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.
Overall, this was a brilliantly diverse collection of short stories about vampires, tackling the fact most popular vampire stories follow cis, white, male, able-bodied, heterosexual vampires. It takes everything we know and expect from vampire myth and folklore and turns it on its head. I read this an audiobook and I really enjoyed the whole experience. It had a brilliant cast of narrators that changed with the stories and fit the whole book well. I really liked how the editors of this book wrote a short follow up of each of the stories that explained the folklore behind each one.
As this book contains many different stories, I’m going to go through them all separately, but overall I was super impressed with this book!
Seven Nights for Dying by Tessa Gratton ★★★★
This one was such a strong start to the book and I really enjoyed it. We follow a young girl being lured into the world of vampirism and it tackled some super interesting topics. It was sex positive and followed a character who is bi/pan, and also discussed grief, belonging, loss and anger. We follow the main character as she tries to make a decision about whether she wants to become a vampire or not, which also fit the short story well as it focuses on 7 days. I liked the family aspect and if I remember rightly we had a really positive family relationship featuring a single parent!
The Boys From Blood River by Rebecca Roanhorse ★★★
The second story was also strong and I did enjoy it, just not quite as much as the first one. I loved the setting as we follow our main character late at night in a diner where he works, and the whole story reminded me a little bit of The Lost Boys. In this story, there is a legend surrounding a song which mysteriously begins playing on the jukebox at the diner. The legend being that vampires come when the song is sung, and the person who sang the song will then disappear. Again, this story has some really important discussions about grief, loss, race and sexuality, and the only reason I haven’t rated it higher is because I honestly can’t remember as much as I would like about it!
Senior Year Sucks by Julie Murphy ★★★★
I’ve read Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy and really enjoyed it, and I feel like her contemporary approach to a vampire story worked so well in this one. We follow Jolene, who is a fat vampire slayer and I loved her! I really liked that this one was fat positive and sapphic, and also that it followed a vampire slayer rather than the vampire themselves. Again, this one fit the short story narrative really well and left me wanting tor read more by Julie Murphy.
The Boy and The Bell by Heidi Heilig ★★★
I sadly can’t remember this story so well, which is why it has a lower rating. This one, as with many of the other stories, is steeped in vampire folklore and follows a trans boy and the idea of people being buried before they are supposed to. We follow our main character, who is a grave digger trying to learn from the corpses he is digging up, when he starts to hear a bell ringing. I would say that I won’t say more because of spoilers, but honestly I can’t remember much more about the story sadly!
A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed ★★★★★
This story was absolutely brilliant and is no doubt my favourite of the entire collection. It was so well written and creative, and is written in second person addressing ‘you’ as the reader. The idea behind this story is it’s written as a guidebook for newly sired Desi vampires who have been turned against their will by British tourists. It was so funny which is what I loved the most and the writing was so witty. It also has some really interesting and important discussions about Colonial India and taught me a lot! I’ll definitely be checking out more books by this author.
In Kind by Kayla Whaley ★★★★★
Yet another story that I really enjoyed and is a close second favourite after Ahmed’s! This story follows a girl who has been murdered by her father, who believes he killed her out of ‘mercy’. Her body goes missing and instead of being buried, she is turned into a vampire and wants to enact revenge on her father for what happened. I love how this book talked about the main character’s degenerative neuromuscular disorder and that she still uses a wheelchair as a vampire. She talks about how much her disorder is inherent to her identity, and I really liked the discussions broached by this story. I loved it a lot.
Vampires Never Say Die by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker ★★★★
Although this one didn’t quite reach the 5 star level of the previous two, I found it super interesting and really enjoyed it too! This one follows vampires who use Instagram and hide the fact they are vampires. One of these vampires has befriended a human on social media and the human girl decides to throw her a surprise party, but doesn’t know her friend is a vampire. Although I felt a little uncomfortable with the fact the human girl is 15 at the start of this story, I did still really enjoy it and it worked well as a short story.
Bestiary by Laura Ruby ★★1/2
Unfortunately, the stories took a bit of a dip for me as we get towards the end. In this one, we follow a girl who lives in a zoo and has a bond with the animals who live there. This one really fell flat for me and overall, just felt like it wasn’t really going anywhere or that anything really happened. Some of it was entertaining and I liked the themes of capitalism, but I just found there wasn’t as much to enjoy.
Mirrors, Windows and Selfies by Mark Oshiro ★★1/2
I found this one also fell a little flat and was by far the longest story. It honestly felt like it went on forever, but simultaneously had little to no real focus. We follow a young Latino man who is born as a vampire and has been controlled by his parents all his life. Throughout the story, he is trying to find out more about himself, including what he looks like. Although again, we follow some interesting themes of control, isolation and loneliness, and I did find the format (Tumblr posts) interesting, it fell flat. I also had a slight problem with the narrator or tone of writing (hard to pinpoint as I listened to the audio!) sounding very overenthusiastic and therefore inauthentic.
The House of Black Sapphires by Dhonielle Clayton ★★★
Things did start to look up again here with the final two stories, and even though this was far from perfect I definitely enjoyed it more than the previous two. In this story, we follow a Black family who are forced to move around and run an apothecary shop. This one is definitely 10 points for atmosphere and I really enjoyed reading about the relationship of the sisters, but I still found the plot disappointing and something didn’t quite click.
First Kill by V.E. Schwab ★★★★
The final story and one I was most looking forward to was First Kill by V.E. Schwab. And although this one didn’t make it to 5 stars or become my favourite, I did really enjoy it and can definitely see the potential for the Netflix adaptation that is in the making! Without saying too much and spoiling the story, we have two teenage girls who have crushes on one another and there is some real sapphic angst. I really enjoyed it!
4 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽