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“A second helping of blood and passion …

Acclaimed dark fantasist Poppy Z. Brite’s previous excursion into the nightmare realm of terrifying sensuality offered readers a sumptuous blood feast of unspeakable pleasures. Now she has done it again, serving up more provocative tales from some of the most inventive and accomplished writers in the field — an unabashed exploration of shadow places and terrible hungers that’s more dangerously seductive, more boldly erotic than the first.”

This book is also known as Twice Bitten, but the copy I had snagged from The Book Barn was Love in Vein II. I grabbed this due to my love of vampire erotica/romance and my love of Poppy Z. Brite.

So let’s start with my biggest issue about this book: What is erotica? Erotica is “literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire” (according to Google). That is the basic definition I went into when I grabbed this book. This anthology did have some erotica in it, however a great chunk of the book wasn’t even close to erotica. There were multiple stories where sex was not even mentioned, some where some hint of sexuality started (but then the man was castrated and both people were viciously killed for no good reason), and just really lame stories. I honestly expected more from Brite. All of the novels, anthologies, and chapbooks I have read that have Brite anywhere near them have been overwhelmingly amazing and have had a sexuality weaved into them so perfectly. This is the only exception.

Half of the stories were also extremely boring. That’s really all there is to that complaint. There were some that were probably supposed to be beautifully written, but they were just so slow and boring.

Another definition is needed: Vampire. What is a vampire? A vampire is “a corpse supposed, in European folklore, to leave its grave at night to drink the blood of the living by biting their necks with long pointed canine teeth” (again, thank you Google). For the sake of argument, I will include succubi in this as long as their victim is drained in a similar fashion as a vampire would drain their victims (this only adds one more story that actually has a vampire in it, but I did not want this one to be left out as it is one of the few examples of erotica in the anthology). Vampires then are not human killers who are bored, they are not goth kids, and they are not ghosts. Somehow this was also lost in this anthology is many of the stories. This surprises me more than anything else considering Brite’s work with vampires (Lost Souls anyone?).

Overall, this book was boring and disappointing. I am sorry to say that and give anything Brite has touched a low rating considering how high I regard him (yes, him. If you do not know why I am using male pronouns, then you must go check out his blog).

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2 out of 5 stars. I would not recommend this book.

You can buy this book here.

~Isaiah

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