Categorized | Fiction

Teeth: Vampire Tales Review

Posted on June 13, 2012 by Nancy

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    Edited by: Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

    Teeth is an anthology of the things that go bump in the night, the ones that have the teeth and the claws to rip your eyes out. It’s a YA anthology, true, but the stories can appeal to adults as well. There wasn’t a story in Teeth that I didn’t like. There were only a few that I felt could have ended better, but other than that personal preference, I would say that each story is well-written, suspenseful, and has excellent pacing. These aren’t all your typical vamps – vampire-like creatures from various cultures grace the pages of this anthology.

    Ms. Datlow and Ms. Windling give a great introduction on the history of the Vampire, from its earliest days, to the ever-popular Mr. Collins, to the world of vamps as we know it today. They actually make a good argument for the glittery lead vamp being the heart-throb inheritor of the vampire legend, though I don’t necessarily want to see the connection there. (I mean, really, Angel didn’t sparkle. Spike didn’t sparkle! )

    But back to the real point (pun intended) – of the stories in the antho, I decided to cover the top three on my list out of the nineteen stories presented.

    Genevieve Valentine’s “Things to Know about Being Dead” is a great mix of melancholy and funny. It follows the life of a tee girl, Sui, after she is transformed into a Jiang-Shi. While Valentine uses some of the traditional aspects of the Jiang-Shi legend, she makes it her own, blending it seamlessly with the modern world. You sympathize with Sui, the complexity of her situation and how she feels like an outsider trapped in her own skin. While it was a wonderfully contained story, with an excellent ending, I wanted to read more.

    “Sit the Dead” by Jeffrey Ford is an action-packed story in a modern setting, but with an old-world feel. Luke is just your typical teenage boy when he’s dragged in an otherworldly situation by his girlfriend, Darene, and her family. Her grandfather, Sfortunado, is a grouchy old man that teaches Luke some things about the world that he never expected.

    The vampire in the Jewish tradition takes center stage in “All Smiles,” by Steve Berman. It alternates between funny and dramatic as it follows a runaway, Saul. Saul happens to meet with a pair of twins, “all smiles,” and from there things get weird. They don’t like his religious tattoos and that’s not the half of it.

    Overall, this is an anthology that’s well worth the read.

    Review by Nancy O. Greene

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