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Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite

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Eleven fresh vampire stories from young adult fiction’s leading voices!

In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.

Welcome to the evolution of the vampire―and a revolution on the page.

Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley.

272 pages, Hardcover

First published September 22, 2020

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About the author

Zoraida Córdova

36 books3,962 followers
Zoraida Córdova is the author of many fantasy novels for kids and teens, including the award-winning Brooklyn Brujas series, Incendiary, and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge: A Crash of Fate. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, Star Wars The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark, Come on In: 15 Stories About Immigration and Finding Home, and Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft. She is the co-editor of the bestselling anthology Vampires Never Get Old. Her debut middle grade novel is The Way to Rio Luna. She is the co-host of the podcast Deadline City with Dhonielle Clayton. Zoraida was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she’s planning a new adventure.

NOTE: Direct messages on this account may not be seen. Send her an email at zoraidabooks@gmail.com

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Profile Image for Melanie.
1,158 reviews97.9k followers
August 25, 2020

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

Maybe vampires are getting old? I’m sorry, friends. This was just not the anthology for me. I feel like I might have had way too high of expectations going into this, based on the author list alone. Sadly, I felt like most of these stories just left you wanting more, but not in the good way. In the way of the actual short story felt very pointless. There were a few gems throughout, but for the most part this was a very lackluster and forgettable anthology for me.

My favorite story was easily In Kind by Kayla Whaley, and it was the only story that I gave a whole five stars too. It had everything that I wanted, and I can’t wait to read more by this author. It was spooky, it was so atmospheric, it was diverse, and it was beautiful.

I will say that I love how diverse this anthology is, and how much ownvoices rep is within these stories. We have ownvoices Black rep, Latinx rep, Native rep, Indian rep, disability rep, fat rep, a whole lot of queer rep (both sexuality and gender)! This truly celebrates so many different voices, and I loved that aspect so very much. Sadly, that was one of the only few things I did love about this collection.

Like always for my anthology reviews, I have mini reviews for all the short stories where I talk about my thoughts and feelings!

Adventure Time Gif Marceline Gif Laughing Ghosts GIF | Gfycat

Seven Nights for Dying by Tessa Gratton ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I won’t lie, I was most excited to start this anthology because the first story was Tessa’s and Tessa is one of my favorite authors of all time! I still really enjoyed this one, but it just wasn’t my favorite. We get to see a young girl slowly getting turned into a vampire over the course of seven nights with seven drinks. I really loved that she got to decide for herself if this is what she wanted, and that she had a week to do so! I loved seeing the glimpses of each day and night, and I really loved how sex positive this was! And the main character is pan or bi, which you know I love a lot! I also loved the themes of belonging, loss, grief, anger, and how teenage girls are sometimes expected to carry all of those things, and how society has forced teenage girls to adapt to those things. (I also loved the brief introduction of Henry, who is trans, and I am also ready to become a vampire for Sett all on my own!) There is also a bit of a sapphic relationship kind of going on here, which I wish I was able to see more, also it very much gave off polyamorous vibes!

TW: loss of a loved one, underage drinking, grief depiction

Mirrors, Windows & Selfies by Mark Oshiro ⭐️⭐️
Okay, this one is a hard one for me to rate, because I love the parallel attached to this story, and I love the premise of this story, but I didn’t love the actual story. This is about a young adult Latino vampire, forced to move around the country with his family, and never being allowed to get close with anymore. Because he feels so alone and isolated, he starts up a blog where we get to see him talk about his feelings, his struggles, and his want of finally being able to see himself for the first time,, because that is another thing his parents’ protectiveness has kept from him. There are a lot of parallels here about being queer, and feeling like you’re alone, and nobody else is like you, and then the feelings you get when you find out how much you really are not alone! And I loved that, truly. But Cicso’s parents’ secretiveness really didn’t make sense, and we never really learned why they kept him so isolated, so the story just wasn’t my favorite at all, sadly.

TW: blood, gore, violence, captivity mention, death

The House of Black Sapphires by Dhonielle Clayton ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Oh, this one is such a hard one to rate. Listen, if I knew I could get my hands on a full-length of this family, setting, and story eventually? I’d give it five stars. But the ending just made it feel… so unsatisfied. Yikes. This story is about a Black family of Vampires in New Orleans who are forced to move around a lot. And the women in this family aren’t just regular vampires; the Eternal Women have a much darker origin and are extremely powerful! In fact, only one thing can put them to rest which are Shadow Barons who walk with death. So basically, we get to see them move (through this really cool and magical gate system) and start back up with their family beauty pharmacy and apothecary, and it’s amazing. I loved this entire premise and set up so very much. And the family consists of five sisters who all have been given a different power by their mother. And a couple of the girls go to a ball with their mother (because they are summoned) in their new city, and our main character, Bea, gets to meet Shadow Barons, but one isn’t at all what she was expecting. And might be willing to risk it all for love, but we will never know because of the abrupt and disappointing ending.

TW: blood and mention of slavery

The Boys From Blood River by Rebecca Roanhorse ⭐️⭐️
Whew! Okay, the start of this? Set in a spooky diner, in a very small down, where our MC is a young Native boy who is being bullied for being Native and gay, and he is also preparing for his mother’s passing because of an illness. At the diner, him and another coworker (and the only person nice to him in this town) are getting scared when the jukebox is playing a creepy song all by itself. And legend goes, the last time this song played, an entire family was drained of their blood! How amazing does that sound, right? Like, I was INVESTED! But then…. we got… morally grey cowboy vampires. I am still a bit speechless. I still am questioning their motives. I’m still wondering what will happen in a few years to our MC. And I’m still asking myself what in the hell did I just read.

TW: bullying, abuse, and loss of a loved one.

Senior Year Sucks by Julie Murphy ⭐️⭐️
Listen, just because you mention a Buffy joke, it doesn’t mean your story doesn’t feel like a Buffy rip-off. Our main character is from Texas, where pageants are all the rage, and she is a cheerleader named… Jolene. Oh, and she’s a slayer. But she is just trying to enjoy high school the best she can, because of the life she is forced to have, but getting home from a game one night, she meets a vampire who is also just trying to learn what it’s like to be a normal teenage girl. I loved the fat rep and the sapphic ending, but sadly this just also left me wanting a lot more, while making the actual short story itself not feel of much substance.

TW: animal abuse mention

The Boy and the Bell by Heidi Heilig ⭐️⭐️
I really loved the atmosphere of this one, and I’ve always found historical burial fun facts to be rather interesting, but especially expecting the dead to ring a bell if they turn out to be not so dead! Our MC is a a trans boy trying to learn all he can while trying to go to school to become a doctor, but one night when he is gravedigging for corpses to learn from, he hears a bell ringing. Listen, I know this sounds great, and I appreciate that it felt like a full story once I read the last sentence (which seems to be my main complaint with this anthology so far), but it just felt a little pointless. Even though I’m always going to be here the course of action this MC took with a transphobe.

TW: misgendering & attempted blackmail (that would out our MC)

In Kind by Kayla Whaley ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Whew, finally, the first story I loved in this anthology. The power this one holds. First off, this story has a few articles/news casts helping present information and it was really expertly done. And in the first article, we learn that a 17 year old disabled girl was “mercy killed” by her father, but the body is missing. And you guessed it, she may be a vampire now! Her degenerative neuromuscular disorder makes it so that she still uses a wheelchair as a vampire, and I really loved that a lot. Because this entire story is about how this girl didn’t need to be “fixed” in any sense of the word, because her life is worth living, even if it is among the undead now. Truly thought this one was amazing and I loved it a lot.

TW: attempted murder (by overdosing), parental abuse, and ableism.

A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This short story is very impressive and very unapologetic and I read the whole thing with a smile on my face. Basically, this is told through an anonymous system set up in place for Indian vampires who are recently turned into vampires, and this one was turned against their will by a British tourist. We learn all about this new life these vampires will now have, and how it will work (yet also impact) their culture. And there is a lot of talk about biting colonizers, especially the ones that mock certain parts of your culture, while fully profiting from cultural appropriating other parts of it! This one doesn’t hold back against colonizers and all the microaggressions they love to still embrace in 2020, and we love to see. I didn’t love how the story was told, but I loved the entire contents within it.

TW: talk of colonization and mention of racism

Bestiary by Laura Ruby ⭐️
This one was just sadly (yet easily) my least favorite in the entire collection. This is about a young vampire girl living in a zoo and having a special bond with the animals. She really doesn’t have a place to call home after becoming a vampire and not willing to be around her abusive parents any longer. This story also for sure has themes of capitalism, while also trying to talk about what makes a beast and what makes a monster. Sadly, I just never cared, I never was invested, and the felt like the story was the most pointless of the whole collection.

TW: talk of domestic violence, underage drinking, attempted assault, and abandonment.

Vampires Never Say Die by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker ⭐️⭐️
Okay, I feel like this is the story that is going to be a bit on the controversial side. Basically, this is a story about a bunch of vampire Instagram influences who are hiding they are vampires. But one vampire who has been around for 200 years, started talking to a 15-year-old human girl who she really likes. The story takes place two years after they first started talking, so the girl is now 17 and throwing a big party in NYC for her Instagram pals and so that she can meet them for the first time. You can see where this is gonna go, right? But like, I just felt so uncomfortable with one of the MCs being fifteen and easily manipulated by people who aren’t being honest with her. I thought this had major sapphic vibes, even if it kinda tried to make it a “bff” thing. I don’t know, I just couldn’t enjoy it because I was uncomfortable, but I think many people will enjoy this one and maybe I’m being too sensitive.

TW: blood and…. grooming feels

First Kill by Victoria “V. E.” Schwab ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Maybe I’m just back to three starring everything by VE now again. Brb, gonna go cry. Okay, this one had a good twist that I really enjoyed, but I feel like if I say anything it will ruin the story a bit for you. But, we get to see two girls having crushes on each other, while also trying to figure out the other one’s motives. Has the sapphic angst, and also 60 seconds in a closet that really changes things for both of these girls. This one will for sure leave you wanting more, and I did enjoy the format that it was told in by seeing both girls’ POV over two days! I just wasn’t ever too invested, and again, I feel like not much happened, besides it just leaving the reader wanting to know how the actual story will play out.

TW: talk of murder & panic and anxiety deception.

I gave Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite two stars overall, because out of a possible 55 stars (5 stars possible for each of the 11 stories) this collection accumulated 29 stars (52%)! But, if half stars were a thing, I would totally give this 2.5 stars, because it is almost exactly that when you tally all the stars up!

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Buddy read with Destiny, Maëlys, & Lea! ❤
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,625 reviews5,071 followers
December 29, 2021
This collection had so much potential, but sadly, most of these stories were boring at best and a disaster at worst. 💔 That said, there were a few major gems that made it worth reading!

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Buddy read with Melanie!
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,475 reviews9,408 followers
Want to read
August 6, 2020

Is this not going to be the most magical collection to pick up just before Spooktober!?!?

I cannot wait to get my hands on this 🙌
Profile Image for Iris.
544 reviews253 followers
Want to read
February 18, 2020
I NEED THIS VICTORIA SCHWAB IS WRITING A STORY FOR IT DESCRIBED AS "A super gay vampire story about two girls who each have a crush, and a secret??"

Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 5 books13.5k followers
Want to read
February 17, 2020
If you make Victoria Schwab, Julie Murphy and Mark Oshiro write vampire stories, it is the final nail in the coffin of my fatal tbr list. Florence Welch, please help me to some holy water and garlic bread?
Profile Image for Peyton Reads.
170 reviews1,909 followers
November 1, 2020
I individually rated each story and averaged it to reach a 3 star rating for the collection.

1. Seven Nights for Dying by Tessa Gratton: 2 stars
2. The Boys From Blood River by Rebecca Roanhorse: 4 stars
3. Senior Year Sucks by Julie Murphy: 3 stars
4. The Boy and the Bell by Heidi Heilig: 3 stars
5. A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed: 3 stars
6. In Kind by Kayla Whaley: 5 stars
7. Vampires Never Say Die by Zoraida Córdova & Natalie C. Parker: 2 stars
8. Bestiary by Laura Ruby: 2 stars
9. Mirrors, Windows & Selfies by Mark Oshiro: 3 stars
10. The House of Black Sapphires by Dhonielle Clayton: 3 stars
11. First Kill by Victoria Schwab: 4 stars
Profile Image for Heather.
380 reviews16.8k followers
October 23, 2020
Honestly I was underwhelmed by this book. There were a few stories I really loved and alot of them...meh. I also wanted them to be about 10 pages longer but maybe that's just me. Didn't fill my vampire love sadly.

Story Ratings

Seven nights for dying by Tessa Gratton: 3

Mirrors, Windows & Selfies by Mark Orshio: 3

The House of Black Sapphires by Donielle Clayton: 4

The boys from blood river by Rebecca Roanhorse: 3

Senior Year Sucks by Julie Murphy: 4

The Boy and the Bell by Heidi Heilig: 3

In Kind by Kayla Whaley: 4

A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed: 2

Bestiary by Laura Ruby: 2

Vampires Never Say Die by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker: 4

First Kill by Victoria “V. E.” Schwab: 4

Profile Image for Charlotte (Books and Bouquets).
77 reviews21 followers
March 11, 2022
Massive thank you to Titan Books and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I just want to start off by saying this anthology was great! It contained some really unique and incredibly diverse vampire stories (a lot of own voices authors also!) which took a fresh perspective on the genre, and was a true delight to read. Each short story is accompanied by a short ‘discussion’ by the editors, briefly talking about an issue related to the story about vampirism (such as mirrors, coffins, bats).

Seven Nights For Dying by Tessa Gratton ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This first story follows our main character who is an overweight bisexual teenager looking to be transformed into a vampire. It follows her week long journey of transition, giving her plenty of time to fully think about her decision. There was also trans representation and the short story exhibited poly relationships. This one was a good, solid story to start the anthology

The Boys From Blood River by Rebecca Roanhorse ⭐️⭐️
Now, this one was definitely my least favourite story - it really reminded me of Riverdale for some reason (which I hated). It follows Lukas, a queer boy in a small town, who is intrigued about the local legend of the ‘Blood River Boys’ who can be summoned if you sing their infamous song. This story was super unique and atmospheric, but it just wasn’t for me unfortunately (I’m sure other people will love this one tho!)

Senior Year Sucks by Julie Murphy ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This story follows Jolene, a vampire slayer, and also a cheerleader in high school, on her bus journey home from a football game. When they spot another broken down bus, they allow the stranded passengers to get on, forcing Jolene to spend the ride with a vampire sitting next to her. I did like this one and also the concept of there being a vampire rehab centre (that was really unique, just not explored very much, I think it would be interesting to read from the perspective of a vampire inside the centre). It just felt like something was lacking.

The Boy And The Bell by Heidi Heilig ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This short story follows a trans man who really wants to be a doctor, and to advance his studies decides to go grave robbing - and finds someone ringing the bell from their coffin (indicating they had been buried alive). I enjoyed this one, and I really like when our main characters are into science (as I study a STEM degree).

A Guidebook For The Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This was the best story in my opinion, I absolutely adored how it incorporated technology to explain ‘the modern vampire’. It is actually written as a guide for the newly sired Desi vampire (as the title suggests) and gives tips for adjustment into their new life (including vampire apps!). It also deals with themes of colonialism & racism in a humorous critique which was nice to read.

In Kind by Kayla Whaley ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This story follows Grace, a 17-year-old disabled girl who has been “mercifully killed” by her father - who not only doesn’t get arrested for murder, but gets sympathy from the whole town! (It was really hard to read this as you know his justifications are untrue.) However, it turns out Seanan, a vampire, managed to turn Grace before she actually dies, and she returns to confront her father. I loved this story, and particularly how the Grace’s vampirism didn’t suddenly cured her disability, it just made her a stronger version of herself. This one is also an own voices for disability.

Vampires Never Say Die by Zoraida Cordova & Natalie C. Parker ⭐️⭐️
This follows Theo, an instagram influencer, who throws a vampire themed party for her online friend, Brittany (as this is a recurring joke between them). Theo invites all of Brittany’s friends but she finds out the hard way that the vampirism isn’t a joke… I did enjoy this one at first, until I read some other reviews which stated Theo was 15 when they first started messaging and it feels a bit too much like grooming for me to enjoy this one anymore…

Bestiary by Laura Ruby ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Bestiary follows our vampire main character who also works at a zoo during a water shortage, and as she is a predator herself she can form special connections to the animals, and often sleeps amongst the lions. I loved how much our main character loved animals and I really enjoyed the sort of plot reveal at the end? (It was just a nice addition to the story).

Mirrors, Windows & Selfies by Mark Oshiro ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This story follows Cisco, a gay born-vampire, who has been kept in isolation, constantly travelling around the US because of the threat to him (as he is ‘one of a kind’). This story is laid out in a series of Tumblr-style blog posts, and you get to see him build his online following who believe he is telling a ‘story’, not documenting his own life. All he wants to do is look in a mirror to see himself (but this is forbidden). This one was very mediocre, the blog post format really made this one for me.

The House Of Black Sapphires by Dhonielle Clayton ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This story follows the Turner family of black vampires who must return to the eternal ward of New Orleans, and their introductory ball, which reveals a much Karger mythological world than any of the Turner daughters ever knew existed. Another review described this as “a vampire take on The Great Gatsby” and I actually think that’s a really accurate statement - and perhaps why I liked it so much. This one had fabulous characters, and reoccurring theme of love was such a nice addition to the story.

First Kill by Victoria Schwab ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This last short story is probably the main draw to this anthology, as it is written by the one and only V.E. Schwab. It follows Calliope and Juliette, two teenage girls in high school and their intertwining stories. I’m not going to state specifically what happens, but it definitely gives off Romeo and Juliet vibes in my opinion. It was so well executed and I feel like it could definitely be a part of a larger story line (also just seen somebody said it’s coming to Netflix?!)

The stories average out at ~3.5 stars, but I think as there’s such a vast mix of writing styles, each person who reads this will find their own highlights and lowlights. Overall, this was well worth a read, I would recommend it to YA fantasy fans (especially if you love vampires of course).

CAWPILE: 7.00 / 10
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Profile Image for ☆ Mira ✷.
169 reviews80 followers
Want to read
February 18, 2020
For this anthology, Victoria Schwab is writing "a super gay vampire story about two girls who each have a crush, and a secret" so I'm already planning how hard I'm gonna launch myself into the sun :)
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73 reviews46 followers
January 27, 2021
Victoria you will answer for your crimes. I WANT A WHOLE BOOK THIS CAN'T BE IT.
Profile Image for Lea (drumsofautumn).
618 reviews623 followers
September 22, 2020

This anthology really did a lot for me.. but sadly not what I think it was supposed to do. Instead of making me excited for a vampire renaissance, it kinda made me hope we actually never get one.

I went into this anthology expecting to see a whole lot of identities portrayed in vampire stories that we haven't gotten before. I was looking forward to seeing vampires of colour, queer and genderqueer vampires, fat vampires, disabled vampires. And while we definitely got some of that, I feel like this anthology could've done so much more and could've been even more inclusive. Plus, I was disappointed by not all the aspects being ownvoices. For an anthology that called itself a "revolution on page", I just expected more.

I also thought that this anthology was very much lacking when it comes to exploring generally new ideas for the world building and mythos around vampires. I definitely go into this in my thoughts on the individual stories but only a couple of these stories actually satisfied my thirst (ha) for seeing vampires like we have never really seen them before, for example how they deal with social media and use modern technology as an advantage.
The possibilities are endless here but were not really used.

And what this anthology showed quite well (very much by accident) was the fact that YA and vampires is a really tricky topic. A couple of years ago, nobody batted an eyelash at a teenager having a relationship with a 200-year old vampire but things have (thankfully) changed and we have become more aware of this.
After I immediately noticed that this would be an issue when I read the first short story, I honestly ended up ignoring this for the rest of the anthology, kind of thinking "oh well, that's just how it is with vampire stories".. but that's really not how it should be. And as Melanie pointed out, there was a grooming aspect in the second-to-last story, that I honestly didn't even consider because, again, I was kinda just going into all the stories ignoring age.
But it really just drove home that there are issues with the way vampires are often portrayed in YA. Some stories were able to avoid this for different reasons but it still made me very aware of this issue in general!

Below you fill find my individual thoughts and ratings for all the short stories. I definitely enjoyed some more than others, but at the end of the day, I have a hard time recommending this anthology and even a lot of the stories I enjoyed had issues.
I will say that my highlight of this entire anthology was for sure Samira Ahmed's story "A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire", combining all the elements that I wanted from the stories in this anthology.

“You’re already hungry, every young girl I’ve ever met has been hungry—that makes the transition easier. You know how to live with hunger. And anger—Seti is right about that. Not just any anger, not old masculine anger, sharpened with toxicity, but true anger, the kind that fills you up like a light.”

Seven Nights for Dying by Tessa Gratton ⭐⭐⭐

This was a super fun way to start the anthology but nothing more for me. I liked that it had a queer main character (ownvoices) and we got a tiny glimpse into how becoming a vampire can be useful for a trans person but other than that this story didn't really wow me in terms of the vampire aspect, even if the author tried to do something new with the element of the main character having six days to decide if she wants to become a vampire.

Mirrors, Windows & Selfies by Mark Oshiro ⭐⭐

This just felt really unresolved? I very much enjoyed the idea and the way this story was done, it definitely added a refreshing aspect. But at the end of the story I just kinda stood there and thought to myself what the point of this story was.. even though it was kind of a long story, I felt like the confrontation at the end was barely there. This felt like a story that was building up to something that we never got a pay-off for.

The House of Black Sapphires by Dhonielle Clayton ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I loved the atmosphere and feeling of this story. Dhonielle Clayton took a lot of time to describe the surroundings and I appreciated and loved that so very much. I found every page of this story super intriguing and was really craving more by the end of it.. and not only because the ending was so very open ended. This definitely had potential to be another favourite of this entire anthology but not gonna lie, the ending ruined it, as it felt like the author gave us a mystery without actually knowing herself what the mystery way gonna be. This was still a great story overall though and it is ownvoices for Black representation.

“Bea’s heart lifted, the hum of mischief lingering right beneath the brown of her skin, and her incisors elongated, ready to bite, ready for mischief.”

River by Rebecca Roanhorse

I honestly can't really sort my feeling on this story. I just had lots of what the fuck moments while reading this but not because things were so exciting but just because I was kinda wondering what the fuck the main character was thinking for most of it. Also I didn't really get the appeal of cowboy vampires, if I am completely honest. So this was just not a great reading experience for me whatsoever and mostly just left me shaking my head. This had a Native (ownvoices) and gay main character.

Senior Year Sucks by Julie Murphy ⭐⭐✨

Not to be greedy but while I loved that this had a fat main character who is a vampire slayer, I really wish we would've gotten a fat vampire in this anthology too. But I am pointing this out as general criticism of the anthology, not for this story or Julie Murphy in particular. This story wasn't bad but didn't really stand out either. I liked it more than a lot of the other other stories but that's sadly more due to the fact that I just didn't like the other stories very much and this one was just more enjoyable to read than others, as I like Julie Murphy's writng in geeneral. Apart from it being queer and having a fat (both ownvoices) main character, it didn't really do anything special.

The Boy and the Bell by Heidi Heilig ⭐⭐⭐✨

I very much enjoyed reading this story but the vampire element wasn't exciting or new enough for me personally. Plus, this main character was a trans man, and as far as I know, Heidi Heilig is not trans. In an anthology like this, where it is really supposed to bring voices and stories into the vampire genre that we haven't heard before, it is really sad that the only trans main character is not written by an own-voices author.

“But as he stands there, he can feel his heart beating—that powerful organ, the seat of the soul at his center. The thing that tells him what and who he is. A man. And a doctor. And he aims to save lives, not suck them dry.”

In Kind by Kayla Whaley ⭐⭐⭐⭐

oof, this was an intense but really well done story. This is the kind of story that I had really hoped this anthology would consist of. It is about a disabled main character who gets turned into a vampire and the author took a lot of care in writing about the physical changes because of that. I really like the format with some news articles and the ending of this story was so good. This was one of the few short stories in this anthology that actually felt like a well rounded story.
And it is an ownvoices! It does feature some ableist language and potentially triggering content in the beginning (the main character gets murdered by her dad, who portrays it as an assisted suicide) but it all gets challenged and the story as a whole has a very strong message against that.

A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

THIS! WAS! SO! GOOD! It is a story that differs from the way it is approached and written compared to the other stories in this anthology AND it does something actually really exciting and new with the element of vampires, talking about how they would use modern technology as an advantage. So far I have not finished a story in this anthology and thought to myself “wow, I really loved this, this was so fascinating to read” but this one really did it for me. And as the title says, it is about Desi vampires, which is an ownvoices aspect (THE DESI ONE, NOT THE VAMPIRE ONE (at least not that I know hehehe)).

“Time marches forward even if you’ve stopped. Where once you might have felt surrounded, at times suffocated, by your noisy, irritating, nosy, beautiful, loving family, now you are alone. No longer human. Reviled and misunderstood by many. But you are not unloved. You are here. And so are we. We see you. We believe in you. You are enough.”

Bestiary by Laura Ruby

Oh well. While a lot of the stories in this left me kinda confused and disappointed and just generally wanting MORE, this one I just fully disliked. It was not well written, in a way where I was struggling to follow along or understand what was going on. I appreciate the idea this was based on but that is about it. Plus this tried to tackle quite a lot of issues all at once but absolutely did not have enough time to really explore any of these very serious issues. While this anthology as a whole didn't wow me, this was easily the biggest disappointment of the entire anthology.

Vampires Never Say Die by Zoraida Córdova & Natalie C. Parker ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This to me was another perfect example of what I would've wanted the stories in this anthology to be. This was written from two point of views, with one of them being an Ecuadorian girl (ownvoices). I thought this was written in a way that was super compelling and I was very invested all throughout it. What I really loved though, was that this talked about how vampires would use social media and I liked that this was a world in which there were rules established for the vampires.
But as mentioned above, there was a grooming aspect to this story, so be aware of that going into this.

First Kill by Victoria Schwab ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It's no secret that I love Victoria Schwab and I tried to go into this as neutral as possible, even a little bit nervous that I wouldn't enjoy it based on the rest of this anthology. But this was such a pleasant reading experience for me overall. And that definitely has to do with the fact that I just really love Victoria Schwab's writing, so I just immediately felt drawn in by this story. But I also loved what Victoria Schwab did with the vampires being a generational thing and there being a "First Kill" (with funny parallels). Plus, this was sapphic (ownvoices) and definitely played with the enemies to lovers trope.
I will say that, similarly as with Heidi Heilig's story and the non-ownvoices aspect, this was the only other story besides Dhonielle Clayton's that had a Black main character and that aspect was not ownvoices.

“Jules, who tastes like summer nights, and thunderstorms. The crackle of ozone and the promise of rain. It is one of Cal’s favorite things.”

Overall, what I wanted from this is that it would leave me wanting more vampire stories and while I definitely saw potential in some of these, I am now actually rather nervous about picking up any new vampire books in the future.

Buddy read with Melanie

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I received an ARC through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for #.
221 reviews
February 5, 2021
deserved a full length book 😕
Profile Image for Sam.
474 reviews81 followers
February 22, 2022

Seven Nights for Dying by Tessa Gratton (2 stars)
- I found this kind of directionless. It didn’t go anywhere in my opinion.

The Boys from Blood River by Rebecca Roanhorse (4.5 stars)
- This was great! Some fantastic characterization, and it was really interesting to read about the allure of wanting to belong to something without realizing what exactly you already belong to.

Senior Year Sucks by Julie Murphy (2 stars)
- Again, this felt pretty pointless. Not all that intriguing in any way.

The Boy and the Bell by Heidi Heilig (2 stars)
- I was bored. Nothing else to really add.

A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed (3 stars)
- This was fun. Not all the humour landed but it was nice enough.

In Kind by Kayla Whaley (3 stars)
- Some great commentary on the perception and treatment of disabled people.

Vampires Never Say Die by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker (1 star)
- Some very weird power dynamics going on in this one between the two protagonists that I really did not enjoy. Besides that, again, this story felt like it didn’t go anywhere.

Bestiary by Laura Ruby (1 star)
- Absolute snoozefest.

Mirrors, Windows and Selfies by Mark Oshiro (4 stars)
- A take on loneliness that I really enjoyed. Melancholy works for me, what can I say?

The House of Black Sapphires by Dhonielle Clayton (1 star)
- Another story that feels pointless.

First Kill by V.E. Schwab (4.5 stars)
- V.E. Schwab delivered as usual. This was great on its own, but now I’m definitely ready for the Netflix show that’s coming soon!

This anthology overall was a pretty weak effort. Many stories that are way too short and don’t go anywhere or do anything.

Before reading review:
I literally only really want this book for Victoria Schwab's story that is apparently "super gay" about two vampire girls who have secret crushes


yes please
Profile Image for Maëlys.
278 reviews272 followers
August 18, 2020
☆ 2.45 / 5 ☆
(average rating)

So I know I’m not the biggest reader of short stories and anthologies but.. this one especially did not work for me at all. Most of these short stories left me unsatisfied and like they were unfinished pieces of a bigger narrative. The afterword after each story might have told me the intention of each piece but unfortunately in many cases they did not achieve their goals.


☆ 3.5 / 5 ☆

“You need to live I think because it’s been denied you. You’re already hungry, every young girl I’ve ever met has been hungry - that makes the transition easier. You know how to live with hunger.”

A teenage girl meets a vampire, she has 7 days to decide if she wants to complete the transformation or not.

This short story explores how people raised as girls can be the best fit for vampire life as they have the adaptability for this transformation. It is a testimony to anger and how it can change the world, one mind at a time, one person at a time, and how survival is so ingrained in the way “girls” are brought up. It also depicts the anger that can come with grief and how one can cope. I enjoyed the message of this story, the main character and how she goes about making her choice, the things that decide her in the end.


☆ 2 / 5 ☆

“I’ve been reading about other lives for so long. I have devoured stories here from people all over the world, who are dealing with things that are arguably worse than what I’m going through. But I still feel empty most days, as if all I can do is pour myself into the lives of strangers.”

invisivbleb0y posts enigmatic updates people think is a story, he was never supposed to exist, a vampire born from other vampires, rather than made into one. He’s never left alone by his parents but longs to find a way to finally see his reflection, see himself.

I liked the concept of the blog and how this story is a metaphor for the people who don’t get to see themselves in stories. I think there were a few plot points and threads that didn’t really pan out in an impactful way for me but I do think there was something compelling about the way this story was told. I did finish the story wanting to get more out of it than what I did, but unfortunately not in a good way.


☆ 2.5 / 5 ☆

“She always recounted how their bloodline had become Eternal - white vampire slavers biting their enslaved for sport and how the ancestors sent the firebirds to save them from this worsening fate, transforming them into a different sort of immortal being.”

A family of Eternal women has to move to a new house in New Orleans. Eternal women can have children with mortal men before turning them to make them their Eternal Partner. The main character Bea longs to find eternal love in New Orleans.

While I liked the aspect of Eternals being different from vampires and the history behind it, overall this short story didn’t do much for me. I was enjoying it and many interesting things were set up and mentioned but the story ended so abruptly. This feels like the prologue to a longer project rather than something that can stand on its own.

THE BOYS OF BLOOD RIVER, Rebecca Roanhorse

☆ 2 / 5 ☆

“I believe in them with my whole heart. A heart that feels like it’s slowly crumbling to dust in my chest, a heart so damaged that I sometimes feel like it’s a wonder that it pumps at all.”

It is said that if you sing The Blood River Boys’ song they will come to you. Lukas believes in their existence and longs for them to get him out of this town.

The beginning made me forget it was a vampire story a little but in a good way? It started off being very spooky and I loved that first little bit a lot. The rest of the story just felt flat for me and the lore behind these vampires wasn’t extensive at all, especially compared to the previous stories. I’d say the narrative contains itself well enough within this story even if the ending was a bit rushed and messy. What made me uncomfortable though was that the racism and homophobia the MC faces is reduced to him being ��the town loser”, just using this phrase instead of meaningful language to call out what he suffered.


☆ 2 / 5 ☆

“It’s not like I woke up one day and decided to become a vampire. My humanity was violently stolen from me. I’m continuing on, the only way I know how.”

Danger lurks at the edges of the town of Sweetwaters, Texas, unbeknownst to its residents. Jolene’s family are slayers, protecting the townsfolk from vampires.

I like the concept of a highschool vampire slayer but I do think the story itself relies on Buffy nostalgia a bit too much to carry it. I’m still not too sure what the Resurrection Home for vampires is? Is it a safe haven? Because Alma, our vampire, doesn’t seem very eager to go there. This story had some compelling moments but overall the MC was annoying and her actions didn’t make sense by the end of the story. Once again I was left wanting more and unsatisfied.


☆ 3 / 5 ☆

“In the clear and steady gleam of electric lights, superstition turns to foolishness; in the crucible of the combustion engine, false beliefs are burned away. And under the scalpel and the microscope, the human form is revealed to be much closer to animals’ than angels’. In the secret spaces, man has discovered cells, not souls. Death has become final; there is no such thing as eternal life. As a metaphor, live burial is much more relatable than the story of the vampire.”

Will is a grave robber, a body snatcher, providing corpses to the medical school for the chance to stand at the back of the classroom and learn. Strange cases of live burials have started to sprout up so the rich are now installing bells by their graves to sound the alarm. The sound reminds Will of his past and the wind in the trees of the rustling of skirts he doesn’t want to get back to.

This is one of the few instances in this anthology where the ending feels satisfying, where the narrative stands on its own and it feels like a self-contained story. This felt atmospheric from the get-go, we get some backstory on our main character Will and the author highlights an elitism that exists even in (supposed) death. I would’ve liked to get a little bit more out of it but all in all it was a well written story and it was enjoyable to read.

IN KIND, Kayla Whaley

☆ 4 / 5 ☆

“My heart doesn’t beat anymore, but I can feel its presence, a great hunk of meat behind a cage of bone. How will I know when I’m scared or excited if my heart can’t skip a beat?”

This story really felt, well, like one of a kind. Grace’s father attempts to murder her in what the press writes off as a mercy-killing.

This story sheds light on how society views disability and can put the experience of family members above the experience of the disabled person themselves. Grace is saved by a vampire and what I also love a lot here is that her disability doesn’t simply disappear because of that. I think the afterword says it best: “Grace is transformed into a vampire, and while she receives some of those enhanced magical senses, her body remains her body. Being yourself, even undead, is pretty powerful.” This is a very impactful story that also takes an interesting look at the aftermath of a death and how one can exact revenge.


☆ 4.5 / 5 ☆

“Am I Dracula now? No, duh, that dude was pasty as hell. Your melanin doesn’t magically disappear because vampirism.”

A guide book on what to do for the newly turned desi vampire, literally.

This story is by far my favourite in the anthology. It’s very creative, hilarious, and tackles the impact of colonialism head-on. Colonialism doesn’t become irrelevant once independence has been established, but its remnants still thrive with the swarms of entitled tourists visiting the country. This is further highlighted here with tourists vampires turning underaged kids illegally, disregarding any law as they feel above them outside of Britain. So one of the first rules for the newly sired desi vampire is obviously to eat the obnoxious Brits, and yes, a spice packet is provided to remedy the blandness of their blood. I also love the community aspect presented in this story. Vamperstand is like a community of aunties ready to help out any newly turned vampire, guiding them through their new life and making them feel less alone.

BESTIARY, Laura Ruby

☆ 1 / 5 ☆

“I know you don’t think so I know how much you love Lolo and Olive and Nell and the rest, but you’ve got to find your own pack.”

Jude is a vampire who has no one but the animals at the zoo she can talk to and her coworker, Diwata.

I honestly don’t really know what the author was aiming for with this one. A lot of different thing were thrown together here: a lonely teenage vampire who can talk to animals, a birthday party being thrown at the zoo, a couple mentions of water restrictions in an attempt at commentary on resource hoarding by the wealthy maybe, a brushed off bad family situation and people can be “augmented” with some sort of technological implant. All of these details are sporadic and haphazardly brought up at random times in the story. I really just finished this wondering what the point of even reading it was more than any other time in this anthology, which is saying something.

VAMPIRES NEVER SAY DIE, Zoraida Córdova & Natalie C. Parker

☆ 1 / 5 ☆

“I am not impulsive. Perhaps I used to be, but temerity is a luxury of youth. Of mortality.”

Brittany is a vampire who posts ambiguous photos on Instagram “ironically” tagging them #selfies and #vampstagram thinking it’s clever and who becomes friends with a teenager, Theolinda, as they talk over the years.

Right off the bat this story felt uncomfortable to read as it’s said Brittany has been talking to Theolinda since she was 15 (and she is still now a teenager) and kept this underlying tone of grooming when Theolinda says the only person who knows the real her is Brittany and by the end of the book she becomes the only person she can truly rely on. The authors try to push a friends narrative but it still feels off especially when Brittany compares meeting Theolinda as seeing the sun and Theolinda, the teenage character says “Old men are gross”. Is predatory behaviour now only defined by gender? On top of that the characters in this story feel dated. If it had only been the vampire character that would’ve been one thing and quite interesting but even this teenager talks and thinks like she belongs to a different time. One of my literal thoughts reading this was “Ebony Dark’eness Dementia Raven Way is this you?” if that’s anything to go by. I think this definitely turned out to be my least favourite story.


☆ 1.5 / 5 ☆

“And for a moment, the sound of the party drops away, and all she hears is blood. Hers, slow and stubborn, and Cal’s, thundering and quick. For a moment, they are back in the closet, a tangle of lips and limbs, before the whole thing tipped, before kiss became kill.”

Juliette is a vampire in high school and she has yet to make her first kill. A first kill can be special, or not, but it has to happen and you can never let them go.

Once again this story was so uncomfortable to read from the first line seeing how Calliope, who is the other main character and Black, is written. I wish Victoria Schwab hadn’t tried her hand at writing from a non-white point of view because it is not done well done in my opinion. I’m giving this story the extra 0.5 because I enjoyed the concept of the first kill but once again these teenage characters felt dated and the climax of the story happened way too early on for me.

Needless to say, I wouldn’t recommend this full anthology but I’d still like to shout out IN KIND by Kayla Whaley and A GUIDEBOOK FOR THE NEWLY SIRED DESI VAMPIRE by Samira Ahmed which were the two shining lights of this anthology.


Buddy read with Melanie

All quotes are taken from an arc and aren’t final. Please refer to a finished copy.
Profile Image for CW ✨.
631 reviews1,690 followers
November 6, 2021
I love the idea of this anthology and I hope we see more anthologies like this - modern and diverse takes on vampires that highlight that stories, as the title suggests, do not get old, but just need fresh voice. Despite, there were a few strong and intriguing stories on here, while the others were just -- fine.

- This anthology contains 11 vampire short stories. There are queer vampires, disabled vampires, vampires of colour, and also some really awesome takes about vampires in these stories.
- As I said above, I genuinely love what this anthology does. Despite my lukewarm feelings about this anthology, vampires definitely never get old! And there were so many fascinating questions about life, death, and what it may be like to be a vampire. While some of the short stories here may not have worked as short stories, I think some of them would be incredible as full-length stories.
- My favourite stories were A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed (about desi vampires told with so much tongue in cheek) and In Kind by Kayla Whaley (about a disabled girl who is "mercy killed" by her father but is turned by a vampire that challenges ableism).
- I'd love to see Senior Year Sucks by Julie Murphy and The House of Black Sapphires by Dhonielle Clayton as full-length novels. Though they were okay as short stories, I think these were the stories with great potential if they were longer and had more development.
- Overall, a decent anthology and great for vampire lovers with a few good stories, and there's definitely something for everyone in this anthology.
Profile Image for rach⭑.
472 reviews166 followers
August 11, 2022
4⭑ - First Kill by VE Schwab

LOVED IT. I can’t believe this is a short story because I want more!!!! Can’t wait for the Netflix adaptation of this.
Profile Image for ivy francis.
545 reviews27 followers
August 13, 2020
Full review: https://bookpeopleteens.wordpress.com...

“When you leave this place, step out into late evening quiet for the first time, reborn. Take in the glittering, crumbling streets around you. Look into the ink-black night. It’s dark. And full of diamonds. And you, dear one, are made of stardust.” from "A Guidebook to the Newly Sired Desi Vampire" by Samira Ahmed

Overall, Vampires Never Get Old has the biggest sucker punch of a titular pun I’ve ever read and nearly a dozen modern blood-sucking tales featuring queer, disabled, and racially diverse teens biting and being bitten. It’s a lot of silliness mixed with a whole lot of heart because you can tell that every contributor shares the one thing most YA readers still secretly possess: an embarrassingly deep love of vampires. Rating: four stakes to the heart/five
Profile Image for claire.
207 reviews248 followers
October 7, 2022
Seven Nights for Dying - 2 stars
The Boys From Blood River - 3 stars
Senior Year Sucks - 4 stars
The Boy and the Bell - 4 stars
A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire - 4 stars
In Kind - 2 stars
Vampires Never Say Die - DNF
First Kill - 5 stars (Buddy read with aya 💕)
Profile Image for viv.
75 reviews11 followers
January 28, 2021
the fact they don’t have a full book is homophobia
Profile Image for the bard.
160 reviews115 followers
December 22, 2020
Oh boy.

I think we got too many "sparkly vampire stories," rather than the gothic, Dracula-esque stories that I was hoping for. Just not for me, unfortunately.

~Seven Nights for Dying~

I'm going to be totally honest -- I didn't finish this one. In fact, I stopped reading after the third page. I just couldn't get over the writing; it was too cringey for me (can I use that word in 2020? I'm using that word anyway). Not off to a great start.

~The Boys from Blood River~

I'm, sorry, but what the heck was that??? It started out ok, and I was invested, but then the whole beginning was meaningless. Our protagonist was dumb, and, honestly, the narrative was too. Who asked for yeehaw vampires??? Definitely not me. They might not be my thing, but are yeehaw vampires anyone's thing? Maybe there's a reason they're not too common. This story really felt pointless and had 0 scare factor. Not many things can be frightening with a Southern twang.

~Senior Year Sucks~


This was not that bad. I enjoyed myself while reading, but the ending (as with most of these stories) felt a bit incomplete. Not a whole lot really happened, but there was an interesting premise.

~The Boy and the Bell~

Ok, so I dnfed this one too. I was interested in the story, but I couldn't get through the hefty writing. Idk, maybe I'm just dumb, but this was hard for me to get through. I'm easily distracted and my mind kept wandering and couldn't take anything in. I couldn't tell you anything about this story to save my life. Sorry, y'all.

~A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire~


I liked this story. It had an interesting format and kept me hooked. It did feel a bit preachy at times, like it was trying to get me to hate Brits instead of just storytelling, but oh well.

~In Kind~


Yesss, this was SO GOOD. This one had a plot (wow, is that too much to ask for) and it had murder (yay, something's happening)! This one was a breath of fresh air. It was original, and an insightful tale. Go read it, already.

~Vampires Never Say Die~


This one was action-packed!!! Some parts of it weren't my cup of tea, but the idea was great, and so was the execution! We love closure!


Whoops, I did NOT read this one. It didn't sound like I'd like it, so I didn't waste my time.

~Mirrors, Windows, and Selfies~


The writing was soooo good, oh my gosh. The plot wasn't my favorite, but it was intriguing, nonetheless. This one's pretty long, but the ending felt a bit rushed compared to the slow-burn nature of the beginning. I really wished this one had a good ending, but I have questions that need answers. I need more!

~The House of Black Sapphires~


This one didn't really do it for me. It wasn't special in any way, and the ending gave it no purpose. This whole story was pointless.

~First Kill~


This one... Now this one was great. The writing was gorgeous and the overall plot was pretty good. BUT THAT ENDING! I absolutely HATE open endings. UGH! If the ending would have actually happened, then I'd feel a lot happier finishing this anthology.
Profile Image for Hailee.
106 reviews58 followers
October 15, 2020
OVERALL: some stories were spectacular while others were just meh which is why this is a solid ☆ ☆ ☆. this was filled with all different kinds of representation which was awesome! and i'll always love a good vampire story.

seven nights for dying: ☆ ☆ ☆ nothing spectacular but i did enjoy how the ritual of becoming a vampire was different than what you usually see; i liked how a continued theme was that the best vampires are those who are raised as girls (resilient, adaptable, and pissed lol)

the boys from blood river: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ i always enjoy reading about legends/folklore so i loved that aspect of this story; very atmospheric and spooky

senior year sucks: ☆ ☆ ☆ .5 i wish this was longer!! it felt like the beginning of such a great story and i would definitely read more about this; i really liked the idea of a younger vampire wishing for some more mortal teenage time

the boy and the bell: ☆ ☆ ☆ .5 i was happy that this had a satisfying ending (because one character in particular was pissing me off) and i liked the writing style and how this took place during a different time period than the others

a guidebook for the newly sired desi vampire: ☆ ☆ ☆ .5 i always prefer stories over website/etc. format in anthologies but i still liked this; slightly repetitive but was definitely funny lol i loved the remarks about colonialism/imperialism and thought it was executed well

in kind: ☆ ☆ ☆ .5 i love a good revenge story and that’s exactly what this was; satisfying ending; however, did not fit the vampire vibe like the others

vampires never say die: ☆ ☆ i liked reading about new york city vampires and the inner workings of their hierarchy(?) but this fell flat

bestiary: ☆ felt all over the place and i was not invested at all but i like the relationship with animals

mirrors, windows, & selfies: ☆ ☆ ☆ i enjoyed this one! i liked the suspense and it was nice to read about cisco deciding to become his own person. however, i wish certain aspects were explained more as i felt they were a little confusing

the house of black sapphires: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ i loved this one! the atmosphere, the characters, the premise, literally loved everything about it and my one complaint is that the ending was abrupt and rather disappointing because i wanted more lol. i know it’s just a short story but i need more and would definitely read a book about this family. my favorite by far

first kill: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ i really liked the format of this (two days and two POVs) and i enjoyed the angst and seeing family history of both girls! i also am a sucker (ha) for enemies to lovers stories. i wish this was longer and i wish we got to see more of the girls interacting
Profile Image for Robin.
838 reviews190 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
October 28, 2020
I've officially decided to DNF this. I had such high hopes for this anthology, the concept was everything I thought I wanted. But unfortunately I read the first 6 stories and gave them all 3 stars or less.. and I just can't push through any more.
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,475 reviews259 followers
January 25, 2021
I can never resist a good vampire story and most of the stories featured in Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With Fresh Bite edited by Zoraida Córdova are pretty good. My favorites here are Seven Nights for Dying by Tessa Gratton, Senior Year Sucks by Julie Murphy, A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed, Mirrors, Windows & Selfies by Mark Oshiro, and First Kill by Victoria "V E." Schwab. Plus, I really enjoyed those pages between each story that kind of operates as a real life behind the scenes on a certain vampire related topic from Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker.
Profile Image for Rachael.
480 reviews84 followers
August 13, 2022
An anthology of vampire stories that felt fairly original because of how diverse the characters were. Individual ratings and mini reviews for each story below. Average rating = 3.91 (rounded up to 4 stars).

This was interesting because it explored some consequences of turning into a vampire that I hadn't thought of before. However, I'd like to point out that 30 years old is not old!

The start enticed me with the song that summons vampires appearing on the jukebox in the diner. The middle was just ok. But, the ending, while a bit rushed, was better.

I don't know what to say about this one. It was good I think but I also think there are much better stories in the anthology

I really liked how this one was set in the Victorian/Edwardian era combining gravedigging stories and mythical elements. I was left hoping that Will gets to do his dream job.

This was great. I loved how it it felt like a blog post with its pop culture references and fourth wall breaking. I also liked learning more about desi.

This was such an interesting take on morality, mercy and mortality. I liked how this showed that turning into a vampire doesn't change everything about you.

Unlike A Guidebook... I felt that here the pop culture references didn't work so well. The age gap trope didn't sit well with me either.

I think I need to reread this story at some point. There's a subtlety to it which I seemed to have missed and it only became apparent when I read the editrixes' note after the story.

Another story in blog form. It also put another spin on how vampires are created and I quite liked reading it.

An atmospheric and engaging short story. I'd love to see it developed into a full length novel.

Victoria Schwab, you can't end the short story there! I was just getting my teeth into it (pun intended). I'm craving more like a vampire craves blood. Absolutely loved it.
Profile Image for Sahitya.
1,022 reviews203 followers
September 23, 2020
Average Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.1

The editor’s note at the beginning talk about the various literature through which readers have gotten introduced to the lore of vampires through the years, but I think my first encounter was through Twilight and The Vampire Diaries; that too after a couple of movies/seasons had already released respectively. But I did go on to read a lot of paranormal stuff after and developed a love for vampire stories. So when I saw the announcement for this anthology, I was very excited because I really was ready to explore these creatures of the night outside of the cis, white, male, thin, hot cliche we were so used to.

And this collection truly delivers. We have amazing Black and brown representation here, alongwith vampires across a whole spectrum of gender and sexuality, and it was such a delight to read these stories. The editors also give some details about the inspirations for each of these stories, about the myths they are based upon, and the themes that are being addressed - I really appreciated that extra commentary because it gave me so much more insight. Within this collection are stories full of grief, pain, excitement, loneliness and various other emotions, and I think all of you will find something that will connect with you. My desi heart was obviously delighted with Samira’s story the most, but you could say I’m biased.

If you are a vampire lover, this is a fun collection of stories to explore and I would definitely recommend it. Below you can read my detailed thoughts on each of the stories:

Seven Nights for Dying by Tessa Gratton

We are so used to stories of vampires full of violence and force, so this was refreshing in the sense that it was very quiet and contemplative with the main theme being about choice. What if you could live forever ? Would you wanna be a vampire? What should drive this decision - anger, grief.. or just love. I really enjoyed the idea behind this one.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Boys from Blood River by Rebecca Roanhorse

In contrast to the first story, this one also is about choice, how a young Native gay boy who has lost almost everything and is bullied constantly in his small town feels like he has nothing left but would love to not be alone, even if it means becoming a vampire. But how much is he ready to sacrifice for it ?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Senior Year Sucks by Julie Murphy

Told from the POV of a young fat vampire slayer/ cheerleading team captain in a Texas small town, this is a story about having to do your duty even if that’s not all you want to do, but still trying to make choices that feel true to yourself. And all the dangerous sexy tension between this slayer and the vampire girl she meets is just a delightful added bonus.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

The Boy and the Bell by Heidi Heilig

Set around the time of Bram Stoker’s Dracula release, this one featuring a trans protagonist is an interesting take on what it means to be human and wanting to be something that you aren’t allowed to be; while also making a fascinating comparison between vampires and the rice and privileged people of the time.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed

I knew I was gonna love this before I even started. Written as a online how to guide to be a new teen desi vampire, this was both hilarious and profound with the usual instructions you would assume to give someone new, but also full of desiness that delighted me. From taking digs at British colonizers to American capitalists to Zuck, while also mentioning memorable places and food in the motherland - this was amazing. I also thought it was interesting to see vampirism and colonialism as parallels, sucking blood literally and metaphorically out of normal people. And I’m still reveling in the nostalgia of seeing the mention of Sultan Bazaar (which happens to be a huge and bustling area full of street markets in Hyderabad), a place I’ve visited quite a bit in my childhood, in a book published in the US. Now I just want more desi vampire stories.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

In Kind by Kayla Whaley

Featuring a completely wheelchair bound young woman turned vampire, this story takes a dark but important look at both the difficulty that caregivers have in providing the required support for their disabled children, as well as throws light onto the horrific aspect of mercy killings where the caregivers (aka murderers) are considered being merciful but no one ever asks the disabled person what they wanted to do with their life. This was hard to read but also empowering towards the end.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Vampires Never Say Die by Zoraida Córdova & Natalie C. Parker

A story about an unlikely Instagram friendship between a human and a vampire, the kinds of connections that can be built online amidst all the fake online personas we create, the beginning of a beautiful relationship, the difference we can make in the world if we get to live forever - and all of this happening with the backdrop of stabby vampire politics. This was both poetic and intense and very intriguing.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Bestiary by Laura Ruby

This was such a unique tale - set in a time where earth has been ravaged by climate change, there’s food and water scarcity and the Uber rich control these resources even more - our protagonist is a shape shifting vampire who was betrayed when turned but she finds solace in the company of animals at the zoo she works at. I absolutely loved her interactions with the bear and the lionesses, and also her older boss.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Mirrors, Windows & Selfies by Mark Oshiro

A boy who shouldn’t exist, sheltered and isolated all his life, having never even seen a mirror, uses his blog to put out all his thoughts just to feel a little less lonely. His story and the comments he gets are interesting to read but there’s so much pain laced with hope in his predicament, and I just wanted him to be able to get out into the world and find himself. As always, Mark Oshiro’s writing is stunning and emotional, packing a punch.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The House of Black Sapphires by Dhonielle Clayton

I loved this story more for its setting of an Eternal version of New Orleans where all kinds of immortals live and I thought the descriptions of the city as well as the ball that takes place and the overall ambience was very beautiful. Added to that was some delicious attraction between two immortals who are enemies, and it made for a cool story. The open ending however, did leave me wanting, and it felt more like the beginning of a new story than the end of one.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

First Kill by Victoria “V. E.” Schwab

This is also in a way similar to the previous story, two young high school senior girls who are attracted to each other unexpectedly find that one can’t escape her thirst for blood while the other can’t forget her destiny of being a supernatural hunter.. This definitely had a more fun vibe but that ending was super cool.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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899 reviews869 followers
October 14, 2020
This anthology features 11 short stories written by beloved and acclaimed authors. I appreciated how original some of the stories were and also how each other tackled the topic of vampire in a different and unique way. Not one story was the same, that's for sure, there was a good mix.

The stories that stood out the most to me are Seven Nights for Dying by Tessa Gratton where the main character has the choice to become a vampire. I just think it was very interesting to read her thought process.
Another good one was A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed, which is what the title says, a how to guide for the desi vampires who are new to the vampire life and lifestyle. It was quite fun, especially the part about the aunties and their never-ending matchmaking!
My favorite story was probably the last one, First Kill by V.E. Schwab. I wasn't expecting that and I would totally read a full-length novel about this novella's characters.

Unfortunately I had to lower my rating because of some novellas that I truly didn't enjoy. But if you're into vampires and you want to read something quick and different about them, then I recommend this one.
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