A blockbuster anthology of original, blood-curdling vampire fiction from New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors, including Charlaine Harris, whose novels were adapted into HBO’s hit show True Blood , and Scott Smith, publishing his first work since The Ruins .
Before being transformed into romantic heroes and soft, emotional antiheroes, vampires were figures of overwhelming terror. Now, from some of the biggest names in horror and dark fiction, comes this stellar collection of short stories that make vampires frightening once again. Edited by New York Times bestselling author Christopher Golden and featuring all-new stories from such contributors as Charlaine Harris, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Scott Smith, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Michael Kortya, Kelley Armstrong, Brian Keene, David Wellington, Seanan McGuire, and Tim Lebbon, Seize the Night is old-school vampire fiction at its finest.
CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN is the New York Times bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of such novels as Road of Bones, Ararat, Snowblind, Of Saints and Shadows, and Red Hands. With Mike Mignola, he is the co-creator of the Outerverse comic book universe, including such series as Baltimore, Joe Golem: Occult Detective, and Lady Baltimore. As an editor, he has worked on the short story anthologies Seize the Night, Dark Cities, and The New Dead, among others, and he has also written and co-written comic books, video games, screenplays, and a network television pilot. Golden co-hosts the podcast Defenders Dialogue with horror author Brian Keene. In 2015 he founded the popular Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival. He was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family. His work has been nominated for the British Fantasy Award, the Eisner Award, and multiple Shirley Jackson Awards. For the Bram Stoker Awards, Golden has been nominated ten times in eight different categories. His original novels have been published in more than fifteen languages in countries around the world. Please visit him at www.christophergolden.com
Often anthologies can be a bit of a risk quality-wise, rarely are all of the stories on par with each other. This spine-chilling collection is the exception. Every story with the unfortunate exception of a couple, were amazing.
Seriously, I struggled to read this book at night because it was so awesomely scary. This collection claims to make vampires scary again and it delivers. I would recommend this to any fan of paranormal fiction.
Even if like me, you are not a fan of horror I still think you will like this book if you are a fan of vampires. The stories all feature varying myths of vampires from all over the world, and the diversity is refreshing. 4/5
***** Up in Old Vermont by Scott Smith A very strong opener to the anthology. At an aimless point in her life, a waitress takes up her regular customer's repeated offer to work for him as caretaker to his Alzheimers'-afflicted wife. Soon, she finds herself ensconced in a remote house, in a small town, and of course she's neglected to inform anyone of her whereabouts. How could anything go wrong? The story has a bit of a slow buildup - but I thought it was worth it.
**** Something Lost, Something Gained by Seanan McGuire Who knew that collecting fireflies could be so dangerous? I have to admit that I'm a bit tired of the 'abusive family situation' trope in fiction, and the short format of this story doesn't lend itself to allowing the characters to rise above the boilerplate. However, the writing and the satisfying ending still bring the story up to 4 stars.
*** On the Dark Side of Sunlight Basin by Michael Koryta A well-written, entertaining and scary diptych. I loved the setting: the wilderness of Wyoming's national forests. In the first half, we meet an obnoxious, incompetent hunter and his Native American guide. Thirty years later, what happened to that hunter affects a young couple in search of spooky photography opportunities. Almost 4 stars, I just wished there'd been a deeper connection made between the two sections, rather than just "this happened - and then this happened."
*** The Neighbors by Sherrilyn Kenyon A young boy suspects that something about the new neighbors is suspicious - but his mother pooh-poohs his fears. I have to admit, I saw the 'twist' coming, in this one.
*** Paper Cuts by Gary A. Braunbeck The eternal saga of a persecuted race of immortals is intercut with the story of a clumsy young woman who decides to shop at a quaint secondhand bookstore one evening. Not bad, but I feel that a necessary opportunity is missed in this story:
***** Miss Fondevant by Charlaine Harris Everyone always behaves in Miss Fondevant's sixth grade classroom. Everyone. Always. And when a classmate dies, Susan is convinced that the medical explanation that's given at assembly is not the truth. I loved this one. The two possible explanations for the events portrayed are weighted equally, and the psychology is perfect. It's also darker than I expected, from Harris.
*** In a Cavern, In a Canyon by Laird Barron While out searching for an errant dog, a family pet, with her father and uncle, a teenage girl has a weird encounter. Also, her father disappears. The one event overshadows the other - but both of them affect her entire rest of her life. A classic "monsters are gonna get you" story.
***** Whiskey and Light by Dana Cameron In a backwards, cursed town, the villagers live in fear of the demon that is believed to live beneath an ancient mound. They depend on a regular ritual, performed by a visiting priest, to keep their homes - and their lives - safe. When one year, the priest does not arrive, to everyone's consternation, one young woman decides to take this chance to finally get herself and her little sister out of Dodge. However... not all goes according to plan. Shades of 'the Wicker Man' here, but it's an original, strong, satisfying tale.
**** We Are All Monsters Here by Kelley Armstrong I thought this story was quite a lot better than the several other things I've read by Armstrong (no romantic werewolves here, yay!) Instead, this is an 'outbreak' tale. A new plague has emerged. Those stricken arise at night and attack and drink the blood of those around them. In the morning, they remember nothing of what they've done. The story follows one college student from a rough background, as her classmates are quarantined, and then as society collapses around her. Fans of 'The Walking Dead' will approve.
**** May the End Be Good by Tim Lebbon Wandering through a war-ravaged medieval landscape, a priest must deal with encountering not only the horrors of the mutilated bodies of battle's casualties - but with evidence that the survivors have been reduced to cannibalism. He himself is struggling and near desperation. And in this bleak and wintry wasteland, there may be worse things even than humans.
**** Mrs. Popkin by Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry Well, now that was all kinds of messed up, wrapped in some nice, normal wrapping paper. Todd is a nerdy boy who lives with his eccentric single mother. When the Popkin family moves into the empty house next door, it looks like Todd might, albeit hesitantly, make some new friends. However, the authors are going to take us somewhere different...
*** Direct Report by Leigh Perry (Toni L.P. Kelner) Quite unexpected: a story that starts out with a woman kidnapped and imprisoned in a room, drugged and repeatedly raped... and ends up being rather lighthearted and funny. How does the author pull this off? Well, you'll have to read it...
*** Shadow and Thirst by John Langan While a grown son is visiting his father, they notice a strange "tower" (it's not a tower, it's a bloody square cube, says nitpicky-me) on the dad's property. We know something's wrong when the family dog won't approach the mysterious structure. But of course, dad pays no attention to his dog's sensitivities, and the situation is bound to quickly avalanche into bloody disaster. I liked the setup, but the pacing is derailed by a far-too-long "explanatory monologue" at a very unlikely juncture.
*** Mother by Joe McKinney Two cryptozoologists with a long-standing professional rivalry are both 'on the trail' of rumors surrounding a supposed chupacabra who's recently killed a string of children. Soon, old resentments will come to a head, as what is uncovered turns out to be more dangerous than either man expects.
*** Blood by Robert Shearman 'Lolita' is given a new twist. A teacher is on an ill-advised and very illicit trip to Paris with a young student. But the line between victim and victimizer may not be as clear as it first appears.
*** The Yellow Death by Lucy A. Snyder Why is it that there are always bikers, after the apocalypse? One woman has found what the thought was a relative measure of safety amongst a biker gang, after the vampire plague. But when her beautiful sister turns up looking for her, a balance will be upset.
*** Last Supper by Brian Keene After an apocalyptic plague which has emptied the Earth of the living, even a vampire has it rough.
*** Separator by Rio Youers American businessman, employed by an unethical developer in the Philippines, gets what's coming to him.
***** What Kept You So Long? by John Ajvide Lindqvist Lindqvist's name comes with high expectations - and this story lived up to them. The life of a Scandinavian trucker is lonely and sometimes sordid, but it's brought to vivid, all-too-human life here. After reading, you'll feel like you really knew someone who had this job. But maybe not the specific man here, whose infection has led him to do things he'd never have imagined just a few years ago - and whose bleak loneliness has only increased, until he seeks understanding from a hitchhiker he picks up one night. At once classic and strikingly original, this is a tour-de-force of the vampire genre.
*** Blue Hell by David Wellington Long ago, in ancient Mexico, sacrificial victims were flung into sinkholes in order to propitiate the gods. Here we meet a Mayan priestess, a willing sacrifice. But her ritual goes wrong, and she will discover that her people have been sadly misinformed in their belief that the rain god Chaac is the deity appreciating their offerings.
Many thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this quality anthology. As always, my opinions are solely my own. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
I love vampires, but short stories not so much. I wanted to read this anyway, because even though I love romanticized vampires (but not whiney emo vampires), I occasionally read about the old school ones. After reading this collection, I can definitely say I prefer them human, or at least humanoid.
There were some standout stories here, some duds. My favorite of the bunch was "What Kept You So Long?" by the author of Let the Right One In (which, incidentally, I never finished). I also liked "In a Cavern, In a Canyon," and the last story, "Blue Hell." Some of the stories presented good ideas, then just ... ended. In that maddening way short stories do.
Recommended for vampire-obsessed freaks (like me), or those who like horror.
And so it grows, it is consolidated. It is a road I am destined to travel, I will travel along it for all eternity, and I am not allowed to deviate in any way. It is appalling.
Christopher Golden is a very busy writer. If a project involves the written word, it seems as if Christopher is willing to give it a go. This includes comics, media tie-ins, YA novels, and books for adults. Oh, and let's not forget editing anthologies.
Christopher's latest project is one such anthology. Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror is built upon the premise that "once upon a time vampires were figures of terror...And they can be again."
The twenty-one authors collected in this volume have accepted that challenge and have largely succeeded in returning vampires and their ilk back into our nightmares where they belong. Although, a couple of the stories had me scratching my head looking for the vampiric connection, each of the tales delivered the goods. And by goods, I mean the terror.
UP IN OLD VERMONT by Scott Smith. Scott is an American author and screenwriter with two novels to his credit. His screen adaptation of his novel A Simple Plan earned him an Academy Award nomination. This is the sweet story of Ally, a woman who has not had a lot of luck with the choices she's made in her life. She moves to Vermont to assist in the care of a wife with Alzheimer's in exchange for room, board, and a small stipend. Sounds idyllic, but what happens is anything but.
SOMETHING LOST, SOMETHING GAINED by Seanan McGuire. In 2010 Seanan was awarded The John W. Campbell Award for Best new Writer. This is a wildly imaginative story of a young teen-aged girl who gets caught in a Summer storm while chasing fireflies. What happens next is devastating, life-changing, and brilliant.
ON THE DARK SIDE OF SUNLIGHT BASIN by Michael Koryta. Michael is an American author of contemporary crime and supernatural fiction and has had his work translated into twenty languages. There is a reason why Michael is a NYT bestselling author and why his work is so highly praised. It all comes down to great story-telling. I loved this tale of a big game hunter who refuses to listen to the advice of his Native American guide. I really enjoyed Michael's legend building in this story.
THE NEIGHBORS by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Sherrilyn is a popular urban fantasy writer. Her novels have sold over 30 million print copies in over 100 countries. This short features some kids spying on their neighbors while there is a serial killer at large. A short, yet terrifying tale.
PAPER CUTS by Gary A. Braunbeck. Gary writes in a number of different genres, but is primarily known for his work in horror. He is also the recipient of two Bram Stoker Awards. Gary's story opens with the most visceral writing so far in this collection. Vampires are far from the worst of the horrors featured in this short story.
MISS FONDEVANT by Charlaine Harris. Charlaine has been writing for more than thirty years with her later works being in the urban fantasy genre. Most notable would be her Sookie Stackhouse novels which led to the HBO series True Blood. Here, a group of sixth graders think their teacher is an energy sucking vampire. Truth is, they might be on to something.
IN A CAVERN, IN A CANYON by Laird Barron. Laird is an award winning author and poet whose work falls primarily within the horror, noir, and dark fantasy genres. Laird delivers a well-told story of a woman, now in her fifties, still trying to understand if her father walked out on her and her siblings or if something more sinister occurred.
WHISKY AND LIGHT by Dana Cameron. Dana began her professional career as an historical archaeologist and later turned to writing. Originally having success with the Emma Fielding Archaeology Mysteries and more recently with her Fangborn Urban Fantasy Series. Dana is a new writer for me as a reader and I love that about anthologies. Her story from the days of the Puritans, features legends, superstition, demons, and a young woman wanting desperately to get away from all of that.
WE ARE ALL MONSTERS HERE by Kelley Armstrong. Kelley is a Canadian writer who's had a great deal of success in the urban fantasy genre. She's created multiple series set in multiple worlds. It's been two years since the outbreak that led to the onslaught of vampirism and there were still no explanations as to a cause. "Of course people blamed the government. It was in the vaccinations or the water or the genetically modified food. What was the trigger?" I love me some Kelley Armstrong.
MAY THE END BE GOOD by Tim Lebbon. Tim has been writing for nearly twenty years, primarily in the field of horror and dark fantasy. The story of a monk, in France, during the reign of William the Bastard. As if the atrocities of the French Army against the people was not horrible enough...
MRS. POPKIN by Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry. Dan has two novels and numerous short stories to his credit and has twice had his work included in Best American Short Stories. Lynda has worked as a painter, cartoonist, writer, illustrator, and more. She is the creator of Ernie Pook's Comeek, a syndicated comic strip which ran for more than two decades. I found this to be a charming tale, but I couldn't quite figure out how it tied into the theme of the anthology.
DIRECT REPORT by Leigh Perry. Leigh also writes as Toni L.P. and is the author of the Family Skeleton mysteries. Wow. Wonderfully told story. A totally original vampire concept. It took a while to get there, but the payoff was worth the wait.
SHADOW AND THIRST by John Langan. John is an American writer of contemporary horror, he's been a finalist for a Bram Stoker Award for Best Collection, and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Shirley Jackson Awards. This story is an interesting and complex tale of a grandfather who discovers an unusual structure on his property. After coming back from investigating it, he's a changed man and not for the better.
MOTHER by Joe McKinney. Joe has more than thirty books to his credit. He is a two time Bram Stoker Award winner. And is a sergeant with the San Antonio Police Department. Joe gives us a tale of the search for what has killed five young children in a small Texas community. Believed to be the work of a chupacabra, turns out to be something far more terrifying.
BLOOD by Robert Shearman. Robert is an award winning short story writer who is likely best known for the modern day Doctor Who. A wonderfully told story of forbidden love and a trip to Paris. I really like it, but might have liked it even more if I understood it in the context of the anthology's theme.
THE YELLOW DEATH by Lucy A. Snyder. Lucy has more than 80 published short stories to her credit and won the Bram Stoker Award in the short story category for her 2012 short "Magdala Amygdala." This story features some serious vampires. Well done, Lucy.
THE LAST SUPPER by Brian Keene. Brian is an American author, primarily of horror, crime fiction, and comic books. He has won two Bram Stoker Awards. A fairly short short story from Brian showing how immortality isn't always all it's cracked up to be.
SEPARATOR by Rio Youers. If you are not familiar with Rio's work, you really should correct that ASAP. He's written two of my favorite novels from the last few years, Westlake Soul and Point Hollow are both worth your time. Rio's vampire story was much like a perfect storm and was truly horrifying.
WHAT KEPT YOU SO LONG? by John Ajvide Lindqvist. John is a notable Swedish horror writer. Here he delivers another entertaining story about doing what you have to do, what you're "called" to do.
BLUE HELL by David Wellington. David writes about monsters, including a five book vampire series that follows a Pennsylvania state trooper battling a centuries old vampire. David's story for the anthology is about tradition, sacrifice, and what happens when it all goes wrong.
These are not your Count Dracula vampire stories, but thankfully they're not of the friendly variety either. What they all have in common is that each and every story is a cut above the ordinary.
Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror is out now from Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, and is available both in paperback and e-book formats.
You know an anthology is going to be special when 1) the stories are all new and written for said anthology; 2) the editor has stated his intention to ensure that all the tales will feature vampires that are evil, nasty, ravenous and do not sparkle (I may have added that last bit), and 3) that editor is excellent-writer-in-his-own-right, Christoper Golden.
With those lofty expectations in mind, I'm relieved to report Seize The Night most definitely does not disappoint.
With 21 tales comprising its mammoth 544 page length, a review of each of them would result in a write-up almost as long as one of the stories included within these pages. So I'm just going to single out a few and summarise the rest with my overall reactions.
After opening with the longest and one of the more languid tales of the collection, UP IN OLD VERMONT by Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire (who also doubles as Mira Grant) blew me away with her beautifully written and exceptionally sad SOMETHING LOST, SOMETHING GAINED. Imagine my delight then, when Michael Kortya upped the ante ever so slightly with his contribution, ON THE DARK SIDE OF SUNLIGHT BASIN, combining Native American folklore with vampirric legend to captivating effect.
Thematically, viruses that turn the infected into vampires resulting in the end of the world as we know it linked two of my favourite stories within this anthology. WE ARE ALL MONSTERS HERE by Kelley Armstrong and THE YELLOW DEATH by Lucy A. Snyder both feature strong female protagonists trying to survive in post-apocalyptic landscapes that are both similar and very different. Both of these shorts deserve full length novels of their own, such is the richness of the worlds outlined within.
SHADOW AND THIRST by John Langan combines elements of cosmic horror with his take on vampires and is one of the more imaginative tales within Seize The Night; while Leigh Perry's DIRECT REPORT is ingenious in set up, builds steadily, and features one of the more satisfying endings to be found here. PAPER CUTS by Gary A. Braunbeck wins the award for the most creative version of a vampire conceived for this collection, and BLOOD by Robert Shearman is the most disturbing of the tales for reasons not related to its take on vampires.
The collection also ends well with stories by Rio Youers, John Ajvide Lindquvist and David Wellington all delivering the goods in very different ways.
Though there were a few other tales that did not quite resonate with me, I would suspect they will for others. Even MRS. POPKIN by Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry had its moments, though I remain mystified by some of what was implied within this subtext heavy outing.
Overall, Christoper Golden is to be commended on wrangling such a diverse and high quality collection of new stories from some great names within the horror and paranormal sub-genres - including, in addition to those noted above, Charlaine Harris, Laird Barron, Tim Lebbon and Brian Keene.
Quite simply, if you are a fan of vampires, do not miss this one.
4 Throbbing Carotid Arteries for Seize The Night.
The preceding review was based on an advanced review copy obtained via Netgalley from Simon & Schuster.
Tin Men and Snowblind author Christopher Golden puts on his editor's cap here to assemble twenty-one authors to help the mythic horror figure of the vampire reclaim the horror-filled night.
Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror is a highly successful anthology, one that puts vampires back into the shadowy, hidden corners where they belong and makes them creepy, chilling, at times downright frightening, and even occasionally sympathetic. There's nary a sparkly, star-crossed love to be found here. Instead, we're getting back to the old-school roots of vampiric lore, going back to the heydays of Bram Stoker's Dracula and Stephen King's Salem's Lot. As far as I am concerned, this is a vital return to form for these stoic, and historic, universal baddies.
Collected here are twenty brand new and diverse short stories ("Mrs. Popkin" is co-written by Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry) that range from historical period pieces reaching as far back as the Mayan empire to near-future post-apocalyptic wastelands, that takes us stateside and across the pond to the UK and Sweden, from idyllic neighborhoods to a Philippine village ravaged by a tropical storm. Equally diverse are the representations of the vampires themselves, some decimating the world as a viral plague, or appearing as the more common Gothic figures, or water-dwelling creatures of the night.
While this anthology is incredibly strong, there were a few stories that failed to satisfy me, which is pretty common, and frankly expected, in any anthology. Still, there were several authors that I expected greatness from and they definitely delivered; better still, there were a number of surprises along the way to keep me happy. I won't cover all twenty stories here, but a few worth particular mention are:
THE NEIGHBORS by Sherrilyn Kenyon. The familiarity of the plot is properly upended with a fantastic twist in the story's closing moments and I really adored this one.
PAPER CUTS by Gary A. Braunbeck. This one I freaking loved! 5 stars all the way! Great twist on the vampire mythos and the concept, and repercussions, of their eternal nature. This one's a shade of Eco-horror and really well done. I loved the concept, the little plays on familiar vampire tropes, and the bookish nature it all gets wrapped up in. This one is my absolute favorite of the anthology.
WE ARE ALL MONSTERS HERE by Kelly Armstrong - great take on the vampire apocalypse, with the vampirism presented as an uncontrolled epidemic that leads to post-apocalyptic survival. There's shades of The Walking Dead here, which I'm completely fine with since it's rather well done. Note to self: buy a bunch of Kelly Armstrong books.
THE LAST SUPPER by Brian Keene. How does a lone vampire hold up after an epidemic wipes people off the map? Keene does a great job capturing the emotional turmoil and loneliness of vampire Carter's walk through the wastelands, right on through to a rather sad ending. Potent stuff for a fairly short story, but easily another one of my favorites of the anthology.
SEPARATOR by Rio Youers. Youers gives us a great twist on the vampire mythos by approaching it from the perspective of Filipino culture. David is a Canadian real estate developer tearing down the forest in Palla, ready to evict an old woman from her home in the trees. This causes the locals a fair bit of anxiety, and David is forced to confront a brutal horror. A rock solid entry, with plenty of sex and gore, and the manananggal presented here might be my favorite depiction of the vampire in this collection.
Seize the Night has the singular aim of making vampires terrifying again, and it heartily succeeds in its mission. Golden and the contributors deserve a fair amount of applause for their work here, and this anthology is a wonderful reminder of what made vampires such a popular horror staple, and why they continue to endure across the ages.
[Note: I received an advanced reader's copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley for review.]
Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for allowing me to read and review an ebook copy of Seize The Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror. Edited By: Christopher Golden.
Seize the Night is an anthology collection of short stories about vampires.
No, these ARE NOT stories featuring romanticized emo vampire heroes.
This anthology brings back terrifying vampires in new stories from authors such as : Charlaine Harris, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Scott Smith, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kelley Armstrong, Brian Keene, Tim Lebbon, David Wellington and Michael Kortya.
Don't be put off by the three stars rating! Seize the Night is a fantastic anthology of frightening vampire short stories. Of course there were some stories I LOVED, some I liked, and a few that I didn't particularly care for.
Out of all the short stories here are a few of my favorites:
Up in Old Vermont- Scott Smith On the Dark Side of Sunlight Basin- Michael Koryta The Neighbors- Sherrilyn Kenyon Paper Cuts- Gary A. Braunbeck Mrs. Fondevant- Charlaine Harris The Last Supper- Brian Keene What Kept you so Long?- John Ajvide Lindqvist
The best thing about this collection is the fact that the vampires are SCARY. I like all kinds of vampire stories, even the romanticized ones, but I like the horror ones best. I read "On the Dark Side of Sunlight Basin" one night right before going to sleep and I was a bit freaked out by it. That one definitely got to me! I can't remember the last time I was creeped out by anything vampire related. That right there is the awesomeness of this anthology. I enjoyed the majority of these stories and those are the ones that make it worth a read.
I recommend Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror to fans of horror, fans of the old school vampires, fans of any of the authors, and to anyone looking for something new and creepy to read this Halloween season.
They’re not handsome/pretty or friendly and they do not exercise self-control. They ARE ugly, vicious, gritty and evil. Vampires – just the way I like ‘em!
I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to my vampires. I don’t want Edward and daywalkers – I want creatures of the night and fog … Stoker’s Dracula, Lon Chaney Jr.’s bat, Christopher Lee’s chill, Nosferatu and blood dripping off fangs. “Seize the Night” delivers on all counts.
Christopher Golden has edited this anthology written by some of the best horror writers of the 21st century.
In his introduction Mr. Golden takes the reader through a very quick history of vampires as portrayed in different cultures and through the ages. And he warns the reader in no uncertain terms, “In Seize the Night … what matters is the terror”. This reader was not disappointed. The challenge to the writers contributing to this anthology was to “strike back against the notion that the vampire has lost its ability to inspire fear”. In my humble opinion all twenty tales in this book managed to inspire plenty of fear, as well as some squeezing shut of the eyes, groan and goose bump moments.
In compilations of short stories, almost without fail, there seem to be some that do not appeal as much as others. Not so in this book … there was nary a one I didn’t enjoy reading. I don’t want to point fingers but even the one story that had me scratching my head in confusion and thinking “okay, here’s the dud” absolutely redeemed itself when it gave me that “Aha!” moment at the end – worth waiting for and most definitely cringe-worthy.
The stories were as varied as the authors, some based on ancient myths and native folklore, others borrowing from nature. A few took place in the present and a few others in a post-apocalyptic near-future. If you held a fang to my throat and forced me to pick a favorite I would have to go with “Up In Old Vermont” by Scott Smith, which happens to be the first story in the collection. For originality it would definitely be “Paper Cuts” by Gary A. Braunbeck.
* I received this ebook at no charge via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review *
THE CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS
Scott Smith (Up in Old Vermont) Seanan McGuire (Something Lost, Something Gained) Michael Koryta (On the Dark Side of Sunlight) Sherrilyn Kenyon (The Neighbors) Gary A. Braunbeck (Paper Cuts) Charlain Harris (Miss Fondevant) Laird Barron (In a Cavern, In a Canyon) Dana Cameron (Whiskey and Light) Kelley Armstrong (We Are All Monsters) Tim Lebbon (May the End Be Good) Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry (Mrs. Popkin) Leigh Perry (Direct Report) John Langan (Shadow and Thirst) Joe McKinney (Mother) Robert Shearman (Blood) Lucy A. Snyder (The Yellow Death) Brian Keene (The Last Supper) Rio Youers (Separator) John Ajvide Lindqvist (What Kept You So Long) David Wellington (Blue Hell)
Oh, boy, you’re in for a treat. Grove Atlantic, a division of Simon & Schuster has published a book of scary stories from our most popular fiction writers that will put you in the mood to sit around all weekend, munching through the candy meant for trick-or-treaters, and terrifying yourself enough to turn off the TV and keep your eyes peeled until the daylight brings friends to save you.
The collection starts off with Scott Smith’s “Up in Old Vermont” about a thirty-three year old waitress at a small town diner in Vermont looking to make a new life out of her broken dreams. Invited to do light housework and some cooking for an old couple she calls The Hobbits, Ally moves to the woods…far into the woods.
Sherrilyn Kenyon has a six-pager, “The Neighbors” that revives preteen terrors and parents who will not listen. In “On the Dark Side of Sunlight Basin,” Michael Kortya treats us to winter in Montana/Wyoming, where an experienced hunting guide has a Californian loser in tow, looking for a kill…Charlaine Harris gives us a couple of middle-schoolers, Susan and Taylor, a dead schoolmate, and a terrifyingly-composed teacher in “Mrs. Fondevant:” “Susan read more about vampire lore than a girl her age, of any age, should ever read.”
Kelley Armstrong takes on the vampire-doubters in “We are All Monsters Here.” Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry collaborate on a short story that is truly gut-wrenching: two single mothers living across yards of broad country meadow from one another have some weird psycho-sexual predator thing going on for each other’s children.
Rio Youers was a new name for me, but this British-Canadian writer recreates the strangely shallow cosmopolitan view prevalent in today’s plane-hopping culture. In “Separator,” an ambitious Canadian land developer hopes to cash in on a typhoon-devastated landscape in the Philippines while paying insufficient attention to the myths surrounding the customs of the country. Very creepy.
Those of you familiar with the work of John Ajvide Lindqvist will be delighted to find a story translated for you here, called “What Kept You So Long?” One is uneasy from the first sentences.
This terrific collection is edited by Christopher Golden, the American author of Horror, Fantasy, and Suspense novels for teens and adults. Someone managed to get these busy authors to pony up for a volume of uncommon perception about our fears, showcasing individuals’ talents and giving us a lasting opportunity to scare ourselves silly. Big. Bold. Vampiric.
I only read 3 stories in this anthology. I got it from the library for the Scott Smith story because, despite the fact he as only written two novels, is a favorite author of mine. I was pleasantly surprised to find uncollected stories by two of my other favorite authors: Laird Barron and John Langan. Luckily, I loved all three of these stories. They are great examples of these writer's unique styles and each one is a scary take on vampirism.
For me, there is nothing better suited for October than a great horror anthology. I spent this October reading Seize the Night edited by Christopher Golden. It was the perfect choice!
It's been a while since I've enjoyed an anthology as much as Seize the Night. With this list of contributing authors, it's no wonder it was great collection:
Kelley Armstrong • John Ajvide Lindqvist • Laird Barron • Gary A. Braunbeck • Dana Cameron • Dan Chaon • Lynda Barry • Charlaine Harris • Brian Keene • Sherrilyn Kenyon • Michael Koryta • John Langan • Tim Lebbon • Seanan McGuire • Joe McKinney • Leigh Perry • Robert Shearman • Scott Smith • Lucy A. Snyder • David Wellington • Rio Youers
This anthology claims to make vampires frightening again. Outside of having read Twilight, I don't actually know anything about romantic, emotional, sexy vampires. My vampires have always been frightening so that's the place I'm coming from with this review. These tales aren't just original because they are taking the vampire back to its roots (did it really leave?), they are tales that are original in their own right.
While the vampires in Seize the Night are of the scary variety, most of them aren't your traditional Dracula derived vampires. This is wonderful thing. Seize the Night is a great anthology to curl up with on a dark night. (And frankly, a new story from Scott Smith is worth purchasing the entire collection.)
"They came for us, as they always did, when the sun shone high in the safe daytime sky. They pulled us from our coffins, from our beds, from our corners and alleys and pits, and they hurt us; oh, how they hurt us. Driving stakes through our chests as their legends told them they should, and then cutting off our heads...". from "Paper Cuts" by Gary A. Braunbeck
A great vampire anthology. A collection of short stories written by Charlaine Harris of the show "True Blood" and other great horror authors. The line up includes the works of Christopher Golden, John Ajvide Kindqvist, Scott Smith, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Michael Kortya, Kelley Armstrong, Brian Keene, David Wellington, Seanan McGuire, and Tim Lebbon. These are the kind of stories that take you back to when vampire stories were truly frightening.
While so many of the stories were scary and good. My favorite was probably the first one. It was called " Up in Old Vermont" by Scott Smith. Fitting way to start out this book. It follows Ally as she is trying to decide what to do with her life. She befriends an elderly couple and moves in to care for them. Then things change. Oh how they change. The world changes.
Some of the stories were like old legends or tales of folk lore. Some were a little off the wall. Some were current to the times. The steady theme is old time scary and what vampires originally were described as.
"Paper Cuts" was also an old time tale steeped in history. Annette wanders into a book store and receives paper cuts by an old book that sucks up her blood. The shop keeper tells her a peculiar story of being in the concentration camps and the book being used for evil and sacrifice. Indicating that the Nazi's had long been involved in something paranormal. Annette takes part in helping the shop keeper continue his tradition of the books.
I also really liked "Miss Fondevant" by Charlane Harris. (True Blood author)This story is about a sixth grade teacher in 1970. A little boy dies during class. Susan think that Miss Fondevant killed him as she placed her hands on his head as he was lying on the floor. Together with another child she's determined to find out what it is about this teacher that is scaring her.
Well written by seasoned authors. If you want scary vampires this is your book. A sense of the old days when vampires were creepy rather than glittery. No, that's not a swipe at glittery I liked those books and stories as well. Just a different time for vampires then and now. This is where they came from. There is room for everyone on my book shelf. Perfect time of the year for the scary stories.
Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books.
I wanted to love this, I really did. And I respect the hell out of the editor's intention to print non-sparkling bloodlust tales ... bravo. BUT, the big mainstream names on this docket don't serve the cause. There is simply too much mediocrity here.
However, two tales hide within this book like black fangs.
"In a Cavern, In a Canyon" by Laird Barron is Barron at his best: isolated locales, strong characters, and an amazing mise en abyme that will have you throwing an extra log on the fire. 5 STARS
"Shadow and Thirst" by John Langan is the writer sidestepping trope like a prizefighter (I'm running out of combat simile for Langan's work). I might even prefer this tale to The Wide, Carnivorous Sky. Highly imaginative and heartbreaking. 5 STARS
Honourable mentions to "Separator" by Rio Youers, and "What Kept You So Long?" by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
Because eternal life means eternal, whether you live inside a puppet of meat or the materials used to produce the pages of a book. Eternal life means eternal.
I could tell you so many things in this review to attempt to convince you to read this collection.
For starters, I could remind everyone that for what feels like months, I've searched for a decent short story collection. I've stumbled across some great short stories, and some decent-ish collections of 3 stars stories. But the majority have been so massively disappointing as to push me away from collections all together.
I could tell you that this collection knocked me off my feet and flat onto my ass. That some of these stories led to sleeping with the lights on, and contemplating what was lurking behind me in the dark when walking through my house.
I could point out that unlike the Emo Vampire trend of the last decade or so, these stories feature old school vampires. Vampires that hunt and feed and want blood, want to unleash pain. This is William the Bloody, not Soulboy Spike. Angelus, not Angel. Lestat, not Edward fucking Cullen.
I could pin point the lusciously written vampires of so many different worlds and cultures and mythologies. A vampire made up entirely of fireflies. A Manananggal from the Phillipines. And a teacher with just the right touch to calm hyper students.
Tales that read more like The Walking Dead than The Vampire Diaries. Stories of Vampire Kings, of plagues that leave vampires starving and alone and in search of someone, anyone. To feed, or just to talk to. And some tales that actually feature good old slayers.
I could tell you all of this.
Or I could let you know that buried in this volume is a story about a vampire book.
Not a book about vampires.
A book made of paper, like any other book. Paper made from a tree, like any other paper. But a tree planted specifically to cover a spot where ashes were dumped. Ashes that were once venomous, evil creatures that killed men, women and children. Immortal creatures, eternal. Creatures that don't die just because you stake them and torture them and burn them.
What happens when you turn a vampire into a book? What kind of monsters would be interested in a vampire book, and what kind of person would want to stop the books from doing harm?
That story in itself is reason enough for you to go now, immediately, and get your hands on this book.
Received from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
This is one of the best original anthologies I've read in years. Usually there are one or two really good stories, a handful that are okay that fill out the table of contents, and a few really bad ones that you have the feeling that the editor commissioned and then had to print because the budget had already been shot on them. In Seize the Night the premise is to re-create horrific, non-sparkly, non-cutesy vampires, the way they made 'em back in the good old days. I thought there were several terrific stories, several more really good ones, only a couple of space fillers, and only one that I thought was really poor. I especially liked the stories by Brian Keene, Laird Barron, Kelley Armstrong, Tim Lebbon, Rio Youers, Joe McKinney, Dana Cameron, Leigh Perry, Charlaine Harris, Robert Shearman, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Seanan McGuire, Scott Smith, David Wellington, John Langan, and Michael Koryta. Some of those writers (such as Harris or Perry, for example) are best known for doing more light-hearted supernatural fantasies but produced uncharacteristically dark work here. I also especially enjoyed Lucy A. Snyder's The Yellow Death, which is inspired by Robert Chambers' classic The King in Yellow. Chambers and William Hope Hodgson bridged the gap between the Victorian beginnings of horror literature by Poe and Shelley and the birth of the modern genre from Lovecraft and Weird Tales, so I think it's especially neat to see him remembered. (Two other stories come to mind inspired by The King in Yellow, one similarly titled by Brian Keene and The River of Night's Dreaming by Karl Edward Wagner.) My favorite story in the book is Paper Cuts by Gary A. Braunbeck. He takes a really clever and creative notion and builds a terrific story around it, a perfect little love letter for the bibliophile, and describes a setting where I know that I'd like to hang out.
Seize the Night is a collection of new short stories all featuring vampires. These are not the glittery sexy type of vampires but a return to the chill down your spine scary vampires. A challenge was given to the authors to put the horror back into vampire fiction which I think they lived up to wonderfully.
Out of the 20 stories in the collection of course there are some I liked more than others but I'd say I'd probably rate them all between 3-5 stars so I went with 4 stars overall. I'd love to do a description on each story but I don't want to give too much away with them being short so I'll just say that any fan of horror should find a few of these they'd love.
The collection includes titles from Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Michael Koryta, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gary A. Braunbeck, Charlaine Harris, Laird Barron, Dana Cameron, Kelley Armstrong, Tim Lebbon, Dan Charon and Lynda Barry, Leigh Perry, John Langan, Joe McKinney, Robert Shearman, Lucy A. Snyder, Brian Keene, Rio Youers, John Ajvide Lindqvist, and David Wellington.
Overall, a great read for horror fans and those that love vampire tales. If not familiar with some of the authors this is a great way to check out their writing style.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
If you like vampire stories than you may want to check out this anthology. However be warned as these vampires are not "Edward" they don't sparkle and they are killers. Lots of blood will be spilled. This is what I enjoyed about this anthology. It was dark and the stories gritty. Although, it seemed that I liked a little less stories than I would have liked. Therefore, this is the reason for my rating on this collection of stories. Yet, I have to comment and say that I have read many vampire stories and it did seem like I had not read these stories before. There were a couple that did leave me on the fence about my thoughts on them. What I mean by this is that they were good but somewhat out of this world unbelievable. I did not really up any new author fan base with this anthology. The authors' I already liked I enjoyed their stories and the authors' that I had not cared for or thought were only so, so my feelings did not change reading their stories.
Seize the Night, edited by Christopher Golden (Gallery Books, Simon and Schuster, October, 2015, ISBN 978-1-4767-8309-3, $18.00, 544 pages) is a horror anthology about vampires. Golden wanted to put the terror back into vampire legends, and he succeeded.
He collected 21 original stories from some of the best horror writers around. Two common themes connect the stories: surprise twists and good writing. You may also be surprised to discover Tony Orlando described as a real dog in several of the tales. Dawn is nowhere to be found.
Scott Smith’s “Up in Old Vermont” is reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” in its tone. This is unstated horror at its best.
“Something Lost, Something Gained” by Seanan McGuire is beautifully written and comes close to being a true masterpiece. The pacing, the imagery, and the right words in the right place make the story’s opening a joy. Louise—a thirteen year old caught out in a summer storm when her evil step-father had warned her she was getting too old to hunt fireflies—fears the lecherous creep will beat both her and her mother when Lou returns home soaked to the bone and carrying a jar full of fireflies. But Lou rushes home anyway because it’s still her home—the home her real father had left her—and her mother is waiting. The story takes a much darker turn when Lou falls into a rabbit hole, breaks her leg, breaks the jar filled with fireflies, and the broken glass slices her chest and carotid. When Lou dies out in the storm, POV shifts to Mary, Lou’s mother. I only wish McGuire had made the story longer, taken the time and space to more-fully develop the supernatural elements. McGuire does little more than hint that lightning and fireflies, also called “lightning bugs,” have more than a name in common. “Something Lost, Something Gained” is one of the four best stories in this anthology.
“On the Dark Side of Sunlight Basin” by Michael Koryta turns indian legends and an evil man named Medoc into a night terror for a girl who wont say die. “The Neighbors” by Sherrilyn Kenyon is very short with a weird twist at the end. “Paper Cuts” by Gary A. Braunbeck presents a different perspective of history and gives new meaning to the term “Banned Books.”
Charlaine Harris contributes “Miss Fondevant,” a chilling tale about a girl who suspects her teacher of being an energy vampire. Is Miss Fondevant really a vampire? Or is Susan delusional? What will happen when Susan tries to kill Miss Fondevant?
“In a Cavern, In a Canyon” by Laird Barron illustrates why Good Samaritans finish last and also asks the vital question, “What Would Clint Eastwood do?”
“Whiskey and Light” by Dana Cameron is another Shirley Jackson-type/Hunger Games tribute tale. Farmington, a farming community near Stone Harbor, is haunted. Every fall, Farmington residents leave tattooed sacrifices at a mound to placate the resident demon. Animal sacrifice plus ritual blessings from the local priest prevent the demon from devouring the town. This year, however, the priest has died and there is no time to fetch another. To placate the demon, Marr’s sister Jenn is offered. But without the priest’s blessing to confine the demon, the entire town is decimated and only Marr is left alive to kill the demon.
“We Are All Monsters Here” by Kelley Armstrong is the tightest tale in the book, a brilliant rendition of what a vampire story should be. This story alone is worth the price of the book. But there isn’t a single lemon in the entire anthology, and they are all worth a read.
“May the End Be Good” by Tim Lebbon features Winfred, a Roman Catholic monk during the 11th century siege of William the Conqueror. With French troops rampaging through the English countryside, rape and cannibalism have become common. In the midst of so much evil, what can a good man do besides pray?
“Mrs. Popkin” by Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry is just plain weird. But it’s weird in a fantastical way that draws you in before it spits you out. It’s about mothers and children and rabbits. More than that, I won’t reveal. You need to read the story to discover on your own all the horrors hidden beneath a coat of fresh paint.
“Direct Report” by Leigh Perry is a twisted tale about an out-of-work woman executive who finds upward mobility in a new job can be a real pain. “Shadow and Thirst” by John Langan tries to pack too much into a short story, and I got lost several times before reaching the end. Time and space shifts in a maze-like tunnel, plus multiple Tonys, made the tale a bit too complicated for my tastes.
Joe McKinney is the consummate craftsman, and his finely-wrought stories are always a treasure. McKinney’s “Mother” ties together Aztec legends with a sound scientific explanation for a different kind of vampire. When five children are murdered in a small town in south Texas, paranormal investigator Dr. Ed Drinker wants to learn the truth almost as much as he wants to beat arch-rival Charles Marsh to the story. Drinker does learn the truth, but at what cost?
“Blood” by Robert Shearman is a strange tale about a teacher and an underage student on holiday in Paris. He knows it’s wrong, but he’s compelled to do it anyway and compulsion can be dangerous. “The Yellow Death” by Lucy A. Snyder is half-vampire lore, half mythos. It’s about a woman’s strength as she wanders through hell on earth. “The Last Supper” by Brian Keene is a grim tale about loneliness. For so it is written, What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?
“Separator” by Rio Youers takes place in the Philippines after a typhoon and tsunami kill thousands. David Payne, a Canadian real estate developer, believes in the reality of money, not the superstitious nonsense of the local populace. David pays dearly for his irreverence and his sins, of course. But will the sins of the father die with the man? This is another of the top four.
“What Kept You So Long?” by John Advide Lindqvist is an exquisitely devised tale of longing. Longing for blood. Longing for redemption. Longing for another person like you who feels the same longings. The tight writing and final twist make this another contender for my top four picks.
In “Blue Hell” by David Wellington, a young girl is tossed down a well as a sacrifice to the rain god. She had gone willingly to insure rain for the crops her people planted. But she does not drop all the way to the bottom where the gods await. She lands on a ledge that shatters one leg and shakes up her beliefs. At first she is ashamed that she failed to be the sacrifice her people wanted and needed. But when a skeletal creature emerges from the depths to suck her blood, she decides she wants to live. She intends to somehow get out of the cenote and inform her people about the monsters in the well, and to tell them their beliefs are only a bunch of lies. There are no gods in the well to accept the sacrifices. There are only monsters and the bones of countless sacrificial victims. The story, told from the sacrificial victim’s POV, is nicely done.
All 21 tales are worth reading. There are all kinds of vampires in the world, and Seize the Night will introduce you to a few you never knew existed before. Definitely worth the read.
In a book that is so focused on the frightening part of vampires, it was nice to find this book focusing on the less attractive human looking ones. Though I wasn't particularly fond of the story itself, it was able to capture the same kind of feeling as the infamous Twilight Zone. Especially as the story twisted and the story's main character finds herself being offered up by the townspeople.
Rating: 3 Stars
Something Lost, Something Gained by Seanan McGuire
I was torn about my feelings about this short story. I didn't quite understand the obsession with fireflies? I'm guessing I kind of just missed the point? Even more so, I was confused as to how the girl randomly became a vampire? It just left a lot of unanswered questions and was far more odd than anything resembling terrifying.
Rating: 1 Star
On The Dark Side Of Sunlight Basin by Michael Koryta
The interesting part of this tale is the tale of how one is cursed when they try to take what has been claimed by another. In this particular one, Medoc is cursed because he tries to steal a kill from a wolf pack and claim it as his own. Was this a terrifying tale? No. But I must admit, having the girl spend the night inside a carcass was definitely an interesting way to keep her from becoming Medoc's next meal. I just wish the author wouldn't have kept referencing Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's too predictable.
Rating: 2 Stars
The Neighbors by Sherrilyn Kenyon
I tried to like this short story but it had two things going against it. One the setup was a lot like Fright Night, where the main character thinks there is something suspicious going on. The second issue I had, was with the twist at the end. It was unimaginative and I'm fairly certain either Are You Afraid of the Dark or Goosebumps as well as Tales From the Crypt used the exact same story. It borders on complete plagiarism.
Rating: 0 Stars
Paper Cuts by Gary A. Braunbeck
I commend this author for trying to do something different and you can tell he put a lot of thought into this short story. But here's my reaction as I finished this book:
"Vampiric books? Seriously? No, I must have read that wrong. Nope, lame ass vampiric books."
I may be a bookworm, but there is nothing scary about vampiric books.
Rating: 2 Stars (for the booksellers very well written backstory)
Miss Fondevant by Charlaine Harris
I'm not going to lie. I was surprised to find this short story to have been the best so far. I say this as an avid reader of Charlaine's. It didn't hit the terrifying mark or even spooky. But it was a solid tale and if I were a child, I would have really enjoyed it as a book.
Rating: 3 Stars
In A Cavern, In A Canyon by Laird Barron
I'm seeing a pattern develop here and I'm not liking it one bit. This is supposed to be a book of short stories. This particular short story was far from interesting and spent way too much time on the back story. I suppose it's terrifying that someone out there will think this is good?
Rating: 0 Stars
We Are All Monsters Here by Kelley Armstrong
Damnit. I had planned on not finishing this book, but I really wanted to read Kelley Armstrong's short story. Boy, did she blow this one out of the water. Not only was it interesting, but she created a whole new world that is slowly crumbling in the wake of vampirism. I could see this easily becoming a book series or even television show. It really was that great. But like everything else, not terrifying.
Rating: 4 Stars
Though the last short story was really great, I just can't bring myself to continue trudging through this book. I can't blame anyone in particular. But the beginning of the book claims to be a terrifying collection of tales about vampires. While there were some decent ideas, not one single story could deliver on the terrifying part. Perhaps its because as a society, we are bombarded with images of things that were once considered to be terrifying. I remember being just a year or two old and watching Nightmare on Elm Street and The Poltergeist. How messed up is that? Heck, ten years ago, I couldn't watch a zombie movie without cringing, but now I religiously tune into The Walking Dead.
The other issue is, when a collection of books is so focused on one topic, there is a greater possibility that some will just not be as great as others. There's a lot of really good authors in this book, some had great ideas and some really missed the mark. But at the end of the day, the book just isn't for someone like me. I do know there are people out there who will enjoy this book and I would recommend it to anyone to try. I just can't bring myself to finish it.
Reviewer's note: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
My initial thought upon opening my eARC was “holy shit, this book is huge.” And it is. A whopping 544 pages of short stories about some of the strangest vampires I’ve ever read - and by strange I only mean in only a positive way. These aren’t the vampires that exist to steal your heart for the sake of romance and hot sex. They actually want to devour you. Ironically, the cover features a most definitely seductive man covered in blood, but that’s okay.
Of course, I love romanticized vampires. An unbelievably handsome and young looking, but actually an old man has fallen in love with me and wants to whisk me away to his fantastical, lustrous life? Tempting offer. (Throw in some original vintage books and bedtime stories based off of personal recounts & you’ve got yourself a deal.) But every now and again, I need to return to the classics.
The majority of these short stories are rooted in ancient tales about the non-traditional vampire we’re not so familiar with. Ever hear about vampires that turn into fireflies, not bats? Or an old wives’ tale about what happened long ago? Those are the true vampires. I can say, though, that after reading this collection I do prefer human shaped vamps compared to other variants.
Short stories aren’t for everyone. I, personally, have always been a fan especially during reading slumps and for school essays. They’re filled with only the good stuff and over in just a few pages. So if one story ends up being a bit lacking, it’s okay because it’ll be over in less time than it takes to suck a body dry. There are a few that just didn’t cut it for me - either I was left hanging, wanting more, or it was an idea that wasn’t executed well. Most weren’t even actually scary, but then again, I have a very high standard for what is scary. Most horror-related entertainment in general doesn’t reach my scare zone, so I’m not surprised. That’s not to say the stories weren’t enjoyable; only two rotten apples of the bunch did not have me at the edge of my seat. Overall, this collection is worth the read...especially if the size of the volume scares you (like it did me).
My absolute favorites is probably On the Dark Side of Sunlight Basin, followed by Paper Cuts.
While I’m not terrified of vampires, I am certainly questioning what I’ve always imagined them as. The collection also put me in the right spooky mood for October. If you’re looking for something to start off the Halloween fear right, consider picking up Seize the Night which hits shelves October 6th, 2015. Choose to blow through the anthology in one sitting like any other novel or slowly savor the writings with one short story a night for twenty nights in a row. Remember to keep a light on.
I received Seize the Night from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.
Vampires have had a tough time of it lately. Burnout, I mean. They were the HOT topic for quite some time and then the reading public seemed to lose their taste for them. It happens. A glut of books all on one subject generally does mean readers are going to sour to it eventually.
But even if you're in this boat, the new Seize the Night anthology is so worth your time!
The premise of the anthology is simply to make vampires scary once again. The authors (a FANTASTIC lineup) take their bloodsuckers from mythology and folklore all around the world, creating a collection of truly frightening tales that is a serious genre standout!
And did I mention they're scary vampires? Yeah, I'm not kidding. These authors took their job seriously in bringing vampires back to their terrifying (and deserving) roots!
Scott Smith (SCOTT SMITH!!!) kicks off the collection with what has to be hands down one of my favorite stories of late: a young woman takes a job as a caretaker for an elderly couple and things don't go very well for her. Seanan McGuire's outing is equally excellent and will make you reconsider the wonder of fireflies. Kelley Armstrong tackles the viral apocalypse and the decline of humanity in her tale. And John Ajvide Lindqvist offers up a tale that may possibly be set in the same universe as his wildly popular Let the Right One In and follow up short "Let the Old Dreams Die." These are just a few of my favorites - it really is overall a fabulous collection and each of the stories is brand spanking new for the collection.
Here's the full TOC for you:
"Up in Old Vermont" by Scott Smith "Something Lost, Something Gained" by Seanan McGuire "On the Dark Side of Sunlight Basin" by Michael Koryta "The Neighbors" by Sherrilyn Kenyon "Paper Cuts" by Gary A. Braunbeck "Miss Fondevant" by Charlaine Harris "In a Cavern, in a Canyon" by Laird barron "Whiskey and Light" by Dana Cameron "We Are All Monsters Here" by Kelley Armstrong "May the End be Good" by Tim Lebbon "Mrs. Popkin" by Dan Choan and Lynda Barry "Direct Report" by Leigh Perry "Shadow and Thirst" by John Langan "Mother" by Joe McKinney "Blood" by Robert Shearman "The Yellow Death" by Lucy A. Snyder "The Last Supper" by Brian Keene "Separator" by Rio Youers "What Kept You So Long?" by John Ajvide Lindqvist "Blue Hell" by David Wellington
This is a seriously fantastic collection of tales. It's one to savor, too. Rather than zoom through it, as I was tempted to, I saved it, reading a tale or two a day and in between other reads. It stretched out the scary and tempered the terror a bit.
Trust me, readers, this is a collection you want, need, and have to get your hands on!
SEIZE THE NIGHT is a collection of 20 vampire stories by 21 authors. These are not sexy television out-for-a-romp vampires. These are tear-out-your-throat-without-a-pause terrifying vampires.
I couldn't believe there were so many different ideas of what THAT terrifying vampire would look like or act like. These authors have outdone themselves in the imagination department.
And the stories take place all over the world, from Indiana to England to Arkansas to Paris to Alaska to Sweden and points in between.
I had favorites, just as I have favorite authors but none of the stories was bad. The only problem - none of the stories was "killer" IMO either. Good solid stories with nasty vampires.
1. Up in Old Vermont - Scott Smith 2. Something Lost, Something Gained - Seanan McGuire 3. On the Dark Side of Sunlight Basin - Michael Koryta 4. The Neighbors - Sherrilyn Kenyon 5. Paper Cuts - Gary A. Braunbeck 6. Miss Fondevant - Charlaine Harris 7. In a Cavern, In a Canyon - Laird Barron 8. Whiskey and Light - Dana Cameron 9. We Are All Monsters Here - Kelley Armstrong 10.May the End Be Good - Tim Lebbon 11.Mrs. Popkin - Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry 12.Direct Report - Leigh Perry 13.Shadow and Thirst - John Langan 14.Mother - Joe McKinney 15.Blood - Robert Shearman 16.The Yellow Death - Lucy A. Snyder 17.The Last Supper - Brian Keene 18.Separator - Rio Youers 19.What Kept You So Long - John Ajvide Lindqvist 20.Blue Hell - David Wellington
Also, Christopher Golden did a great job editing this vampire extravaganza.
NOTE: I received this book from Gallery Books through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.
I fell in love with vampires the summer of 1965 when I bought a used copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula. I was eighteen and I had to read it outside in full sunlight. I have never thought of vampires as romantic characters. I am well aware of what monsters look like, even the pretty ones. But they intrigue me in a way that no other supernatural creature does. I wonder how horrible it would be to have to see everyone that you love grow old and die while you remained youthful and alive by an act of violence and depravity. This collection gathered and edited by Christopher Golden is full of stories of those who feast on their fellow humans.These are not the old formulaic Stoker driven vampires, however; nor are they the sparkling poseurs of modern YA fiction. There are tales based on old myths, tales that are surprising in their creativity and tales that are recognizable as being based in folk lore but have a very modern twist. Dana Cameron's story "Whiskey and Light" is so subtle in the telling that one almost feels like the story of becoming and being is being whispered in ones ear along with another story made of words on a page. It hints of ancient rituals and the strength and endurance of women. There are so many good stories here but Cameron's was my favorite. I loved this collection and if you are also a fan of those who gain their strength from the essence of others I daresay you will appreciate its diversity and richness as well.
I was given an electronic copy by Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Seize the Night is advertised as a collection of vampire fiction, but many of the short stories written by this varied group of horror and paranormal writers were either not about vampires or not scary. For instance, with Up In Old Vermont, the author spent so much time setting the scene that I lost interest. As a regular short story, it might have been successful, but it was not what I was looking for in a scary creature story. I was not really a fan of The Neighbors by Sherrilyn Kenyon, as the story was just too short to establish any kind of connection. As for the stories that I found to be most successful, my favorite one was Papercuts by Gary A. Braunbeck. Even though it was not particularly scary, I enjoyed the connection between Annette and the bookseller, Saul. This unique tale was interesting and well written, with a historical component that I found refreshing. Miss Fondevant by Charlaine Harris was also one of my favorites. Without a spoiler, readers with children might not look the same way at their teachers again. With other good tales by Michael Koryta, Kelley Armstrong, and John Ajvide Lindqvist, readers are sure to find stories that scare, spook, and creep them out.
I just finished reading almost 550 pages of vampire stories. Simon & Schuster/Gallery has put together an anthology of new vampire short stories by an assortment of very well known and not so known horror authors and edited by Christopher Golden. I really hate buying anthologies, don't you? You never really know quite what you'll end up with. Well, the ones I knew well I trusted in enough to want to try it. Plus, these are all new stories. That in itself is nice. Did they come through, you ask? Oh, yes they did! And the ones I knew nothing about? Even better. As in most collections not every story is a winner. There were a couple that I just didn't like. And chances are the ones I didn't like will be your favorites so no names will be mentioned.
Just check out some of the names: Laird Barron, Brian Keene, Charlaine Harris, Scott Smith, Tim Lebbon, Joe McKinney...I'll stop there and let you check out the book!
Also, the subtitle is entirely correct. These are NEW tales. Be prepared to have your mind expanded and enjoy many hours and over 500 pages of bloody storytelling excellence.
I received my copy of SEIZE THE NIGHT from the publisher in exchange for my review.
There are so many different styles of vampires and writing in this anthology, I'm sure most people can find a favorite. Hopefully you will discover a new-to-you-author to try out. For me, those that were my favorite authors, were not my favorite stories. The authors I had never tried before ended up being my favorite. Anthologies are the way to go when looking for something new to read.
The vampires in these stories didn't all seem old-school to me as the book description states. They were not all doom and gloom, unattractive and predictable. No, there were some very unpredictable stories, but they were also modern twists on the vampires as well. I was hoping for something truly scary or blood curdling, but the stories seemed to lack the terrifying vampires I was hoping for.
Book Received: For free from publisher in exchange for an honest review Reviewer: Jessica for Book Sake
There were some interesting pieces of work in this anthology. All of these short stories offer a unique, and often surprising, take on vampires. I loved that because frankly, I'm sick of vampires being romanticized.
As with most short stories, some of them were so good I hated that they ended. Paper Cuts by Gary A. Braunbeck, We Are All Monsters Here by Kelley Armstrong, Mrs. Popkin by Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry were my favorites. It's not a short anthology, it took me a few days to get through.
As far as horror goes, it takes a lot to stimulate me in that sense, and none of these did that. Some of them fell short, big time - like they were cute more than scary. Still, this is a worthy read, and while it's not my favorite anthology to date, I'm happy to have it in my "read" pile.