Vampire Kisses --Ellen Schreiber
I've been rereading the Twilight series over break, but I didn't want to review that for the blog, seeing as I feel I'd spoil my favorite series. In lieu of that, I picked up the first and second book in the Vampire Kisses series at Barnes and Noble. I've since found out that there's a manga associated with the series as well. It may just be the first manga I read.
Vampire Kisses follows the story of Raven, a goth girl stuck in a town she calls Dullsville. Her all-black outfits in a sea of prepster pastels causes her to stand out amongst her peers. From a young age, Raven has proudly proclaimed her desires to become a vampire when she "grows up." Her obsession with vampires and the weird unknown is eerie.
In what Raven calls one of the top three exciting things to happen in Dullsville, a new family, rumored to be vampires, moves into the old abandoned mansion in town that sparks Raven's interest. They are never seen during the day. The town begins to talk and Raven's interest peaks as the rumors spread and grow. She goes to investigate for herself. She finds herself sneaking into the mansion. The boy she meets there, Alexander Sterling, is definitely different, but is he the vampire everyone thinks he is? Or is he just like her? You'll just have to read it to find out.
I was pleasantly surprised with Vampire Kisses. I wasn't sure I'd really be able to identify with a goth girl, seeing as I've never had much experience with that lifestyle, but Schreiber gives Raven a definite personality, both witty and fierce. It is hard not to feel excited for Raven, as she stands up for herself and dares to be different.
Schreiber has a tendency to play up the goth angle a bit too much. Raven is interesting enough on her own, but it almost seems like a lapse in character when she begins spouting random information about her "Gothic Mate," or her Gothic-clad room. It just seems like a step out of who her character is in the rest of the book. I think this is because it seems like Raven is almost "too cool" to actually have to think about her lifestyle--it seems like it should come more naturally.
I also found it difficult to cope with the way Alexander Sterling was described, or should I say, wasn't described? All there is really to understand about him is that he has dark hair and dark eyes. Raven's interpretation of the rest of him is just that he's wonderful looking--to her. I believe she makes a comment to the effect of everything about him being beautiful. It just wasn't enough to know that he looked nice. I never gathered a complete picture of Alexander or Raven, for that matter. The only reason I filled in the blanks on Raven's look was because the second book in the series, Kissing Coffins, has a picture of a would-be Raven on the cover. The story could have definitely been strengthened by clearer pictures of the characters.
The characters personalities are definitely well established by Schreiber. This can be both good and bad for the novel. It allows the reader to gain a clearer picture of the events as they unfold, but it also causes problems when the characters seemingly deviate from their expected personalities. As stated above, it definitely does happen. I'm not sure that younger readers [i.e. 10-12] would really pick up on it all that much, but I think more mature readers will notice the slight deviations.
All of that being said, I am still amused at how much I really am enjoying the series thus far. I still have not found books that I can say are on par with Twilight in terms of storyline, but I have been reading a lot of teen vampire fiction recently and this was definitely one of the better stories out there. After reading the first book, I was so glad I had the second one right there, since it leaves off on such a cliffhanger. The relationship between Alexander and Raven is both believable and romantic, in such a way that it keeps you wanting to read more.
The only negative is that the vampires described are atypical of all of the myths that exist about them--they cannot be around garlic, they cannot go out during the day, they turn into bats, etc. etc. They do, however, age. The fact that they age has raised some interesting questions in my mind as to whether they age like humans and then continue for eternity at an old age or they age at slower rates than humans. It seems typical in literature for vampires to not age at all. I will be interested to see if Schreiber answers these questions at a later time in the book.
The series is definitely worth reading. I've finished the second one, and I'm going to head to the bookstore to pick up the third and fourth today. The books are barely 250 pages, so they're easy to blow off if you have an hour or two to devote to reading.
Ellen Schreiber's Vampire Kisses: 3.5/5
Have a great day everyone! I'm hoping to catch up on some sleep after work. :)