Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber is a series about a goth girl living in a dull town whose life is transformed when the Mansion at the top of the hill becomes occupied. The series is nine books long, each told from the perspective of Raven Madison, the protagonist of the story.
The overarching plot of the series is essentially Raven’s desire to be part of the underworld with her boyfriend, Alexander, a real life vampire. Throughout the series, Raven and Alexander are a constant despite the threats to their relationship that arise repeatedly. Alexander is enchanted by mortal life in Dullsville, Raven’s home town, and Raven is enchanted by Alexander’s life of darkness.
- Raven Madison – The protagonist, Raven is a sixteen year old goth girl who stands out in a small town of conformists. Her dream has always been to be a vampire, and she is madly in love with Alexander.
- Alexander Sterling – Alexander is a teenage vampire from Romania whose great-grandmother moved to Dullsville years ago under threat. Raised by vampires and vampire society, Alexander is a stranger to small town America. He is mysterious, secretive, and artistic, but most importantly he loves Raven.
- Becky – Raven’s best friend from childhood, Becky is a constant through the series. She supports Raven and her romance with Alexander, and despite not totally liking Raven’s style she would never judge her for it.
- Jagger, Luna, and Valentine Maxwell – Introduced a few books into the series, the Maxwell siblings are part of a vampire family from Romania. Once very close to the Sterlings, the Maxwells each come to Dullsville to set things right with Alexander.
- Billy Madison – Raven’s younger brother, referred to sometimes as Nerd Boy. Despite having very little in common by means of interests, Raven and Billy share genuine love and affection.
- Book One: Vampire Kisses
- Book Two: Kissing Coffins
- Book Three: Vampireville
- Book Four: Dance with a Vampire
- Book Five: The Coffin Club
- Book Six: Royal Blood
- Book Seven: Love Bites
- Book Eight: Cryptic Cravings
- Book Nine: Immortal Kisses
This series is a cute, quick, and pretty clean YA series about vampires. It could be argued down to Middle Grade in terms of content and plot, honestly, though I do think the target audience is probably the 13-18 crowd. It reads a little younger than most YA which is why I think it could be appropriate to introduce younger vampire obsessed readers to it.
Alexander and Raven have a pretty solid and loving relationship. They are consistently together throughout the series, and threats to their relationship are usually short lived (with a few minor exceptions). The biggest obstacle to their relationship is that Alexander is a vampire who cannot attend school during the day and thus sees less of Raven than they would both like.
All drama in the series is very quick. The books aren’t necessarily stand alone, but the drama within them is. The conflicts are reasonably low stakes, though the characters react to them with greater emotion than I think they invoke in the readers. This makes these books great for quick, light hearted reading.
Most of the characters fall into two distinct categories: Prada-Bee/Soccer Jock or Goth. Each category has stereotypes applied, though the ones for the Goths are mostly fashion and music taste based while Prada-Bees and Soccer Jocks come with distinctly distasteful personalities. It’s not something heavily concentrated on, and there are characters such as Becky, Billy, and Raven’s aunt that sit outside of these stereotypes and are enjoyable for it.
There are some idiosyncrasies in the writing that stand out sometimes. Occasionally contractions are ignored in places without emphasis, and not just by characters from Romania or with other oddities. It just happens sometimes and can take you out of the flow of reading if you aren’t used to it.
The conflicts very much become “crisis mode” when they are not. This is why I think the target audience is on the lower end of YA, since the characters are sixteen to nineteen respectively but treat every minor occurrence with the maturity of 13 year olds. There is also one conflict between Raven and Alexander that I find iffy now that I think I’ve cracked that it’s potentially a metaphor for sex.
Essentially, Raven spends their entire relationship trying to convince Alexander that the time is right for him to change her into a vampire as well. Not only that, but she wants him to change her in a specific type of ceremony that would bind them together forever, essentially marriage. Alexander has reasonable protests: as a teenager still in high school Raven would have to leave her parents and friends behind, drop out of high school, and completely alter her lifestyle to become a vampire. Raven insists that she could work around these problems, but Alexander also fears that she won’t enjoy the vampire lifestyle once she starts it.
I’m fairly certain that to a degree, this conflict is a metaphor for having sex in a teenage relationship. With that in mind, it isn’t…great that Raven continuously pressures Alexander to give her an immortal bite. She regularly pushes him, begging to know why he doesn’t want to bite her yet and never accepting his answers. Despite this, Alexander continues to tell her to wait and she continues to push him on the matter. Additional characters also push Alexander. The metaphor for sex becomes clearer especially when Jagger and Sebastian, two male vampires from Alexander’s past, announce shock and surprise that Alexander hasn’t bitten Raven yet. There’s also significant pressure from them to take that step.
All in all, this is a quick and easy read. The series isn’t difficult to tackle, has some traditional vampires in it, and can act as wish fulfillment for all those goths out there who like me were forced into school uniforms and had to wear their black on their down time. Altogether, it’s a bit of mindless entertainment for those of us that like blood sucking fiends to be more romantic.