Book Review: Teeth: Vampire Tales

TEETH: VAMPIRE TALES by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling
Publication Date: April 5th 2011 by HarperCollins

Summary: Sink your teeth into these bite-sized tales exploring the intersections among the living, dead, and undead. Features stories by Neil Gaiman, Melissa Marr, Cassandra Clare, Garth Nix, and many more.

Review Overview:

  • A lot of the short stories were vague and confusing
  • The best stories were located at the end of the anthology
  • Do not read if you don’t like vampire books

As a huge vampire fan, I expected to fall in love with this anthology. Unfortunately, this was not the case. I bookmarked which short stories I enjoyed and the total came out to 7 out of the 20 in TEETH. After reading 454 pages worth of vampire tales, I am definitely annoyed by the fact that I only enjoyed a small percentage of them. In case you’re wondering, here are the 7 that I enjoyed:

  • “The List of Definite Endings” by Kaaron Warren
  • “Sit the Dead” by Jeffrey Ford
  • “In the Future When All’s Well” by Catherynne M. Valente
  • “Transition” by Melissa Marr, “History” by Ellen Kushner
  • “The Perfect Dinner Party” by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black
  • “Why Light?” by Tanith Lee

What displeased me the most was the overall vagueness in the stories. For example, in “Baby” by Kathe Koja and “Sunbleached” by Nathan Ballingrud, I found myself rereading the same paragraphs over and over trying to decipher what the authors were saying until I finally gave up.

Also, after reading story after story about vampires being the “bad guys” I grew bored and generally creeped out by the different scenarios these authors attempted to describe. For example, in “Baby” by Kathe Koja, Jani stumbles upon a doll that becomes a “familiar” while digging through her grandmother’s old boxes. Her entire tale addresses the doll – which she calls “Baby” – and summarizes their entire history together. Basically, Baby would get Jani to orgasm, attack people that teased or bullied her, and run away when she would come home late from hooking up with a boy. This plot was not my cup of tea; however, I did enjoy Koja’s writing style and tone. Both chilled me to the bone – which, I suppose, was her intent.

Thankfully, the last short story “Why Light?” by Tanith Lee made the time spent on this anthology worth it. Her plot is genuinely interesting and the dynamic between her main characters is funny, entertaining, and cute. Lee is an author I definitely recommend looking up – after reading this short story I’m eager to read more of her work. Other featured authors worth mentioning are Melissa Marr (author of the Wicked Lovely series), Cassandra Clare (author of The Mortal Instruments saga), Holly Black (author of The Spiderwick Chronicles and The Modern Faerie Tales), and Ellen Kushner (whom I have never heard of until reading this).

Finally, what surprised me the most was the amount of drug usage and sex discussed in the anthology – I’m pretty sure it says “Ages 12 up” on the back cover. I don’t know about other people, but I sure as heck don’t want to ever find myself in a situation where I have to explain what a joint is or why boys touch a girl’s breasts to my younger cousins. That being said, I would recommend TEETH: VAMPIRE TALES to readers who enjoy being creeped out. This anthology is certainly not for Twilight fans – the only love in these tales is the one for blood.

Next up: Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck


  1. I like being creeped out to a certain extent so I hope I like this anthology. I’m getting it for Melissa Marr and Tanith Lee and Garth Nix, I see his story wasn’t on the list you liked so I hope I like it -crosses fingers-

    1. No idea, Samita. It’s starting to frustrate me though :( Thanks for reading the review! (And thanks for the compliment)

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