Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Vampire Kisses

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. :)



Evan said...

How does the author describe Alexander? Like, is it literally only in her words, beautiful, dark hair/eyes, etc? That seems to be a rough way of describing, almost as if the author wasn't sure herself of his appearance.

Also, how does the characterization happen? Through their actions, or their thoughts/words? Or even, yuck, through narrator description? You say they're very thouroughly characterized, which, as you said, is good and bad, but it's definitely bad if it's described to the reader in a cop-out manner, i.e: "Raven is a goth girl in Dullsville, who is both witty and fierce". You know?

Anyway, again, I enjoyed this post. Keep them coming, even if they are about trashy teen vamp novels. Good reading!

Melissa said...

The narrator, Raven, achieves her voice through the story itself, as it is first person. Some of it is a little wordy in the beginning, when she's trying to establish herself as a Gothic girl, but that's the part that bothers me anyway.

I'm going to look up how the author describes Alexander and block-quote it tonight. I had to read it twice, because I wasn't sure if the author really meant to put so little description in. I liked Kissing Coffins a bit better, because the narrator ended up seeing Alexander after an absence of a week or so, and when they were reunited, she started describing his features. But that's way into the second book. Too long a wait, I think. Also, like all of the sudden you find out in the middle of this book that Alexander wears stud earrings which is just so weird to hear. I really, really don't like how the characters are physically described. In SOME fairness to the author, I should point out that she does pay a lot of attention to what Alexander wears, but anyone can technically wear anything--it's not very helpful in telling me about the angles of their face or definite shapes. I don't know. Just my opinion.

I only chose to write about Raven in such a way because I'm not telling the story myself, merely summarizing for the benefit of others.


P.S. Jumping the gun, here's the quote from the second book, when they are reunited. It was the first time I was actually able to put some sort of picture together of Alexander:

"Instead, standing before me as my Gothic Guy, like a knight of the night. His dark, shoulder-length hair was hanging in his face. His white, moonlit skin was covered by a black T-shirt and jeans. The plastic spider ring I'd given him was resting on his finger. His eyes were deep, lonely, adoringly intelligent, just as they were the first time I'd see them."

Still doesn't describe his facial features very well, but still, something like THIS didn't come until the second book. Like I said, I'll edit the entry with the block quote of her first description of Alexander in book one later.

AlexReese13 said...

I personal like the fact that the writer did not put too much of a description to Alexander. For me it made it more enjoyable to read. Raven said that he was good looking to her, but by leaving everything about him unanswered left your own imageination to think what one would personaly like to see in a "dreamy vampire goth"

tenea said...

please can you e-mail me at teneais2sweet@aol.com and tell me what happens please please please

Erin Cullen <33 said...

Melissa, I do agree with you that Vampire Kisses is not on the level of Twilight, but that is probably due to the fact that I am an obsessed Twilight freak. But Vampire Kisses is amazing, and I love the fact that Schreiber did not describe the characters much. Reading the first book I had perfect pictures of how I wanted to imagine the characters, and I was mad they put a picture of Raven on the second because it is not how I pictured her at all. BUt leaving Alexander's appearance in the dark made me love him even more because i imagined him looking gorgeous and perfect for me.

Melanie said...

I began reading Vampire Kisses, because quite frankly..I've read the Twilight series 4 times, and really wanted to find something like it to fill the time until New Moon comes out. Where "kisses" got my attention, it is definately not on the same level as Twilight. I realize that both series are "teen" books, but Vampire Kisses was much more obviously written toward the younger reader. I'll finish the 3rd book, because it came in the combined book I purchased, but it's not really filling the void of my need for the good vampire story. I will probably end up rereading the Twi series again and rereading the unfinished copy of Midnight Sun from Stephenie Meyer's webpage.

Allie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allie said...

It always blows me away when I come across the few people who actually think Vampire Kisses is a good book. The author is a stand up comedian and should just stick with that. You're right about one thing though, this book does not compare to Twilight. It is not in the same league, world, or universe as Twilight. These two series should not even be mentioned in the same sentence because it's an insult to Stephanie Meyers.
The Vampire Kisses series had little or no chemistry between Raven and Alxander. It was difficult to enter Raven's world because she is so strange and uninteresting. These books were too fast moving, yet I felt as if they dragged on forever. Vampire Kisses was by far the most painful thing I have ever read.

If you are looking for a good Vampire Series I suggest Vampire Academy or The House of Night. They are both very engaging series.


Jessica said...

U should read the house of night series and especially the vampire academy series. They are both great and especially the VA series makes twilight seem boring. U should def check it out.

amy said...

great review ......i can hardly wait for vampire kisses 7

Bleeding_Heart said...

I Think That Ellen Is A Vary Talented Writer. Shes A Great Inspiration To Me For The Book I Am Writing. I Love Her Books And Think That She Should Keep It Up! :)

P.s Go To: