Title: Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead
Editor: Nancy Kilpatrick
Page Count: 283 pages
Publisher: Edge Books
Genre: horror, paranormal, fantasy
Copy for review provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
50 words or less: 24 short stories that take vampires to new levels- sad, tragic, historic, dramatic, etc. etc. etc.
It's been awhile since I read a complete short story anthology and Evolve was a good way to get back in the saddle. The stories in this volume are definitely one-bite stories so we don't always get to know a whole lot about characters, settings, or any other story elements. Instead, you get stories that are a lot like doing shots out of unknown glasses. Some of them are fruity and fluffy and go down like candy. Others make you get your whiskey face on.
These are no tired reworkings of tired old vampire tropes. These stories take the interpretation of vampires to a whole new level, and in a lot of the tales, blood isn't the only thing getting sucked, and brooding pale people aren't the only vampires. Toxic friendships, workaholism, drugs, failed romances, you name it- anything that can suck the life out of a person is worked in here in one way or another.
There are certain stories that really stood out to me as unique from this anthology- "Chrysalis" by Ronald Hore is a glimpse of what would happen if vampires had coming of age stories, "All You Can Eat, All the Time" by Claude Lalumiere takes bodysnatching to a whole new level, and "The New Forty" by Rebecca Bradley is snarky and brooding and sweet all at the same time. "Soulfinger" by Rio Youers is a good bet too.
My biggest issue with this book is that although a wide variety of stories and writing styles are represented here, you don't ever get enough of one author or story to really hook you into wanting to know more. As a collection of creepy stories all sharing a common theme, this book succeed admirably; I don't think there was quite the same level of success for this book as a lure for new readers. But then, that may not have been the point of the book and it doesn't detract from the overall experience of the book.
Overall Grade: B+
BWB Rating: 3/4
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