The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
The Silver Kiss was a beautiful book. Very atmospheric and compelling. It had a dark tone but also a beauty that was almost timeless. Simon is a compelling character that will make a reader fall in love with him, although the truth about what he is always lingers in the back of the reader's mind.
To call this a romance might be an overstatement. It has romantic elements that are very appealing and apparent, but it's really a story about coming to terms with death. Zoe is having to face the fact that her mother is dying. This painful realization is almost too much for her and her father, who is very much in love with his wife, to the degree that Zoe feels that she is in the back seat and forgotten.
Zoe is not a selfish character, but she does have some thoughts and desires that seem selfish. But don't we all? I lost my father as a grown woman, and it ripped a hole out of me, even though we weren't that close. I could sympathize with Zoe, and I can certainly understand her 'why me' thoughts about her mother's sickness and how it has affected her life.
Simon comes into Zoe's life during this crucial time. He is drawn to her, because she represents life, home, acceptance, joy to him, when he's been in the dark and so alone for so long. The beastly part of him wants to feed on her, there is no doubt about it. But his soul longs for her. Simon doesn't realize how much his arrival into her life will help Zoe to deal with her mother's eventual demise. Yet he does understand how losing a mother can hurt so badly. In his case, he exists merely to track and destroy the person who killed his mother.
Revealing who this person is would give away too much with this book. But suffice it to say that Simon has a very complicated relationship with his mother's murderer.
The Silver Kiss is in some ways a suspense story as Simon tracks the murderer who is preying on women in Zoe's hometown. This killer is a completely evil being, in a form that few would suspect. I thought this aspect of the story was very well-done, and although this book didn't scare me, that aspect was somewhat menacing and disturbing.
One of the things I liked about this story is that it doesn't sugar-coat vampires. They are creatures of the night, and yes, monsters. Not all of them have to be evil, but the compulsion to kill is an ingrained part of their nature. Some do fight it more than others, but generally the thirst for blood will win and cause most of them to kill their victims. Simon has a duality about him in that he is a good person, but there is evil and darkness within him because of his nature. He has killed some of his victims, although he feels regret that he has done so. I like to think that his enduring love for his mother has encouraged him to fight the beast within him. And meeting Zoe also gives him a peace that helps him to make the right decision when the time comes.
The relationship between Simon and Zoe is beautiful for all its brevity. You want something eternal to come out of it, but realize that that is not possible because of what Zoe is and what Simon is. However, I would definitely put this on my keeper shelf as a vampire romance for the very reason that I found their relationship very appealing. It had an innocence yet a sweet sensuality that I found irresistible.
The Silver Kiss is a book that will leave you with a lingering sadness, a longing for more. A wish that things could be different. By doing this, it really does succeed in being a memorable, poignant tale. Life is so like this, the desire for more, but always knowing that some dreams don't necessarily come true.
This is a young adult book, but has very serious themes and violence that some might find disturbing. However, I think that lovers of vampire fiction of all ages would enjoy this story.
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