Note: I'm uploading my books from Goodreads and since there are like 200+ it's going to take awhile. The uploading seems a bit wonky too, so hang with me as I fix things. Also there may be spoilers until I can make all the appropriate tags.
I'm an ex-English Major who, sick of reading classics after college, decided to read all the trashy books I didn't before because I was too snobby. Since graduating, I've entertained myself with comics, YA, and romance novels, finding out they can not only be decently written, but superbly written. I've since recovered from my classics aversion, but I'm now more open-minded reader willing to read from any genre. If a book has kick-ass heroines and/or witty banter and/or takes place in a different time or place (including fantasy settings), I will most likely fall in love with it. My favorite authors are Jane Austen, Shakespeare, E.M. Forster, Meljean Brook, Sarah Rees Brennan, Rachel Hartman, Catherynne M. Valente, and Aliette de Bodard.
I am aware there was controversy surrounding this editor, so I had checked this out of the library. Because the original blog post detailing what happened has been taken down, I can only go by hearsay. Apparently in later anthology, one of the authors wanted to include a homosexual love story and Telep insisted the author change it to a heterosexual one. I don't know if Telep was acting on behalf of the publishing house or her own preferences. I thought to let people know to make their own decisions.
Average: 3.5 Stars
I just read the stories of the authors I was interested in. Despite the title, most of the stories I read fell more into the horror genre than YA paranormal romance. With the exception of Brennan's story, the stories revolved around the same theme of devolving into a monster and accepting one's monstrosity. Black's story is the standout that the rest fail to match, but there still is some pretty good vampire-based horror in here.
Favorite: "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" by Holly Black
Standouts: "The Thirteenth Step" by Libba Bray and "Ambition" by Lili St. Crow
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Matilda has been infected by vampirism. If she avoids biting someone for 88 days, she can remain human. However, she will have to make a choice when her boyfriend and her friend's sister travel to a coldtown - where vampires are confined from the rest of the population. But once you enter Coldtown, you can never leave...
I wanted to read this to see if I should purchase the full length novel based on this story This story knocked me DEAD ON MY FEET (pun not intended). It's exactly what I think many vampire stories have been missing after the Twilight vampire resurgence - terror, (lack-of) morality, and mortality. It's one of those stories that after you put it down makes you think, "What do I do NOW? I can never read again, because nothing will ever live up to this." It always amazes me how writers can create a whole world in a short story and Black creates a terrible, yet believable future where vampires exist. Matilda is a great character - she's resourceful and worldly, yet self-destructive and naive at the same time. the journey she takes into Coldtown is both heartbreaking and horrible. A definite must read.
So in other words: I have already purchased the full-length novel :)
Undead is Very Hot Right Now by Sarah Rees Brennan
A new vampire joins a boy band and struggles to adjust to his new life and his new fame.I'm a huge fan of Brennan, but this story just fell flat. Her humor was a bit too over-the-top and I think she and Justine Larbalestier were much funnier and more poignant in their vampire spoof Team Human. Brennan still manages to get in her trademark funny one-liners, but not her best work.
The Thirteenth Step by Libba Bray
After her life being messed up by her sister's drug addiction, Lauren takes a job at Angeleus House to help other drug addicts. However, Angeleus House may not be what it seems.
One thing Libba Bray excels at is horror. She knows just how to infuse her scenes with enough creepiness and mystery to keep readers reading. That being said, I really really hated the protagonist. She was whiny, stupid, and privileged. I mean there are so many coincidences that scream "VAMPIRE" and "CULT" and Lauren just ignores them despite having been warned beforehand by another character. The emotional impact of the story was less because I just hoped Lauren would die. There is an interesting commentary running through the story that society's disregard of poor POCs and drug addicts and the like are what causes the vampires to infiltrate society. It is an interesting thought that rings of some truth, but I don't know if this was treated with sensitively. It's hard because Lauren is a self-centered bitch and dismisses people, but this sometimes left a bad taste in my mouth. The story wasn't helped by the fact it had similar themes to Holly Black's and Black's was much better. Still, a good creepy story.
Other Boys by Cassandra Clare
Jennifer finds herself drawn to the boy who says he's a vampire. Is he or is the truth much more horrific?The story was alright with a nice little twist on the usual vampire story. It didn't feel very original and similar in theme to Black's and Bray's stories, but not nearly as memorable.
Ambition by Lili St. Crow
The heroine has always felt she will never have the life of "the golden people" surrounding her at school. Rich. Beautiful. Lucky. Irresistible. Until she meets Johnny and he makes her an offer to be something greater.
I was surprised at how good this story was. Crow was really able to create a voice that sounded like a teenager and doesn't hammer home a moral, allowing for a Shirley Jacksonian ambiguity. Is this a (demented) Cinderella story? Or a horror story? It's up to the reader to decide. One minor quibble: the author (and editor) apparently don't know the correct spelling of hola. *side eye*