Great, though uneven, way to sample YA paranormal authors
The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire is a short story anthology containing tales by some of today's most well-known paranormal young adult authors, including Kelley Armstrong, Holly Black, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, and Rachel Caine, among others.
Just like other short story anthologies, this book was a great way to sample multiple authors, both those who are popular and those who are lesser known. Within the collection, there were some very strong stories, most notably Libba Bray's "The Thirteenth Step." Though chilling and disturbing, this story of a special kind of rehab and the mood it created has stuck with me for months after reading it. Other standouts included Sarah Rees Brennan's hilarious send-up of vampire obsession in "Undead is Very Hot Right Now," Holly Black's cautionary tale in "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown," and Melissa de la Cruz's sadly romantic "Shelter Island." Rachel Caine's story, "All Hallows," also provided a good introduction to the style of her Morganville world. With a conglomeration of fourteen authors writing thirteen stories, this anthology showcased a variety of approaches to defining the "eternal kiss" and employed a range of styles, from romantic to horrific.
Even with this array of authors and approaches, only a few of the thirteen stories were memorable more than a few hours after reading them. Readers may also expect the book to contain a lot of vampire romance, based on the title, but only a few stories have a strong romantic element. Some stories didn't even include any kissing, or when they did, it wasn't romantic kissing, just biting. Some notable editing mistakes, like a change in the main character's name midway through Holly Black's story, were also distracting and drew me out of the reading from time to time.
Even with these things that bothered me, I found that picking up a copy of THE ETERNAL KISS was a great and inexpensive way to sample multiple authors at once. Though the majority of the stories didn't grab me, it was definitely worth the $9.95 cover price, even if just for Bray's story alone. I'm looking forward to reading the companion anthology, Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love, which features a wider range of paranormal creatures other than vampires.