Book Review: Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite

Title: Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite

Author: Zoraida Cordova & Natalie C. Parker (Editors)

Genres:  Anthology, SciFi/Fantasy

Pages: 322

Publisher: Imprint

Review Copy: Purchased

Availability: Available Now

Summary: 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 outand going out for their first killand other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.

Welcome to the evolution of the vampireand a revolution on the page.

Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley.

Review: As a lover of vampires and one who is writing a vampire novel, I was so excited when this anthology was announced. I love the title as it serves two purposes, 1) vampires never age so it tell the truth and 2) a reminder that the vampire genre is not dead because there are many more authors who can provide unique perspectives on the genre. And in this anthology really does bring a “fresh bite” to the genre.

There was a wide variety of tone to all the stories like the hilarious, tongue in cheek “A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire” by Samira Ahmed that made me chuckle out loud a few times. If one has ever listened to a teenager tell a story, with all the asides, imagine now that teen creating a guidebook for other teens. It was full of humor and snark explaining the vampire world to a teen who has been turned into a vampire, usually against their will. Now that theme is not so funny and this is where Ahmed excels with her story. The turning of teens into vampires is a wonderful allegory for colonialism as the vamps turning the teens are a group of British vampires called the Angrez. It is such a deep and moving statement how colonists come into a place, change it, and then leave. Thankfully for new baby vamps, there is this guide book to help them in a humorous way but also explores the anger a teen may feel upon waking up a vampire.

On the flip side of vampire hilarity is Mark Oshiro’s “Mirrors, Windows & Selfies” which is literally about trying to find oneself. His main character, Cisco, was born a vampire and has been raised in isolation by his vampire parents. According to them, he is not supposed to exist so they must continuously be on the move and remain isolated from society. Because of this Cisco does not know what he looks like because mirrors are dangerous (doesn’t this break your heart? It broke mine). Oshiro plays with the format of his story as it is written as if it was a blog, including reader’s comments. As Cisco attempts to break free from his parents and get a glimpse of his face by any means necessary (including stealing a neighbor’s credit card and ordering a camera) his blog becomes more popular as readers think Cisco’s story is made up rather than real. I don’t want to give away spoilers for this story, but it is very satisfying. I really loved Cisco’s character and the world that Oshiro created so I hope he returns to it in the future and we see a novel from this story.

While this anthology is about vampires, they are sometimes not the heroes of the story. In both Rebecca Roanhorse’s “The Boys From Blood River” and Heidi Heilig’s “The Boy and the Bell” have eerie close encounters with vampires and manage to survive. Roanhorse’s main character is tempted to join a group of Lost Boys inspired vampires, who are just as hot and just as creepy, but make him realize how strong he really is through their temptation. Heilig’s story is a historical piece set in a time when people stole freshly buried corpses for money (and to give to medical schools). Heilig’s character encounters a new risen vamp and takes on both sexism and transphobia. Heilig’s character is not only fighting for their very life against the vamp, but also fighting to be seen for who they truly are.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dhonielle Clayton’s “The House of Black Sapphires”. I did read her tweet where she mentioned this a story in the world of her upcoming novel and based on what I read, I can’t wait. The story is just as lush in description as The Belles, but with an undertone of the macabre. I was invested in the world and the characters and truly wanted more.

On the whole, I enjoyed this anthology. Zoraida Cordova and Natalie C. Parker added a lovely little bit of reflection about the vampire genre and how the stories related which I found very fun. All the stories were very diverse and most gave new approaches to the genre, which was the point of this anthology. And they succeeded.