Review: The Bitten Word edited by Ian Whates

Need a crash course on vampire literature by such diverse writers as European White Person #1 and European White Person #2?

Waste your money on The Bitten Word edited by Ian Whates!

One good thing about The Bitten Word overall is that all of the pieces were created for this anthology. They’re not excerpts of longer pieces drawn from elsewhere. One of the things I’ve learned throughout my readings last year is that excerpts of a novel read very differently than short stories, even when they’re equal word counts.

This anthology was disappointing, I forgot to add it to my read list until several weeks (and books) later. It centers privileged people and it shows.

A lot of the pieces are just boring. They go through the expected plot twists with no real examination of the tropes they’re engaging in. This leads to the pieces focusing on the spectacle of the horror rather than the horror of the horror. Spectacle-enjoyers will enjoy The Bitten Word, but it’s just too shallow for me.

There are pieces that I really enjoyed, but they’re not served well by their neighbors. It’s baby’s first collection of vampire stories. If you have an adult friend who’s just gotten into vampires and / or “scandalous” literature, they’ll enjoy it; but vampire literature connoisseurs should skip it unless they have absolutely no other vampiric things to spend their money on.

I’ll give it two stars because it’s not incompetent, it’s just boring. And boring is highly subjective. Pretty much any story you find in here, you can find on AO3 for free―with characters you care about―instead of $40 or however much I paid for it, plus shipping. I remember thinking I vastly overpaid for this thing.

“HFE, thank you for creating and sharing so much art and writing for free. How can we help turn your passion and skills into a full-time gig?”

I’m glad you asked!

If you can give me a one-time tip, head over to ko-fi. I’ve also got emotes and icons you can buy.

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Thank you for taking time to read this. I hope you enjoy what you’ve found here.


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