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By Blood We Live Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
"Snow, Glass, Apples" - Neil Gaiman's frequently anthologized take on the Snow White story, from the Queen's point of view. Atmospheric & scary. Gaiman is one of the best writers working in any genre.
"Infestation" - Garth Nix does an imaginative & entertaining take on a future where vampires are isolated, hunted & killed by professionals.
"Life Is the Teacher" - Carrie Vaughn's story sneaks up on you. A moving tribute to teachers who work with "different" kids & an excellent vampire story.
"Blood Gothic" - Nancy Holder's vampire isn't who, or what, you'd expect. Short & scary.
"Nunc Dimittis" - Tanith Lee's tale of a vampire, her aging servant, & a young thug is lushly written & atmospheric, violent & very, very sad.
"Ode to Edvard Munch" - Caitlin Kiernan's deceptively simple narrative about a pretty young vampire & her willing (?) victim reads like some of the best New Yorker fiction from the 1930s.
"After the Stone Age" - Brian Stableford proposes the best weight-loss plan ever.
"House of the Rising Sun" - Elizabeth Bear's vampire story is short, not-too-sweet, & leaves the reader wondering ....
"Sunrise on Running Water" - Barbara Hambly is one of the best writers of historical fiction in the business (check out her Benjamin January novels). In this story, she imagines what might have happened to a vampire who booked passage on the Titanic. Hilariously faithful to Bram Stoker's original & a (so to speak) scream.
"Hit" - Bruce McAllister imagines what might happen if a hard-boiled professional assassin were charged with killing a vampire by ... an angel. What saves this story from cliche is that it doesn't take itself seriously, & a surprise ending.
"Undead Again" - Ken MacLeod's story is short & funny.
"Exsanguinations: A Handbook for the Educated Vampire" - Catherynne M. Valente does a hilarious take on modern scholarly journalism as it applies to vampires & vampirism. Complete with footnotes!
"Lucy, In Her Splendor" - Which characters are the vampires & which are their victims on Charles Coleman Finlay's deceptively lovely summer resort island? Creepy.
The following are okay, but not great:
"Under St. Peter's" - Harry Turtledove has a clever idea, but you can see the "surprise" ending coming within about three paragraphs.
"Do Not Hasten to Bid Me Adieu" - Norman Partridge's Western sequel to the original "Dracula" isn't great, but it's reasonably well written & plausible within its genre.
"Mama Gone" - Jane Yolen's rural vampire story is concise & well written, if not particularly exciting.
"Much at Stake" - Kevin J. Anderson asks what would happen if Bela Lugosi's heroin addiction provided him with a vision of a much more horrifying past.
"Twilight" - Kelley Armstrong's story of a vampire suffering from weltschmerz goes on too long, but the character's story is moderately engaging.
"Necros" - Brian Lumley's narrative, of a young man who meets a spectacularly beautiful girl & her creepy elderly husband, is saved from cliche by good writing.
Then there's all this dreck:
"The Master of Rampling Gate" - another superficial, overwrought, cheesy knockoff Gothic by Anne Rice. Only her most devoted fans will find this readable.
"Child of an Ancient City" - none of Tad Williams' stories within a story, set in the early days of Islam, are particularly original or clever. Overlong & pointless.
"Endless Night" - Barbara Roden's tale of an Antarctic expedition is dull & predictable from the first paragraph. Just another "sympathetic vampire" story.
"The Beautiful, the Damned" - Kristine Kathryn Rusch re-imagines "The Great Gatsby" with vampires. Actually, she drives a stake through the heart of Fitzgerald's beautiful prose. The characters are superficial & the story goes nowhere.
"Pinecones" - David Wellington's take on the Lost Colony is clumsy & plotless.
"This Is Now" - Michael Marshall Smith's vampires - blink & you'll miss them - turn out to be just a metaphor for lost youth. A waste of time in every sense.
"Abraham's Boys" - Joe Hill presents the Van Helsings as a family of immigrants, with the boys expected to carry on Old World traditions in (again) rural America, whether they want to or not. Overlong.
"Hunger" - Gabriela Lee's story of a young hipster vampire is as aimless & full of adolescent babble as its central character.
"Finders Keepers" - L. A. Banks' gorgeous vampire falls in love with a recently murdered cop. Reads like a trashy bodice-ripper romance novel, except that it's set in Atlantic City's gambling casinos. "Ecstasy staining his expression." "Erect Hershey nipples." "Broad shoulders filled out his leather jacket." "His athletic body moved through the crowd with the stealth of a cat." Oh, & lots of brand names (Cole Haan black slip-ons, a "fine gold watch made by Rolex"). Ridiculous.
"A Standup Dame" - would someone please tell Lilith Saintcrow that the hardboiled detective vampire story has been done to death (so to speak) already? This isn't even a particularly good take on it.
"In Darkness, Angels" - Eric von Lustbader is probably one of the worst best-selling writers in history. Trite, cliche-heavy, overwritten, just generally terrible.
"Peking Man" - Robert J. Sawyer's story of a paleontologist who gets an unnerving shipment from China is dull & predictable.
"The Wide, Carnivorous Sky" - John Langan's novella about a quarter of Iraq war veterans who encounter something strange & horrible starts out well, but goes on too long & falls apart at the end.
"One for the Road" - it's Stephen King's anthology, so I suppose he's entitled to include one of his own stories, but this one - yet another in the seemingly endless "Salem's Lot" pantheon - is weak & predictable. Too bad he didn't reprint the great "Popsy" instead.
With that being said, here is my review.
1) “Snow, Glass, Apples” by Neil Gaiman. To say Neil is a master of his craft is an understatement. This man could write a shopping list and make it worth reading. Opening this tome with his short story was the hook. He takes the classic Snow White story and reworks it from the Queen’s perspective. Great atmosphere and nice scare to it.
2) “The Master of Rampling Gate” by Anne Rice. Typical Anne Rice gothic story – descriptive, overwrought, sexy, but nothing you haven’t read before if you are a fan of her writing (which I am, but even I found this one tiring).
3) “Under St. Peter’s” by Harry Turledove. Despite being able to see the ending from the fourth paragraph, this is one of my favorite stories. Harry has a nice take on what happens when a new Pope takes his place as the head of the Church.
4) “Child of and Ancient City” by Tad Williams. A long, boring, pointless story within a story set in the early days of Islam. Halfway through this story I actually but this book away and read two others. Upon coming back a few months later, it still took me almost a week to finish this one story.
5) “Lifeblood” by Michael A. Burstein. This was a very interesting story. The author writes, “I’ve always been interested in the question of how someone who doesn’t use the cross as a religious symbol would turn a vampire.” So Michael wrote a story about how a Jewish family takes care of a vampire. I liked this story – certainly made up for the previous one.
6) “Endless Night” by Barbara Roden. I was hopeful upon reading the description – and expedition to Antarctica in the Golden Age of South Polar exploration. While it sounds like a take on “40 Days of Night”, it still sounded interesting. It wasn’t. Boring, predictable, and unreadable – yes. Interesting? Not one bit. One of the many sympathetic vampire stories.
7) “Infestation” by Garth Nix. This was a relatively entertaining take on the whole “the Earth is over-run with vampires” theme and how out of that professional hunters emerge. Not a bad story.
8) “Life is the Teacher” by Carrie Vaughn. Knowing a lot of teachers, and working with kids myself as a Scout Leader, this was a relatable and enjoyable story. Watch out for the “special” children.
9) “The Vechi Barbat” by Nanacy Kilpatrick. Old world meets New world in a forgettable story about a girl remembering her home. I’d like to forget reading it.
10) “The Beautiful, the Damned” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Picture “The Great Gatsby” with vampires. If it sounds as bad as you think, then try to read this story and have that thought confirmed.
11) “Pinecones” by David Wellington. Roanoke Island and the disappearance of everyone. Living in Virginia I thought this was going to be an interesting read. I was wrong. It was hard to read and the ending was pointless.
12) “Do Not Hasten to Bid Me Adieu” by Norman Partridge. A “sequel” to the original Dracula – another forgettable story. So much so that I had to go back and try to reread it to refresh my memory.
13) “Foxtrot at High Noon” by Sergi Lukyanenko. Another vampire hunter story with a twist you can see coming from the middle of the third paragraph. An interesting read, if not a little difficult.
14) “This is Now” by Michael Marshall Smith. Meatloaf wrote a song about wasted youth. Michael Smith wrote a story about it. I feel like I’ve wasted youth reading this.
15) “Blood Gothic” by Nancy Holder. A very short, but scary story. Not what you expect.
16) “Mama Gone” by Jane Yolen. An interesting story about rural life and vampires.
17) “Abraham’s Boys” by Joe Hill. OK, I have to admit it. As much as I absolutely LOVE Stephen King, I have to say his son Joe is soon to take the King crown. I enjoyed this talk about the sons of Van Helsing.
18) “Nunc Dimittis” by Tanith Lee. Another semi-enjoyable tale about a vampire, her aging servant, and the quest to find a replacement. A very sad story.
19) “Hunger” by Gabriela Lee. A hipster vampire – with a tale just as annoying.
20) “Ode to Edvard Munch” by Caitlin R. Kiernan. As I was reading this, I can almost picture it as a black and white noir film with Bogart narrating. It’s a very simple, but enjoyable, story.
21) “Finders Keepers” by L. A. Banks. OK, this read like a trashy romance novel. Beautiful vampire, recently killed cop, and they hook up to right the wrongs done to them. Nice premise that was poorly written and executed.
22) “After the Stone Age” by Brian Stableford. Wow, was this story relatable! I’ve been on Weight Watchers for a few months now. Not sure if I’d be willing to try this weight loss technique. But it seems very effective.
23) “Much at Stake” by Kevin J. Anderson. I liked this one a lot – but then again, I am a huge fan of Bela Lugosi. This story answers the question of just how far did his heroin addiction go.
24) “House of the Rising Sun” by Elizabeth Bear. Sorry, I just didn’t get this one. Even reading it a second time. Something about vampires and rock and roll.
25) “A Standup Dame” by Lilith Saintcrow. Just another noir detective story with vampires thrown in. It’s been done to death and a few times in just this anthology.
26) “Twilight” by Kelley Armstrong. A melancholy vampire – well, that hasn’t been done before. Although this is an interesting tale on how a vampire chooses it’s victim and how they remain immortal. A little too long though.
27) “In Darkness, Angels” by Eric Van Lustbader. Folks, we may have a winner for the worst story of the lot. Or at least a tie. This was poorly written, cliché-riddled, and trite. Another story that had me put the book down to pick something else out to clear my mind.
28) “Sunrise on Running Water” by Barbara Hambly. What would happen if a vampire was on the Titanic? Read this entertaining story to find out. Amazingly faithful to Bram Stoker’s original Dracula.
29) “Hit” by Bruce McAllister. An interesting story about a professional hit man, hired by an angel, to kill a vampire. Didn’t see the ending coming.
30) “Undead Again” by Ken MacLeod. An extremely short story about a vampire being cryonically frozen in hopes of finding a cure. Meh.
31) “Peking Man” by Robert J. Sawyer. Boring, confusing, and poorly written story about a paleontologist and the packages he receives.
32) “Necros” by Brian Lumley. I enjoyed this story, despite it being predictable from the first word. An elderly man and his beautifully young bride – and why they are together.
33) Exsanguinations: A Handbook for the Educated Vampire” by Anna S. Oppenhagen-Petrescu. The title basically says it all. This is written as a scholarly Journal, complete with footnotes. I didn’t enjoy it at all – was too much like reading a textbook.
34) “Lucy, in her Splendor” by Charles Coleman Finley. You may never stay at a B&B again. Creepy, enjoyable story.
35) “The Wide, Carnivorous Sky” by John Langan. Iraq war veterans and their strange encounter. Started off great, went on way too long, and ended with a whimper at the very end. Had the makings of a good story, but didn’t deliver.
36) “One for the Road” by Stephen King. Another short story by the King of horror revolving around ‘Salem’s Lot. Stephen King could just hit random keys on a keyboard and I’d buy and read it, so of course I enjoyed this story.
So there you have it. Quite possibly the worst anthology I have ever had the displeasure to read. It took me eight months to finally finish it. Do yourself a favor – pass on this one. It’s not worth the $1.99 – even if someone paid you the money to read it.
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