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Review: Kissing Coffins by Ellen Schreiber

Friday, November 28, 2014

Kissing Coffins
Ellen Schreiber

Genre: YA Urban FantasyParanormal Romance
Paperback: 240 Pages
Publication: May 1, 2007 (originally 2005)
by HarperTeen

Not far from Dullsville, someone's lurking in the dark. . . . After meeting the handsome and shadowy Alexander Sterling, goth-girl Raven's dark world has a bright, new glow. But as in her favorite movie, Kissing Coffins, Raven knows that love always has its complications, especially when Alexander has a big secret to guard. When Alexander suddenly disappears, Raven leaves Dullsville to begin a dangerous search to find him. Can she stay safe, no matter who--or what--she encounters on the way? 


When I first discovered the Vampire Kisses series, I read some of them out of order, this entry being the first one I picked up. While I remember being very excited when I read this book a few years ago, I have to admit that I had to hold back any fond teenage memories of that reading. Fortunately, this entry in the series held up better than the first.

I know I brought it up when talking about the last book, but comparisons tend to come up between this series and Twilight, since they fall within the same genre and came out within a few years of each other. Unlike Bella, who does nothing in the several months the sparkly one is gone in New Moon, Raven is very active in this book from the beginning. She goes out and does some investigating (calling herself "Nancy Drew dipped in black") to figure out where Alexander could have gone. I feel like this sequence is both a plus and a minus. The bad thing is that it makes Raven looks like a clingy girlfriend, needing to know where her boyfriend could've gone off to only a few days after he leaves town. The positive is that her taking initiative and actually doing something is better than just moping around and wondering when Alexander will return. It reminds us of how feisty and spunky she is. I also liked that we got some of her thoughts about dating a vampire and the possibility of being turned into one; she takes the time to stop and consider the consequences of such a choice.

We don't see much of Raven's family here, but we are introduced to her Aunt Libby, her father's sister, and the town of "Hipsterville." I loved Raven's aunt and would really like to see her again in the future. Like her niece, Libby isn't afraid to be her own person; she's a modern-day hippie who works at a vegan restaurant during the day while performing with a theater troupe at night. Maybe it's because Raven only spends two or three days in the town, but I really wanted to see more of Hipsterville. Where Raven's hometown of Dullsville is called a pastel, conservative town full of preps, Hipsterville is full of people from many different subcultures, from Goths like Raven to hippies like her Aunt Libby. I felt like Schreiber could've spent some more time in the town for us to get a better feel on the town's funky vibe.

I also loved the development we got in this book on Alexander. Just as we discovered Raven's love of vampires in the last book and her desire to become a creature of the night, here we got to see some of Alexander's thoughts on his vampire nature and what he thinks it would be like to have been born a human. I thought this worked well to establish him as a complement to Raven; just as she wishes to live in his world, he wants to live in hers. I really loved this about him and felt that it made him come across as a mature character, or at least more mature than Raven. There's also some development of Raven's best friend, Becky. She is described as mousy in the last book, but her few moments here show that she stands up for herself a little more now that she has a boyfriend.

What I probably loved the most about this book was the antagonist, Jagger Maxwell. Maybe it's because I just reviewed Interview with the Vampire, but I feel like Jagger is a modern-age teen version of Lestat de Lioncourt. Schreiber portrayed him as very gorgeous (albeit gorgeous if you're into guys with piercings and funky hair colors) and seductive; even I found myself drawn to him, though he clearly seemed dangerous. However, I felt like his appearance just screams "I'm the villain of the story!" when he is first introduced. I thought this could've been more subtle, like Jagger could still have the appearance of a bad boy but some redeemable quality that wouldn't make him seem like such a bad guy.

Just like the last book, we think that the whole storm has blown over by the last few chapters and that Alexander and Raven can live in peace. However, the very last chapter came with a twist that sets you up for another sequel. Unlike the twist from Vampire Kisses, this one could be seen coming, as there were a few clues sprinkled in about the person it centers around. The twist has a better setup for the sequel than the first book, and you don't quite get the feeling that the story is missing a chapter at the end or something. The trouble with Jagger has presumably ended, but then comes a new character and there is the feeling of "To be continued" that leaves you in anticipation for the next book.

Though it has some flaws, this book was an improvement to the last one in my mind. (For this review and the last one, I read the new edition that has the first three books of the series collected in a single volume. If you would like to check it out, click here.) Even though Schreiber still relies on some stereotypes, there's actually more development to some of the characters, in particular Alexander and Raven. We get to leave Dullsville and see the town of Hipsterville, if briefly. We get a great villain in Jagger Maxwell, and the lead-up to the next book was executed well. This book was definitely better than the original.

Rating: 4 stars

  1. Vampire Kisses
  2. Kissing Coffins
  3. Vampireville
  4. Dance With a Vampire
  5. The Coffin Club
  6. Royal Blood
  7. Love Bites
  8. Cryptic Cravings
  9. Immortal Hearts

Similar Books
  • The Taste of Night by R.L. Stine
  • Got Fangs? by Katie Maxwell
  • Pulse by Kailin Gow
  • Kissing
  • Some touching
  • Biting
  • Some physical confrontation

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