities, someone close to her is going to suffer the consequences.

"Dead Man Stalking" by Rachel Caine returns to her Morganville Vampires Universe, where the son of the man who believed he was meant to slay all the vampires must deal with the return of his father, who has come home with an unsettling new power, and an undead companion who isn't a vampire at all. Can the son free his vampire friend before he's used as a sacrifice to raise another ghoul?

"Table Manners" by Tanith Lee has a young woman who meets a real vampire at a ball given in the country by the friends of her father and her family. But can she help the vampire, who is locked into a worldview of bad movie myths and believing himself to be unnatural, or will she end up being his dinner?

"Blue Moon" by Richelle Mead concerns a young vampire whose family wants to kill her and a human boy who helps her get away. She can't understand why humans hate vampires, and while he helps her understand, he also finds that she treats him better than any vampire he has ever encountered. But can they escape the vampires out after her without using her powers?

"Changed" by Nancy Holder, gives us Jilly, a young woman in love with her gay best friend, Eli. Setting off in search of him across a Manhattan changed by an invasion of Vampires, they end up looking for Eli's boyfriend, Sean. But Sean has been changed, and nothing can ever be the same...

"Binge" by Rachel Vincent introduces us to a girl who is friends with a Siren. She's jealous of her friend, who is a magnet of attention wherever she goes. But when she finally finds a boy who loves her for her own sake, can she find happiness, or will it all end in tragedy?

"Free" by Claudia Gray takes us into the life of a young woman whose mother is a part-black mistress to a rich white man. She loves Amos, a free black blacksmith who her mother would never approve of, and waits for the local ball to be introduced to the man who will be her lover and Sugar Daddy. But the man who takes an interest in her is nothing human, and when he goes to make her like himself, will she choose to be free, or live her life in slavery to someone else?

This was an unusual sort of book. Not all the stories are about happy endings, or even about romance, but more about love and attraction. Even the Morganville Vampires story was about love- a strange and twisted sort of love between father and son. Not all of the stories leave good feelings inside you after they are over, but all are compelling to read and leave you changed after you read them.

This is not the sort of book that you can read and blithely go on to do other things. The stories make you think, and make you feel- often quite different emotions after you are finished. The book starts out with fairly conventional love stories, but moves on to stories of other kinds of love. Before you know it, you are sucked in to each story, and they become too fascinating to put down the book. Even when some of the stories become uncomfortable to read, you aren't able to turn away.

I really liked this book, and I think that anyone who enjoys vampire stories will find this collection fascinating reading. It's definitely aimed at teens- all the protagonists are teenagers, but the stories you will find here go far beyond teenage love. Highly recommended.

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