Review: Immortal Edited by P. C. Cast

December 7, 2009 Review 6

image In Immortal: Love Stories With Bite, edited by New York Times bestselling author of the House of Night series P.C. Cast, seven of today’s most popular YA vampire and contemporary fantasy authors offer new short stories that prove that when you’re immortal, true love really is forever. Rachel Caine (the Morganville Vampires series) revisits the setting of her popular series, where the vampires are in charge and love is risky. Cynthia Leitich Smith (Tantalize) gives us a love triangle between a vampire, a ghost and a human girl, in which none of them are who or what they seem. Claudia Gray (Evernight) takes us into the world of her Evernight series, in which a pre-Civil War courtesan-to-be is courted by a pale, fair-haired man whose attentions are too dangerous to spurn. Richelle Mead (the Vampire Academy series) brings us the tale of a young vampire on the run from the rest of her kind, and the human boy who provides the getaway car. Nancy Holder (the Wicked series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) immerses us in a post-apocalyptic New York where two best friends are forced to make a choice that may kill them both. Kristin Cast (the House of Night series) introduces us to a new kind of vampire: one with roots in Greek mythology, and the power to alter space and time. And Tanith Lee (Black Unicorn) shows us what happens when a bright young woman with some supernatural savvy encounters a misguided (but gorgeous) young vampire.*Note* This is the new edition that includes the Soul Screamers story “Binge” by Rachel Vincent.

Review of Amber Smoke by Kristin Cast:
“Amber Smoke” by Kristin Cast is probably my least favorite story in this anthology, now granted I’m only halfway through Immortal, but still.  This story is the reason I’ve mostly avoided reading YA.  18 year old Jenna (who comes across more as a vapid thirteen year old) is a shallow, self-absorbed high school senior when she meets hottie son of The Furies/vampire Alek who helps her transition into her new nonhuman existence. Dripping with pop culture references in an attempt to be ‘teen friendly,’ this story is mess of unlikable characters who are nothing like any teenagers I’ve ever known.  I’ve been looking forward to starting the House of Night series, but if they are anything like this…ugh.
Sexual Content: None

Review of Haunted Love by Cynthia Leitich Smith:
“Haunted Love” by Cynthia Leitich Smith kicks off the anthology with Cody, a new male vampire who re-opens a haunted movie theater in his sleepy Texas town, but he never planned on an All-American human girl maneuvering her way into a job and possibly his heart.  I was surprised at how strong Cody’s voice was almost from page one, especially his accidental transformation into a vampire after ordering a strength potion off the internet.   I wish he’d been given a full length novel to play around in, but even in his 30 or so pages, I cared about him.  I cared less about the twist at the end.  It was sudden and not at all in keeping with the rest of the story.
Sexual Content: None

Review of Dead Man Stalking by Rachel Caine:
“Dead Man Stalking” by Rachel Caine revisits characters from her Morganville Vampires series. Shane gets abducted by a zombie controlled by his estranged father seeking to enlist Shane’s help in eradicating the vampire species.  I’ve enjoyed Rachel’s Weather Warden series, so I knew she was a good writer, but I only got Glass Houses yesterday, so this was my first visit to Morganville (although I’m now planning an extended stay), and there were characters with back stories I didn’t know, but my ignorance didn’t in any way diminish my enjoyment of this story.  If anything it made me want more of this series.
Sexual Content: None

Review of Table Manners by Tanith Lee:
“Table Manners” by Tanith Lee is an odd story written in an odd way.  It feels like a regency period story except for the occasional modern reference (cell phone, elevator etc.) A girl meets a Brad Pitt-esque vampire at a ball and tries to help him realize his vampiric weaknesses are all in his mind.  The writing was very unique and sentence structure was often haphazardly ordered.  I’m not sure what effect the author was going for, but the story was generic enough that it doesn’t really matter.
Sexual Content: None

Review of Changed by Nancy Holder:
“Changed” by Nancy Holder (who I loved from her work on Buffy) pens a pulls no punches diatribe this time out.  On just about every single page of this story (sometimes several times per page) the author reminds us that Eli, the unrequited love interest of the main character Jilly, is gay.  Eli’s stereotyped Jewish parents throw very un-politically correct insults at him, whereas Jilly’s parents let him and his boyfriend Sean be together at her house.  Jilly, a reformed ‘slut and drug addict’ is the character we’re supposed to identify with and root for, yet she has so little self worth that she doesn’t care that her former boyfriend Eli, who left her for the jerk Sean, consistently takes her love for granted and even taunts her, I think, by kissing and showering with her and then dragging her into almost certain death to get to Sean. There is a vampire takeover going on in the background, but its far from the focus of the story.  I don’t know, maybe if the author had taken a less heavy handed approach with her message (a la Buffy) I wouldn’t have felt like I was being lectured for 30 pages on homosexuality and the bigotry of Jewish people.
Sexual Content: two 16 year olds take a shower together.

Review of Blue Moon by Richelle Mead:
This is the best story (so far) in Immortal.  The new spin on the vampire/human relationship was immediately intriguing and one that I hope Richelle plans to explore in a more books (pretty please).  Vampire Lucy is just beginning to see life from the perspective of the humans living in servitude to her kind, while human Nathan has been fighting against a lifetime of hatred for the monsters who destroyed his family.  When these two are thrown together, sparks fly in more ways than one.  The story is set up in such a way that while the ending isn’t a complete cliffhanger, it leaves a lot left unresolved.  I’m hoping that is because, like me, Richelle realizes this world is too good to be used only once.
Sexual Content: None

Review of Free by Claudia Gray:
“Free” by Claudia Gray is a prequel of sorts to the Evernight series.  This story focuses on Patrice (Bianca’s roommate in the main series) and explains how she became a vampire in pre Civil War New Orleans. Claudia Gray lists on her website that Gone with the Wind has had an influence on her writing, and while I can’t vouch for that in the main series, that influence is very apparent in this period story.  The characters are very strong and vividly portrayed, however if you need the urban factor in your fantasy you might want to skip this prequel and jump right into Evernight.

Review of Binge by Rachel Vincent:
“Binge” by Rachel Vincent is the bonus story included only in the updated version of this anthology.  You’ve heard the expression ‘worth the price of admission’?  Well Binge is it.  Whether this is you’re first introduction to the Soul Screamers series or not (and don’t worry if it is), this story about a siren and a leanan sidhe will hook you.  The girls struggle believably with envy, jealousy and above all loyalty.  These rarely explored creatures from folklore are a refreshing addition to the paranormal cast and Rachel writes them with aching realism.

“Binge” takes place in Kaylee’s world, but features characters/creatures she will (probably) never meet in the series. Although one of them is mentioned, in My Soul to Lose, I think. Originally Nash had a cameo (he knows one of the characters in this story) but his small part got cut to make room for more actual story. This is a YA vampire romance anthology, but my “vampires” are very, very non-traditional. And non-literal. There’s no blood sucking at all, and no fangs, and they aren’t dead. Their vampirism is more… symbolic. But the girls in this story have some pretty scary abilities, and a fascinating (at least to me), twisted kind of relationship. –Rachel Vincent

Sexual Content: None
Disclosure:  I received this book for review courtesy of BenBella Books


Product Details

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: BenBella Books (October 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933771925
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933771922

6 Responses to “Review: Immortal Edited by P. C. Cast”

  1. Derek Tatum

    I read the first House of Night book. It had a solid hook, but sadly, the lead character was completely unlikable. I am disappointed to read that this seems to be an ongoing theme in her work.

  2. SciFiGuy

    I haven't picked this antho up yet, but likely will. The premise of the HoN books is excellent but the writing a bit uneven from book to book.

  3. Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write

    I like the premise of the House of Night series but don't care for it at all for the reasons you listed about Amber Smoke. Granted, I only slogged it out to book 3, but that was as much as I could take.

    I think I'll pass on this one and just stick with the books by the authors I prefer.

    Thanks for the review, I really appreciate your insights and honest comments!

  4. donnas

    Thanks for the review. It seems a bit complex though for a short story.

    Overall I do like the HoN books even though I have some issues with them.

  5. Anonymous

    for one the HoN series is AWESOME!!!!!!! every one of the 8 books and this one is my favorite one so far. so maybe you guys should get a clue….