Anthologies can be tricky, because short stories have to grab your attention pretty quickly. When we heard about Vampires Never Get Old we were both excited. Stories about vampires can be pretty interesting. The line up in this anthology was amazing and that made it even easier to pick this one up. We decided to split our review into to two parts, because there are quite a few stories. So keep on reading for our review of the first six stories. On Wednesday part 2 will be posted with our conclusion as well. Keep on reading to find out what we thought!
Eleven fresh vampire stories from young adult fiction’s leading voices!
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 out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.
Welcome to the evolution of the vampire―and 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.
We’re going to give a short review of each story and at the end of the part 2 we’ll give an overall review at the end.
Seven Nights for Dying – Tessa Gratton
“If you could live forever, would you want to?”
“I wondered what it would be like to walk this street alone and still be unafraid. No keys pressed through my fingers like brass knuckles, no heightened pulse, and if somebody called me a Duke, I could flip them off no worries – or better, rip out their goddamn throat.”
Candyce: Seven Nights for Dying was an interesting story. I loved exploring a story where it seemed like vampires were something that was known, but not necessarily feared. Our main character really had to think of what it would be like to be forever and maybe even the positive sides of not being a human female in this world. This story gave me a lot to think about. I don’t know what I would choose. (4 stars)
Isabelle: This story had an interesting take on the way yo become a vampire. I really liked how you had a choice in the matter. While I liked the plot surrounding the mom that was the only part that I really enjoyed (and was surprised by). In the end this story didn’t have that much for me. (3 stars)
The Boys From Blood River – Rebecca Roanhorse
“But not acknowledging something doesn’t make it go away. Most of the time it makes it worse.”
“You called me with my song and that dusty heart of yours.”
Candyce: What would you sacrifice to not be alone? Our main character Lukas ends up having to make this decision. Lukas’ stories isn’t always an easy story to read. He hasn’t been treated the way he should when he’s not all society says he should be. And he’s going to be alone before 18. The Boys From Blood River definitely has a dark and creepy vibe that many vampires stories do. The legend behind The Boys From Blood River shows us that sacrifice doesn’t come for free. Lukas was a really interesting character and if I’m honest, I want more. (4.5 stars)
Isabelle: This one was so much more creepy compared to the first story. It was quite dark and I loved the song that was an important part of the plot. Unfortunately the ending was an anticlimax for me, it felt rushed compared to the way the start of the story was set up. I think there could’ve been a better developed short story here because I definitely saw the potential. (3,5 stars)
Senior Year Sucks – Julie Murphy
“I might have given the rest of my life to the cause, but nothing in my pledge said I couldn’t join the cheerleading team. Watch out, Buffy.”
Candyce: Hmm… this is a hard one to review and why short stories aren’t always for me. Senior Year Sucks is one that just went too fast for me. I did love seeing the main character, Jolene, not be the typical picture of a slayer. It’s so difficult not to say too much when stories are short. Let’s just say I see where the author wanted to go with this, but it felt too big for a novella. I missed some depth and development. A plot like this needs more than a few pages, because the true story doesn’t truly start until the ending if this short one. I hope I make a bit of sense. (2 stars)
Isabelle: This was a fun and quick story. But there wasn’t really a plot. I did like that we got to read from the POV of a vampire slayer but I can’t say I got to know Jolene or that I liked her. As soon as I finished the story I forgot her name. It also annoyed me that one of the side characters had the same name as one of the side characters in the previous story. While it’s not really the authors fault, it did annoy me haha. (2,5 stars)
The Boy and the Bell – Heidi Heilig
“Much less costly to ask a friend to cut off your head before nailing shut the coffin.”
“Only the rich could be more concerned about public opinion of their burial than the burial itself.”
Candyce: The Boy and the Bell was an interesting one. Set in a time and place where people didn’t believe in vampires, but in people being buried alive. I can’t imagine walking through a cemetery and hearing the sound of a bell ringing from a grave. I liked our main character Will and would’ve enjoyed learning more about him. Would you go to a grave when you heard a bell ringing? I don’t think I could, haha. (3 stars)
Isabelle: I loved this one! Apparently I’m the only one that enjoyed this one as much as I did haha. The burial traditions were so interesting, I loved reading about home. Will and his struggle were the highlight of this story. The other boy was a real dick, but he was also a very believable character. I wish nothing but good things for Will. There was a bit of a ‘twist’ but I had guessed it early on. (4,5 stars)
A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire – Samira Ahmed
“Do I sparkle in the light? Seriously. No. The sun will kill you. Dead. Poof. Vanished. Stay out of it.”
“Vampire life is nothing if not full of contradictions. So, basically, no different than human life.”
Candyce: I have to say this one was fun and made me laugh at times with some of the remarks, like the quote about sparkling mentioned here above. This story was also a bit more serious taking colonialism into consideration in how the population of vampires existed the way they do. This story is basically the how to guide for a new vampire. It was a fast and interesting read. (3.5 stars)
Isabelle: This was so much fun!! I really liked this one. It’s set in India and I loved that part, you could feel India through the story. There were also a lot of fun references. And lastly, there was such an interesting parallel with colonialism. I loved reading about it and thinking about it afterwards. (5 stars)
In Kind – Kayla Whaley
“How will I know when I’m scared or excites if my heart can’t skip a beat?”
“But he was wrong on two counts. One, he didn’t kill me. And two, my life was always worth living.”
Candyce: In Kind was definitely an interesting read. The main character needed round the clock care. Even as a vampire her body wasn’t completely healed. I liked the fact that it shows someone’s illness is a part of their identity. People deciding what life is worth living is a slippery slope. (3 stars)
Isabelle: The message in this story was so good and important, I loved it. The main character’s disability doesn’t disappear after she turns into a vampire. And I loved her attitude about it. There was no need for a cure because it was all part of her, it didn’t need fixing. We also get to think about the question; ‘what is a life worth living’ and who decides that. (4,5 stars)
So that’s what we thought of the first six stories in Vampires Never Get Old! For once our ratings are not that similar haha. If you’ve read this anthology we’d love to hear what you thought of the different short stories. Do you read novellas? Have any favorites? Let us know!