Today is my 23rd birthday! And what better way to celebrate it than to talk about an awesome YA paranormal anthology, Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love? It is edited by Trisha Telep and has stories from tons of top-selling YA authors, such as Becca Fitzpatrick, Rachel Vincent, Maggie Stiefvater, and more!
The basic idea of Kiss Me Deadly is a compilation of supernatural/paranormal YA short stories - all of which involve some sort of love story. I'm going to give mini reviews to each story - mainly just my impression of it without any plot details, so as to let you experience the sensation of reading Kiss Me Deadly as I did - which you totally should, by the way. :)
The Assassin's Apprentice: This story starts off quick and has a poetic language that weaves a tale of suspense and danger, vengeance and mourning. To be honest, this was probably the weakest link to me in the anthology. Though it was good, it couldn't compare to the rest of the tales - and there was a forced, cliche sensation to it. But it was still compulsively page-turning.
Errant: Wow. One of my favorites. Extremely unique and unpredictable. Disturbing at times, but it only enhances the overall story. It feels fully fleshed out, a complete story, utterly absorbing. It is both terrible and beautiful, raw and heartbreaking - like a legend, painted with the skillful words of a talented writer.
The Spirit Jar: One of the most modern and current of all the stories. Has more humor and a lighter tone. Very interesting, but a bit slow-moving. There is a fun and unique twist to this tale, and easily readable.
Lost: Very atmospheric and eerie. There is a surreal quality that you seem to be sharing with the main character. Haunting and well paced - mysterious up to the surprising, twisty end. I liked it a lot.
The Spy Who Never Grew Up: With its fun, fairy-tale sounding opening I knew right away that this would be a standout in this anthology, and it was. Another one of my favorites. An awesome, original premise that is full of personality, humor, and a truly fun third-person narration.
Dungeons of Langeais: Though I felt the reader was thrown into the action a bit haphazardly, and I had a hard time initially of figuring out what exactly was going on, once I got a hold on it all I found that this tale is one of the more creepy. More horror than paranormal, kind of like the stories that you tell each other in the dark that are actually really scary. Yeah, this one has shades of Poe, and it definitely had an impact. Whoo-boy.
Behind the Red Door: A scary haunted house horror story. Another creepy, don't-go-to-bed-right-after-you-read it tale. Atmospheric and patient, getting you pretty goosebumpy before truly freaking you out. There's a humid, sticky feel to the style and a cool, laid-back manner - yet totally tense and unexpectedly twisted. Awesome. Another favorite.
Hare Moon: Has a fantastic start, excellent writing, and is instantly intriguing. Offbeat in the best way, yet inviting, and a major selling point for me to pick up a copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth (written by same author). Mesmerizing and ethereal, suspenseful and shocking. One of the very best in the entire anthology. Another one that sticks in your mind for days afterwards.
Familiar: One of the most traditionally romantic, with a hot guy and a more fun, light, and modern feel to it. A great way to get my mind off the last three creepfests (which were awesome but goosebump-inducing).
Fearless: A different approach, unique character with fascinating powers that I've never seen used in a novel before, that has a relatable quality that still makes you wonder if you should be rooting against the main character instead of for her. A fast-paced, cool and original take on an unused, ignored legend.
Vermillion: A riveting premise that I wouldn't give away for anything. An electric, hypnotizing, and pretty darn cool story. I want to read more of this author. In fact, I want to read more of all of these authors.
The Hounds of Ulster: Spellbinding tale that uses Irish mythology to be both suspenseful and mysterious. Though I am left wanting more, the shocker ending pretty much sells me on it.
Many Happy Returns: An arresting, stunning, unique concept propels this story forward, and lets it unfold in a disarming way. I am extremely intrigued in the Generation Dead series now, as this is a short story based off that book, I guess. Wow. Heartbreaking and fascinating, haunting and ghostly.
Kiss Me Deadly is an awesome anthology that is a fantastic opportunity to get a tantalizing taste of thirteen different writing styles, some darker, some lighter. Sometimes the romance is center, sometimes it is a side-story, and sometimes it is hardly noticeable, next to nonexistent. In that way, Kiss Me Deadly is even more exciting to read, because you never know what is next -- the varied tones and lack of cliche storylines make a wealth of truly high-quality entertainment that I look forward to rereading in the future.
An excellent anthology - makes me want to read the other YA anthology edited by Trisha Telep, The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire right now! I don't know how thirteen stories involving vampires could be as assorted and unpredictable as those in Kiss Me Deadly, but Kiss Me Deadly really opened my mind to anthologies and should convince any doubter of how fantastic paranormal YA is!!!
At only $9.95, the over 400 pages of awesomeness is a great value. Highly, highly, highly recommended!!!
Throughout all of October I will be posting a new review every Monday and Friday. Please come and check it out, and don't forget this change in schedule! So many books, not enough time!!! Ahhh, but is this not a book junkie's greatest desire - and her downfall? Hopefully I will not pass out before October is over! Lol.