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Guess There Were Lame Vampire Books Even Before Twilight

Alix tried, and failed, to read The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause, a classic YA vampire book.

Guess There Were Lame Vampire Books Even Before Twilight

(Here at FYA Headquarters, we try to read and review every book we receive from publishers and every book we purchase or check out from the library. But sometimes we just can't finish a book. Usually we just decide not to review it, but sometimes we feel the need to explain why we couldn't finish. Therefore, we proudly present the DNF (Did Not Finish) Book Report!)

DNF BOOK REPORT for The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause

When We Broke Up: Chapter 10
I Should Have Listened To: My Own Prejudices and Sense of Superiority
How Purple is Your Prose: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
Anti-Bonus Factors: Eating Disorders, Cancer, Insta-love
Bonus Factor: Shopping Montage!
Restraining Order Status: Thank God I’m Moving So You Can’t Cross My Threshold Anymore

Let’s Judge a Book By Its Cover:

There are a variety of covers to choose from, all of them bad. My particular cover was this weirdly blurry cover that I thought was damaged? But it turns out it’s meant to be like that.

All of the covers remind me of this vampire stained glass coloring book Santa once brought me. I tried to be progressive and make the subjects more racially diverse than were depicted in the samples, but it backfired and ended up looking like KKK propaganda, with the black vampire climbing in through the white girl’s bedroom window. I stopped coloring after that. Anyway, all I’m saying is that you probably shouldn’t be emulating the vampire stained glass coloring book on your book covers.

The Deal (As I know it):

Zoë is your typical vampire book heroine. She’s extremely pretty yet has only one friend, and she’s emotionally distant from her family. Her mom is dying in the hospital, her father is trying to hold all of his shit together, and her one friend is selfishly moving away. WILL NO ONE THINK OF POOR ZOË? SHE HAS NO ONE TO TALK TO ABOUT HER BOY PROBLEMS. Luckily, a mysteriously well-dressed and handsome homeless teenager, Simon, rolls into town. Zoë keeps bumping into him when she’s lurking in alleys and abandoned parks late at night. She is simultaneously drawn to and afraid of him. Even though she stumbles upon him covered in blood and feathers when she knows there’s a killer on the loose, slashing the throats of young women, she feels she can trust him.

So when he comes to her house on Halloween, telling her that he knows who the killer is, she believes him. It’s Simon’s evil child vampire brother, Christopher. And only Zoë can stop him! Or so I presume, I stopped reading when I was already halfway through and nothing had happened.

When We Broke Up: Chapter 10

I got to the obligatory vampire-turning flashback and gave up. I realized I had absolutely no interest in finding out what happened, and had already formulated all my opinions on the book.

I Should Have Listened To: My Own Prejudices and Sense of Superiority

I’m usually the first to pull a Fred Savage at vampire books, but I’m home visiting my parents, and I asked my mom to pick out something for me to review. I strongly suspect that she picked things out for her own entertainment rather than mine, because she brought me a vampire book, a mermaid book, and a prom book. I’ve made my opinions on prom abundantly clear in the past, and what the hell is up with all the mermaid books lately? Anyway, she sold me on the vampire book because it was written long before Twilight came along, and I thought it would be interesting as part of a historical look at vampires in YA fiction. And I kind of wanted to prove to myself that good vampire YA books could exist.

I should have gone with the mermaid book. There was at least a self-aware pun in the title of that one.

How Purple is Your Prose: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

The night was crisp and sweet like apples. A gibbous moon hung plump and bright.

Hey, so remember that contest where you try to write the worst possible opening line to a story beginning with “It was a dark and stormy night?” That’s how this entire book reads.

Moonlight lit the gazebo, tracing it with silver, but a shadow crept inside, independent of natural shades. She tensed. Her hands gripped the edge of the bench. She leaned forward to decipher its meaning, peering into the mottled dark.

I see that you’re using words, but I’m not sure you’re actually saying anything.

She hesitated once between mouthfuls with a feeling of dread. Was he weird? Would he have hurt her? No. He looked like an angel in a Renaissance painting. Could beauty hurt?

Let’s dissect this. First of all, have you SEEN Renaissance art? The people in those paintings look like monsters. Second of all, WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU? Just because someone’s attractive does not preclude them from being a total psychopath. Obviously, I don’t want to be victim-blaming here, but if your basic instinct is that attractiveness=trustworthy, you should probably work on that for your own personal safety. For God’s sake, you’re in a book where the primary villain is a cute little boy.

He marked his territory like a wolf, and urinated on the back-door steps. It helped a little. I know where you live, he thought

SEE WHAT I MEAN? That same creeper you let walk you home five minutes ago because you thought he was attractive just PEED ON YOUR BACK PORCH. WTFFFFFFF.

He looked at her and, trapped in her eyes again, felt impelled, but his name caught in his throat. He had not told it in so long that it felt too intimate to reveal it, like giving away a portion of his true self. Yet her eyes were intimate also, stealing into him, opening locked doors.

So you’ll pee on a girl’s porch, but you hesitate to tell her your name. That is TOTALLY fucked. I hate you both. You deserve each other.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Eating Disorders

So Zoë copes with her mother’s illness/the general loss of control in her life by eating as little as possible. Which, there’s a right way to handle eating disorders in fiction, and then there’s going from talking about Zoë not eating on one page to having the male love interest talk about how skinny yet voluptuous she is two pages later. Like it’s positive thing. Ugh, fuck you, book.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Cancer

I thought that by reading a vampire book, I’d get away from all the cancer. I WAS WRONG. Also, the way Zoë’s parents handle her mom’s illness is ridiculous. They don’t let Zoë visit her mom in the hospital because it will “upset” Zoë and “tires out” her mother. But her dad’s at the hospital all the time, so Zoë’s just left wandering dark alleys by herself at night. Also, you know what might upset Zoë more than seeing her mom dying of Cancer in the hospital? HER MOM ACTUALLY BEING DEAD. AND NOT BEING ABLE TO SEE HER EVER AGAIN.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Insta-Love

Insta-love is still the worst. Zoë and Simon can see into each other’s souls through their eyes or some bullshit, so they are magically and instantly in love. And I am magically and instantly bored and nauseated.

Bonus Factor: Shopping Montage

Want to see the highlight of the whole book? Ready? Here it is:

She marched Zoë right away to the Jean Jar, then Muggles, through Finders, and on to the Edge.

MUGGLES. THERE IS A STORE IN THEIR MALL CALLED MUGGLES. EVEN THOUGH IT IS ONLY 1990. I WANT TO GO.

Casting Call:

Things are about to get real awkward on set cause

Kristen Stewart as Zoë

Robert Pattinson as Simon

Restraining Order Status: Thank God I’m Moving So You Can’t Cross My Threshold Anymore

Book, I know how this works. You can’t come into my house unless I invite you, right? I may have made the mistake of inviting you in once, but I’m MOVING now. And you can pee on my back porch all you want, but I am NEVER GOING TO INVITE YOU INTO MY NEW HOUSE. SO LONG, CREEPER!

Alix West's photo About the Author: Alix is a writer and illustrator who spends way too much time reading Jane Austen retellings of varying quality.
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