Book Review: By Blood We Live

By Blood We Live By Blood We Live by John Joseph Adams

My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars
This thing is an enor­mous tome! I don’t know if it has been released in hard­back or not, but if it has, that ver­sion has to be anchor-wor­thy. I request­ed it from the library because Eliz­a­beth Bear and Sarah Mon­ette had sto­ries in it, and I’ll read pret­ty much any­thing either of those wor­thies pub­lish. I did­n’t expect to care for most of the rest, and did­n’t plan to do much more than flip through them.

As it hap­pens, I read most of the oth­er sto­ries, and there were many sur­pris­es. I did skip some of the reprints, such as the Anne Rice sto­ry (I would­n’t have read it the first time it was pub­lished, and I was­n’t about to read it sim­ply because she was in good com­pa­ny now). I had read Car­rie Vaugh­n’s “Life Is the Teacher” before, but for some rea­son my eyes just fell into read­ing it again, and I felt well reward­ed for doing so. On the oth­er hand, while I had enjoyed “Twi­light” by Kel­ley Arm­strong the first time I read it a few years back, I was­n’t moved to repeat the experience. 

I believe my favorite sto­ry may have been “Find­ers, Keep­ers” by L.A. Banks, as I still remem­ber it clear­ly and with plea­sure. I’ve only read one of Banks’ Vam­pire Huntress nov­els and did­n’t find it inter­est­ing at all, so I haven’t read any more of her work, but I may seek out more of her short fic­tion in the future.

“Mama Gone” by Jane Yolen felt fresh, as Yolen’s work so often does. Garth Nix’s con­tri­bu­tion, “Infes­ta­tion,” was a lit­tle bit pre­dictable, but that may be due to over­ex­po­sure to the genre. 

I found myself return­ing to the cov­er art by David Palum­bo again and again, intrigued by the fas­ci­nat­ing faces he gave the fig­ures there. They aren’t clas­si­cal­ly allur­ing, and most aren’t hideous—most would look per­fect­ly at home on any street. But they also have that, that some­thing, an ele­ment you can’t quite put your fin­ger on, an ele­ment of the oth­er. Take a look and I believe you’ll see what I mean.

Have fun!

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