Review: Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror

seize-the-night_hrAbout Seize the Night

A blockbuster anthology of original, blood-curdling vampire fiction from New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors, including Charlaine Harris, whose novels were adapted into HBO’s hit show True Blood, and Scott Smith, publishing his first work since The Ruins.

Before being transformed into romantic heroes and soft, emotional antiheroes, vampires were figures of overwhelming terror. Now, from some of the biggest names in horror and dark fiction, comes this stellar collection of short stories that make vampires frightening once again. Edited by New York Times bestselling author Christopher Golden and featuring all-new stories from such contributors as Charlaine Harris, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Scott Smith, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Michael Kortya, Kelley Armstrong, Brian Keene, David Wellington, Seanan McGuire, and Tim Lebbon, Seize the Night is old-school vampire fiction at its finest.

My Thoughts

Tin Men and Snowblind author Christopher Golden puts on his editor's cap here to assemble twenty-one authors to help the mythic horror figure of the vampire reclaim the horror-filled night.

Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror is a highly successful anthology, one that puts vampires back into the shadowy, hidden corners where they belong and makes them creepy, chilling, at times downright frightening, and even occasionally sympathetic. There's nary a sparkly, star-crossed love to be found here. Instead, we're getting back to the old-school roots of vampiric lore, going back to the heydays of Bram Stoker's Dracula and Stephen King's Salem's Lot. As far as I am concerned, this is a vital return to form for these stoic, and historic, universal baddies.

Collected here are twenty brand new and diverse short stories ("Mrs. Popkin" is co-written by Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry) that range from historical period pieces reaching as far back as the Mayan empire to near-future post-apocalyptic wastelands, that takes us stateside and across the pond to the UK and Sweden, from idyllic neighborhoods to a Philippine village ravaged by a tropical storm. Equally diverse are the representations of the vampires themselves, some decimating the world as a viral plague, or appearing as the more common Gothic figures, or water-dwelling creatures of the night.

While this anthology is incredibly strong, there were a few stories that failed to satisfy me, which is pretty common, and frankly expected, in any anthology. Still, there were several authors that I expected greatness from and they definitely delivered; better still, there were a number of surprises along the way to keep me happy. I won't cover all twenty stories here, but a few worth particular mention are:

  • THE NEIGHBORS by Sherrilyn Kenyon. The familiarity of the plot is properly upended with a fantastic twist in the story's closing moments and I really adored this one.
  • PAPER CUTS by Gary A. Braunbeck. This one I freaking loved! 5 stars all the way! Great twist on the vampire mythos and the concept, and repercussions, of their eternal nature. This one's a shade of Eco-horror and really well done. I loved the concept, the little plays on familiar vampire tropes, and the bookish nature it all gets wrapped up in. This one is my absolute favorite of the anthology.
  • WE ARE ALL MONSTERS HERE by Kelly Armstrong - great take on the vampire apocalypse, with the vampirism presented as an uncontrolled epidemic that leads to post-apocalyptic survival. There's shades of The Walking Dead here, which I'm completely fine with since it's rather well done. Note to self: buy a bunch of Kelly Armstrong books.
  • THE LAST SUPPER by Brian Keene. How does a lone vampire hold up after an epidemic wipes people off the map? Keene does a great job capturing the emotional turmoil and loneliness of vampire Carter's walk through the wastelands, right on through to a rather sad ending. Potent stuff for a fairly short story, but easily another one of my favorites of the anthology.
  • SEPARATOR by Rio Youers. Youers gives us a great twist on the vampire mythos by approaching it from the perspective of Filipino culture. David is a Canadian real estate developer tearing down the forest in Palla, ready to evict an old woman from her home in the trees. This causes the locals a fair bit of anxiety, and David is forced to confront a brutal horror. A rock solid entry, with plenty of sex and gore, and the manananggal presented here might be my favorite depiction of the vampire in this collection.

Seize the Night has the singular aim of making vampires terrifying again, and it heartily succeeds in its mission. Golden and the contributors deserve a fair amount of applause for their work here, and this anthology is a wonderful reminder of what made vampires such a popular horror staple, and why they continue to endure across the ages.

[Note: I received an advanced reader's copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley for review.]

Buy Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror at Amazon

Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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