Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review: Kisses from Hell

Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Format: Paperback
Pages: 262
Source: Review copy

" From a fugitive vampire forced to trust a boy who might work for the group bent on destroying her, to the legendary romance of two immortals whose love compels them to risk everything, this exciting, heart-pounding collection brings new meaning to the words "love you forever." Whether you're into romances that are dark and moody or light and fun, these stories will quench that insatiable thirst for enchanting tales of the beautiful undead." ( Description from

"Kisses from Hell" is an anthology consisting of five short stories from Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy), Alyson Noël (The Immortals), Kristin Cast ( House of Night - series), Kelley Armstrong ( Darkest Powers - series) and Francesca Lia Block (Pretty Dead). All the stories revolve around love and vampires. Harper Collins has earlier published "Prom Nights from Hell" and "Love is Hell".

The Book:
"Kisses from Hell" starts with "Sunshine", written by Richelle Mead. The story is part of the universe Mead has created in the "Vampire Academy - series", and focuses on the romance between Eric and Rhea Dragomir, Lissa's parents. The story is well written, but for me it was a bit boring. I never got into it, and my mind kept dwelling on other things than the story I was reading. I suspect that I would have gotten more out of the story if I had read the Vampire Academy - series prior to it, and I will try to read the story again, when I have done that.

The next story is "Bring me to Life" by Alyson Noël. Danika, an American girl, is attending Sunderland Manor Art Academy in England, but the school is not quite what she expects. I am a big fan of Noël's writing and she didn't dissappoint me with "Bring me to Life" either. I loved the story and the atmosphere she creates in it. It is obvious that she is inspired by "Dracula" and "Wuthering Heights", two of my favorite novels. You have characters with names such as Bram and Earnshaw. I read this story late at night when the rain was pooring down outside, and that just added to the atmosphere in the story. I wish "Bring me to Life" was a whole novel, and not just a short story. I would really like to get to know Danika better.

"Above" is the name of Kristin Cast's story, and I have only one word for it: OMG! The story simply blew me away. It is dark, disturbing, bizarre, suspenseful, mysterious and depressing. But also poetic with some glimmers of light and hope. It reads like a poem, and you have to read between the lines to really understand what's going on. I have read the first book in the House of Night - series, but this was nothing like that. This story was spectacular. I want more. The best short story in this book and a story you either love or hate, I suppose.

Kelley Armstrong has written "Hunting Kat", about Katiana from the Darkest Powers series. I read this story while trying to decide if I should put the book away or not. I have the Darkest Powers - series on my shelf, but I have not read it yet and I am afraid this novel had some spoilers. Again, I think this is a read that is best suited for those who know Katiana's story from other books.

"Lilith" by Francesca Lia Block is the last story in the book. A dark tale about Paul Michael, who do not fit in at school and escapes into an imaginary world. One day, a new girl attends school. Her name is Lilith. This was a cute, and at the same time, dark story. I thought it was a bit short, even for a short story. I wanted to read more about Paul Michael and Lilith, and get to know them better. I didn't feel I got under their skin, so to speak.

I have mixed emotions about "Kisses from Hell". I loved two of the stories, but the others didn't appeal to me, but again I think that is because I do not know the series they are part of. I also would have liked the publisher to state that, for example, "Hunting Kat", is based upon another series by Kelley Armstrong so I could have avoided spoilers.

If the anthology only contained the stories by Noël and Cast, it would have gotten full score. But since I only liked two out of three stories, I am giving it 3 books.


Blodeuedd said...

That happens often for me with anthologies, I like some not so much others. But at least some were good in this one :)

The Norwegian BookGirl said...

I haven't read that many anthologies, but I did actually get curious about "Prom Nights from Hell" and "Love from Hell", and I think I will order those next time I need to have something to read.

Melissa said...

Great, honest review. I usually find myself scared of anthologies because I'm worried I'll dislike a portion. :)

Mina Burrows said...

I'm just starting this one. Thanks for the input. :0)

The Norwegian BookGirl said...

@Melissa: Thank you :) I do not read a lot of anthologies and short stories, apart from Stephen King's stort stories, but actually I think I will read more anthologies. Sometimes it is great with a story that is not so long.

@Mina: Looking forward to you review. I have been looking for reviews on this book on other bookblogs, but I haven't found any yet.

Karen said...

I usually have mixed results with anthologies too. One I really liked was Prom Nights From Hell. Almost every story in there could spin off to it's own series. But there are one or two duds in that as well.

Ladybug said...

Great review :) I've never read any anthologies before but I do like the sound of this one and I have read books by three of the authors(two of the series mentioned to be connected with the stories).

I thoroughly enjoyed Kelley Armstrong's D.P. series, so I hope you'll at least give it a shot.

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