Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Review - The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause

Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
First published in 1992
Paperback, 198 pages

Summary from GoodreadsZoe is wary when, in the dead of night, the beautiful yet frightening Simon comes to her house. Simon seems to understand the pain of loneliness and death and Zoe's brooding thoughts of her dying mother.

Simon is one of the undead, a vampire, seeking revenge for the gruesome death of his mother three hundred years before. Does Simon dare ask Zoe to help free him from this lifeless chase and its insufferable loneliness?


It feels slightly weird reviewing a book that has been in print for eighteen years. So, I’m not really going to do a strict review, for a couple of reasons. The first is that The Silver Kiss is well written and other than a few very minor details that hint at the 1990s, the book is timeless. Secondly, I am just at the end of my tolerance for vampire books. Last year it felt like every other book I read had vampires as main characters. So, I was ready for a break from vampires (I don’t include Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series, since vampires are one of several types of supernatural creatures that appear in each book or Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey, which is more chick lit than vampire tale), but then I saw the January/February issue of The Horn Book (a magazine that reviews and discusses children's and YA literature). It contains an article titled “Bitten: From The Silver Kiss to Twilight,” that sounded interesting. It talks about the renewed attention to the romance between humans and vampires. It compares The Silver Kiss to Twilight, highlighting the differences. After reading the article, I knew that I had to read The Silver Kiss.

The Silver Kiss is ultimately about loneliness and the search for someone who understands your loneliness. Zoe, a sixteen year-old only child, and Simon, an over 300 year old vampire, are both looking for someone or something that validates their existence. Zoe’s mother is dying and her father spends most of his time at the hospital, leaving Zoe to take care of herself. Then she finds out that her best friend, Lorraine, is moving to Oregon in two weeks. Simon was turned into a vampire in the 1600. Everyone he knew is long dead, except for the one he is hunting. He is looking to avenge his mother’s death by destroying the vampire who killed her.

Zoe feels neglected, she wants someone to listen, someone to need her. Simon wants someone to know he exists, he is afraid that he doesn’t exist because no one knows his name. Simon sees Zoe in the park late one night and is instantly drawn to her, but startled by her at the same time. Their romance isn’t conventional. Zoe doesn’t fall head over heels in love with Simon and want to be with him forever. She thinks Simon is beautiful, but is disgusted when she comes across him feeding on a bird. When he shows up at her house, Zoe is hesitant about having him there but ends up listening to his story. Simon is honest with Zoe about what he is and why he is in Oakwood. Zoe realizes that Simon needs her and this is what ultimately draws her to Simon. Once they are together, Zoe keeps their relationship quiet, not telling Lorraine or her parents about Simon. Simon is relieved that someone knows that he exists and what he is.

I like that The Silver Kiss alternates between Zoe’s and Simon’s point of view. It allows the reader to see things from both sides, especially as they draw closer to each other.  Being with Simon and feeling needed gives Zoe confidence and the ability to see beyond her current troubles.  She is more willing to be proactive in her other relationships and ultimately sees that she is worthwhile and loved. Zoe gives Simon the ability to finish what he started so many years before.  Zoe and Simon's relationship is definitely not the usual human/vampire relationship, but I think that makes The Silver Kiss work so much better. 

Overall, The Silver Kiss gives a different spin on romance between humans and vampires.  It shows that just being listened to and understood by someone can change a person's (or vampire's) outlook and can make them value their life (or see the need to move on to the next stage) even more.  The Silver Kiss is a definite must read for fans of vampire books. 


  1. I've never read The Silver Kiss before but your review makes it sound like a good book. I think I feel the way you do about the amount of vampire fiction around, at least the Twilight kind. I am still planning to try the Vampire Academy series and Hearts at Stake. I also like the Sookie Stackhouse series but that is nothing like Twilight.

  2. This sounds intriguing. I couldn't abide Twilight, but I might enjoy The Silver Kiss.

  3. I haven't heard of this one before. I Have to admit I am a vampire fan, but is annoying when every book seems to be the same theme. I'll have to look out for this one. Thanks for the interesting review!

  4. I really enjoyed reading this, glad you did review it! Thanks :)

  5. I am definitely a vampire fan :) I enjoyed reading Twilight. It was a fun read and it got alot of people into reading and promoted alot of discussion. I just don't like it when books repeat the same plot lines or premises over and over again whithout adding anything to the story. Series like Vampire Academy, the Sookie Stackhouse books, and books like Hearts at Stake and Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side add to the mythology and all have something deifferent that makes them unique. I enjoy reading books like that. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by the amount of vampire books at the bookstore (and some libraries). Maybe I just need a break for a little while, then I can go back to reading (and loving) vampire books.

  6. Great review, I've been curious about this one. I have read her more recent book, Freaks, and liked it.

  7. I was in junior high when I first read this book. It has always been in the back of my mind.. I loved it. I'm in my late 20s now.


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