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LOVE IN VEIN

TWENTY ORIGINAL TALES OF VAMPIRIC EROTICA

Vaguely familiar fairy tales and other prototypical plots take on a new darkness when viewed from a vampire's perspective in this horror anthology edited by fantasy author Brite (Drawing Blood, 1993, etc). The stories present 20 different worlds, from the Old West to modern Japan to the inner city, in which vampires' desires are no longer focused solely, or even primarily, on their victims' jugulars. These predators desire not only the blood, but also the flesh. Blood serves as a metaphor for sex in several tales that show carnal knowledge of a vampire leading to loss of the soul. Prostitutes and survivors of sexual abuse figure prominently in these stories; vampires are able to recognize experienced victims. The protagonist of ``Empty Vessels'' by David B. Silva feeds as much on painful memories as on the blood and desire of his prey. Heart of Darkness meets The Silence of the Lambs in Douglas Clegg's ``White Chapel,'' whose vampire leads his quarry upriver to a strange jungle site where people are skinned alive and bless the one who flays them. Lusty young men also fall prey to the dangers of desire. ``Love Me Forever'' by Mike Baker shows a trio of college buddies being serially seduced and abandoned: Two kill themselves from love and despair; the third is not so easily thwarted. In Elizabeth Engstrom's ``Elixir,'' a young man's desire to see the world's hues causes him to drink deeply from his mate, whose body holds the elixir that cures his color blindness. Appetites are powerful here; fortunately—since everyone seems to be enjoying the bloodletting—a diverse and wondrous array of fangs and other extraction devices are standard equipment for these vampires. Sometimes literate and lyrical, sometimes crude, a celebration of the aphrodisiac qualities of blood and flesh. Not to everyone's taste.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-105312-0

Page Count: 416

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

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DEVOLUTION

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z(2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

A tightly wound caseworker is pushed out of his comfort zone when he’s sent to observe a remote orphanage for magical children.

Linus Baker loves rules, which makes him perfectly suited for his job as a midlevel bureaucrat working for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, where he investigates orphanages for children who can do things like make objects float, who have tails or feathers, and even those who are young witches. Linus clings to the notion that his job is about saving children from cruel or dangerous homes, but really he’s a cog in a government machine that treats magical children as second-class citizens. When Extremely Upper Management sends for Linus, he learns that his next assignment is a mission to an island orphanage for especially dangerous kids. He is to stay on the island for a month and write reports for Extremely Upper Management, which warns him to be especially meticulous in his observations. When he reaches the island, he meets extraordinary kids like Talia the gnome, Theodore the wyvern, and Chauncey, an amorphous blob whose parentage is unknown. The proprietor of the orphanage is a strange but charming man named Arthur, who makes it clear to Linus that he will do anything in his power to give his charges a loving home on the island. As Linus spends more time with Arthur and the kids, he starts to question a world that would shun them for being different, and he even develops romantic feelings for Arthur. Lambda Literary Award–winning author Klune (The Art of Breathing, 2019, etc.) has a knack for creating endearing characters, and readers will grow to love Arthur and the orphans alongside Linus. Linus himself is a lovable protagonist despite his prickliness, and Klune aptly handles his evolving feelings and morals. The prose is a touch wooden in places, but fans of quirky fantasy will eat it up.

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21728-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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