The Silver Kiss: The thinking girl’s Twilight

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews young adult Annette Curtis Klause The Silver KissThe Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause entwines the two stories of Zoe and Simon, chapter by chapter. We start with Zoe, a lonely girl who is struggling with the steady decline of her mother to cancer and the loss of her best friend who is moving to a new city. She feels lost and unloved, and as though no one can understand her grief and pain. Enter Simon, one of the undead. A vampire who has flitted from city to city in pursuit of his monstrous brother, also a vampire. Simon struggles against his nature, believing himself to be unnatural —this is why he is unable to show his face to the sun, or cross running water. He is perfectly positioned to understand Zoe’s plight, particularly because he feels as though his condition is a disease.

The Silver Kiss is a beautiful, poetic and ephemeral little book. The fleeting nature of Zoe and Simon’s relationship and their brief sweet love is perfectly written. The ending was very moving.

I loved the language that Klause uses throughout the book, especially when describing Simon:

He was young, more boy than man, slight and pale, made elfin by the moon. He noticed her and froze like a deer before the gun. They were trapped in each other’s gaze. His eyes were dark, full of wilderness and stars. But his face was ashen. Almost as pale as his silver hair. With a sudden ache she realized he was beautiful…

Simon is a lovely, half-wild predecessor to Edward Cullen, from a time when vampires could love, but were never selfish enough to think they could stay with a human. Simon is written in an ‘old-fashioned’ sense, in keeping with the traditional rules that applied to vampires: can’t go out in the daylight, affected by crosses, definitely not sparkly. I much prefer Simon to Edward, although I know I am in the minority here!

I am glad that in the wake of the Twilight phenomenon The Silver Kiss is seeing a wider audience, because it deserves to be read. It has two strong central characters with genuine motivations who affect each other’s lives and learn from the other. The girl does not depend solely on the vampire for succour and support; although lonely and scared, she can stand on her own two feet. The vampire is not emasculated by his love for a human girl.

The only part I wasn’t too sure about was the infodump in which Simon reveals his past in one long story, but this section is still absorbing and probably necessary to get out all at once considering the slightness of the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely story and felt deeply affected by both Zoe and Simon. I would recommend it to anyone who does not like the cloying nature and poor writing of the TWILIGHT books and their carbon copies on the market. The Silver Kiss is the thinking girl’s Twilight.

The Silver Kiss — (1990) Young adult. Publisher: Zoe is wary when, in the dead of night, the beautiful yet frightening Simon comes to her house.  Simon seems to understand the pain of loneliness and death and Zoe’s brooding thoughts of her dying mother. Simon is one of the undead, a vampire, seeking revenge for the gruesome death of his mother three hundred years before.  Does Simon dare ask Zoe to help free him from this lifeless chase and its insufferable loneliness?

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AMANDA RUTTER, one of our guest reviewers, used to be an accountant in the UK but she escaped the world of numbers and is now living in a fantasy world she creates. She runs Angry Robot's YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. And we knew her when....

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