Many Bloody Returns
by Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstong, and others.
Edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner (Eds.)
Review by Carolyn Frank
Ace Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441016754
Date: 03 February 2009 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Two attributes define the modern vampire: being of human stock and drinking blood. Since all humans have, and most celebrate, their birthdays, why shouldn't vampires? Of course, being immortal and not being particularly interested in eating anything such as cake would normally be reasons for not bothering with birthday parties, but that would be stereotypical thinking. Instead, consider the alternatives, and wish these current-day vampires, Many Bloody Returns!
These thirteen short stories by Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong and others portray radically different perspectives on the vampire persona. Some of these vampires are cruel, some are vindictive, some are haughtily superior, and some have class and charm. But, so are the humans and others with whom they interact.
In “Dracula Night” by Charlaine Harris, her telepathic heroine Sookie Stackhouse gets invited by the local vampires to a birthday party in honor of Prince Dracula. Occurring, of course, on Halloween when all vampires celebrate, Prince Dracula is supposed to appear at one vampire party someplace in the world. Although suspecting that this occurrence is similar to the appearance of the Great Pumpkin, Sookie goes along with the celebration until someone throws a curve.
In “The Witch and the Wicked” by Jeanne C. Stein, Sophie the witch caterer provides the cake complete with 150 lit candles for the birthday party for vampire Jonathon Devereux. When his wife bumps into him with the lit cake, thereby reducing him to dust, Sophie is left to literally pick up the pieces. But a witch with dust of vampire is not to be trifled with, or so she thinks.
In “Blood Wrapped” by Tanya Huff, Henry, former Duke of Richmond and Somerset and now romance writer/vampire, and his assistant movie director/wizard pal, Tony Foster, are striving to find the perfect birthday gift for their friend Vicki. Henry had turned Vicki, a former police detective, into a vampire several years previous. Vicki is turning 40, so this birthday is important. But what sort of present can a 400 year old vampire think of, especially when a 4 year old girl goes missing. Henry and Tony are on the trail of the evil that spirited the toddler away, but the problem of Vicky's gift is never too far away.
Vampires have bite, but so do these tales of birthdays, both vampiric and human. If you enjoy the concept of vampires, in concert with a diverse set of humans, witches and wizards, these inspired short stories will keep you enthralled.