Kiss Me Deadly by Trisha Telep (Editor)

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Kiss Me Deadly by Trisha Telep (Editor)

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: While it's unlikely that every story in this paranormal love anthology will appeal, I defy any reader with the smallest interest in the genre to not find half a dozen they like and a couple they absolutely love.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 432 Date: August 2010
Publisher: Running Press
ISBN: 978-0762439492

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What do Peter Pan, werecats, vampires, teenage zombies, and unicorn hunters have in common? Possibly very little... but they all appear as central characters in stories in this often enchanting anthology of stories of supernatural romance.

There's varying levels of success, as you'd expect from a wide variety of 13 authors, but the best stories here are quite simply stunning. My personal favourite - apart possibly from one I'll come to later - is The Spy Who Never Grew Up from Sarah Brennan. As the title suggests, it features Peter Pan as a spy, working for the British Secret Service in exchange for a particular reward. It's simultaneously hilarious, romantic, and not a little tragic, in the best possible way. Other really impressive offerings include Michelle Rowan's Fearless - in which a trainee witch chooses a scrawny looking cat as a familiar, only to find out once they're magically bound together that he's a shapechanger who was hiding in a magic shop - and Maggie Stiefvater's breathtaking The Hounds of Ulster, which is a beautifully written story of two Irish musicians growing apart thanks to the influence They have on Bryant the narrator's friend Sullivan. Funnily enough, it's probably best described as the written equivalent of one of the punk songs that Bryant and Sullivan play - hugely entertaining, brilliantly constructed, and with the only drawback being that it's too short.

One point which is really annoying me, though. I haven't read Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush. I haven't read Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I haven't read the Karen Mahoney short story Falling To Ash. As a result, I was really confused by their three contributions to this anthology, because I got the impression they were expecting me to know the characters involved that came from those works. I know that Fitzpatrick and Ryan, in particular, have big fanbases and they may well expect that most people reading the stories will be familiar with the characters involved - but they need to do a far better job of easing unfamiliar readers in to the characters, in my opinion. Surely an anthology is the perfect opportunity to attract new readers?

Diana Peterfreund's Errant is a stunning example of how to do this - it lasts just over 30 pages but packs in as much character development as some novels do, and is the perfect introduction to Peterfreund's world of unicorn hunters. This is the story I mentioned earlier as rivalling The Spy Who Never Grew Up for my favourite in the collection, by the way. Similarly, Rachel Vincent's Fearless is a prequel to her Soul Screamers universe. Mara Sabine, who feeds on people's nightmares, is sent to a juvenile detention centre - but has to try and work out why no-one there is having bad dreams. She's an author who was completely unfamiliar to me prior to this anthology but, like Peterfreund, is one I'll be eagerly seeking out in the future.

So, hit and miss, but hard to imagine anyone being disappointed overall given the standard of the best stories here.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag. We also have a review of The Eternal Kiss by Trisha Telep (Editor).

Further reading suggestion: Well, the obvious place to go from here is to choose your favourite story and find some more by the author. Just in case you've already read everything available by your personal favourite, though, I'll throw a few more out there, depending which ones in the anthology you like.

If you enjoy the humour found in the Peter Pan story and Familiar, then the bizarre but wonderfully entertaining Dirty Angels by Andrew Clover may be right up your street. For beautiful writing similar to The Hounds Of Ulster, Forbidden Game by L J Smith is superb. Finally, if the Generation Dead story Many Happy Returns stood out for you, Stacey Jay's You Are So Undead To Me provides more brilliant zombie fiction. You might also enjoy Soul Screamers: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent.

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