A long while back I picked up a used copy of Blood Lite: An Anthology of Humorous Horror Stories only because it had a story in it by my all-time favorite author Sherrilyn Kenyon. I read her story only and then set Blood Lite on my shelves where it was promptly forgotten – until now. While scanning books I forgot I had on my bookshelves I rediscovered this one and checked out the back, which claims that it’s “…a collection of entertaining tales that puts the fun back into dark fiction, with ironic twists and tongue-in-cheek wit to temper the jagged edge.” I was in the mood for something humorous and entertaining so I sat down and gave the book a proper read… and quickly regretted it.
In spite of the title “Blood Lite” and the fact that both book covers (not sure why there are two) have vampires on them, this book doesn’t contain all that many vampire stories. Obviously that doesn’t make it a bad book, but if you’re hoping for loads of vamp tales, you will be a bit disappointed.
Now, what will make you very disappointed are the number of terrible stories in this collection. Many of them fell flat, it was clear that the authors were trying to be silly and entertaining, but instead they came off as desperate and blah. In the beginning I forced myself through these stories, but after a while I just straight up stopped reading and skipped to the next one.
There were also stories so bad I seriously wonder if someone forgot to tell the authors that this is supposed to be a “dark and humorous” anthology, not an awkward and depressing anthology. The only reason I read this book was because I was in the mood for something funny with a twist, but instead I got stories that bummed me out. Major fail.
Of course it wasn’t all bad, that’s the nice thing about anthologies, you’re bound to get at least one good story. I enjoyed Charlaine Harris’ “An Evening with Al Gore,” which told the story of some hardcore environmentalists. It was a pretty decent read with a wonderfully bloody twist. However, while a good tale, it wasn’t funny, which was supposedly the point of this book. I also liked Sherrilyn Kenyon’s story, it actually was humorous, but it felt more like a prologue to a book and not a short story. As much as I love Kenyon, I was a bit sad that the story ended before it was told. I also found Jeff Strand’s “The Bell… FROM HELL!!!” amusing, it wasn’t the most creative of stories, but it did get a wicked smile out of me. Out of all the stories in the book Jim Butcher’s “Day Off” was most definitely the best. I haven’t read the Dresden Files, but after this story I want to. It was hilarious, entertaining and well-written. Butcher’s story pretty much saved this book.
Overall, Blood Lite was a colossal let down, thank goodness I bought it for cheap otherwise I’d be feeling cheated right now. There were a few amazing stories in there that are worth a read, so I can’t tell you to stay away from the book, but I can tell you to be wary and don’t expect many laughs.
I almost always find short stories a let down, regardless of the intent. They always leave you feeling like you missed out on something. That is wasn’t quite finished.
Give me a good novel any day.