Thursday, November 17, 2011

Teeth: Vampire Tales edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling


Fascinated by vampires?

Then feast on nineteen tantalizing, bite-sized tales exploring the intersections between the living, dead, and undead.

The vampires in these stories range from romantic to chilling to gleeful—and touch on nearly every emotion in between. The one thing they have in common is their desire for blood. . . .

I couldn't wait to get a copy of Teeth. Firstly, it has an amazing list of authors involved: Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Garth Nix. Secondly, it promised to give some alternate views to the type of vampire that we've become used to of late. The introduction by the editors of the book, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling is a fascinating account of the popularity of the vampire genre and the Gothic through the ages from local myths, through Buffy to the Twilight phenomenon.

It's not often that a short story leaves me with tears in my eyes but Flying by Delia Sherman did just that. The story follows eighteen-year-old Lenka, a former trapeze artist who's recovering from leukaemia. Her family were at the height of their popularity when she fell ill. As a result her brothers and their wives headed off to work while her parents settled down in Cleveland and worked regular jobs to help pay for her care. Now in remission, Lenka is keen to get back to circus life although she knows she isn't strong enough yet. She manages to persuade her parents to take her to the Cirque des Chauve-souris. Once there Lenka watches the show with a professional eye - seeing how it could be improved but aching to be a part of their show.

The next day she runs away, leaving her parents a note, and joins them. Too weak to perform she deals with the front of house responsibilities. As time goes on she discovers that there's more to her new family than she thought. I loved Lenka - she has an inner core of steel and a determination to claim back her life. Hating the fact that she's become so helpless and dependant her act of running away is more than just a whim. She knows that she belongs in the air and all she wants is to be strong enough to fly again. By the end of the story I was both happy and heartbroken. I want to read a novel about Lenka as soon as possible. I'm aware that'll probably never happen but I want to know more!

I can't finish this mini-review without mentioning Vampire Weather by Garth Nix. I'm a massive fan of the Sabriel trilogy. The worlds and landscapes that he created are forever in my memory. Vampire Weather tells the story of Amos who lives in what appears to be an Amish community - cut off from the rest of civilisation. When the fog rolls in off the mountains they live in fear of vampires using the weather to attack so hide in their homes. However, Amos meets a girl at the postbox and she changes his life forever. Atmospheric and memorable, I was a bag of nerves every time Amos stepped outside his house.

If you want a different kind of vampire then please check this anthology out. The authors involved have put together a thoughtful, terrifying and satisfying book that's a keeper.

1 comment:

Jenni (Juniper's Jungle) said...

This sounds so good, I'm always keen for different vampire stuff :-D