NOTE: The book reviewed contains themes only appropriate for those above the age of majority.
SUMMARY (by the publisher): What might make a vampire vulnerable enough to take a human lover? What if they were blind, and needed what a human could give them, not just blood, but sight?
In ‘Blind Eye of the Sun’, TA Moore gives us a dystopian, ruined pleasure planet where humans and vamps fight for resources. Jenna Jones pens ‘Aubade’, where a young slam poet finds both fear and excitement in the arms of a vampire. In John Amory’s ‘Spearmint Warning’, a vampire teaches a hot barista all about mint leaves and tea. Finally, in ‘Those Who Cannot See’, BA Tortuga gives us a historical cowboy who’s nearly been hanged and the vampire who saved him.
‘Blind Eye of the Sun’ by TA Moore
With well-built and intriguing characters, ‘Blind Eye of The Sun’ was my favourite of the four short stories in the anthology.
In few words, TA Moore manages to build a rich, albeit gritty world, depicting technological and medical advancements as well as setbacks, such as artificially grown food, and many more interesting details.
The characters, even minor ones, are fleshed out with unique traits and hints of backstories. I loved the protagonists – Shea, a hardened soldier, a resourceful, smart man, with an ability to bring people together, and Anatoly, the blind vampire, a noble monster with a code of honour – and the way they function together.
The semi-open ending fits the overall feel of the story and brings some sort of a closure while leaving the future unknown, but with a hopeful undertone.
Finally, the only shortcoming – which isn’t a shortcoming at all – I found was that I could read a lot more of this story, its world, and characters.
‘Aubade’ by Jenna Jones and ‘Spearmint Warning’ by John Amory
Since the two short stories are pretty similar, I decided to combine the reviews into one.
Firstly, both so-called relationships are rushed (so-called because what they are really just hook-ups, although the authors call it ‘love’).
And secondly, the human characters are somewhat bland, since we don’t learn much about them. In addition, despite being given the vampires’ backstories, those are pretty much clichéd (for one thing, both vampires have possessive jealous makers) and didn’t make me invested in the characters, either.
‘Those Who Cannot See’ by BA Tortuga
The last short story of the four is perhaps the most sensual one. A telepathic connection between the main protagonists makes the sensuality and the strong emotional bond that forms between them rather quickly actually plausible.
I liked the well-established western setting. The plot is well-rounded and the characters outlined well enough to provoke a reaction, whether positive or negative. Thus, the main protagonists, Edmund and Blaze are quite likeable, as well as two minor characters: Running Water, a Native American tracker, and Lwazi, Edmund’s African American butler.
Overall, ‘Those Who Cannot See’ makes up a good short story.
RECOMMENDATION: Whereas the last three short stories are good enough, Eternally Dark anthology is worth picking up for ‘Blind Eye of the Sun’ alone as it is an exceptionally well-written and fascinating short story.