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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Immortal: Love Stories with a Bite edited by P. C. Cast

Immortal: Love Stories with a Bite edited by P. C. Cast (various authors)
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc (for Borders Books)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Age Recommendation: 14+
Length: Full Length (185 pgs)
Rating: 5 suns
Review by: Cholla

In Immortal: Love Stories With Bite, edited by New York Times bestselling author of the House of Night series P.C. Cast, seven of today’s most popular YA vampire and contemporary fantasy authors offer new short stories that prove when you’re immortal, true love really is forever.

Rachel Caine (the Morganville Vampires series) revisits the setting of her popular series, where the vampires are in charge and love is a risky endeavor, even when it comes to your own family

Cynthia Leitich Smith (Tantalize) gives us a love triangle between a vampire, a ghost and a human girl, in which none of them are who or what they seem

Claudia Gray (Evernight) takes us into the world of her Evernight series, in which a pre–Civil War courtesan-to-be is courted by a pale, fair-haired man whose attentions are too dangerous to spurn, in more ways than one

Richelle Mead (the Vampire Academy series) brings us the tale of a young vampire on the run from the rest of her kind, and the human boy who provides the getaway car, as well as a reason to keep running

Nancy Holder (the Wicked series, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) immerses us in a post-apocalyptic New York where two best friends are forced to make a choice that may kill them both

Kristin Cast (the House of Night series) introduces us to a new kind of vampire: one with roots in Greek mythology, and the power to alter space and time to save the girl he's meant to love

Rachel Vincent (the Soul Screamers series) explores a new corner of her series with the story of aleanan sidhe capable of inspiring the musician she loves to new creative heights, or draining him, and his talent, dry

And Tanith Lee (Black Unicorn) shows us what happens when a bright young woman with some supernatural savvy encounters a misguided (but gorgeous) young vampire.

Love vampires? Love vampire romance even more? Then this is definitely the anthology for you. Packed with a fistful of big name young adult authors like Rachel Caine and Richelle Mead, Immortal: Love Stores with Bite is a powerhouse of exciting and engaging short stories to fit every taste.

Haunted Love by Cynthia Leitich Smith kicks off this collection with a ghost story. Spirit, Texas is your typical small Texas town, complete with abandoned movie theater with a spooky past. When new girl Ginny Augustine approaches Cody Stryker looking for a job at the newly renovated spooky theater, he figures that a little help couldn’t possibly hurt. When the ghost of a teenage girl, murdered in the Old Love theater, shows up, things get a bit more than complicated… Cody’s hiding a secret, but so is everyone else. Haunted Love is a wonderful story combining two aspects of the paranormal world into a mystery with more twists and turns than you’d ever expect.

Following Haunted Love is an out-of-the-ordinary story by Kristen Cast entitled Amber Smoke. All Jenna wants for her senior year is to be cool for a change. What she doesn’t plan on is Alekos and the Furies intervening in her future. Jenna begins the story as your typical teenager, and a bit shallow to boot. By the end of this short story, her entire outlook has changed and she’s even grown up some. She shows great potential and I’d definitely love to read more about this pair.

Dead Man Stalking by Rachel Caine follows in the third slot of this wonderful anthology. Family relationships are never easy. Just ask Shane Collins, he knows better than the rest of us. So what do you do when your father is anti-vampire and you’re dating one? Like I said, it’s complicated. This was my first taste of the acclaimed Morganville Vampires series and I liked it a lot. Shane is a very strong character who rises to the occasion and makes the best decision possible, considering the tough situation he’s put in. I’m definitely going to have to read more of this series.

Tanith Lee has long been a favorite author of mine, so I was pleased to see her short story, Table Manners, in the fourth slot of this anthology. This was probably one of my favorites in this collection. In this lovely short, Lel is the daughter of an unusual man, one who treats vampires. She knows Anghel for what he is the moment she first spots him and is determined to help at all costs. One of the most unique vampire stories I think I’ve ever read. The characters are different and the storyline is more than enjoyable.

Riding on the heels of Tanith Lee is Changed by Nancy Holder. Set in a post-apocalyptic New York, two best friends are forced to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the other. This story shows the true strength of friendship over love and hit me hard. It was very real-to-life in respects to the teens of today’s world and the challenges and choices they face. Although probably the most frightening of the stories contained in this collection, it was also one of the most relatable.

Blue Moon by Richelle Mead was one of the most interesting stories in Immortal. Lucy is an ancient prophecy come to life. But not for long as her family is out to kill her before she can set the prophecy into motion and change the state of the world as they know it. After essentially kidnapping an innocent human, Lucy is forced to make some hard decisions and look her future in the face. I loved her character – she was fresh and new as far as vampires go. She wasn’t over-confident nor was she even very sure of herself most of the time. She and Nathan, her captive human counterpart, learned as they went and discovered they were more alike than they could have dreamed. I do hope that Lucy does eventually get a novel of her own.

Tying things together and finishing up this great collection is Free by Claudia Gray. Free is the only historical story of the bunch, but it couldn’t have been written in any other time period. Patrice is a free black teen, not something you saw much of in New Orleans in 1841. In order to stay free, she must find a rich white man to take her as a temporary wife, like it or not. On the night of her presenting, she finds another choice in the form of the vampire, Julien Larroux. Patrice is very independent and outspoken considering both her age and time period. It’s always exciting to see a woman in history stand out against the ties holding them down. Free is another of my favorite stories for many reasons. It is a very unique and intriguing story, but it also has quite the surprising twist at the end that took me quite by surprise. I just love when a story does that. I am going to have to look up Ms. Gray’s series and learn more about Patrice.

Immortal: Love Stories with Bite is a wonderful collection of widely varying stories suitable for both teens and adults alike. With many different genres and just as many different takes on the vampire legend, you’re certain to not get bored with this anthology. Nor will you think that you’ve read this story or that one before as each are as unique and individual as their authors. A must-read for any lover of vampires, Immortal: Love Stories with Bite will not disappoint.

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