Immortal: Love Stories With Bite (Anthology)
Edited by P.C. Cast
Published 2008 / This edition 2009 263 pages
Summary (from the press release)
Vampires are all the rage, from television shows to feature films to bestselling book series. Across the board, if you’re into vampires, you can find something to hold your attention.
Immortal feeds this national obsession, and the story writers are all names that are sure to pack a punch. Contributors include: Rachel Caine, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Claudia Gray, Richelle Mead, Nancy Holder, Rachel Vincent, Tanith Lee and Kristin Cast.
Some of the stories in Immortal include a twisted love triangle between a vampire, a girl and a ghost; a doomed friendship in post-apocalyptic New York; a supernaturally gifted woman falling for a misguided (but gorgeous!) vampire and plenty more.
Immortal: Love Stories With Bite is a collection of 8 short stories for Young Adults loosely themed around vampires and romance. The title is a little misleading because while the majority of stories in this anthology are about vampires, they are not all romances.
“Haunted Love” by Cynthia Leitich Smith gets the anthology off to a good start in her tale of a teen vampire, a perky teenaged girl and a ghostly cinema usherette who’s been dead for the last fifty years. For some reason this story reminded me of the teen movies that I used to watch back in the late 80’s. It doesn’t take itself too seriously while it dishes up vampires who got turned over the internet, vampire hunters and dead girls. Haunted Love is hugely good fun and works well in its short story format.
Another story that stands out is “Free” by Evernight author Claudia Gray. Not so much a romance but the story of how a fifteen-year old free woman of colour in 1840’s New Orleans takes control of her own destiny after an encounter with a vampire. This stand-out story paints a vivid picture of 19th century New Orleans and the real lack of life choices available to a supposedly “free-woman”. Young Patrice proves herself to be made of sterner stiff as she rejects a life of glorified servitude as a white man’s mistress and embraces her chance to become a vampire, and mistress of her own destiny, instead.
By far the best story in this anthology is “Changed” by Nancy Holder. Set in a post-apocalyptic New York it follows the first few days after Jilly’s sixteenth birthday, which is also the day that vampires invaded New York. The vampires could just as easily be zombies because this story isn’t really about the supernatural but about the break down of society. The vampires are merely the means by which this event is accomplished.
Jilly sees her world fall apart as her parents are murdered and the normal life that she has always known disappears into a nightmare of death and terror within a couple of days. Her overriding impulse is to find her friend Eli who she loves beyond all reason, even though he is gay, and in love with Sean. Sean hates Jilly because she’s Eli’s best friend. The relationship drama this causes carries this story much further than the vampire apocalypse ever could and Nancy Holder makes the most of every word in this gripping 30 page story.
Despite the obvious talent, experience and bestselling credentials of the authors in this collection, the rest of the stories in Immortal struggle to be anything other than remarkably average. They are enjoyable - not bad, but not that good either. On the whole the average teenaged vampire fan should enjoy Immortal but as is often the problem with anthologies the majority of stories don’t stand out or inspire, and the few stories that do just aren’t enough to carry the book as a whole.
Still for teen readers looking to expand their vampire fantasy reading Immortal could serve as a good way to sample some of the writing of today’s top YA authors writing in this genre.
LoveVampires Review Rating:
You can find out more about the work of P.C. Cast at her website. Visit P.C. Cast’s website